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.
Someone has recently written “Russia is an Orthodox country” on the “Stupa of Enlightenment” by the Apatity to Kirovsk road, one of the two stupas near Apatity built by local entrepreneurs brothers Igor and Oleg Belyayev. This is of course a far cry from the Taliban blowing up centuries-old statues of Buddha but still..
Got the following note from a client of mine with a request to share it with you. Here:
“The exhibition Metsä (Finnish “Forest”) opens on Friday, June 2, at 5 pm. It is arranged by the Murmansk Regional Art Museum, but takes place in the Murmansk Philharmonic Society at Murmansk, ulitsa S. Perovskoy 3. It consists of 40 large black & white photographs (10 from each country), and a book has been published with 60 photos, and text in English, Finnish, Russian and Sami.
I enclose two word docs of the foreword I wrote in the book, in Russian and English, if you would like to mention this on your website. For pictures, please go to my website, and copy some images from http://perberntsen.com/_artwork/_pages/metsa1.php“
A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.
Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.
The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.
The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.
Yesterday, for no particular reason other than its curious name, we headed to a place called Africanda, about 10 miles north from Polarnye Zori. The story says that the name originated as a joke, when railroad station builders encountered a particularly hot, Africa-like, summer day. The village offers among the most spectacular local ruins. The town core however appears relatively civilized, full of small two-story houses surrounded by pine trees. Here are a few photos to convey to you the sense of the place:
I’ve recently have been once again looking at the issue. It appears that the only way to get the FSB (former KGB) permit is via a local incoming travel agency. Those I’ve contacted (www.atv51.ru, snow51.ru, and www.m-tour.ru) would only arrange permits to the participants of their tours that start at ~$400/person. I’m continuing to look for one that would provide assistance with no strings in the form of tour participation attached.
A couple of years ago I wrote mentioning the British Cemetery in Murmansk from the WW1 days. Recently I got a request for grave photos, and received the following story from Alexandra’s Murmansk acquaintances that I’d like to share with you:
Yesterday drove through 250km of snow and blizzard on the insistent request of my mate, who apparently needed some variety to clear her head off the eider thoughts. If anybody does not know, she is intensely working on a book on the relationship between humans and eider ducks. Sometimes that results in brain overheat, thus the need for a cooling trip once in a while.
Leaving the computer behind. If the matter can’t wait please call +7 921 155 5432. Back Sunday evening. The Murmansk program includes visiting a Saami village with the reputation of being “authentic” near Murmansk. A report is to follow.