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Archive for polar travel

More to Svalbard Than Seeds

By Linda Tancs

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard gained national attention recently when it opened its seed vault to visitors.  The vault, housed deep within an Arctic mountain in the capital city of Longyearbyen, was designed to safeguard seeds for the world’s crops to sustain life in the event of an apocalyptic event.  But Svalbard, which means “cold edge,” and its capital city should be remembered as more than just a “Noah’s Ark” of sorts for farming.  As with other Arctic destinations, you’ll find your fair share of reindeer, polar bears, blue ice and, between April and August, midnight sun.  Also, jazz and blues enthusiasts will find festivals at the end of January and October, respectively.  And around mid-March you can celebrate the end of Arctic darkness during SunFest.  Just like the rest of Norway, though, prices here are outrageously expensive.  Tent-based camping remains one of the most popular and cost-efficient ways to enjoy this northernmost inhabited tip of the world.

Hot Igloos for Cold Nights

By Linda Tancs

If severe, wintry weather has you feeling like an Eskimo, then hunker in an igloo in style.  Consider the Igloo Village in Lapland, where glowing glass pods dot the landscape surrounding the safe haven of Finland’s second largest reserve, Urho Kekkonen National Park.  The Northern Lights are visible here until late April.  Not to worry, the igloos are climate-controlled, so you needn’t give up your creature comforts.  As the Eskimos say, “May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.”

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

By Linda Tancs

In honor of the impeding arrival of Santa Claus, today we highlight Santa Claus’s Village. Located near Rovaniemi, Finland, approximately 520 miles from Helsinki, Santa Claus’s Village offers the child in all of us a chance to explore and discover the Arctic Circle origins of the world’s most famous gift giver.  Visit the village online at www.santaclausvillage.info.   Later tonight, track Santa’s progress in his world travels at www.noradsanta.org

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