After a hearty breakfast, we braved the elements (wet, driving snow and a biting cold wind) and set off to find a shopping mall. Armed with a Murmansk city map, all in cyrillic script, of course, it didn’t take long. Emblazoned across the entrance was an ad for, of all things, McDonalds! There were plenty of shops selling SIM cards and modems, which was what we were looking for. The problem was finding one with English speaking staff. In the first shop we spent half an hour trying to communicate with Google Translate, but had to give up in the end. The second attempt proved more successful. We found a couple of very helpful guys with sufficient English for us to communicate. One thing I have learned already, is that much patience is required here, if you are a foreigner. Russians are very helpful and we sorted out SIMs for both our phones and acquired a Russian modem and SIM. To do so, though, required the details of our passport, visa and the immigration slip we were given on entry, to be recorded. A time consuming process.
Some sight seeing was next on the list, so we set off for the huge nuclear ice breaker, Lenin. A short walk from the centre of town, but it soon gets pretty “interesting” once you are away from the main streets. We found the Lenin, but sadly we were outside visiting hours and it was too cold to be standing around waiting. .
Next up was the museum. A great museum but, as only to be expected, all in Russian. This was apart from an article written by a Canadian who was on a ship coming into Murmansk during the second world war. Lucky to arrive unscathed, he was commenting on the destruction of the city caused by the German bombing raids. The displays were interesting, many being pictorial and there was an excellent section on the wildlife of the region.
Back to the hotel for a rest. Sitting in the Land Rover for over 2 weeks, we seem to have become unfit already and were exhausted by the day’s activities. Too lazy to go out, we had dinner in the hotel again. The food is excellent and the presentation beautiful. Not at all what I expected. The waitress spoke excellent English and has arranged to help us try and get insurance for the Land Rover tomorrow morning. The receptionist, who will be on duty in the morning, is going to take us to the insurance agent and translate for us. Lets see if we can achieve success. The Russians we have met so far have been amazing. Really friendly and helpful.
We are on the road again tomorrow.