I recently spoke with the people behind the #TRLT Twitter chat about my travels on The Road Less Travelled. The interview can be found in the chat’s Facebook group, and is also copied below.
A thousand miles from Moscow, a thousand kilometres from St. Petersburg, the Arctic community of Kandalaksha, on the frozen shores of the White Sea in Murmansk oblast’, is one of Russia’s most northerly places.
At 7am the streets of Yoshkar-Ola were dark and empty. As I shuffled over dirty snow and treacherous black ice, the only sound was the bickering of ravens overhead. The shops on ulitsa Kremlyovskaya – Apteka No. 67; Evroset; Moda 21 vek – told me that I had arrived in provincial Russia. Except that ul. Kremlyovskaya is also Kreml urem: street signs and building plaques are written in Russian and Meadow Mari, the most widely spoken of the four Mari dialects.
I made a beeline for the peculiar buildings in the distance.
Zorats Karer means Army Stones in Armenian, but they are also known as Carahunge – Speaking Stones, for the whistling sound that fills the site when strong winds blow through the holes. The best guess is that the rocks were placed 7,500 years ago; at the time that Stonehenge was created the army stones had already been standing in Sisian for over two thousand years.
Expedia Sweden got in touch with me this week for an interview about my travels. The post appears in the Möt en resenär (‘Meet a traveller’) section of their blog at expedia.se – the English version comes after the Swedish, on the same page.
“The adrenaline fizzing in my blood dulls my judgement. I am not as scared of the man in the ugly green uniform as I should be. But I don’t bother him: it’s pointless to look for thieves after dark in a labyrinth of creepy housing blocks like Kryukovo.