Some of my fondest memories of the past few years are from the time I’ve spent traveling with my husband. Although looking back on our first holiday together, I’m amazed we survived. Never mind went on any more.
A few weeks back we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been a year already, although in some respects it feels like ages ago that we were stood by that glacier and worrying about transporting our cake. After all in the year that’s passed, we’ve been to the top of the World, on five other trips, completely renovated our house (whilst living in it, hashtag never again), bought home Hekla the British Shorthair and are now expecting a new arrival of the non-furry variety. It’s been quite a year!
For my husband’s birthday, I decided to surprise him with a bit of Winter sun. I can’t believe I managed to keep it a secret! When he finally learned we were going to Lanzarote he was really excited. We scarcely go to sunny destinations and are notoriously bad at ‘relaxing’ when on holiday, so this was a very different kind of holiday for us.
In the interest of totally switching off, I took a week away from the internet and didn’t bring my camera. The challenge of taking photos with just my iPhone (and GoPro, I know it’s water resistant but I didn’t fancy testing it that much!) was quite fun and I enjoyed not lugging all my camera stuff along with me.
I realise two months have elapsed since I got back from Disneyland Paris. We went to Finland just a few weeks later and I found my Lapland post difficult to write. I lost my flow but I’m back today with another travel post in my Disneyland series: Frontierland.
This is a weird post to write. Looking back at my photos it looks like Finnish Lapland is as magical a place to visit as any other I post about, but my experience was overall a negative one. I wouldn’t dream of writing a post slating a country or area, or even type of holiday as it’s very subjective and I can’t stress enough that as expected, Finland and more specifically Lapland are absolutely beautiful places. However, the hotels we stayed in -which are World renowned, just this morning I saw it featured on Forbes- completely ruined it and a quick glance at TripAdvisor shows that I’m far from on my own in feeling that way.
My favourite part of Disneyland Paris is Fantasyland, as I love the whole fairy tale thing. On New Year’s Day, We had the most fun exploring this part of the park and returned throughout the day and evening, going on silly rides and wandering around Alice In Wonderland’s maze.
I’m not a big NYE fan. As a rule I tend to stay indoors and maybe watch the London fireworks on TV. Two years ago I went to Reykjavik and watched the fireworks there which was truly epic, as they set off 500 tonnes of fireworks, flares and seemingly anything explosive. Fireworks can only be bought for New Year’s Eve and all the money raised is donated to the Icelandic Search and Rescue.
We loved it so much, the following year we returned but managed to miss the fireworks due to bad weather and delays. Unbeknown to me at the time, this was to become my New Year’s Eve tradition.
We only stayed in Svalbard for four nights as I knew in the darkness there would be a limited number of things to do and see.
We spent the whole time exploring, often until late at night as the lack of daylight was disorienting. As taking photos in such dark conditions was really difficult, I’ve got nothing more than bad phone snaps from the trip, so I apologise in advance for the bad quality!
I have to reiterate how bad the photos I’ve taken in Svalbard are. I feel frustrated whenever I look at them but in terms of photography I can’t imagine worse conditions, light is afterall pretty essential!
The photo at the top of this post was of the mountain opposite our hotel, whilst I was testing my settings incase the Northern lights decided to show up. It’s one of the only photos I took with my SLR as it was so dark.
As Svalbard is so far North -78° North and the last land stop before the North Pole- during the Polar night the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all for several months.
The past six weeks have been a total nightmare and I didn’t think I would be going to Svalbard. Immaturely, I was more upset about the fact I’d have to miss this trip I’ve dreamed about for years than the fact I was ill. We didn’t know for sure if we would be going until the day before, but thankfully I felt ok and decided I was going to go anyway.
Svalbard is 78° North and the last land stop before the North pole (which would be pretty difficult to visit, as it’s out on the sea ice and moving slowly all the time). During the polar night the sun never rises and temperatures are normally very, very cold. I say normally, because sadly due to global warming when we visited it was relatively mild, dropping to -6° at the lowest point but staying mostly around freezing.
Svalbard is the world’s most Northern town and it has more polar bears than people, so you can’t leave the settlement -Longyearbyen- without a weapon.
It took us four flights to get there and we stayed for just four days, but it was one of my favourite trips we’ve ever taken.
I underestimated just how dark it would be, without any light pollution you could barely see in-front of you without a torch so all the camera gear I packed my only luggage with turned out to be redundant and I took almost all of my photos on my iPhone. I considered not blogging about the trip because the photos are of such poor quality but decided to do it anyway, so I apologise in advance for the photo quality!