Hello from Murmansk, everyone!
I can't write much since I'm a) paying for internet and b) more interested in getting out and on with my day than composing a blog entry, but I thought I'd say hi. Being above the Arctic Circle is pretty amazing. No Northern Lights (Murmansk is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the best-lit Russian cities I've ever seen, so there's a lot of light pollution at night), but we've witnessed the entire 4-hour course of the sun (this time of year, it rises at 11am and sets at 3pm), gone on what I consider a legitimate polar expedition, complete with whipping wind, drifting snow, and sub-zero temperatures - never mind that we were still technically within the city limits - and just generally had a great time. Add in that thrilling sensation of being in a place that's truly off the beaten track (one of my favorites - no surprise that I came to Russia, I guess), and you have an amazing winter break trip. I can't wait to show you the pictures when I get back to Taganrog!
But first: Moscow - ho! We leave this evening for a (YUCK) 40-hour train ride and then a few days of conferencing. I'll be home next weekend.