Internet will actively try enticing you into hotels Luyavr and Koavas. Don’t fall for it. That Luyavr is no longer we found out before the trip over the phone. Koavas would not respond the phone and was discovered in the state of utter lifelessness.
There is a large and conspicuous building in the center of the village – the only one suitable and intended to become a hotel but now in the state of neglect, and no definite info is available about its future. There are rumours – but no more than that – that in some time it will be a hotel.
In my romantic 13, when I wanted to become a vet, if someone was to tell me that I will end up organizing tours, I would consider such a silly idea not worth even being laughed at. But God works in mysterious ways. Having bound myself up with PV I got immersed into a peculiar area of private foreigner travel to Russia. A funny subject.
To me tourists travelling as an organized herd along a set route (Kremlin-Hermitage-Volga-the-great-Russian-river) are of little interest, and I would not myself explore the world that way. On the other hand it is hard to imagine how a foreigner can travel through Russia without a babysitter, in which capacity PV offers himself. The more I live, the more respect I develop towards an occasional freak that manages to avoid both joining an organized herd and using a babysitter.
Here, let us consider our trip to Lovozero..
Lovozero, founded over 400 years ago, if often called the center of Russian Lapland and the center of Saami – the indigenous people of the Kola Peninsula.
A great number of sports and tourist routes starts at Lovozero.
In the local museum and in the National Cultural Center one can get acquainted with history, culture, and lifestyle of Saami, and also to buy national clothing, household items and other articles by Saami masters.
The next planned exploratory trip is to Lovozero, where the Bartosh family, the keepers of the Amethyst Coast shop, move for the winter. Now we are in the process of collecting info on Lovozero. The distance from Kandalaksha is 220km. Doable in one day but not easily. Also we want more time to check the place out, with Bartoshes‘ help if possible. So where to stay for the night is an issue. Here is what Alexandra has dug out so far:
Next Friday and Saturday, March 18-19, a small village of Krasnoshelye (population under 500), as close to the middle of nowhere as it gets, deep in the tundra 130km east of Lovozero, will be teeming with activity. It is the yearly Reindeer Herder’s Day, and it will include 3200 meter and 1600 meter sled racing, skier towing behind a reindeer, jumping over sleds, loop-throwing, and a fighting competition.
What took me to Lovozero this time was an interpreting (and trip organizational in general) assignment by two Swedish journalists dispatched here to write about the life of Saami. They’ve promised to provide a copy of the article that I will, of course, share with you.
We met in Apatity where I got by train, having wimped out of the idea of driving 200km through icy roads in a blizzard and -30C. The train trip from Kandalaksha to Apatity cost 700+ roubles ($14) and lasted an hour and a half. Lots of empty seats on the train, probably no need to buy tickets in advance during the off-season period.
I first researched the option of a train to Olenegorsk and then a bus but it turned out there was no direct bus to Lovozero from Olenegorsk, the nearest station on the Murmansk railroad. Here is the bus schedule at Olenegorsk:
The most conspicuous building in Lovozero is the Sami Cultural Center. Can’t miss it. The main street (ul. Sovetskaya) starts at the Sami Center. Exhibitions and events are regularly held there but you can’t count on these being there at the time of your visit. According to their site you can order workshops or other sort of entertainment. But we haven’t tried. We’ve walked in with a dumb questioin “What’s there to see for a tourist”. After a short talk about the center and how it works we were escorted to what appeared like the key authority on local life – Mikhail Barakovsky. more >>
One of “public” accommodation options near Seidozero. Much more on vk.com/seidozero
Stumbled into this vk.com group that purports to unite all connoisseurs of the area, from travellers to guides to artists and film-makers with an interest or expertise in Lovozero and especially Seidozero and surrounding tundras. Lots of travel practicalities like getting there and finding accommodation. A few ads for travel companions. A live dynamic resource, recommended.
While the vast number of searches taking visitors to my www.kandalaksha.su remain unknown (only one out of about 16 shows), here is a summary of known search words/phrases that took visitors to my site during the last year: