From today’s crawler race..

A race of these simplistic devices took place in Kandalaksha today. And I’ve even attended the competition as a spectator. 

A cute dog on the race track

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The 25th Arctic Trophy race starts off Kandalaksha on Sunday, Sept. 2 2018

Yet another of these silly events… As much as I dislike motors and vehicles and other activities that take me away from my couch I’ll share this piece of news because this sort of happenings does attract viewers, among whom an occasional client may materialize.

Starts on Sunday, September 2 2018, on the Kandalaksha’s main square, and proceeds to an undisclosed location somewhere on the Barentz Sea shore, probably ending up in Murmansk.

The race lasts a week, and participants are, in addition to Russia, from Norway and Finland. The Norwegians will be riding their ATVs.

This is the 25th race of this sort.

Here is a video from one of the past Arctic Trophy events to give you an idea what it looks like.

From Salla/Kemijarvi/Rovanijemi to Kandalaksha by bus

This week I received two inquiries from travellers planning a trip from Finland to Kandalaksha by bus.

It appears there is no scheduled bus but trips at the moment by passenger van are regularly organized.

Here is the list of companies that offer such trips:

  • http://transfer-tour.ru/
  • https://www.kandalaksha.org/perevozchik51/index.htm
  • https://vk.com/id316070484
  • https://vk.com/club52969354
  • https://vk.com/id8120737

(courtesy of www.allaboutlapland.fi)

The procedure is to call them and ask when the next trip is, and to reserve a seat, and to arrange a place to meet. The cost is in the area of 2000 roubles ($40).

If you need help communicating with local service providers feel free to ask me by writing to manfriday@yandex.ru 

PS. Just got a call from one of the operators, Sergei, tel. +7 921 157 9231, who confirmed that there are no regular buses but trips are organized “on demand”. At this moment he has the trips scheduled for March 5, 8, 10, and 17. The trip from Rovaniemi to Kandalaksha is 3000 roubles ($50+) and from Salla to Kandalaksha 2000 roubles. No particular pickup point but call Sergei and give him your address, and he’ll pick you up. And HE DOES SPEAK ENGLISH!! Since there are about five operators like him you can pretty much get on the bus every or nearly every day.

PPS. A comment from Alexandra:

It would be good for the foreign traveller to understand that all the buses are focussed on shop tours to Finland for the Russians. That is, the probability is high that either/neither the dispatcher or/nor the driver will speak English, and the routes, the places and times of parking are tied to major stores popular with the Russians. Also many of these tours originate in Murmansk or Apatiny..

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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Long-awaited direct Murmansk to Arkhangelsk flights are here

murmansk-to-arkhangelsk

The other day I’ve noticed a poster by Orenburzhye Airlines at the local supermarket announcing direct daily Murmansk to Arkhangelsk flights. The cost of the ticket is ~8000 roubles (about $130) one way according to their site. Before this offer became available one would either have to fly via Moscow (that would take pretty much the whole day) or spend one and a half or two days on the train.

Kola Expeditions is getting ready to receive English-speaking travellers

They ordered me to translate their site into English, and immediately uploaded these translations to snowtracker.ru/en/. Last March we ourselves took part in one of their 3-4 hour tours, were impressed, and can recommend Kola Expeditions to travellers looking for the “local spirit”.

kola-expeditions

Arctic Trophy starts off Varzuga on August 7

arctic-trophyStarts in Varzuga, total distance 700km, with the final destination at the village of Ponoy in the far-eastern end of the poninsula. The expedition is expected to last 7-10 days, which is not surprising given complete lack of roads beyond Varzuga.

Russian-Finnish cross-border trade is down by 1/3

russian-finnish-borderB-port reports that in January-February of 2016 the value of goods transported across the Finnish-Russian border dropped by 35.2% in value compared to the same period last year. The reason is mutual sanctions. For an average non-commercial traveller that means fewer lineups at the border-crossing points. For us, making a living off traveller support, on the other hand, that explains why clients are few and far between these days.. Guess it could be a good time to announce a “beginning of the season” special at $100/day for my humble services, back to the mid-90s rate.

A monument to the members of deer transportation batallion

The Fund of Saami Inheritance and Development has announced the collection of money to build a monument in memory of members of the deer transportation batallion.

olen-vov-3

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Another Russian mega-project: a monster 6-wheeled truck to the North Pole

burlakIt goes over deep snow and floats, and is said to carry in it enough fuel to make it to the North pole and back.

See more (in English) at the site of the Arctic State University.

And here is a little film showing how it floats and gets back on ice: