Day 123 – The kayaks are basically stored in the reception. Our good fortunes are still with us – 2 July

Day 123. 2nd of July. Rabocheovstrosk to Kandalaksha (by car). No paddling.

Kira showed exactly as agreed, with her car and a trailer. We took some time to load the kayaks securely onto the trailer. Once that was done we drove off in Kira’s mid sized Geely.

She drove well and carefully on bad roads which meant that we went slowly for the first hour or so. First because of the quality of the non state roads, then as we reached the main highway Murmansk, we went slow because of the extensive upgrade works to that road.

The landscape was the same for most of the trip, boggy taiga.

About two thirds of the way we got to the junction leading to Kira’s home village. There her brother was waiting and he drove the rest of the way. None of them spoke enough English to keep a conversation going, so the five hours passed mostly in silence.

A quick stop as we crossed the Polar circle, and then were in the outskirts of Kandalaksha.

We had struggled a little to find a hotel where we could store the kayaks safely, and in the end we settled for the Belomor dead in the center but with a video surveilled parking we were told.

As we came in we were met by a very solution oriented lady, and now the kayaks are basically stored in the reception. Our good fortunes are still with us.

Kandalaksha is a town of about 35000 people. We had a walk around and some late lunch early dinner. Difficult to say if the town is on the up or if the decline from 1990 to 2010 continues. A walk through the center of town shows a mix of new buildings, well maintained buildings, derelict buildings and burnt down buildings.

Stein’s friend Ulf is on schedule and the current plan is to leave Russia tomorrow afternoon.

We have spent a little less than two months here, but it feels like a lot more. It has been so packed with varied experiences. Almost without exception positive ones.

But now our minds are shifting towards the next stage: Finnmark.

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