Where would your dream winter home be?
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of a beach. But if it’s going to be cold (and living in the UK, that’s a given), let’s do winter properly.
Thick crunchy fluffy white snow dazzling under a bright blue sky for starters, the kind of smooth expanse you’re compelled to run across leaving a trail of footprints behind. Then more than enough left over for snowballs and a snowman – something my daughter has yet to properly experience after several damply dismal years.
And waiting back indoors, thick hot chocolate and gingerbread to help defrost your fingers while curled up under the fluffiest faux fur throw – I’ve got my eye on the luxurious ones from Julian Charles right now. Silver grey or stone though?
But where would this dream winter home be: evidently I can’t rely on London to provide pristine swathes of snow (though I’ve stocked up on Green & Black’s hot chocolate already).
So I asked my daughter. Antarctica, she said brightly. For the penguins. Tempting… but I bet it’s tricky getting gingerbread.
Alaska, said my husband. I’ve always fancied going whale watching, seeing a glacier calving and maybe spotting a few bears – but Alaska strikes me as frontier territory still… and I fancy a few more luxuries.
So it’d have to be closer to home, I’ve decided. Having watched the videos of Norway from Silvia at Heart my Backpack on YouTube for Vlogmas last year, I’d be tempted by her wooden chalet in the mountains of Telemark.
And there are few places more magical than Lapland – after a trip there half a dozen years ago, I discovered the sheer joy of a sauna when it’s -14C outside and knee-high snow, speeding through the snowy forest in a husky-drawn sled and meeting reindeer close up.
One night, I even slept in a glass igloo, looking up through the roof to the stars and hoping optimistically for the Northern Lights to make an appearance. They didn’t, but curled up in bed under snuggly blankets in the unspoiled Arctic wilds has to be one of my most memorable experiences – and beats a traditional igloo hands down.
But if I can only choose one (and a chalet in the Alps or a cottage in the Scottish Highlands were also on the shortlist), it has to be wonderful Iceland. Volcanoes and Vikings are always tempting, as are some enthralling sagas to while away the long nights and tales of the elf-like ‘hidden people’ to entice my daughter.
Seeing geysers and crashing waterfalls or wandering along black sand beaches would tempt me out on even the shortest days, as well as the otherworldly icebergs on sparkling blue Jökulsárlón lagoon. And of course, geothermal pools to warm me up afterwards.
Then back to my dream winter home. Perhaps in Akureyri with its bright buildings clustered around the fjord, but more likely near Reykjavik – I fancy a log cabin by a lake, a window seat piled high with cosy cushions and furry blankets where I can watch for those elusive Northern Llights.
Where would you choose to #EscapeForWinter?
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