21/5 2007 Border, Estonia-Russia
Lat N 59° 23,67', Long E 27° 59,35'
Today: 66.2 °F ( 19 °C)
21 May 2007
82223 km

Today we have been on the road for exactly two years! Amazing that two years disappeared this quickly. We had not much of a celebration just a really terrible dinner at a restaurant almost uneatable and we had difficulties finding a good place to park for the night in S:t Petersburg.

Rumors tell stories tell stories of extremely long lines of trucks and cars at the border. Since the relation between Estonia and Russia has not been at its best lately, we expected it to be even worse. But it was no problem at all; we crossed the border in just an hour.

We went strait to Petrodovorets; the grand palace of Peter the Great, 30 kilometers west of S:t Petersburg. The Grand Cascade with its 140 fountains is supposed to be something extraordinary. Unfortunately only a few of them was running, but the palace, park and the fountains was still worth seeing.

The Swedish has left their trace here too. The central piece in the Grand Cascade the Russians tearing up the jaws of the Swedish war lion . Swedish kings used to be very warlike.

22/5 2007 S:t Petersburg, Russia
Lat N 59° 57,39', Long E 30° 19,40'
Today: 62.6 °F ( 17 °C)
22 May 2007
82450 km

In S:t Petersburg we could easily spend a few more days just walking around town looking at all the grand buildings. But gray weather and rain doesn’t do justice to any town, not even S:t Petersburg. The thrill of playing tourist quickly disappears when our shoes are wet and we have a hard time keeping our umbrellas from flying away.

We made the obligatory tour around town, and then we focused on some of more odd activities. We started out with a visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum of Dreams, a tiny exhibition of only two rooms. Next stop was the Vodka Museum, but when we got there we found out that it had moved to Moscow a year ago.

We thought Kresy Prison could be an interesting visit as a tourist, but maybe not as an inmate. But soon we found out that they only had tours on weekends. Well, at least we ought to get tickets to the circus we thought, but no, next show was in four days.

Shitty weather, nothing seems to go our way and no good place to park for the night. We decided to move on instead.

25/5 2007 Kola Peninsula, Russia
Lat N 66° 51,29', Long E 33° 59,92'
Today: 48.2 °F ( 9 °C)
25 May 2007
83879 km

There are not many roads at the Kola Peninsula at all. It is a complete wilderness with a lot of swamp land, only accessible with a helicopter or a snow mobile.

From Umba we planed to take one of the small dirt road northwards; one of the few roads that actually exists on the Kola Peninsula. But after just 10 kilometers we came to a complete halt. The delta had overflowed its banks, and the road disappeared in to the water. Even if we think highly of our SAAB, we thought this was a bit too much, and we had to turn back to take the main road up to Murmansk instead.

After just a few kilometers on the main road we where very pleased that we took the Finland route up north, instead of taking the shitty, shaky and pot hole road from S:t Petersburg to Murmansk. It was a very wise decision.

26/5 2007 Murmansk, Russia
Lat N 69° 01,02', Long E 33° 05,79'
Today: 41 °F ( 5 °C)
26 May 2007
84232 km

Murmansk is one of the ugliest towns we have seen. Russian blocks of flats are usually gray and dull. But here the houses all look like condemned houses, and there is lots of junk and trash all over town.

A gigantic monument ; a soldier are watching the town and the harbour. At the soldiers feet there are yet another of the many eternal flames that honors the WWII heroes.

The military cut downs during the nineties was a hard blow for Murmansk. The military town decreased its inhabitants with a fifth. But Murmansk is still a military base and the harbor for Russia’s Northern Fleet, and today we visited the Museum of the Northern Fleet . Severomorsk, a harbor right outside Murmansk also used to be the home port for the Russian pride – the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, who went down with a crew of 118 in Barents Sea in the year 2000.

In the afternoon we headed for Kirkenes in Norway. Close to the border is the Russian town Nickel . The large Nickel plant does not only dominate the town, but also the whole valley. The nature in this area is completely ruined, and dead by outlet from the plant.

At the border between Russia and Norway the customs was very strict. Not once during our two year journey they have searched our car this thoroughly. Usually they don’t care at all about what is in our car. But all of a sudden both sides seemed to be very interested. Maybe they thought we had a little too much vodka. And they where so very right about that.

The Norwegian woman at the customs even confiscated our Russian potatoes! And no, this is not another joke about our Norwegian neighbors that we Swedish people like to tell stupid jokes about. This is a completely true story.