The Great North

A couple of years ago I saw a very intense Russian movie: Leviathan. The story takes place in Teriberka, a fisherman village on the Barents Sea. I was immediately hooked: the barren location is spectacular in itself and the light of the great North is just, how can i put it?… magic.

Getting to Teriberka is not so easy. You have to reach Murmansk on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, and then rent a car (preferably a driver and a car) and travel in a North-North-East direction for a few hours. A few times per week you can even take a bus. Although it may come as a surprise, this last part of the journey is actually much easier during winter, as packed snow covers up all the asperities of the unpaved roads.

Once you get there, though, there is no doubt whatsoever that it all was oh so very worth it! The little town has little to offer on itself , but the nature is spectacular and the light absolutely stunning. Up here (we are just under the 70th parallel North) the weather changes incredibly rapidly, but when you can see the blue of the sky, it is going to be like no other blue you have ever seen before.

People are starting to discover Teriberka and so a couple of small hotels have recently open, where you can spend a few nights waiting for the even more magical Northern Light to appear in the sky. Seeing the aurora is still an item in my bucket-list, and I am planning to go back and give it a try next winter. If you want to join this adventure send me a message and we can definitely make it happen!

What we did in our first short stay was to book a pretty exciting snowmobile excursion to the nearby mouth of the Teriberka River. Our guide for this ride fascinated me because of his piercing light blue eyes and his (relatively) light clothing, so I asked him permission to shoot the portrait you can see above this post. I assumed these were, obviously, two characteristics of someone born and raised at these latitudes, but then we got talking and I discovered that he is actually from the another region of Russia, much further South. He came to Teriberka once and just felt in love with the place, to the point that he decided to move there for good. “The weather up here is often harsh and unforgiving, but the beauty of this place fascinated my soul and captured me like the singing of a mermaid”, he told me. I felt the same could easily happen to me to.

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