Murmansk…Jewel of the Arctic

Well ‘jewel’ may be a slight misnomer


I arrive in Murmansk at 1 am, found a hotel which for the princely sum of 1200 roubles per night (£25) inc parking, breakfast, and wi-fi… lol………We aint in Norway anymore Harvey!


…and finally petrol at 22 roubles per litre..(£0.46p)….wahoooo!


So it’s Saturday in Murmansk and it’s an almost balmy -11C…so warm I nearly forgot to take a jacket!



Murmansk really is the most depressing and gloomy of shit-holes and I love it. Except for the new cars on the streets the place looks like it’s in a Communist time warp.


It’s old and held together with twine and spit but chugs along despite the climate and geography seemingly being aligned against its very existence.


Downtown Murmansk

Downtown Murmansk

and again

and again

In Da Hood....Murmanski Style

In Da Hood....Murmanski Style

So it’s off to see the highlight of any Murmansk visit…..its Alyosha, high on a bluff overlooking the harbour.


One thing you can say about the old Soviet Union…they had an eye for imposing scale. The statue is huge. And you have to ask why?….its not like they had any thoughts of impressing tourists, I mean even today I had to drive in circles all over the city for about an hour to find the road to the statue no signs, nothing…. They certainly didn’t need to impress their own citizens either in a repressive system….so why bother


Hell, you can see it from everywhere, but just trying to the actual site is an adventure!


...off in the distance...

...off in the distance...

...closer

...closer

up close and personal like.

up close and personal like.

The statue is a reminder of all the Russian men and women who lost their lives from 1941 to 1945. And there is a solemnity and reserve about the whole thing no pomp, no visitors centre or souvenir stands… we roll out the cenotaph on November 11 each year but this place is visited every day by folk to remember their fallen family and friends. There are always flowers, always people there, and always a flame or remembrance.

Always on guard

Always on guard

And then off to the side in its own special place was this memorial to the Allied men and women who died bringing vital aid and supplies to the Soviet Union. If you know the stories then the ‘Northern Convoys’ to Murmansk from Britain they were considered one of the most gruelling and hazardous duties of the war… and here, in this coldest and most remote outcrop, they are remembered….

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

…and again, in a well maintained part of the central city park:

dscn1715

dscn1714

I didn’t realise that at -11C a tear will freeze on your cheek.

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