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Archive for polar travel

Urban Arctic

By Linda Tancs

You might not think of the Arctic as urban, yet Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, is an arctic metropolis. Brimming with a diverse dining and shopping scene (and the country’s largest microbrewery), it’s the heart of modern Greenland. A walkable city, Imaneq Street is a go-to destination for traditionally made goods, like knitted musk ox items. If you’d rather eat it than wear it, musk ox steak is a featured delicacy. And you won’t want to miss out on Greenlandic coffee, which gives Irish coffee a run for its money.

The Last Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Named for British explorer James Ross, the Ross Sea in Antarctica has been nicknamed “the last ocean.” Located between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land, it’s the southernmost sea on Earth, quite literally the last sea. Perhaps not surprisingly, this remote ocean is deemed one of the most pristine environments left in the world, the perfect locale for a marine reserve (the world’s largest) twice the size of Texas. It’s also home to the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest in the world at around 193,000 square miles. And it even sings (well, sort of), making a didgeridoo-like sound as the wind blows across the landscape causing the outer snow layer to vibrate.

Best Ice in Greenland

By Linda Tancs

Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is filled with icebergs that calve from Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier in the world at 131 feet daily. The massive ice field occupies the same area as 66,000 football fields. The best way to take it all in is a flightseeing tour by helicopter or small plane. At ground level, you can walk along the raised pathway to Sermermiut or hike along the marked Blue Route trail. Whichever route you choose, be sure to take a midnight cruise in the icefjord, when the icebergs change from white and blue to shades of orange and red when struck by the midnight sun.

 

Northern Lights Festival

By Linda Tancs

Nordlysfestivalen (The Northern Lights Music Festival) begins in Tromsø, Norway tomorrow through 5 February.  About 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the annual event is known for musical performances in various genres.  This year is no exception.  One of the festival’s highlights is the performance of The State Hermitage Orchestra from St. Petersburg, slated to perform Russian music and to host the Opera Gala, a concert introducing two of the finest young singers from the Mariinsky Theatre in a collaboration with singers from the Norwegian Opera.  Later in the festival, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra will visit Norway for the first time ever.  And, of course, there are those northern lights–aurora borealis–presiding over it all.

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Life on Ice

By Linda Tancs

Over 15,000 icebergs are formed in the Arctic each year, and you can see them in places like Disko Bay in the Labrador Sea in western Greenland.  The native Inuit spend their winter months hunting for polar bear, seals, and walrus to feed and clothe their families.  Consider a visit to their local archeological sites.

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The Right of Passage

By Linda Tancs

Some time ago, National Geographic News reported that an Arctic thaw had opened travels between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the fabled Northwest Passage, which cuts through the Canadian Arctic. That the passage offers a convenient trade route for Canada, the U.S., Russia, Norway and Denmark should come as no surprise. Neither should the fact that an ice-free passage (estimated to occur by 2050) offers unprecedented opportunities for oil and natural gas exploration, which has the above-named parties jockeying for position. Canada, for instance, has claimed sovereignty over its share of the waterway, setting the stage for the international equivalent of a fight among schoolyard bullies. Not to be outdone, Russia planted a flag at the bottom of the Arctic, and President Bush officially repudiated Canada’s position in his Arctic Region Policy directive. Whether the route ultimately achieves status as an international strait is anyone’s guess, particularly if Canada persists in giving its chums the cold shoulder.

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South Pole Research Station Open

By Linda Tancs

Germany’s latest engineering triumph stands on a 200-meter thick ice shelf in the South Pole. Named Neumayer-Station III after geophysicist Georg von Neumayer, the sixteen-legged research station bests the competition by sporting rooms with a view. There’s not much to see, however, but an endless horizon of snow and the occasional penguin. Let’s hope the yearlong climate data collection it offers is worth every bit of its 40 million euro price tag.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on sites such as StumbleUpon, vote for it, or bookmark it. Thanks for your support! Travelrific® was featured as Blog of the Day on NJ.com!

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