Monday, September 25, 2006

Russian Specialities...

On the first night in Murmansk, the guy next to me at the table said that he thought trying new types of food was the most interesting part of travelling. The woman across the table disagreed, and thought food was next most important after the view.

In the case of Murmansk, I have to say that the food was probably a little more interesting than the view. Because we got a lot of Russian specialities - and I think the word "interesting" describes them quite well. "Indefinable" is another one. But of course, we had to try these indefinable foods now that we had the chance...

Lakserogn (Salmon roe): very strange consistency, strange taste, wouldn't recommend trying it really... But in case you do, have a glass of water (or vodka) ready.

Griseflesk med hvitløk (pig fat with garlic): don't even think about it!

Some kind of fancy chicken: Despite tons of butter, this is VERY good!

Chips with mushroom flavor: Not my first choise of chips...

But I have to point out that we also got a lot of good food in Murmansk :)

However, I also have to say that I don't agree with either of my neighbors at the table. The best thing about travelling is either the food or the view. It is meeting the local people.


I am now back in Tromsø after spending the week-end in Murmansk, Russia, and I have to say that it has been four extremely interesting days visiting our neighbours in the east.

My image of Murmansk before I went, was that it would be a very grey, cold, and boring city. And yes, it is grey, but it is by no means as cold as I feared, and it is certainly not boring!

No one in Murmansk live in regular one-family houses. They all live in five to ten-storyes appartement-buildings, and these buildings all look grey and tired from the outside. This is because it is the municipality's responsibility to renovate them, but they never do. In this way, Murmansk looks like a very grey and tired city at first glance.

However, once you get to know the people, Murmansk comes alive. The reason I went there was a meeting in Save the Children, and because of this we got to meet and work with some of the children that are participating in one of the projects SC are starting in the city. Meeting and getting to know these children was really great, and it made the trip so much more special and interesting.

But there is no doubt that crossing the border between Norway and Russia means crossing one of the borders in the world where the social differences from one side to the other is the biggest. And the system is also very different. We got our passports checked three times on the three hour bustrip from Murmansk to the border, every time by a serious military guy with a gun. Some of the cities are very strictly military cities, where noone is allowed to stop, and in some cities one is not allowed to take pictures. In other cities you are allowed, like in Nikkel and Murmansk - and here are some examples

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dear TromsBuss

Let me make a suggestion.
Take a look at the schedule of the incoming planes to Tromsø Airport.
I am sure the number is not astronomical.

Take a look at the times they arrive.
Then take a look at your flybuss-schedule.
See anything that doesn't match??
There is no flybuss for the plane that comes in at 1 am!!

I am pretty sure that I speak for almost everyone who was waiting in the 50 m taxi line for over half an hour Monday night when I say that it would be a good idea to do something about that...

Friday, September 01, 2006


After taking a fair amount of trains recently, I am left with one question:

Why is it always my train that has to stop and wait five minutes for the train going the opposite direction??