It’s a traveller’s worst nightmare. Well, one of them at least.
Those huge red, flashing letters next to the departure time of your next flight have the power to rattle even the most frequent of flyers: CANCELLED. A delay is frustrating enough but you see ‘cancelled’ and your heart just sinks.
“When you are driving your bus across the tundra through a snow storm and you can’t see the windscreen wipers…you know it’s going to be an interesting day”
Rhonda – bus driver in Churchill, Manitoba
Things can get pretty wild this far north. And I’m not talking about the nightlife.
But for today at least the weather is behaving itself. It’s minus 13 degrees Celsius with wind-chill out on the sub-Arctic tundra near Churchill, Manitoba but the skies are clear and the barely-there dawn light is perfect.
Extract from my winter pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago last year:
“A few people have been emailing and asking why the hell we are attempting this pilgrimage in the winter months. I know I painted a pretty grim picture in that last post, but just to clarify…Apart from that week on the Meseta, this journey has been truly amazing. It is by far the most challenging, and the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. In so many ways. Sure, there have been ups and downs, as with anything, but I wouldn´t change a single moment of it – even the difficult parts. Yes, even the Meseta!! Hey, what doesn´t kill you makes you stronger, right??
It’s 39 degrees Celsius here today. And it’s not even officially summer yet. This week, while we have our first mini heat wave, many of my friends in the northern hemisphere are reveling at the first snow of the season.
We have incredibly harsh summers in Australia and one of the most appealing aspects of my imminent move is the fact that I will be leaving these summers behind.
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”
I saw snow for the first time in 2001 in Vancouver. I awoke one morning to find a much whiter world than the night before and the tiny feathery flakes were still falling. You’d have thought all my Christmases had come at once. I was the total stereotype: I frolicked, I made snow angels, had a snowball fight with my cousin and I’m pretty certain I was giggling the whole time.
I always find it staggering that someone can write an entire book about a single, simple topic and make is absolutely fascinating.
The skill is not in filling 300 odd pages about one subject (most of the literate amongst us could probably do that if we put our mind to it), but that they have actually made it interesting.
Charlie English does this in his book The Snow Tourist and he does it so beautifully, so elegantly, that I had trouble putting it down.