Hills over the Kolvitsa village

Here are some photos from the recent trip to the tundra hills over the village of Kolvitsa, thanks to two Finnish travelers I took there. During a good half a day in the hills we met no one and saw not a single piece of trash. I think I’m starting to understand what draws people up there.

kolvitsa-hills-1
The white stuff is lichens. No reindeer here, thus lots of lichens.kolvitsa-hills-2kolvitsa-hills-3
Picking cloudberries..

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On top of one of the highest hills in the area..

I hate gnats!!

666These are much worse than mosquitoes. Unlike the latter, gnats slice off a patch of your skin. On Wendesday I got bitten by some during the trip to the hills, and my arms are still swollen and it still itches three days later. The all-knowing Alexandra says these will last about a week. One of the worse thing about gnats is they don’t really hurt when they initially attack you. ALWAYS WEAR LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT TO THE WOODS AND TAKE SOME INSECT-REPELLANT WITH YOU!!

 

Off to the hills for the whole day

okkatyeva-hillToday I’m taking two Finnish travellers first to the Volostnaya hill, and then to the famous “Iron Gates” between the Domashniye (“home”) tundras and Okkatyeva hill, half-way between Luvenga and KolvitsaWish us all luck.

Book Birding Across the Borders has come out..

birdwatching-1The book is in English (with my participation in the translation), and it covers the Varanger-Norway-Russia trans-border area.

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New: I’ve overcome my fear of Skype and am ready to offer Russian lessons

fearLast night I did my first English lesson via Skype.

I have to confess it was one of the first Skype sessions of my life. And it went much easier and smoother than I had expected.

That made one of those watching me suggest that I offer Russian lessons via Skype too.

Here I am, doing just that.

What’s best, being stuck in Kandalaksha, where prices are low, I can offer these at “provincial” rates of 700 roubles ($10) for 1.5 hour session, payable via PayPal.

As with English, the introductory session is free and involves no obligation on anyone.

Write to manfriday@yandex.ru or Skype me at Uncle_Pasha_2011 to get started.

Massive Fall reduction of the rates for my services

snailTo get over the Fall stagnation, when the trickle of orders for my humble services of a guide, an interpreter, a driver, a fixer, or whatever, comes down to a near nill, let me try reducing the rate from the usual $30/hour or $250/day to $15/hour or $125 for the whole day!

Let’s apply it from this moment till the end of November, and see if this drastic measure will help in revitalizing my small operation.

Oh, travellers are welcomed to our fold-out couch at 1000 roubles ($15) per person per night, down from $20-25. Also part of the “Ukrainian crisis and consequences” sale.

Lovozero articles by Kristoffer Naess and Simon Eliasson (in Swedish)

I had the honour of acting as an interpreter and an organizer of the Lovozero part of the trip.
swedenEven if you can’t read Swedish, look at them for the sake of photos.

Adobe_PDF_Icon_svgThe village of Lovozeropart 1, part 2, part 3

The trip to the Lovozero tundras: part 1, part 2, part 3

The stories appeared in Norrländska Socialdemokraten on Jan. 24 and 26 2015.

“Teriberka to moscow – how far is it?”

This search query was noticed in the stats counter on the site. The famous Leviathan caused unprecedented interest to small Teriberka.

The distance between Moscow and Teriberka is 1969 km. You drive through Yaroslavl, Vologda Region, Karelia and Murmansk region. And – voilà! – you are in Teriberka.

moscow_teriberkaWe drove through most of this road by car and we can talk about it in detail. But if you are not interested in what’s between Moscow and Teriberka is much faster and more comfortable to get there by train/plane to Murmansk.

If you are sure that you are interested in Teriberka…
teriberkaMore photos of Teriberka in varandej livejournal>>

Back from Lovozero

2What took me to Lovozero this time was an interpreting (and trip organizational in general) assignment by two Swedish journalists dispatched here to write about the life of Saami. They’ve promised to provide a copy of the article that I will, of course, share with you.

We met in Apatity where I got by train, having wimped out of the idea of driving 200km through icy roads in a blizzard and -30C. The train trip from Kandalaksha to Apatity cost 700+ roubles ($14) and lasted an hour and a half. Lots of empty seats on the train, probably no need to buy tickets in advance during the off-season period.

I first researched the option of a train to Olenegorsk and then a bus but it turned out there was no direct bus to Lovozero from Olenegorsk, the nearest station on the Murmansk railroad. Here is the bus schedule at Olenegorsk:

olenegorsk-bus-schedule more >>