Vodka and radiation

Trip Start Aug 27, 2006
Trip End Sep 13, 2008

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Flag of Russia  ,
Saturday, May 5, 2007

What is nice with Kirkenes and Murmansk, is that you have the feeling to be the only backpacker of the world.
People who are speaking with you look at you as an alien when you say that you are a tourist and that it's your first stop before a world trip: that bring a little taste of adventure.

The city of Kirkenes is not so big and it was not big deal that I did not wake up and that I was quite tight for my bus...
To give a first taste of the Russian style, you can have a look of the fishing vessels and compare the Russian's ones and the Norwegians ones.
Also a part of the city was destroyed during the WW2 and you can see the different style between the traditional colorful small house and the new building not so beautiful.
Kirkenes is one of the last city between Europe and Russia and was the place of may military actions it was one on the only direct border between Europe and Russia

With few hours of bus and at least half and hour of customs: I think they really like my passport as they took it during at least 45 min just to check it... all the other one in the bus where Russian and wanted to know when this really slow french man should let them go in direction of Murmansk.

The customs done, I was waiting for cultural chock and I got it (at least the first one) Just to describe the event, the driver of the minibus was driving like crazy: my neighbour seat mate, an old lady even had to stop the bus to puke on the side way of the road...
The view was becoming darker and darker, in the middle of the tundra half frozen half melt, letting appear a black mud with dead trees, a factory with 3 big chimneys spitting black smoke ( and I'm not caricaturing the view) with behind the Soviet town with square building architecture and with military camp everywhere till Murmansk. I think that all these details did not help to give a friendly atmosphere.
I did not take many pictures as I was not sure that it was OK with my bus mate even if they were all very nice with me.

We finally arrived in Murmansk, find the hotel ( not so easy with Cyrillic alphabet) and then found a ticket at the station to go to St Petersburg
I did not buy the most expensive one: will see what happen.
Just for the little story, after many tries to get my ticket, the first woman did a Niet and send me to another more comprehensive lady. The second one who tried her best to understand me finally took her mobile phone (god save the mobile) and called her son who was speaking english to do the translation: at the end I had my ticket and everything was fine.

I continued then my visit of the city in the middle of the square building, till I heared some music and seen some taxi waiting at the door of huge building .
After the entrance, an old disco with a lot of bear and vodka everywhere.

I did not stay too long as i was quickly surrounded by Russian women (not prostitute) but to more comprehensive: tourist still equal to money. After one hour, I came back to my hotel alone in the desert street surrounded by the massive buildings.

The experience till now is quite strong but I guess it was what I was looking for when I've decided to come by here.
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archimundo on

you're never learning do you? ;-)
Hi my very normal crazy friend, I see some good stories comparing with the great moments in South America again: Illegal pictures of communistic army places(thinking of Havana), boats that seem to be little low quality (remember dancing salsa on the beach near old boats in Argentina)and to much interest of girls in strange clubs (choosing the best clubs in Ushuaia)I'm sure you will enjoy all the little and big surprises waitng for you around every coner where-ever in the world..

worldtaste on

Re: you're never learning do you? ;-)
Hola mi amigo mas loco del mundo! I think one day I will learn, but on the time being, I really like all my mistakes and I think there will have plenty others heheh! Thanks for these nice moments, whenever you want to travel some part of the world together.
Ciao companero de viaje

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