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Visiting the Arctic

It's always hard for me to keep things short but since I was commenting on something here anyway I'll mention visiting the Arctic last week.  We visited Murmansk,  Russia,  which seemed about as good as any place to do that.  One part was seeing northern lights, which were amazing, and another was visiting other places in Russia along with it. We spent a short week in Moscow and I'm still in St. Petersburg now.

Murmansk was nice because it's more or less the only town of that size that far north, per my understanding (around 300,000 residents).  The Gulf Stream moderates temperature so it ranged between -10 and -27 C while we were there (20 and -15 F, roughly).  From there I could just ramble on about attractions (visiting a reindeer farm or husky racing camp), but it was probably what someone would expect.

Russia is nice in general. It's not a relatively easy place to visit, with English use limited, and winter travel adding gear issues, but people are nice and there's lots to see.  People in Moscow seem a bit serious,  but then large cities can tend to bring that out, especially with winter as the background.   I tried to find tea here (not as much as sightseeing), and it's around,  Russians are into tea.  It doesn't work well to really get a feel for culture in a week or so of visiting (2 1/2 total on this trip, relating to short weeks in all three places) but it's been interesting to the extent that worked out.  Russians are like anyone else,  just a bit more serious in demeanor, and maybe just a little more rugged.  But there are artists and such, so of course all that varies.

Even more comfortable - for anyone interested in the Arctic region - would be the town of Hammerfest in Norway. I hitched through there as a young man back in the USSR days, and was very impressed with that part of the world. My route took me from Bergen up to Hammerfest and east to the island of Vardo, then down through Finland to Helsinki. I'm too old now to do it again, but would certainly recommend any youngster to follow the same route. I have two Norwegian granddaughters, so I will probably start persuading them! I don't know what the border-crossing is like these days; if it's open, they could go directly to Murmansk from Norway.

I have a friend who sailed into Antarctic waters on a 100-years-old schooner - Brrr, not for me (I much prefer the tropics)!
But I do have a Russian Samowar, bought in St. Petersburg in my youth, and do like this typical way of preparing tea from a (strong and bitter) concentrate in a teapot places on the Samowar's chimney and boiling water from the device itself. This method is also common in Turkey, Persia and the Central Asian "-stans".

I wrote a blog post about the experience with lots of pictures.  Since I'd just went to Murmansk before the initial post there isn't much to add about that; it was interesting up there. 

A coworker mentioned going to Norway once to see Northern Lights in the spring (their spring, second quarter of the year, which isn't really spring in the same sense in Bangkok).  She said it didn't work out, at least for that purpose, that they saw something that a camera could identify as related but their eyes couldn't.  We had the full experience but paid the price in terms of traveling in cold weather and experiencing four hour long days.  That part was cool, for part of a week, but I'd expect it would get old fast.  She also said things seemed quite expensive to her there, although for certain things the cost of living isn't exactly low in Bangkok too, it just depends on the type of goods or service.

St. Petersburg was nice, and it was interesting how different the three places were.  Moscow is interesting for having more to do with Soviet history to experience, and Murmansk the Arctic, and St. Petersburg had a more amazing look, really well decorated with lights for the Christmas and New Years holiday.  Both Moscow and St. Petersburg seemed to have great access to arts events, and a circus in St. Petersburg was one of my kids' favorite outings.

That blog post:  http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co … ow-st.html

For the first ten days of this month (January 2018), there was officially no daylight in Murmansk, Russia .. only some twilight hours.

Starting on the 11th, daylight began appearing for increasing amounts of minutes/hours.

source: the charts at www.timeanddate.com/sun/russia/murmansk

Fun facts about Murmansk, Russia...

The northwest Russian city is just 67 miles from a border with Norway.

Murmansk is about 120 miles from a Russian border with Finland.

Murmansk's warmest months are June to August, when the high temperatures average in the upper 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit.

The Port of Murmansk is open and operating year round, for two reasons...

1.  The warm North Atlantic Ocean current.

2.  The port of Murmansk hosts a fleet of vessels that are nuclear-powered "icebreakers."

cccmedia

cccmedia :

The northwest Russian city is just 67 miles from a border with Norway.
Murmansk is about 120 miles from a Russian border with Finland.
Murmansk's warmest months are June to August, when the high temperatures average in the upper 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit.

What is that in sensible units (km and °C)???

beppi :
cccmedia :

The northwest Russian city is just 67 miles from a border with Norway.
Murmansk is about 120 miles from a Russian border with Finland.
Murmansk's warmest months are June to August, when the high temperatures average in the upper 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit.

What is that in sensible units (km and °C)???

As they say, give a man a fish .. and he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Ipso facto...

In the above examples, to determine the distances in kilometers .. and a relevant temperature in Celcius...

Google as follows....

  convert 67 miles to kilometers

  convert 120 miles to kilometers

  convert 60 degrees Fahrenheit to Celcius

The conversions should appear instantly if you are using google.com ....

  -- cccmedia

I am working in factory automation and thus think in terms of efficiency:
- If every reader does google and calculate, a lot more time is wasted compared to the author doing it once.
- If the USA could change their archaic measurement system, the world would be a better place.
In addition, refusing to use world standards shows a kind of inward-looking arrogance that I personally dislike.

(P.S.: I don't know my height in feet and inches, but I'm slightly taller than one fathom.)

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