Staritsa photos, part 1

Part 1 of my attempt to consolidate the Staritsa stuff scattered around. Here are some photos of the town and the surrounding countryside, and much more are on their way.

Rolling hills, semi-forested, largely abandoned or used for grazing, still mostly free access. Ideal for hiking or camping. In recent past (till shortly after the war) the area was densely populated (three times the density and probably 10 times the economic activity compared to present). A stroll with a metal detector is certain to get you something from the past.

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Skiing and snowboarding competition in Kandalaksha. April 13 2013.

krestovaya_goraAn alpine skiing and snowboarding competition will be held on April the 13. Location: Krestovaya gora (Cross Mountain) ski slope out of Kandalaksha as you go along the Tersky edge of Kola.

Watch for similar events in the future.


See also Downhill skiing in Kandalaksha>>


Pudozh winter photos

Igor Podgorny, a downshifter from Moscow, makes excellent photos. See

My own familiarity with Pudozh is based on staying there 24 hours while local car mechanics searched all over and found ball bearings for our decaying LandRover, and successfully installed them, and enlightened us on what specific auto breakdowns are provoked by Karelian roads, and on the importance of keeping tires a bit deflated. Alexandra has connections through her Chow-Chow network. 

Around USSR borders on a bike

Here is a story about a 1928-1931 trip along the USSR borders by Glebe Travin. Too bad it is only in Russian. If nothing else enjoy photos. The story itself contains vivid descriptions of dangers awaiting a solo arctic traveller.

An overview:

A.A. Kharitanovksy, A man with an iron deer:

Vokrug Sveta (Around the World), No. 11, 1975:


Another travelogue

This tortured soul operates a hostel in Odessa, which is almost as bad as running a full cycle traveller support service in Moscow as I do, and if it wasn’t enough he compulsively drives though less hospitable regions of Russia, including the northern parts, in a truck that can at best be used for a beer run to the nearest town. Read about his adventures and misadventures at For his trips this travel maso inevitably picks winter too. Recommended reading if you are contemplating travel in the Former Soviet Union space in the Russian Misery Travel (c) mode.

Downhill skiing in Kandalaksha

Krestovaya Gora (“cross mountain”)Skiing Center. Slope length 1000 meters [over half mile], width 50-100 meters [150-300 feet].

[Pasha’s comment: Please use imperial measures. Metric is an invention of the French. Be sensitive to my hard-won prejudices.]

Good conditions for snowboarding. Rope tow. Rent skis and snowboards. New motel also named “Krestovaya Mountain” on site.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)


See Ski Centre website (in Russian)

I hope Pasha will translate it soon.

And my information about hotels Kandalaksha too..

Belated announcement of a sled dog competition in Pryazha, Karelia

Jan. 19-20, but you can look at photos here: The point I want to make – partly because it is consistent with my plans to keep on developing the rural tourism scene partly because it is true – is that life is drifting away from Moscow and St. Petersburg to small towns and villages. These photos, I believe, were made by a runaway Muscovite who make Petrozavodsk, Karelia (~200km from Pryazha) his home.


English version of the event’s site:


Open air tank museum in Lenino

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?