I really love this time of year. Those few days between Christmas and New Year are always packed with activities, obligations and chores, then the celebrations themselves fill your time. But now, a few days into the new year, it really does feel like a fresh start.
It’s exciting and motivating, and naturally it feels like time to set goals for the year ahead and think about the things I want to achieve, while I’m galvanised to action. I do like the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but never manage to pin down my hopes and intentions into one fully-formed idea in the past, let alone strive to keep to a plan or smash a target by a certain time. And don’t New Year’s resolutions tend to end in failure anyway?
But, I think it’s essential to keep developing as a person, to learn new skills and improve or master others, to try new experiences and fulfil ambitions, in short to become a more rounded, insightful and appreciative person. So, I’m going to go with the crowd and set myself some goals for the year ahead, keeping them bite-sized and thus hopefully achievable.
This week’s travel theme from “Where’s my backpack?” is sky. So what better way to show off the sky than a sunset from the end of the world? Or it might be the sunrise, as both happened within 10 minutes of each other.
Just a few days later and neither would happen again for another 2 and a half months, as the midnight sun doesn’t drop below the horizon north of the Arctic Circle.
The rugged cliffs of Nordkapp, at 71°10’21” North, with the Globe Monument perched above, is an iconic travel destination receiving in the region of 200,000 visitors a year, and providing the start and finish point for a number of epic journeys across the continent.
However, its also known as one of the biggest tourist traps in Europe, an ultra-expensive day out in an already expensive country. It isn’t even the true northernmost point of Norway, which is either somewhere in the Svalbard archipealgo, Kinnarodden, north of Mehamn on the Nordkyn peninsula, or nearby Knivskjelodden, depending on the definition used.
It’s a few minutes to midnight; the soft violet-blue sky to our north is split in two by a pillar of deep rose pink light as the sun disappears behind the powder-blue snow-covered fells and sinks towards the frigid surface of the Barents Sea. Continue reading →
The Golden Circle is the name given to a route passing through the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland, including the big three of Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park. The 300km circuit makes it an ideal day trip from Reykjavík, and a number of companies offer guided bus tours of the route, with a few extra destinations thrown in for good measure. I don’t usually join guided tours, preferring to discover things for myself, but a full-day trip with Reykjavík Excursions was 9800ISK (about £48), around the same cost as the scheduled bus to the sites, so I thought why not give it a go? Continue reading →
… from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
I’m in Iceland right now, enjoying a beer on the deck outside the pub in the late evening light with a cosy blanket tucked round my shoulders. It doesn’t get more rock-and-roll that this. Continue reading →
I’m so excited: I’ve read my travel guide front-to-back and made a list of all the places I want to go; I’ve laid out my folded clothes on the bed and made a list of everything I want to take; I flicked through the Cotswold Outdoors catalogue and made a list of all the things I’d buy to put in my Adventure Cupboard if I had an Adventure Cupboard. I just can’t wait to go.