Going to Murmansk – one of the twelve Hero Cities from Soviet times – was a very last minute decision for myself and my husband. We had already planned to make a long excursion to Kiev and Moscow via train during the three weeks Sean was going to be here in the post-Soviet space, and we didn’t know if we would be able to handle two more days on the Russian rail – only this time, heading to the Arctic Circle. But, we decided we are only young once and may never have the opportunity to “just do” something like this again. Sean booked the apartment and I bought the train tickets – it was a done deal. The day after Christmas, we boarded an 11 a.m. train and began our rail excursion into an area of the world that seemed foreboding and intimidating.
The train to Murmansk is very…
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