Stress therapy for Alexandra

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.

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Flu epidemic in Kandalaksha

fluActually, it is a country-wide thing. Schools get closed and people on the street wear masks.

Let me use this opportunity to share with the world my favourite anti-flu method.

First, it is tea with lemon, and hot peppers. Second, vodka, beer, and mulled wine, as much as you can take. Fresh shredded ginger root brew. Carbonated mineral water. Pour into yourself all of the stuff above and go to bed to sleep it off. The world will welcome the new you in two days.

Winter mountains near Kandalaksha

Snowmobile’s trip in the wonderful photos of Olga Boman

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Epiphany bathing

In reality this custom is more of a fashion than manifestation of any deep religious conviction. Orthodox priests, or the more progressive part thereof, keep on explaining the flock that ice-hole bathing has no connection to the essence of Epiphany. This year however, when the head priest of the Kandalaksha church (site taken down April 2015) refused to participate in organizing ice bathing, there was a burst of indignation on the part of the congregation..

But this one was in Murmansk, in Semenovskoe Lake below the landmark monument to the “defender of the Arctic”.

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Sorry Leviathan got taken down by copyright owner but here are other things to look at..

Zheleznaya or Lysaya (Iron or Bald) Mountain near Kandalaksha. Photo Olga Boman

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New Year’s tour in Chupa, North Karelia

We wrote earlier about our friends, ecologists from Chupa and their Christmas and New Year tours.

The first photos of the lucky ones who took part in these tours

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On the road between Kandalaksha and Polarniye zori yesterday

Buran snowmobile, 1976 model, Varzuga


Hordes of snow-scooters from the 70s still active in Varzuga. This was the first time I saw them up close in a working situation. They can tow 2-3 loaded sleighs so one of these arrangements is not much less capable than a pickup truck.

30 th. miles along USSR borders

travin_glebeOne of the most popular searches that take people here is the story of Haruhisa Watanabe. So you want drama? Fine. Here is another story of a death seeker.

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Babushka by the porch

spring-babushka-zoomThe first scooter was noticed two weeks ago. Then a poster saying that walking over the ice is dangerous and prohibited replaced “don’t smoke drunk in bed” on the city’s main square by the T-34 tank on a pedestal. A few days ago I saw the first mosquito by the spring that supplies drinking water to us miserable wretches who get only sulphur-smelling stuff from the tap. And yesterday it was the true sign of spring – the first babushka by the apartment block entrance, an iconic small-town image during the warm season.

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