It would be reasonable to say that I’m obsessed with cold places. I have wanted to visit Greenland for as long as I can remember, but I’m equally fascinated by anywhere that is cold, icy and bleakly remote.
I read books about them (I’m currently reading True North: Travels in Arctic Europe by Gavin Francis); watch TV shows about them (loving Fargo at the moment); and fantasize about going to Svalbard or Antarctica on holiday. For a long time I enjoyed reading the Thule Times, a magazine for American service personnel stationed in Greenland, but sadly it’s not available any more.
When I was a child my favourite animal was a penguin.
You get the idea.
Despite all this, I haven’t ever visited anywhere near the Arctic Circle. I’ve been looking at lots of maps of the arctic recently whilst reading True North and since I always find that the best way to fix something in my memory is to draw it, I decided to draw my own (hugely oversimplified) Arctic Map.
The wide dashed line indicates the approximate line of flight from Paris to San Fransisco and the furtherest north I’ve ever been. Looking out of the window of the plane on a clear day in February, the ice and snow stretches as far as the eye can see. It’s an an extraordinarily beautiful sight.
Whilst it is beautiful to see the polar icecap from the window of a plane, I want to start visiting some of those cold places. With only one stopover (Oslo) I can get to Longyearbyen (pink dot on the map) in around 7 hours… surely a good place to start.
The title of this post is a reference to All The Stations in which lovely train nerds Geoff & Vicki visit all the train stations in the UK.