A trip to Murmansk – day two

This article is part of the series “2018-02: A trip to Murmansk”.

Day 23 of my winter journey 2018

When we came home from our dinner last night it started to get quite foggy und it became colder. The fog intensified and the city started to smell smoggy.

This morning however was clear and some millimetres of snow dust had fallen over night making everything looking white and fresh. It was much colder than the day before (Murmansk airport reported -29 °C) but the hotel doesn’t have a thermometer so I don’t know how cold it was in town.

After breakfast we went through the Park Zhertv Interventsii (Парк Жертв Интервенции), a small park directly at the hotel.

Then we continued through the streets and across the railway to the port.

We wanted to visit the atomic icebreaker Lenin (Ленин) and check if we already could buy tickets. Lenin was the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship and launched in 1957. She was decommissioned 1989 and subsequently converted into a museum.

Two big ships lay at the pier: Lenin and Vladivostok (Владивосток). Parts of the water surface were covered with ice but most of the water was open and steaming in the cold. The other side of the Kola Bay was hardly visible in the fog although only one kilometre away. The small ice particles in the air made the air feel quite cold.

A man left the icebreaker to meet a french couple at the pier, that had booked a tour. Unfortunately we couldn’t follow with them since this tour was privately booked. The man could speak a bit of German and we learned that the outside temperature was round -22 °C and that we had to wait for the first public tour at 12 o’clock.

So we went back to town, this time crossing the railway by a pedestrian bridge. Large chains of good wagons, some empty, some filled with charcoal were seen on almost all tracks.

While Chris and Ørjan went their own ways Annika and I went to the center to find a book shop. We knew that we had to follow the Lenin Alley (Проспект Ленина) and we found several book stores where I among others bought a pictured children dictionary English—Russian.

We continued the alley and finally came to Murmansk Mall (Мурманск Молл), a large shopping mall. Here both local stores and many international shops as e.g. H&M were found. The mall was extremely tidy and a huge contrast to the many rundown concrete buildings.

We’ve been in another mall the day before where you mostly could find Russian fashion for women. And that means mostly fur coats, partly in very fancy colours, high heeled boots and a lot of accessories in pink, silver and glitter. Some of them looked like plastic toys made for four-year-old girls, but in adult sizes. A fashion quite different from the informal one in Germany or Sweden.

I was really irritated when I entered some shops. People in Murmansk don’t smile or even laugh in public unless they know each other quite well. When you enter a shop the salesperson will stand up and observe you and even follow you through the shop. They won’t take contact with you, they won’t smile but will instead look stonily at you. I felt treated completely unwelcome and more like a thief than a customer. Strange and irritating!

Annika and I went back to the hotel and passed a Lenin figure and a house painted in bright turquoise, a colour that seems to be quite popular in Murmansk, as some other houses were painted the same.

We met Chris and Ørjan at the hotel and continued to the port together. Although it had become warmer it was still quite cold and some of the water that was open in the morning had frozen over in the last hours.

We arrived at the port at half past eleven and were the first one’s for the guided tour through the icebreaker Lenin. Shortly before twelve Annika and I could go aboard but most other tourist pushed to the front so that Chris and Ørjan were left behind. Later we realised that they attended another tour just some minutes later.

The following hour was one of the most boring experiences for long and made me remember some of the dullest school lessons. We were guided in a crowd of people by a Russian guide that loved to speak in a monotonic language without a split second of resting. Since he was so eager to talk another group behind us fenced us in so that we could hardly move and we were really glad to be able to sneak from the icebreaker before the guided tour was over. I guess, that most tourists are Russians too and so are able to understand the guide but even then I consider this kind of guiding as extremely boring and almost narcotic. My personal advise: Look at the boat from the pier but avoid the tour.

Some pictures from the inside anyway.

After this experience we needed fresh air and a café. We went to the Café Yunost (Кафе Юность), took some sweet cakes and after that we returned to the hotel to rest for a while.

In the evening we went to Terrasa (Терраса), another restaurant, though not to the White Rabbit (Белый кролик), our preferred choice. First it was Friday and then it was a holiday: Defence of the Fatherland Day. Therefore many restaurants had been fully booked. We enjoyed the food, went home to the hotel to take a short drink. Then we went to bed early. Next morning the alarm clock would ring at 6:15 local time, that’s 4:15 Swedish time.

When being in the hotel I took pictures from above. Here you could spot almost all places and attractions we visited the last two days, among others Alyosha, the Church of the Savior on Waters and the icebreaker Lenin. A good summary of the last two days.

8 comments to “A trip to Murmansk – day two”

  1. Stugvärd D 2018-02-26 17:52

    Wirklich spannende Bilder einer mir gänzlich unbekannten Ecke!

    Irgendwie muss ich bei dem Stadtnamen immer an einen Film vom Anfang der 90er denken. ;-)

  2. Elijah 2018-02-26 18:02

    Waow!! I just love the bright turquise house!!!Just a colour for my taste!!
    Maybe the private french tour on the LENIN was much more interesting, could you have been able to understand french language?
    All in all it seems to have been a very impressive visit of an strange world (very strange: the store people…)

  3. Annika Kramer 2018-02-26 19:05

    Ørjan und Chris hatten 5 Minuten später eine ebenfalls russische Führung, die aber anscheinend schon deutlich besser war: mehr Räume, weniger Gelaber. Wahrscheinlich wäre unser Guide auch auf westfälisch sterbenslangweilig gewesen …

  4. way-up-north 2018-02-26 20:47

    Stugvärd D Ja, ich fand es wirklich spannend und inspirierend, einen mir völlig unbekannten Teil nördlich der Arktis kennenzulernen. Die Natur mag ähnlich sein, die Kultur und das Stadtbild sind aber doch sehr, sehr anders.

    P.S.: Ich bin kein Cineast; an welchen Film denkst Du?

  5. way-up-north 2018-02-26 20:49

    Elijah Peut-être quelques mots, but not much. I’m not sure if it was really a tour guided in french. As long as I know, Russian is the only language.

  6. way-up-north 2018-02-26 20:49

    Annika, mehr Räume wäre schön gewesen, dann ist mir der Guide auch egal, wenn ich ihn nicht verstehe.

  7. Stugvärd D 2018-02-27 15:14

    Naja, eigentlich mehr bezogen auf eine kleinere Stadt leicht nördlich:
    Jagd auf Roter Oktober

  8. way-up-north 2018-03-01 15:15

    Ah, den Film habe ich nie gesehen. Muss ich wohl mal …

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