We gathered in the frigid pre-dawn hours, our gear and luggage piled in front of the snowmobiles and our noses freezing in the -30ºC (-22ºF) temperatures. It was time to be saying good bye to our Russian hosts after a week of diving the frozen White Sea but we were tempted to linger just a little bit longer.
All along the shores of the Kola Peninsula in North Russia, Finno-Ugric tribes (Laplander) have lived since the oldest of ages. In the 11th century, the Viking ships appeared here, and then the Novgorods and the Pomors (Russian settlers and traders on the coasts of the White Sea and the Barents Sea) came.
Russia. I am here. I am gripped by a sense of disbelief. As the tundra flies past the train window recollections of grainy tv-images from my childhood keep popping up. The marching soldiers and missile batteries being paraded across the red square before the pouty looking Leonid Breshnev and the politbureau looking on from the top of Lenin’s mausoleum. That was scary days.