New “Back to the USSR” cafe in Kandalaksha

The fashion for the Soviet style seems to have reached Kandalaksha. A poster advertising the opening of a new “Back to the USSR” cafe was recently noticed on the Kandalaksha VK group. The address is ulitsa Pervomayskaya 83A.

We’ll be checking it out soon.

A new hotel/hostel/cafe opened in Kandalaksha

A new hotel/hostel/cafe just opened 1 min. walk from the train station, in the building of Kandalaksha’s former bus station. The cheapest accommodation option, a bunk bed in a room shared by eight, is 550 roubles (just under $10) per night. more >>

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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100 year anniversary of the revolution

Held yesterday by the freshly-painted statue of Lenin by the City Administration building in the center of the town. Otherwise the event seems to have gone unnoticed. 

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. 



This year’s first aurora borealis

Noticed right over Kandalaksha on the night from October 19 to October 20. The photo is by the Apatity photographer Valentin Zhiganov. Our camera is not able to see such things with clarity worth sharing.

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.

A 400 roubles/night hostel recommended in St. Petersburg

Just got a hint from a client about a very inexpensive, comfortable, and exceptionally well-situated hostel in St. Petersburg at ulitsa Yakubovicha 20, tel. +7 911 278 1114, e-mail It is said to be a few steps from St. Isaac’s Cathedral on Nevsky. They rented two beds in a four-bed room for 400 roubles ($7) a night each, which is a very good rate for the center of St. Petersburg.

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.