Saami crafts shop recently opened in Lovozero

News of the recent opening of the Saami craft shop/outlet named “Vuss” (a round-bottomed leather bag) in Lovozero, the center of Kola Saami, have reached me. Their shop both makes and sells things. 

Here are some examples of their deerskin articles:

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“To book aurora borealis”

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.

 

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A Bearded seal

..came out of the sea, with a splash, near the dacha village of Malinovy some 10km east of Kandalaksha, and looked at us with what appeared like intense interest from the distance of ~30 meters. 

 

 

The ugliest night in a long time. Late fall 50% off on all my services.

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.

Norwegians in Murmansk, Lovozero and around

Here is a story by Kristin Evju from her Norwegians’ group September 2017 visit to the local cultural Sami events in Murmansk and Lovozero, with a detour to Seidjavr Lake, with the assistance of Mikhail Barakovsky, with whose support I took two Swedish journalists to see reindeer keepers a couple of years ago.

The story is of the “atmospheric” type, with not much in the way of practical details, but a would-be traveler can, and are encouraged to contact us for these.

The owner of travel agency Orange of Kandalaksha reported to be arresed in Sweden for the theft of a fur coat

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.

From Kandalaksha to Zapolarny

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.

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Buddhist stupa near Apatity vandalized

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..

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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Rye dough figurine celebration in Kuzreka

Rye dough ritual figurine celebration took place in Kuzreka yesterday, August 8. That was the 8th event of this sort, and this time it attracted a crowd of 2000, including the representatives of the regional authorities and a bunch of folk music groups.

Part of the festival was the scarecrow competition. The only part of the festivities that made me regret I wasn’t there in person.

Here are some pictures of the event borrowed from hibiny.com:

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