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How I hitchhiked to the Russian North on my own

A long trip, vivid nature and human kindness.
By Ksenia Isaeva, RBTH
Russian North
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Ekaterina Mamontova

"I went to St. Petersburg from Moscow, then to Vyborg, Murmansk, and the Solovetsky Islands, before going by boat to Archangelsk and back to Moscow.” Russian photographer Katerina Mamontova shares her impressions.
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

“I hitchhiked and couch-surfed all over the place, and stayed with random companions."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"It was a unique experience to explore human kindness and mutual help on such a scale. I encountered things that tourists don’t normally notice in their vanity."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"While packing for the road trip, I let go of my conventional view of life, my habits, and desire to control everything. I let life go its own way."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"I didn’t plan to make a photo series. I only used my instinct and took photos of my environment."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"During the trip, I discovered snow in summer and a northern desert, and looked at how nature has conquered manmade things."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"Rough, but sincere kindness, hospitality, a slower pace of life and work, thoroughness, and at the same time apathy in the face of economic problems."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"People able to cope with the harsh wind, cold sea, and northern winter do not know how to cope with the closure of factories that are the lifeblood of their towns."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"One of the great companions I met, Alexander, who gave me a ride to Teriberka, a small northern settlement made famous by the Oscar-nominated movie Leviathan."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"Alexander was transporting a barrel and documents to Teriberka. I was sodden and cold and he found me on the road, gave me a warm sweater, fed me in an eatery, and gave me some frozen fish from a nearby plant."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"Another time on the way to Solovki, where I could have been left outside for the night in the biting wind, I met a group of Moscow students with their professors on a monastery boat."
Russian North

Ekaterina Mamontova

"They sheltered me, fed me, and let me join their excursion around the monastery. Almost everywhere I found the same kindness – be it musicians from Archangelsk or drivers from Monchegorsk. Every time we found common topics to discuss or a reason to stay silent together."
November 28, 2016
Tags: north, russian north, nature, RBTH Daily, nature_multimedia

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