So we last left off having proved our fishing for fish skills, went to bed, was fucking cold, woke up about 3:00, went for a shower, had a quick chat with a happy drunken Finn, put on more clothes, went back to bed (tent). Got woken at 7:00 as we wanted to make an early start, so left at 9:00, we are getting quicker now. A quick drive of 30 kilometres to the border, cannot remember what it is called but it’s basically straight left from Murmansk. Everyone fills out a form in duplicate by hand, gives them to very serious looking Russian women, who after a sick 10 minutes of looking unhappy and serious, stamps them and gives us 1 copy back, onto to the next stage in the game, now the only one still playing as the car is registered in my name, fill out another 2 forms in duplicate per hand, and then get give another one, which unusually only has one copy, I look dissapointed. Stand around in small office with about 25 other people waiting for something to happen, occasionally a blonde women turns up takes one persons papers and vanishes back in to the office, sometimes one of the men turn up from the office to say something is wrong, so the person can change it by hand, and then sign it to show they have changed it. They then type this crap into a computer manually, no wonder this takes a bit of time. Anyway, our colleague team has to change the cc of the car from 2600, to 2598, I give my papers up, do not have to change anything, we are driving the same car, go figure.
So a mere 2 hours later, back out to the car to hold unpack everything so a man can look at it, luckily the alcohol limit in Russia is 3 litres per person (does not matter if beer, wine or spirits), so with 4 people in the car and already having been on the way for a week, we are in fact below 12 liters. Man gets bored, and its off we go, another 100 mtrs to revive new soldiers our passports, but that’s fast, and that is it, we are in Russia.
Am now driving to avoid hassle regarding car, and the road is absoutely excellent if you like rollercoasters, which I do. We fly along the road, the sounds of the big bumps, drowning out the screams of the passengers, after a mere 50 kilometres, meet another road block, show passports, and away we go, lots of people screaming at me, manage to ignore them. Then we actually see at the side of the road 2 baby bears, which was great. Another 50 kms, more screaming, we stop for a change of drive, and to get only mildly screamed at from other team who were following. Relax knowing a job was well done.
Naturally immediately after, the roads do actually get a lot better, so now we can continue at the same speed, without everyone thinking we are all about to die.
Drive a mere 250 kilometres and we are in the romantic and picturesque city of Murmansk, (tourist tip: don’t bother), look at first nuclear powered icebreaker, wait at level crossing for 20 minutes, before turning round and going the other way, get one money out, buy beer, and it’s farewell to the beautiful city, and onwards.
17:00, we have a plan……more to follow !