Karelia Peninsula

It’s so cold.

I didn’t think I could be so cold.

People leave the vehicles running all the time…If you pull into a truck stop here at night, all the drivers are asleep in the parking area, all with their engines running, all night.

I can drive for 3 or 4 hours straight and if I stop the engine it’s dead cold within ten minutes… and I mean ‘grab the exhaust manifold bare-handed’ dead cold.

After driving at about 60 kph my leg nearest the door was going cold and numb…I figured there must be a draft or a leak…but no… it’s just that the door and the window get so cold that it just leeches into you.

Anyway back to Karelia:

The road through the Karelia is goat track…its very wide, but a goat track nonetheless upon which the main traffic are 18 wheel trucks and not much else… bar the lone mad traveller.


It’s a vast empty frozen forest wilderness punctuated only by huge thermal, hydro, and coal fired power stations.

Distant power station

Distant power station

And lakes!…they are huge and form a meandering chain across the countryside but of course they are frozen over this time of year so suddenly you come across an perfectly white empty void in the hills or the forests…its beautiful but eerie.




Of course I can’t really explore much off the main road, even summer ‘roads’ and tracks are Range Rover and Man-eating snowdrifts of 7 foot deep. Basically if the snow-ploughs don’t work an access road at least twice a day….it disappears until the summer thaw.





And then when the outflow from the stations mixes with the freezing lake water the effect is amazing as steam rises from the surface and the lake doesn’t freeze near the outfall.




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