Thursday, 11 February 2010

Kirkenes, Norway. (February 2010)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Another unusual holiday destination! I'd much rather spend time being cold and exploring some quirky new places than repeatedly skiing down the same mountain. I've never quite seen the point in all that. Sorry to any of you who like skiing, but I just find it a little dull. This holiday was the beginning of what me and mum like to call 'proper holidays', packed with adventure. We went husky dog sledding, snowmobiling, crab fishing - all in the smurf-like and hugely attractive blue snowsuits that you will soon see modelled for you in some hideously unattractive photos. This was one of the first holidays when I actually found what I was looking for. Some of the things that I was learning about in school about different people and cultures were finally put into context, and I loved it.

 
--- Our brrrr-illiant ice hotel! ---
Believe it or not, mum and I actually stayed in this hotel. All of the ice hotels 
are reconstructed every year, and are dependent upon constantly freezing temperatures
The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice or compacted snow, which was incredible to see! You haven't seen real architecture until it's frozen! Due to the lack of windows and 
the sheer weight of the snow above you all the time, some people feel
claustrophobic, but there's a nice warm wooden cabin just in case.

Luckily I survived the night, thanks to these survival sleeping bags.  Without them, the freezing temperatures probably would have created some sort of medical issue, so I'm immensely grateful, despite the fact that I look like a slug in a rug

The bitter cold of that night made me realise what conditions some people have to survive in every single day. Many people sleep rough without a sleeping bag, on the streets of every major town and city worldwide. Since visiting Norway I have helped out in a local nighshelter, which I found to be a very rewarding experience.

May I introduce you to my fantastic travelling companion! 
A huge shout out and an even bigger thank you to my mum, who inspired me to travel the world.
Whoever created the world went to a lot of trouble. It would be downright rude not to go out and see as much of it as possible.
 ----- Edward Readicker-Henderson, National Geographic Traveler