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In the Arctic - Murmansk and Teriberka

In the evening of December 10th, more accurately at 22h50, I departed on a plane from Domodedovo airport in Moscow to reach Murmansk. The flight took about two hours, on a height from where I could sight the blanket of clouds covering a good part of the lands. Also, a few minutes before landing, I had the pleasure of seeing one of the most fascinating phenomena of nature, the northern lights. To describe my experience, I would say I saw an invisible pen tracing up in the sky with fluorescent green paint. One of my reasons for coming to this place was to see these lights and make pictures of it. I didn’t get to take the pictures once the weather was unfavourable. But I can’t be less than grateful for the opportunity that I had.

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On my way to the hotel, after considering the weather condition, I thought that trip wouldn’t be anything to excite me. I would later learn that I was absolutely wrong.

I arrived in Murmansk downtown at about 2 am. I had a good sleep and got up at about 9 o’clock. I went out for my first walk in the city, to try and sense myself what life was like when the sun literally didn't show up for till that moment the sky was pitch dark. The little light that I got to see was like a dawn glow. The sky does get sort of bright, starting around 11am and fading into night again after 2pm. In my attempt to explore the town, I succeeded in sightseeing the flow of people on the way to their compromises. I saw their beautiful christmas decoration not far from the port area and also spotted the so famous northernmost McDonald’s restaurant on the planet.

I set my direction to reach one of the popular moments of the town, located not so far from where I was. After some time trying to figure out what way I should take, I realized the cold and the wind were becoming unbearable. The days I chose to visit this region were supposed to be unusually warm and in fact thermometers proved the forecast right. But the wind made it no better deal for me and so, I went back to the very central part where I entered a shopping mall, just for the sake of warming myself up.

I had also booked, prior to my arrival, my stay in Teriberka, the village at the limit of territory which I planned to explore the next day. By a chance of luck, the host made me a call exactly while I was inside the mall. He, and another guest from Turkey, were having a snack at McDonald’s, which was connected to the mall. I went to the spot to meet them and from there I joined in an expedition to different parts of the city.

The first attraction we headed to was the ice breaker ship Lenin. Built in 1957, the ice breaker was the first nuclear power ship ever constructed. Since 2009 Lenin has been anchored in Murmansk and is open to visitors as a museum.

Being inside that ship seemed to me like a travel back in time that allowed me to see a glorious side of soviet history. The ship contains obviously a massive engine structure that is made even more special for the fact it is an atomic ship. Not only was it marvellous in its impression of power but featured details of luxury, such as the conference room where many important people have been invited to meet with soviet officials.

My failure in visiting that first monument was soon forgotten for that was the destination after seeing the ship. It took less than a 15 minutes drive till our car drove up the hill leading to the place. We parked the car nearby and went on foot to meet the beautiful statue. The statue we’re talking about is the Memorial to Defenders, popularly called Alyosha. The statue consists of a soldier standing with a rifle hung over his shoulder. It stands on a plateau from where one can have a great sight of t