Arctic Circle: It’s Not Just About the Midnight Sun

It sits at 66 degrees 33 minutes 44 seconds north latitude. It’s the Arctic Circle, and it’s beckoned to the hardiest of explorers and pioneers throughout history. Traveling to these remote areas of the world is, in many ways, its own reward, as there are sites to see and things to experience unlike anyplace else on Earth.

Being Prepared for Arctic Travel

Aside from getting one’s papers in order by securing passports and any applicable visas, people should provide themselves with proper clothing and gear suitable for Arctic travel. Aside from that, a good mnemonic device to remember when traveling in extremely cold climates is C-O-L-D, which means:

  • Keep it “C”lean.

  • Keep it “O”pen.

  • Keep it “L”ayered.

  • Keep it “D”ry.

Even when traveling in summer months, places at this extreme latitude get cold very quickly, and following these four simple tenets will mean the difference between a happy vacation and severe consequences.

Five Interesting Arctic Places to Go

The city of Murmansk lies on the Kola Peninsula in Western Russia. It is a remarkably modern city for such a location, and, despite a dwindling population, is still the most populous city in the world above the Arctic Circle. Murmansk has a significant cultural presence with numerous museums, galleries and churches to visit. Most notable of these is the Church of the Annunciation, which was ordered built in 1807 by Empress Catherine the Great. The Kola Peninsula itself is a sportsman’s paradise, with hundreds of rivers and lakes to fish and lots of game to hunt. Skiers can enjoy downhill and cross-country trails at a fraction of the prices of other European ski centers.

The North Cape, or Nordkapp, is the northernmost part of mainland Europe. It is an extremely popular tourist destination, so travelers should book early. Famous for 24-hour golf and its iconic Artico Ice Bar, Norway’s northern jewel has something for everyone. Travelers can sojourn to the edge of the Arctic Ocean and experience the extraordinary beauty of the aurora borealis over the raging seas. They can snowmobile over untouched tundra and marvel at the fantastic wildlife only a stone’s throw away. There are bird safaris, king crab fishing trips and dozens of trails to hike for the outdoor-loving crowd. In town, visitors can take in the sights, browse in delightful art galleries and steep themselves in local culture.

In Canada, the most popular Arctic destination is the territory of Nunavut, which includes Baffin Island and most of the famed Northwest Passage. Travelers can follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers that were looking for the easy way to the Far East and see all manner of wildlife and stunning, Arctic landscapes along the way. Nunavut offers bird watchers some of the best opportunities anywhere, and particularly hardy visitors can dogsled through the terrain on excursions through the area’s national parks. Travelers can enjoy listening to Inuit throat singing and seeing traditional dancers before retiring to modern accommodations in Iqaluit or one of the other cities in the territory.

For travelers who might like to rough it a bit more, they can visit Barrow, Alaska. During the summer, it’s possible to get to Barrow by ship; otherwise, the only way in is to fly. Alaska Airlines offers service from Fairbanks and Anchorage. It is truly a frontier town above the Arctic Circle. Walking outside the town limits brings a traveler directly into the tundra, which is not recommended without a group and a guide. Visitors can also see the Wiley Post-Will Rogers memorial, which commemorates their 1935 plane crash just outside of town. To venture out of town, travelers should contact Tundra Tours, which will not only take visitors to all the landmarks in the area, such as the whalebone arch and Inupiat Heritage Center, but will also lead them on exciting forays into the tundra to see and experience the magnificence of the area’s wildlife. Of course, the aurora borealis is always a splendid sight. Gazing at it over dinner is a perfect way to end a long day at the northernmost town in the United States.

As the ultimate Arctic roughing-it trip, traveling to the North Pole itself will be the adventure of a lifetime. You’ve probably heard the old joke about the house with all southern exposure and the bear walking past the window. A very few, select adventurers have lived it for themselves. Combining a cruise on a powerful icebreaker, a thrilling ride on a Zodiac inflatable raft across the choppy Arctic Ocean, a helicopter spin and a momentous hop across the Pole itself in a hot-air balloon, an expedition to the North Pole will be an unforgettable and life-changing experience. Nowhere else on Earth combines thrilling risks and gorgeous scenery with a true feeling of accomplishment shared by only extremely few people in the world.

Arctic Fun Facts

  • Because of a controversy regarding the two men who claimed to have reached the North Pole before 1910, the first completely verified conquering of the Pole was in 1969.

  • The coldest it has ever been above the Arctic Circle is -90.4 F in Siberia.

  • The Arctic Ocean covers 5.4 million square miles.

  • The Sami language group of Scandinavia has 180 snow-related words and more than 1,000 describing reindeer.

 

Top 10 Safest Airlines 2015 – Airline Ratings

Two of the crashes last year – MH370 and MH17 – were unprecedented in modern times and claimed 537 lives. One has gone missing, still cannot be found as of this writing and the other one was hit by a missile.

2014 even ended up with another tragic ending when AirAsia flight QZ8501 vanished from the radar and found later some few days ago crash in the ocean.

2014 is no doubt was a bad year for airline safety with some of the most tragic and bizarre incidents in modern history.

Then again, even if there were disastrous flights, the airline industry carried a record 3.3 billion passengers on 27 million flights.

AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only safety and product rating website, has announced its top 10 safest airlines.

quantas_safest_airline_2015

These top ten airlines are always at the forefront of safety innovation and launching new planes and these airlines are a byword for excellence.

Top of the list again is Qantas which has a fatality free record in the jet era. Here are top ten in alphabetical order are: Read more »

A Visit to Christiania, Copenhagen

Copenhagen in Evening

I am a travel enthusiast I love to visit different places of the world whenever I get a chance. My Name is Marro Jaaskelainen in I am originally from a small town called Espoo, which is near the capital of my country Helsinki in Finland. But lately I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world as experiencing new things and relieving new adventures is what life is all about. I have visited many interesting countries of Europe and even been to Malaysia once, but never had I been to Denmark so for my last trip I arranged for me to visit Copenhagen.

Copenhagen in Evening

I usually do not practice staying in hotel rooms or using expensive accommodations. The thing I found was best for me and my budget is to use private accommodations. I always stay like this in foreign countries, it is cheaper and very amusing for me. I usually rent a private room from a local family or a local host. It is great me to get to know some of the locals firsthand as they can direct me to all the cool places of the city that I am in. Boy did I had luck this time, i found a rental on this accommodation site and stayed in the area of Copenhagen called Christianshavn. I immediately got on well with my host and she helped me to settle and told me all about the area.

Copenhagen is a cool city, very clean and modern. Certainly one of the better places I’ have been in. Though not all of the people are relaxed here as I hoped it would be, many of them are in a hurry or busy, but the great thing is that they all travel on bikes. Although there are a lot of vehicles in the city many people get around by biking their way across the city. This gave me a great idea so I found a bike renting shop and found one that I used during my trip. I spent my days roaming through the city on my bike and I spent my night looking for great places to have fun. My landlord helped me with the choice of the clubs and places that I should visit and she was spot on every time. And I also have to say, Danish pastries, they truly are the best and it is amazing that the private bakeries have the best recipes on how to make them as they used a more traditional method.

People of Copenhagen

But the best was yet to come. I found about a district near the place where I was situated called Christiania. As I found out it is an autonomous commune established in 1989 and is actually called free town. It has a unique status and is regulated by Danish law and actually functions as its own country. There was actually a lot of turmoil with the creation of the country, so to call it, and a lot of controversy due to speculations of drug involvement, but all of that is cleared now and Christiania functions as a great tourist site and a unique landmark which is only found in Copenhagen. The great thing about Christiania is that there is a ban on vehicle use and they are not allowed within the limits of the district. I immediately noticed as the there was no noise and it makes a mellow atmosphere noise free allowing you to relax. But the bike use is more than welcomed here so I grabbed my bike and immediately went there to inspect the scene.

At first Christiania seems as any other districts in Copenhagen. It was actually made out of old army barracks and was turned into a residential area. But there are a lot of weird and interesting people here. I reckon not many people can get used to this area and that it is not for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it and cherished every second of it. People here are free and without any troubles going through their minds. I liked this notion very much and being a laid back person myself a jumped at the opportunity to enjoy it. I enjoyed a night of some jazz music in the Christiania Jazz Club where I managed to catch a gig and also had loads of fun in the Den Grå Hal which is an enormous music venue area where there was a show of some local music bands. The Loppen was also great and I enjoy a few round of their local beer here. It is actually a rock club but sadly there were no shows during the time I was there so a plain night out in the town got to do it.

All in all, I managed to spend the better part of my vacation to Copenhagen in Christiania. Although I saw other parts of the city I spent the most time here. Firstly, it was near my apartment so I got to go whenever I want, and secondly I took a liking to the atmosphere and their way of thinking. I shall certainly tell the story of Christiania on my further travels and also look to come back at a certain period.

How Can I See London on a Tight Budget

Street Performers at Covent Garden

London does not always have to be expensive in order to have a great time. There are loads of things that one can do and have a great time in one of the oldest cities in the world. Being that London is today one of the most modern cities, many get the wrong idea that it cannot be afforded by everyone and mere folks will not be able to experience anything offered. This is where this wrong assumption comes to a standstill as we can bring you some very interesting activities to do in London that will provide you with a stay to remember by being on a tight budget.

Cheap Accommodation

Cheap accommodation in London

This is one of cheap apartments in London you can rent for a few days

Firstly start by acquiring a cheap apartment to stay in. We advise you to rent a private accommodation with some of the local hosts of London and you can do so on this page http://londonapartmentstorent.com/which offers a range of solutions for your stay which will cost you a reasonable amount of money for your stay here. Other similar sites where you can look for accommodation are: http://www.housetrip.com/https://www.airbnb.com/ and many more.

Pubs

Hitting the night out does not have to be always a money spending situation. There are many pubs which organize an open mic night or a karaoke sing off contest which can always be a fun thing to do. Trying some of the homemade British ale is a treat for every foreign visitor and topped off with a great and positive atmosphere it can turn out to be a great night out. If you are lucky, stand up amateur comedy nights are also very popular in London and some places even manage to provide some stars of this branch of show business to start the night and get the night rolling. All in all, you should not be able to spend more than 10 pounds on this endeavor.

Free Tours

Free walking tours in London

There are many free walking tours

A free art tour is always great fun for people who are interested in seeing the sights. These tour are actually free to join and do not require any previous booking. You do not even have to enroll or schedule anything you just need to show up and join the tour during any part you like. The things you can experience or see during the tours are Tate Modern, the British Museum or Tate Britain. There are special discounts for children and special discount offers during various periods, so you can manage to find a bargain price for a tour on a price that is already considerably low.

New Music Bands in London

Music lovers can attend a gig in a totally underground environment. The new big thing is organizing a gig in a record store where usually people gathered to buy new albums and discus music together. Now one can come to and enjoy a live show of a new and up and coming band who are trying to make a breakthrough. Additionally store merchandise and albums are offered at a discount price so you manage to get a great show and find cheap stuff to go with it. The only problem which occurs here is that when it is a popular band there might be a shortage of space so you will have to apply in advance to get clearance for entry to the show.

Cinema in Soho

View an olds school special cinema show in the Prince Charles cinema in Soho. Special screenings are shown here at discount prices and offer an experience when going to the cinema was cheaper. It is a great place to bring your girlfriend and enjoy a date or you can go with a friend and remember the good all days. There is even an option of catching a marathon and seeing some of your favorite movies from the past. The price will come out no more than 5 pounds and that includes the pop-corn.

Free Lectures

Knowledge seekers can enjoy a free lecture. Gresham College offers free lectures in various fields like law, arts, music and many areas more. Eight of their tenured professors are happy to give out these lectures and everyone who wants to join is free to come. You do not have to apply anywhere to join you just need to come at the designated time as this works on the premise of first comes first serves. You do not have to spend anything to attend the lecture but you have so much to gain. Knowledge is precious and one should not pass out the opportunity of gaining it for free.

Street Performers at Covent Garden

Street Performers at Covent Garden

Something which is a symbol of London’s Covent Garden are street performers. You can spend your afternoon by catching their great shows and performances which they do for free and only ask for an optional “small donation” for the showing of their talent. From mime performances, singing and instrument playing, breakdancing and various other performing arts, you will be able to spend a whole afternoon going from one performer to the other ultimately making a day out of it.

Here is a similar article on our website: http://worldtravelandvacation.com/cheap-sightseeing-tours-in-london/ that might be interesting to you.

A Surprising Visit to Tuscany

Siena, Italy

My name is Mike O’Neill and I am from Boston, Massachusetts. This year I got a chance to grab some few extra days off work and decided that it was time for a holiday that I have been hankering for. Vacationing in the US would not do it for me so I decided that a trip to Europe will be something interesting to do, since I never had do luxury of going backpacking in my younger days. It was something that I needed to do but decided that in my years choosing a single location will be enough. So by carefully choosing the area of my visit I made my choice to visit the area of Tuscany in Italy. Being an architect myself, a mix of both pleasure and interest was to see some of the prime architecture which was unique to this region. The bonus of the trip was the relaxing atmosphere and that characterized the Tuscan region.

Trip to Tuscany

I managed to arrange a direct flight to Florence and arrived at the Florence Airport Amerigo Vespucci. I arranged to come first to Florence which was the prime spot of whole of Tuscany. I decided that besides Florence the cities of Pisa and Siena where the most interesting ones to visit in this area and equally the places where I can get the most amount of fun.

I first thought that staying in some sorts of a hotel would satisfy my staying needs but soon realized that many of the hotels were overbooked or did not offer the conditions I asked for or needed. And I also did not manage to find a stay in the cities in the designated periods of my visit. But my problems were resolved when I found this short term accommodation site where I managed to find private accommodations in all three cities which suited my needs. I arranged for a five day stay in Florence in a flat by my own, managed to score a studio rental in Pisa and a private room with a wonderful family in Siena.

Palio in Siena

Palio race in Siena

Palio race in Siena. Image from Flickr

The Tuscan region is widely regarded as the birthplace of renaissance with its capital of Florence being the center of it. My intention was to spend as much time as I could browsing the city of Florence as the taking strolls through its streets suited me and enabled me to see as much of the city as I could. Luckily my apartment was near the city center and I was able to see all of the major sites that I hoped for seeing. Most of the historic part of Florence and its major sights were is in walking distance from each other and enabled me to walk every day and examining and seeing everything that I wanted to experience. Among my favorites were the Giotto’s Tower and Palazzo Vecchio which truly fascinated me. The idea was to end my trip to Tuscany by seeing the city of Pisa and ending my trip with a bang and the sight of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But it just so happened that Siena provided me with an unexpected event that I shall cherish forever. Of course I got to see the symbol of the city, the Siena Cathedral built in Romanesque-Gothic style which is situated in the central part of the city but I also had a chance to experience the Palio which was an event or rather a horse race that many locals waited for each year to see. The family I stayed with explained to me the Palio was a traditional race which signified a battle between the contrade or the different city wards of the city.

Siena, Tuscany

Siena, Tuscany. Photo from Flickr

They quickly explained to me that the wards were so competitive that it did not matter for you to win the entire race as long as you managed to beat the rival ward in the race. I was situated in the “unicorn” ward so I took membership in cheering the local squad so to say. I was astounded when I saw the Piazza del Campo, where the race takes place, as it was laid with sand and prepared for the race. I immediately noticed the heavy and dangerous curves which the riders had to overcome while racing and was immediately taken aback when the locals explained that not all of the riders manage to complete the race as many of them fall down during it. All in all, it was a thrilling experience and a race which lasts approximately 90 seconds was a thrill ride all the way and the icing on the cake was that “our” district managed to win against the rival district since their rider fell of the horse in the last lap. The unicorns perhaps did not win the race but managed to achieve their own victory this year. My last stop was the city of Pisa and something that I imagined to be the prime experience of my trip with the Leaning Tower of Pisa was nothing compared to the race I saw in Siena. Of course I had fun in Pisa but my memories always took me back to the Palio and the amazing race that I witnessed here. Pisa was my last stop and I grabbed the flight from the Galileo Galilei International Airport back to the US and completed my journey which unexpectedly turned to be the best experience of my life and it all turned from a mere and relaxing sightseeing tour.

Although the overall trip to Tuscany was a blast the highlight was the Palio of course. I promised the family that I was staying with that I shall return next year the cheer on the unicorns and hopefully get a victory in the race next year. They promised that they will save the room for me where I stayed in and besides being able to see and experience a wonderful tradition and a part of their culture I made some friends along the way as well.

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