THIS IS A DRAFT
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From the hustle and bustle of Moscow
through relative tranquility of the Tver and Novgorod countryside
with another dive into crowds in St. Petersburg
through nearly-empty Karelia
we’ll get to the Kola Peninsula,
a land that cannot decide whether it wants to be an industrial zone
or a recreation park,
a land with distinct identity different from the rest of the country, a transition between Russia and Northern Europe, and almost literally the end of the world.
Alternatively, we can go north-east from Moscow to the Golden Ring towns like Sergiev Posad,
Uglich, and even
In Medvezhyegorsk we could see the remnants of WW2 fortifications, or visit the Baltic to White Sea Canal museum in Belomorsk, or the Pomor History center in Kem before finding ourselves in Kandalaksha, the entry to the Kola Peninsula, where we’ll have to decide in favour of going north to Murmansk (with a detour to Monchegorsk, Kirovsk, or Lovozero) or east along the south edge of the Peninsula (with Umba, Kuzomen, and Varzuga as the highlights of the “south endge of Kola” detour).
Having completed the trip you’ll be able to say you went through half of the country, a feat comparable to taking the Trans-Siberian while hopping off at every station to look around.
I see this trip as pretty much an immersion experience, losely planned if not near fully spontaneous, and done in a budget way not only to save $$ but to give you an opportunity to get your feet wet. Accommodation will be in tents, in a capmer, or in inexpensive guesthouses. I will act as your personal guide, driver, and all-around assistant. The vehicle will be my good old LandRover, possibly with a camper in tow, comfortable for a company of 3-4.
How much will it cost to leisurely travel from Moscow to Murmansk? The fuel for a 4000km trip will be around $700, thus the total vehicle cost, including maintenance and depreciation, can be estimated to be around $2100. Plus something for my effort, let’s say $1500 for a trip that will last 5-10 days each way, thus $3600. Considering minimal cost of accommodation and food (we can cook our own), split for 3-4 travellers, that’s not that bad, is it?
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