Friday, 7 July 2017
07.07.2017 - 07.07.2017
The sky was threatening as we approached our berth in Murmansk. We are in good company lying near the Russian Nuclear Powered Icebreaker. The 'Lenin' is now laid up and is now a popular tourist attraction.
There is some complexion with regard to Shore Excursions. We need to have our passports returned to us and then have a visual check by Russian Immigration officials. While it was quite painless, it did impose a significant delay. In good time we were ashore and heading for our guide and coach. The guide tried to pass on all possible information, sadly her English and her delivery were not up to the task.
Contrary to the published tour order our first, rather than last, stop was for pancakes, tea and coffee. Served in a grand hall of an upmarket hotel. Service was provided by young women in local folk costumes. A definite time-table in place and we're herded off to the mandatory Souvenir Shop.
In the short drive we gained the impression that this drab city suffered from chronic neglect and shoddy initial construction. The city was almost totally destroyed during WWII and most buildings were constructed in the immediate post-war period. Peeling concrete, crumbling masonry and layers of black mould added to the air of neglect. There was little colour and the huge housing blocks were a uniform concrete grey.
After the pancake stop we visited the Palace of Cultures where the official foundation stone was placed. Back on the coach and we're off to the Aloyosha Monument. This 40 metre high concrete depiction of a WWII Soviet Soldier stands on a high hill and is visible from all parts of Murmansk. It was erected to pay homage to the many Russian soldiers who died defending the city. The location was cold and bleak even offering a brief rain shower. The Monument is proudly maintained and wore a number of colourful wreaths recently placed at the anniversary of the battle.
Back on the coach and we're off to the gold-domed Orthodox Church. A typical example with an impressive collection of religious icons. We arrived along with four or five other coaches and there just wasn't the space inside. One point that was noted is that the base of the cross on top of the dome is in the shape of an anchor. The white structure and gold domes made an outstanding impression. Back to the ship where a hot cup of soup is provided while we wait in line. Russian Immigration !!
After lunch we went to the Cabaret Lounge for the Afternoon Movie. I was intrigued by the title "The Great Wall" which could have been a documentary. It wasn't. Instead we were treated to a fictional battle between the warriors on a huge wall of fanciful weaponry and a horde of deadly beasts whose origin was not totally clear. With great visual effects and lots of gruesome deaths there is one final battle where the defenders win over the beasts. Jenny couldn't handle it after just 10 minutes, I stayed to the end
There was bright sun as we left our berth and sailed out to the open sea. Lovely views from the buffet as we enjoyed our dinner tonight
Clocks go back an hour overnight, tomorrow we arrive in Honningsvag, Norway.
The satellite link is still unusable so I have no idea when I can post this.
Today's temperatures were a high of 11 °C and a low of 9 °C. Still in unbelievable 24 hour daylight.
Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony