Got several inquiries from travelers wishing to come here to see the aurora borealis, aka northern lights. Here is my attempt to provide a comprehensive answer to the seekers of this phenomenon.
The most common question is “When do I need to travel to the Kola Pensula to see aurora borealis for sure”. First, forget the “for sure” part. The aurora is a probabilistic thing. Thus there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Generally speaking, aurora borealis can be observed at high latitudes any time there are dark nights. On the Kola Peninsula it is approximately from September to April.
A common misconception is that aurora borealis requires real cold winter weather. This photo was made in the Hibiny mountains on the 28th of September, and I’ve myself seen the aurora in the vicinity of Kandalaksha starting the end of August.
Noticed right over Kandalaksha on the night from October 19 to October 20. The photo is by the Apatity photographer Valentin Zhiganov. Our camera is not able to see such things with clarity worth sharing.
Rain, melting snow, and wind – we were treated to the classic late fall weather last night. The ugliest it has been in a long time. Most definitely this is not the time of year to travel to Kandalaksha.
But I make a living off you travellers, thus the late fall special on all of my services in an effort to entice you here: 50% off, or $12.50/hour and I’m yours to act as a guide, driver or translator.
Or, if you have business here but can’t attend the place in person, I can be your errand boy. Information gathering of any sort, people and grave searches, press reviews, whatever. It’s like having your feet and eyes and hands, and even a part of your brain here.
Severpost.ru reports that Olga Galanchik, the owner of one of Kandalaksha’s travel agencies, Orange Tours, located at no. 3 ulitsa 50 let Okryabrya, was arrested in Sweden on Sept. 19, 2017, for stealing a fur coat. The court date is set for October 6, and Olga is said to be under arrest before the court.
I wonder if this is a true story or a typical Russian “drive your competitor out of business” ploy.
Once in a while I receive a question about business/investment opportunities in Russia. Yesterday I got a tip from one of my Pasvik Nature Reserve acquaintances to the effect that long-talked-about garbage sorting and civilized processing has at last been implemented in Murmansk, and that South Kola (Kandalaksha, Apatity, Umba) is next, and the authorities are looking for an investor into this project.
Previous attempts to deal with garbage in a better way than hauling it all to the dump and just leaving it there to rot have somehow not taken off in Kandalaksha, although the dump itself is a picturesque place if you have a taste for that sort of things.
Personally, I am fascinated by garbage and will welcome a request to look further into the situation with trash collection and processing.
Just got an e-mail from Jonathan Campion, a British travel writer who visited Kandalaksha in January and whom I matched up with some of my English students to show him around. Jon shared his impressions of our small town in his recent story – an elegant little piece conveying the general feel of the place – published in www.therussianstudent.com. Enjoy!
And I’d like to remind would-be travelers to these places of an opportunity to get a free guide, and possibly even free accommodation, from my students of English, in exchange for some conversation practice. Write me to firstname.lastname@example.org if such arrangement could be of interest to you.
Just returned from a trip to Zapolarny on an interpreting assignment. Here are some useful bits pertaining to the logistics of travelling from Kandalaksha to Zapolarny cheap and easy.
The annoying thing is that there is no direct link, either by bus or railroad, between Kandalaksha and Zapolarny. You’ll have to travel through Murmansk. But it turned out easier than anticipated.
To get to Murmansk fast and cheap hop on a minibus that leaves at 5:30 am and 6:30 am off the train station parking lot. To reserve a seat call 8 911 349 9000. The trip will take about 4 hours and as of the moment, it costs 700 roubles ($12US). The train is slightly slower and considerably more expensive ($20-35) but there are several during the day. See tutu.ru for the train schedule.
Another option of getting to Murmansk is by arranging a ride through blablacar.ru. My first experience with the system was highly positive. Lots of traffic between Kandalaksha and Murmansk, and the “standard” cost is 500 roubles (under $10) per passenger.