Lots of really useful information but it is in Russian only. However, the author of the guide is our good friend and we will work with her on English-language edition of the guidebook.
Information for Travellers. Getting to Solovki; Climate, Weather, Flora and Fauna; Where to Stay; Rules for Visitors; Information for Pilgrims; Religious Feast Days; Excursions; Tour Operators and other. Solovki.info>>
Several hundred ancient petroglyphs (pictures on stones) on the islands of the Kanozero lake, 50km from Umba. These cave paintings belong to the Neolithic period or Early Iron Age, 3000-2000BC. They depict ancient inhabitants of this place, scenes of hunting and fishing, fish and animals, religious symbols. Scientists think this place could be one of the most important sanctuaries of northern Europe. Presently it is protected as a “historic site”.
A recent but very informative site full of travel practicalities: housing, food, transportation, tours etc. Unlike many modern sites, this one is locally made and authentic. That’s my I’d like to call you attention to it.
At the moment it is Russian but site owners promise the English version soon.
Let’s skip over what makes Ferapontovo famous, all these medieval paintings and whatever else that makes the place a popular destination for the Orthodox intelligentsia in Moscow, and concentrate on practicalities, in in particular on where to stay in Ferapontovo.
The following are widely advertised and recommended locally:
- Russkiy dvorik (“Russian court”), a “boutique hotel” type place with 13 rooms from 2800 to 4000 roubles ($100-130) per night as of December 2012. Ulits Slobodskaya 4, +7 81757 49281, +7 921 535-5692.
- Summer only private accommodation on the Borodayevskoye lake. Water from the bucket, classic outhouse, ul. Slobodskaya 65, tel. +7 909 596 9225, speak with Vera Alexandrovna. Probably inexpensive.
- Another private accommodation option near the monastery. Sauna, fishing. firstname.lastname@example.org, + 7 931 503 5453, Andrey Alexandrovich Kondratyev.
- A guesthouse, two rooms able to accommodate up to 10. Water from the lake. Paddle boat available. Sauna only when the owner is home. He works shifts and is away every second week. +7 921 830 3818, Nikolay Pavlovich Morozov.
- Fishing and hunting camp “Lukinskoye”, 2 miles from Ferapontovo. A compfortable 3-story house, 8 rooms/16 beds, 2100 to 2500 roubles per night. Sauna. Look for the village of Lukinskoye or Pyalnobovo on the map. +7 (81757) 4-91-85
The Island of Kizhi (Onega Lake)
The Wooden Architecture Museum
By large speed boat from Petrozavodsk. One hour 15 min. Over 2000 roubles ($70) per person for a return trip. Or by motor boat from Velikaya Guba.
See more options how to get there on the site of the Kizhi Island Architectural Museum. It is in English and it works!
Gettng to Kizhi for the adventurous for the adventurous and foolhardy
From Velikaya Guba by a heavy duty 4WD car, with readiness to get seriosly stuck and a few days’ supply of food, to Vasilyevo. Then hop from island to island by own boat till you reach Kizhi. Details later but judging from the map it is less than a mile.
Two inflatable boats, one for three persons and one for one, are part of my camping gear. Both boats are small enough to be under the radar. They do NOT require any licensing, life jackets and other nonsense the Russian authorities have been busily imposing on us as of recent.
The photo is me in the capacity of the captain of my flagman vessel – yet to be given a name – under full sail, off to explore the White Sea. Made it to the nearest island and back! This little trail boat is under two kilograms and surprisingly fast, and now it is living through its fourth season! The scariest part of the trip was seeing thee piles of bear poop on the unnamed island, but that’s another story.
Same flagman vessel burried under a load of goodies delivered from Staritsa to the Village of Dubrovki
Too bad the size does not show. I should have thought to put a slipper by the pile.
Read more on Kizhi in Wikipedia. I also recommend a story and many quality, although a bit better-than-life photos by William Brumfield in Russia Beyond the Headlines >>
Where to stay
See Petrozavodsk, Velikaya Guba, and perhaps the recently scandalous Kondopoga (google up Kondopoga+pogroms to see what’s coming up in the rest of Russia). I could locate one (unverified) hotel on the island itself. It is
“Карельский берег”, гостевой дом
о.Кижи, д. Оякевшина, Медвежьегорский район
A display of old tanks in Lenino. Or it may be Snegiri next door. The nearest station is said to be Snegiri. No more than an hour from the Ring Road, north-west from Moscow.
Don’t these things look better in snow? A proper tourist – now nearly extinct – wants to see Russia in winter. Late fall and winter, long drizzling rain and snow is what shapes and defines this land. Please note my Winter is the Soul of Russia (c) concept and tell me fucking why in all these years only two couples took advantage of that?!
Yes, you can touch, climb, or go into these tanks.
The red brick wall to the left is beginning of a huge Memorial to the Defenders of Moscow.
Something unbearably cute from the 20s. May be one of the first classic tanks by Renault.
Can anybody tell me why military equipment is (nearly) always beautiful? I doubt designers made any input into making these tanks. No focus groups were presented with sketches and models. Yet the result is a product of high aesthetic appeal. Tells us something about the nature of beauty, eh?