Verman lake fortifications

[After some deliberation I’ve removed maps for the fear that their publication may encourage treasure/souvenir hunters.]

Vasily Ivanovich has kindly shared with me this 1943 1:100000 map showing German fortifications in the River Verman area, where the front along the Verman river hadn’t moved from September 1941 to September 1944. German fortifications are indicated as black circles on the second map. They are a bit west from the river because they probably represent the second layer of defence. Pink line is the modern road to Alakurtti. I’m putting this on the list of places to explore once snow melts in the woods and it dries up a bit.

This is what was left there as of 2009:

verman-fortification-1  verman-fortification-2  verman-fortification-3

(click to expand)

No special permission is needed for foreign travellers to go there. taken down

1An impressive collection of maps at appears to be down, which is said to have happened on the request of unidentified “power authorities”. No further explanation is given in the local media. The popular guess is that they got into trouble for publishing the General Staff large-scale maps of close-to-border territories.

Guest houses in Kuzomen, Chavanga, Pyalitsa, Strel’na

Insider info from Julia Solntseva, a local expert and a publisher of a variety of travel guides: Call 8 911 344 2772 or 8 921 281 7152 about guesthouses in Kuzomen, Chavanga, Pyalitsa, or Strelna. Or write to, Svetlana.

Here is a map clearly showing these somewhat obscure locations:


Click to open to full size

A guide to the Kandalaksha district

guideJust got a fresh off-the-press copy of a Guide to Kandalaksha District. Includes places from Alakurtti and Salla border crossing in the west to Nivsky and Pinozero in the north to Zerechensk and Poyakonda in the south to Kolvitsa in the east. Hotels, guesthouses, entertainment, souvenirs – all the things you travellers need. Plus a lot of sites, attractions, history notes, and current events. A truly comprehensive piece of work. For the time being in Russian only but a lot is doubled on this site,

Sad crap but far for being the worst

Click to enlarge. Data source: Gallup (Max Fisher/Washington Post)Here is a curious summary of this world’s setup >>

I’m naturally most interested in Russia, where I have the questionable fortune to live in. Should have listened to my old man who was insisting I see a shrink instead of coming here. Visitors to this resource are likely to be considering a trip here too, so I was mostly looking at how Russia fares compared to the rest of the world. All-in-all it appears “medium crappy” but by no means the worse.