AA&F: Bill Corner
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2005 - Russia: Kamchatka ·
click on image to view the Kamchatka photos...

Kamchatka is a wonderful place: full of volcanoes and bears - though the two aren't necessarily related.

If you can't place Kamchatka think of the board game Risk (gateway to North America) or where the Russian mini-sub went down in August 2005. The trip was organised by a Arcturus, with whom I've been to Greenland with, in partnership with Lost World a tour company based in Kamchatka.

For more information on Kamchatka a good place to start is its Wikipedia entry. And you can get also finds of info about the Kamchatkan volcanoes at Wikipedia too...

We flew from Heathrow to Moscow, where we had about a 16 hour stop over - enabling a quick site seeing trip into Moscow itself. We then flew a domestic Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Petropavlovsk, the main city in Kamchatka. It's not often a domestic flight covers 9 time zones and takes over 9 hours...

Once in Kamchatka we followed an itinerary: taking in the various tourist hotspots the peninsula has to offer - mainly centred round bears and volcanoes. Our accommodation was various, from a starred hotel in Petropavlovsk to little cabins in someone's back garden, from purpose built huts to tents. We travelled around by helicopter or in an ex-military Ural truck. We were accompanied by a Russian driver, guide, translator and cook who where unfailingly friendly and helpful.

One of the places we visited was the Valley of the Geysers, which subsequently suffered a landslip which devastated the valley. The Russian Federation Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has some detailed information about the landslip.

The food was great - no chance of us starving. Russian chocolate was particularly good I discovered. Most evenings the vodka came out and it would have been rude have refused to not partake. The vodka was amazingly varied (a supermarket we went to had about 60ft of shelving dedicated to the stuff) my favourite was one flavoured with cedar cones. I haven't found anything comparable in this country.

The points marked on the map as follows:
  • Petropavlovsk - main city in Kamchatka
  • Kurilskoye lake - bears and salmon
  • Valley of the Geysers
  • Tolbachik volcano
  • Ichinsky volcano
Feb 2006
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