To the Arctic Circle – on the rail



Our journey didn’t end yet, we got on board again.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5501phnet

We arrived in complete darkness to the northwest corner of Russia, into the port-town of Kola Gulf, Murmansk, located just a few kilometres from the Barents Sea. Not only the lack of sunrise but also the city itself gave a gloomy atmosphere, as if the ghosts of the Kursk submarine’s crew, – sank in the year of 2000, – even today were getting on, not only on the memorial, but also on the walls of the buildings. The church is really a shelter here, final comfort for the local ones.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic-Murmansk

However, the most famous relic of the city is the first nuclear-powered icebreaker of the world, called Lenin; anchoring today as a museum. Getting closer to the 134 meters long monster, some lights of dawn sank in, those we later could see just from the bridge because mostly we were walking in the bowl of the ship.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5535phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5518phnet

Finally, we almost literally struggled ourselves up to the enormous Second World War Aljosa monument, where from there was a full panorama to the harbour. Only the bone-deep cold did not allow us to contemplate long, and by the time we got back to the Trans Siberian Express, dusk greeted us again.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic-Murmansk_Panorama-netAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic-AljosaAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5554phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-TransSiberian_AEX5559phnet

One of the disadvantages of the northern winter is darkness, still that few hours light just illuminated the running landscape as bluish dawn, seen from the window of the train, lent a special atmosphere to the anyhow peculiar area. The view of wooden houses and onion shaped cupolas varied, and arriving to Suzdal 7th January, the day of the orthodox Christmas, the celebration crowned our journey. We travelled by horse drawn sledges through the city centre already mentioned in the Russian ancient chronicle, then we got off at the Kreml of Suzdal, we listened to a male choir in one of the convents, thus at the end we could warm up again by a festive lunch served for us in a family home.

The open air museum showing wooden buildings and life of peasants reflected uniqueness of the city too, that at the end said goodbye to us with silky shining twilight through the clouds.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5622phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-TransSiberian_AEX5644phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5782phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5836phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5767phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5726phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5838phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5846phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-TransSiberian_AEX5566phnet

Eventually, our train arrived at Moscow’s Yaroslavsky Railway Station. We bade farewell to the train and the staff and we threw ourselves into the capital’s minuses. I have never ever took part in such a cold sightseeing before. But the feeling of Christmas, over-decorated passageways of GUM, visiting Kreml before opening hours brought us such worthy memories that absolutely made us forget the several layers of clothing collection we were wearing and closed our journey with a remarkable finale.Andrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5986phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5948phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX5923phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic_AEX6037phnetAndrea-Peto-photo-Arctic-Moscva_AEX5978phnet