Kandalaksha, Arctic Russia – for The Russian Student

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.

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Letter from Yoshkar-Ola (Republic of Mari El, Russia) – for The Calvert Journal

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.

The Budva Big Bash: A weekend of cricket in Montenegro

Cricket in the small Balkan republic of Montenegro took another big step forward last week, as the fledgling Porto Montenegro Cricket Club played two matches against a visiting team from England. The games were played at PMCC’s ground, a football pitch in the town of Budva on the Adriatic Sea – and both went down to the last over, with the hosts twice taking victory.

Five things that will surprise you in Armenia – for Wandelion

Taking the train between Yerevan and Gyumri was going to be the highlight of my time in Armenia – especially the journey through Ararat province. But on the day I went, Mount Ararat was hidden by clouds. Instead, the best part of my trip was the beautiful sight of white storks gliding above the farms and fields next to the train, and making their nests on top of the station buildings at Masis and Etchmiatsin. In Armavir province, hoopoes fly next to the train tracks.