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Posts Tagged "Finland"

Where in the World is Santa

Where in the World is Santa

A couple of Christmases ago I witnessed a little girl’s joy as she saw Santa’s sleigh travelling across the dark sky on Christmas Eve. No one had the heart to tell her that the twinkling lights were the navigation lights of an easyjet flight to Lisbon. There was surprise twist to the story which you can read here. The North American Aerospace Defence Command tracks Santa across the skies using all the resources available to it. NORAD, as it is better known, tracks him and makes his route data available live on the Internet at https://noradsanta.org for anyone who wants to follow his progress. This is available from December 1st each year. It is doubtful any of us have the resources of NORAD to track Santa around the globe. Santa is only tracked by NORAD when he is airborne so even…

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Where to see the Northern Lights

Where to see the Northern Lights

I will never forget the night I was in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, and experienced the Northern Lights show. Down at the waters edge with our backs to the city lights, such as they were, we watched entranced as pink and green curtains of light rippled across the sky. It was a magical moment – actually over an hour. Currently, because of the solar maximum, conditions are at their best for seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. NASA predicts there will be a double peak during this cycle with the first this winter and the second next winter. It’s never been a better time to head north to hunt the Northern lights or Fire Fox as the Sami people call it. The Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is a phenomena caused by electrically charged…

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Paws in Finland’s Wilderness

Paws in Finland’s Wilderness

There is nothing like the Finnish Wilderness in winter. It’s silent. If there is any sound it is the gentle whoomp as snow from laden branches lands softly in the powdery snow covering the mosses and lichens beneath the trees. The silence is tangible as the blue zone approaches; a time around sunset when the air seems to take on a stunningly brittle icy electric blue colour. To avoid disturbing this awesome silence with the cacophonous roar of a 1000cc engined snowmobile we decided to take a team of dogs and sledge into the wilderness of the old no-go zone close to the Russian border. The only sound would be the panting of the dogs and the hissing scrunch of metal runners on snow punctuated with an occasional call of a human issuing commands and encouragement to the dogs. We…

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Finland: Winter Funland

Finland: Winter Funland

As snow finally reaches most of the United Kingdom and reminds us it is winter my thoughts turned to winter travel. I have already posted about some moments of Finnish Madness on this blog so I thought I would write about some slightly less crazy winter activities, other than skiing, which I experienced in Finland. Snowshoeing, walking and outdoor dining After a hearty Nordic breakfast we set off in a 4×4 to “somewhere near the Russian border”. It sounded like a line from a spy thriller set in the Cold War. The Cold War is over; now it is just cold. Imagine your feet being strapped to Andy Murray’s tennis rackets with the shaft sawn off and then trying to walk. That’s the kind of gait you have as you walk with snowshoes on. They do however make it very…

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Finland winter madness

Finland winter madness

My Finnish madness It was well below freezing; and I mean WELL below. I had taken temporary leave of my senses. I was about to jump fully clothed in to a fast flowing river that emptied the Kärenjärvi in Kuhmo, Finland. The Pajakkakoski Rapids were a maelstrom of white as it cascaded over the rocks; ice clung to the rocks on the bank and to any low hanging branch within reach of the splashes. The idea was to shoot the rapids but without a raft or kayak. This was more than “up the creek without a paddle”; this was “up the creek with no paddle and no kayak or raft” On previous visits to Finland in winter I had seen the craziness of the Finns. They carve a swimming pool out of ice and then have races in it wearing a wooly…

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