Here is a summary of what can be accessed from Kandalaksha with relative ease. I’ve made this list, among other reasons, for the benefit of those thinking of hiring me in my errand boy or similar capacity. Links are to pages of this site.
- South edge of the Kola Peninsula till Kuzomen and Varzuga, an established touristy route that includes Kanozero with its recently discovered rock carvings.
- Apatity, Monchegorsk, and Kirovsk with Hibyny Moutains. That’s the area where big money is to be made in mining and processing but watch out, Mr. Khodorkovsky at one time owned the controlling package of the phosphate facility near Kirovsk, and see what came out of it! A few bucks can probably be made from serious tourism too. The hearsay is that skiers and snowboarders constantly whine about lack of proper accommodation, ski lifts and what not. Even an old loser like me is hoping to get a few kopecks from you travellers who may want to hire me to be your guide, translator, and all-around assistant. My humble self comes equipped with a 4wd truck with a roofrack, a utility trailer, and a bunch of camping equipment.
- Lovozero, the center of reindeer breeding and of the Saami autonomy.
- Alakurtti, presently a neglected city showing signs of pending economic revival.
- Kovdor, another deprived but possibly promising area (mining if you are into big business, and tourism for those with smaller aspirations; possibly logging)
Within six hours by car or train
- Medvezhyegorsk, Pudozh, Petrozavodsk (regional capital) and numerous other places along the White Sea coast of Karelia
- St. Petersburg is ~24 and Moscow is ~36 hours by train. When planning a car trip add possibilities of breakdowns (roads are full of serious holes, and exploded tires, torn out shocks, disintegrated bearings, or just lose bolts are common), snowstorms, extensive road construction areas, and in case of Moscow likely traffic jams between Moscow and St. Petersburg and almost certainly near and in the city itself. Train transportation is reliable and fairly easy. Shipment of goods between Moscow and Kandalaksha is inexpensive and reliable according our own experience. If you need me in Moscow with a vehicle, the 2000km trip will add a considerable amount to the cost. Think of the total cost of operationg a vehicle as three times that of fuel. 25mpg, 1300 miles… About 50 gallons, or $240 x3=$720. That’s how much of fuel, upkeep and depreciation goes to get a car from Kandalaksha to Moscow. This calculation was a shock to me too when it made me realize just how far from everything we are here.
Not easy contrary to popular belief
- Arkhangelsk. Although the same direction and similar distance from Moscow, Arkhangelsk cannot be easily accessed from Kandalaksha. 30 hours by train.
- Siberia, which is also distant, cold etc, is east from Moscow while Kandalaksha is north-west. Totally different direction.
Places to which I have special connections
- Moscow, where I was born, lived in the second half of the 90s, and then from 2011 to 2013.
- Tver region, where I lived from 2000 to 2011 running a horse riding establishment.
- Ryazan, where I have good and knowledgeable friends.
- Lipetsk, for the same reason.