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Murmansk Winter Expedition: Day #11 – New Year’s Eve and The Hidden City

Murmansk Winter Expedition: Day #11 – New Year’s Eve and The Hidden City

Daily distance: 200 km (driving in the area)
Distance from home: 3322 km

End of tenth day

Today we had our first serious clash with cultural differences. It turned out that we were not wearing enough fur and not enough gold to eat in the best restaurant in Murmansk. The decision about our table was made by a dishwasher boy who was the only one to speak English. We didn’t let the lady at the entrance give us a short shrift (English was not her superpower).

We ate an overview of local seafood and other strange dishes. A crab leg, a salad with a deer tongue, squid and shrimps stewed in butter, excellent fish soup. The bill was strongly Central European, but unfortunately it was worth it.

The right day 11.

We wanted to see the Northern Fleet museum. Unfortunately, 31 December was a holiday, and it was closed. So we decided to wander around the area. Since we are on a peninsula, it would be good to see the sea. For example, the city of Полярный, in the fjord.

We turned from the main road 105 to the right – to the north. And we are going! Such a checkpoint appeared to our eyes:

The closed barrier. Nice uniformed Russian lady approached us and said something to us. We also spoke to her. Her knowledge of English corresponded to our knowledge of Russian. In this way we blocked the entrance to one of the surrounding ZATO zones. The head of the post did not know English either, but she showed us in a flash that we were not allowed to go any further and that we should be out of there. An attempt to enter the closed zone with a masked vehicle (dressed up as a reindeer) ended in failure.

We returned to the main track and decided to try our luck on the next side road. And again the barrier, we turned back without disturbing anyone. And that’s it.

The access to the TV tower is so unobvious and twisted that we circled around it for a good dozen or so minutes, until we finally managed to turn into the right residential street.

Coming back to Murmansk, on the other side of the fjord we saw a huge monument to Alyosha. We went to him to take a closer look at him. It is huge and, as a standard, overwhelming and monumental in Russian.

The parking lot near Alyosha was a good opportunity to finally see if the Niva mask would work well as a kitchen table. After all, we were away from home for so many hours.

On the way home we wanted to do the last shopping in 2018. Interesting fact: on New Year’s Eve it was impossible to buy alcohol after 9 pm. Just such a local ban.

New Year’s Eve adventure

We decided to spend New Year’s Eve with other residents of Murmansk on the square in the city center. We went out with two bottles (champagne for children and adults). And only with that.

Interestingly, the square was surrounded by a fence, with two entrances carefully guarded by the police, who forbade carrying in alcohol. We do not fully understand the goal, because you could enter with Piccolo in a glass bottle and knock someone down, you could come in a state of total weightlessness, but you could not bring a cultural bottle of champagne. Just such a local rule.

Already in the new year, we let the children go on the ice slide. And when we were fed up with it, we decided to go back home.

Happy New Year!
We didn’t know yet what would happen

SURPRISE SURPRISE!

At the gate, it turned out that the most critical metal part fell out of the door opener. It was dark (with breaks for fireworks), cold, 1 at night. We were without documents, payment cards, neighbors don’t open, the landlord doesn’t raise the phone, doesn’t react to SMS. Yes, it was exciting. In the end, after some time Sasha finally noticed a stream of SMS, not the least bit understanding what happened. But the seriousness of the situation reached him, and he came with succour. Eventually, he took care of the second door opener. And so it was almost 3PM. We found this damned stuff on a doormat in front of the door. When the new year begins, it’s with a hint.


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