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5 Things I Love About The Polar Night

23rd August 2017
polar night

I love the Arctic. And whilst all Arctic countries have amazing features in both seasons, I particularly love the Arctic in Winter. There’s no way of guaranteeing weather, Northern lights or wildlife. But even so there’s something magical about it. A different feeling in the air. Which is totally different to how I imagined it would be. The polar night occurs in the most Northernmost (and Southernmost although I’m yet to go to Antartica!) parts of the World. And is the period in Winter when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. The further North you go, the longer the Polar night lasts. In December in Svalbard the sun doesn’t rise for a month. Whilst during the same period in Tromsø, there would be two hours daylight each day and in Iceland four.

I can’t imagine what life must be like for those living in the North permanently. I’ve seen children walking to school in high vis vests. Playing in the playground in Svalbard in the darkness. It must be strange. At times depressing and very tiring. However I love visiting during this period. As it’s so different from home, here in the UK. We get our dark evenings, but it’s very different to the Polar night.

The majority of our travel occurs during this period. And every year I look forward to going North in search of the Polar night. This year will be different. And it’s made me reflect on what I will miss most about it.

When one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.

1. Colourful Sunrises & Sunsets

Obviously in Svalbard and the North pole, there are no sunrises or sunsets. But slightly less North, the shortened days mean not only is being awake for both easy. But the way in which the sun rises and sets (barely rising above the horizon sometimes) means they are dramatic and colourful. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland I’ve seen the most jaw-dropping colours in the sky. It’s totally mesmerising.

Of course, it’s always in the depths of Winter. So most days you get snow clouds. Rain. And general darkness. But when one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.

The most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen

2. Northern Lights

Impossible to guarantee. And often illusive. The Polar Night allows for optimum Northern lights viewing. And as you need a dark sky, lengthens the window of opportunity for seeing them. Even when we’ve been unlucky and the conditions haven’t been right to see the Aurora, just knowing they are out there is exciting. The chance to see the Northern lights is always there during the Polar night. And I love spending time looking up at the sky in search of them.

When I have been lucky enough to see the Aurora. I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. Dancing across the sky in-front of my eyes. Without a doubt the most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen. And my most fondest travel memories.

Doing this from a hot tub is even better!

3. The Night Sky

The extended night allows for more stargazing. The Arctic is largely free from light pollution and so the night sky is dark. I love looking up at the stars. Working out constellations. And searching for any slight green tinge. The moon always looks amazing, even when peeping out behind clouds. Doing this from a hot tub is even better!

It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything

4. Candles & Lights

To make the Polar night period more bearable, locals decorate with lights, lanterns and candles. It’s so beautiful. I’ve never taken a photo of a house -because that would be creepy- but every window, pipe and ledge is outlined with tiny fairy lights. In Norway and Iceland particularly we saw so many houses decorated in this way. A lady in Tromsø explained there are competitions locally for the best house. Trees, postboxes, bridges and even bikes are covered in these tiny fairy lights. It looks like a scene from a snow globe.

In Iceland we saw lights on a hill so drove to have a look. It was a church yard and inside, all the graves had been lit up with lights too. It sounds a little odd, but it was really pretty. And I can see why relatives would do it. It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything.

Outside shops and houses tiny tea lights illuminate paths. And lanterns mark doorways. In Svalbard we had every meal by candlelight. It feels so cosy. The number of lanterns and candles in my house has significantly risen since visiting these places. I would love to cover our home in lights like a Scandinavian house.

The sky is a distinctive blue colour

5. The Blue Hour

Before the sun sets, whilst it sits beneath the horizon, there’s an amazing light in the sky. Almost eerie but very recognisable. The blue hour.

Depending where you are, it can last for longer than an hour. But the blue hour is the period of extended twilight before the sun disappears completely. In Svalbard where the sun doesn’t rise, there is still this lighter period when the sun is closest to the horizon. The sky is a distinctive blue colour. The longer the daylight hours, the more drawn out it is. It can start a vivid baby blue. But it always feels strangely unnatural and exciting.

Life Travel

Five Things To Consider When Planning An Iceland Wedding

27th July 2017
Iceland Wedding

It’s a year since our Iceland wedding. And I still marvel at the fact we pulled it off. Not only that, but it was the most amazing day. I couldn’t have asked for things to have gone better. I know Iceland is growing in popularity all the time as a tourist destination. And weddings are more frequent too. I’ve looked back and listed five things I wish I had known more about, when we were planning our own Iceland wedding.

Travel

Our Anniversary Weekend In Iceland

22nd May 2017
anniversary meal

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!

Life Travel

My Wedding – The Photos

3rd October 2016
Iceland Wedding

I hate photos of myself as a rule so was slightly dreading having our photos taken on our wedding day, but because it was such a special day all I see when I look at these is how happy I was. My mother-in-law is a professional photographer and so she did our photos which made the whole thing so much more relaxed.

Travel

My Wedding – Arriving In Iceland

25th August 2016

After almost a year and planning TWO weddings, I couldn’t believe it was finally time to go and get my dress, finish work for a while and go to Iceland. I picked my dress up the night before and the girls who made the alterations and pressed it for me carefully folded it into a suitcase with lots of crete paper.

We had four suitcases between us and full hand luggage. In addition to everything we needed for two weeks away from home, we had our wedding clothes, travel friendly cake and all the decorations we needed for the tables. I knew us getting married was the only thing which mattered but I desperately hoped my dress would get there in one piece (I’m not sure my subtle fragile tape was obvious enough).

Travel

My Iceland Honeymoon – Part 3

11th August 2016

I go through phases of wanting to write about certain topics and at the moment it’s travel, probably because we just booked our next adventure and it feels like a million years away, so getting nostalgic about my honeymoon is helping.

After our mini road trip to the South East, we stayed local for a few days and just enjoyed lounging around in geothermally heated hot tubs and pools. We’re normally always on the go so this trip felt really laid back for us, although I think this would still be considered not enough relaxing on honeymoon by some. Different strokes!

Travel

My Iceland Honeymoon – Part 2

8th August 2016

A few days after the wedding, we had finally caught up on sleep and I felt human again. We didn’t have any fixed plans but decided to get in the car and drive from where we were in Þingvellir national park along route 1. Route 1 is the ring road which takes you around the entire island and through some insane scenery. To drive from Reykjavik to the South East corner of the island takes about 5 hours, but takes you past famous waterfalls and eventually glaciers and the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón. The glacier lagoon is one of my absolutely favourite places on the planet, after we visited the Summer before. When we spent Christmas in Iceland with my family and I really wanted to take them there but blizzards meant we got about half way on the icy road before having to admit defeat and turn back.

We both wanted to go again but weren’t sure if we could face the drive, so decided to just get in the car and see where we ended up.

Travel

My Iceland Honeymoon – Part 1

12th July 2016

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I got back from my honeymoon and wedding in Iceland. I normally get over my post-holiday blues by looking at my photos but this time it was different. Getting married was so intense I spent the week which followed in a bit of a blur. After everyone left to go back to the UK I felt a strange sadness, as it meant our wedding day was over, but it did feel exciting to be embarking on our first adventure together as husband and wife.

Travel

Our Magical Icelandic Wedding

19th May 2016

So I arrive home today from my honeymoon and am still pretty much on cloud nine after the wedding. I’m not sure how to return to normal life where I don’t get to wear my dress, where I don’t get to eat narwhal cake for breakfast and where rainbows don’t just appear behind me in photos … But I figured checking in with my little blog would be a good distraction.

As promised I’ve picked a few photos -which wasn’t easy as I love them all- to share.