There are many ways to experience the Arctic. A few weeks ago I wrote about the Expedition way. A great experience, but not for everyone. There are definitely more accessible and comfortable ways to enjoy this majestic part of the world. Still adventurous, still not for everyone, but totally realistic if this destination is on your bucket list. And it should be! Continue reading
Those of you who know me, understand that you should take this title literally. Vienna is known by most visitors as the city of the Blue Danube, Empress Sissi, the Spanish Riding School, Johann Strauss concerts, Disneyland-quality castles, a Boy’s Choir and a lot more classic romantic sights. Many blogs have been filled with these mass tourism travelguide-sights of Vienna and movies about all this made actresses like Romy Schneider famous all over the world. Continue reading
The North Cape is one of those places that is on most traveller’s bucket lists. Known as the northernmost point of Europe, situated at 71°10´21˝N, some even claim it is closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo. It may certainly feel that way and it is good tourism marketing, but it is not true. First of all, it is not the northernmost of Europe. The northernmost point of Europe is Cape Fligely, on Russian Rudolf Island (81°48′24″N), or if you don’t consider that Europe, it is the island of Rossøya on Svalbard, both over 1,000 kilometers north of the North Cape. Those places are definitely closer to the North Pole than to any sizeable city like Oslo. Those places are also virtually impossible to visit, so no travelers ever make it there. Unfortunately for the North Cape it is also not the northermost point of continental Europe, as it lies on a small island. That title goes to nearby Cape Nordkinn (71°08′02″N), a difficult place to visit, but a few hikers make it there every year. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mail a letter simply addressed ‘Santa Claus, North Pole’? I am sure many kids do, looking at the thousands of letters and postcards, that are collected at Santa’s Post Office in Rovaniemi, Finland. These letters generally end up here, at a large collection of buildings, right on the Arctic Circle. The central building, next to the post office, is the official home of Santa Claus, who can be visited year-round. It is one of the top attractions of this attractive modern city, which literally is the gateway to the Arctic.
The Scots are a fearful people. So fearful that they should be kept out of the empire at all cost. At least they were in Roman times. Known simply as the ‘Barbarians’ to the Romans, like all people outside their large empire, the Scots were a bridge too far. Emperor Hadrian built a wall to protect the Northern end of the empire from the Scots, just north of the Tyne river, around the year 122 AD.
This could have been the title of a report of a German pilot in 1940. The thought crossed my mind several times, while watching Amsterdam city center from the lowest altitude I had ever seen it from a plane window. Of course I was thrilled when I received the invitation from Lufthansa to be on a VIP flight over Holland on board their oldest still flying aircraft, the 1936-built Junkers Ju-52. This plane has a very international history. Built in 1936 and operational in Germany, Norway, Ecuador and the US, until purchased by Lufthansa in 1984 and painstakingly restored. It is now used to showcase the old days of flying, to over 10,000 passengers a year. Continue reading
I blame this shipmodel on board the DFDS ‘Princess Seaways’. I saw it at the deck 6 lounge of this modern ferry a few weeks ago. It is a scale model of the “Prince of Scandinavia”, a 1975-built ferry that sailed for DFDS Seaways from 1981 to 2003. One of my oldest childhood holiday memories is of this ship, which was originally registered as MS ‘Tor Britannia’, sailing for Tor Line in 1979. I still have a postcard that I got on board that ship, as an eight year old kid.
What is it with people on the side of a river? Is the grass always greener on the other side? The two opposite cities of Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne are linked by as many as seven bridges within less than two kilometers. These famous Tyne bridges were once a symbol of British industrial engineering. Now they make great landmarks in a new tourist destination in Northern England, that forever shed its coal dust in favour of science and great nightlife. The bridges still dominate the cityscape, where they carry party goers and football fans from one side of the river to the other. Remnants of a rich industrial past, now functioning as pillars for a rich future. Continue reading
Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz explored the seas around the Northern tip of Norway three times, looking for the infamous northern passage to Asia. On his third journey, in 1596, he stranded in heavy sea ice on the barren island of Nova Zembla, where he ultimately perished after spending the winter in the famous ‘Behouden Huys’, made of the wreckage of his ship in 1597. In an urge to relive some of the crew’s endurance, a small Dutch expedition ventured out to Kirkenes in Northern Norway, to see the part of the Arctic Ocean named after our national 16th century hero, in the middle of the Arctic winter. Continue reading
It takes about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Newcastle in Northern England. A quick and cost effective trip, especially on one of the lowcost carriers. So why would you even want to consider taking a ferry on this route? A question that DFDS Seaways helped a group of Dutch travelbloggers answer, when travelling to Newcastle upon Tyne for the #Traverse14 travel bloggers conference in February 2014. Continue reading