Kuzomen. Arctic horses in polar desert.

Probably the most surreal place I’ve ever seen.

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Had one too many beers, climbed the horsie, survived

On returning from the Village of Kuzomen found the little horse hanging by our camper again. This time, with more than one beer inside me, I thought it a good idea to get on the animal that, apart from attempting to bite at my legs, took this abuse quite calmly and gave me a ride around our camp. 

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Made it to Kuzomen

Almost free of misadventures. The only exception was the muffler that broke off while we were, already in Kuzomen, going through deep sand. No effect on the vehicle’s ability to move. Of the south coast of the Kola Peninsula attractions, I’ll share the impressions of our stop by the Chapel of the Unknown Monk, one of the key local saints whose body was pulled up in fishermen’s nets somewhere in the 16th century near what’s now the village of Kashkarantsy. The poor fellow never got identified, but fish was caught particularly well in the sea near his grave, and miracle cures happened, thus the status of “local saint” and a small chapel. In our stops there in previous years, we were delighted to see a donation box left undisturbed in this remote and unprotected place. Now it is gone, with the following instructions displayed instead:

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If Kuzomen is not far enough for you, cross the Varzuga river

varzuga-ferry-1On Thursday we witnessed an UAZ van ferried to the other side of Kuzomen, to the true “beyond”. That’s the only way, except the helicopter, to get to places like Chavanga, Strelna, or Chapoma.

Here are a few photos to show you how it happens, with the floating platform being pushed by a motor boat. The cost of this adventure across the river is ~5000 roubles ($70) per crossing. more >>

Day of eared jellyfish

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There are two types of jellyfish living in the White Sea: Aurelia aurita and Cyanea capillata. Aurelia aurita is also called “Eared jellyfish” even though it has no ears. It got its name from its bright and clearly visible reproductive gonads.

Aurelia sometimes comes close to the coastline and gets stranded on the beach, or is thrown out by the storm. But never before have we seen so many jellyfish as we did yesterday.

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The day of giant things

On our second day in Kuzumen we found a huge tree on the beach. Can’t imagine where it has come from. There are no trees of this size within at least 100km from here.

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A huge root, 2×3 meters, and the trunk of at least 10 meters in length more >>

Our traditional August vacation in Kuzomen has started

This is one of the easiest yet most interesting routes around the Kola Peninsula. You can do that alone or by hiring Uncle Pasha as your driver, guide, and translator.

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Below are travel notes from the first two days on the road. These are useful (facts) and useless (beautiful sights). more >>

An elementary school opened in Kuzomen

burnayevaUp to very recently the only option for for four elementary school age kids in Kuzomen was a boarding school in Varzuga, with mere 8 visits home per year.

Things changed recently with the arrival of the new teacher, Ekaterina Mikhailovna Burnayeva, from Murmansk, after her two trips to South Carolina, USA.

burnayeva-chacing-wild-horsesIn addition to teaching she prepares school lunches and chases away the famous wild horses of Kuzomen that often scare children.

Aerial photos of Kashkarantsy, Kuzomen, and Varzuga

kuzomen-aerial-2kuzomen-aerialOur friend snowman-pro just posted this August’s photos of their para-glider flights over Kashkarantsy, Kuzomen, and Varzuga. Photos taken from low height, with lots of details, thus a realistic picture of what the land is like.

Above: overall view onto Kuzomen.

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