To the Arctic and back. Not many can say that, but also many can. Because it’s just another place – foreign to me but home to many. So I quickly abandoned naïve notions of barren tundra and nothingness and unforgiving weather. Because, going on with lost gloves, the weather forgave me and I returned to Peter with blood flowing through both hands and all fingers.
Murmansk is strange, though. A Soviet star of nautical ventures and industry, its Soviet stamps are still smoldering while those of other Russian cities have more or less tempered. Maybe the Communist rally that I stumbled onto on November 7th – revolution day – makes me say that, but probably not. It’s simply something I felt in the hammer-and-sickle-clad buildings, in the gray and angular memorials, in the comradeship and friendliness of the people. An older woman chased after me as I boarded a bus. Catching her breath, she pulled the bus doors open to tell me that she had made a mistake when giving me directions. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t think twice about me once I’d be out of their sight, and none of them are Russian.
Final thoughts: it’s a nice place, but a lonely place. I’m not sure what I mean by that.
I tried my best to document it in a way that would do it justice. And I think that if you’d find yourself in Murmansk in November, this is what you’d see: