As I do not have the time, money, or tolerance for vodka that is required to travel through Russia, I am reading Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People. The author took an overland journey from Murmansk in the northwest to Vladivostok on the Pacific shore. I thought I'd list his major stops and offer a few pieces of trivia. First stop: Murmansk.
- Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle (population 380,000)
- Due to the jet stream, the port is ice-free year round
- The British bombed the city during the Crimean War; the Germans bombed it during World War II
- The Russian navy's Northern Fleet is based here; this was also the base for the Kursk submarine and the sub from The Hunt for Red October
- Once global warming is complete, it will act as the Russian terminus for the Arctic Sea Bridge (Churchill, Manitoba will be on the other end)
This is a 35.5 meter concrete statue called Alyosha, an unknown soldier from The Great Patriotic War (WWII).