March 7, 2013

I know that a lot of people choose to visit Europe in Summer, but visiting in Winter is a completely different experience, and is something you should absolutely consider. It is a delight to be able to wander through an old, historic town, then wake up the next day to see the same streets dusted in fresh white snow. It is also much less crowded and getting into attractions and museums is a breeze- no ques like there are in June/July

We traveled around Northern Europe - and I particularly enjoyed Tromso, Stockholm (so much Scandi Style) and the Lofoten Islands- which without doubt had the most beautiful scenery I have ever witnessed. Tallinn was also a lovely surprise (think Prague, but even older and with medieval roots). 

The highlight, throughout the entire Scandinavian trip would have to be seeing the Northern Lights. I'm convinced that it is the most spectacular natural phenomenon on earth. We were lucky enough to see them on three different nights- with each one more vivid and colourful than the previous. If you are wondering what it actually is, there is a very clear and simple scientific explanation. The light is caused by charged particles from the sun reacting with gas atoms in our upper atmosphere. The colour of light emitted corresponds to the type of gas the electrons are reacting with and the height of this reaction (Oxygen = green/red, Nitrogen = Purple).  But as it happens before your eyes, you can't help but to let go of this information, and feel its spirited presence as it takes on a life of its own. A mysterious, shape shifting band/curtain/wash of green colour that appears amongst the endless starry sky and disappears silently.. only to reappear again several minutes later, while all you can do is watch in awe.

If you are planning a trip North to see the Aurora: please, please take a decent camera and a tripod and learn the manual settings! The amount of people I saw struggling to position tiny digital cameras in the snow was shocking. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity people! Go prepared!

01 Signage love
02 Architecture in Helsinki
03 Blue Eyed Husky
04 Annual Reindeer Race down Tromso's main street (as part of Saami Week)
05 Traditional fishermans cottages in Lofoten.
06 A poster showing Northern Norwegian Mythology in a town simply named A 

(All photos, own)

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