Vast tracts of tundra play host to herds of galloping reindeer while butterflies frolic nearby. At the very roof of the world, an endless summer sun shines twenty four hours a day on a sea that resembles a field of blazing straw. Amid the fastness of seldom seen Spitzbergen, polar bears forage for passing fish from atop glistening, gigantic ice floes. Think you know the Arctic? Perhaps time to think again.
Greenland in summer briefly becomes an amazing patchwork quilt, as fauna blossoms and spreads like some glorious, multi coloured rash across the hinterland. In Disko Bay, icebergs as large as skyscrapers calve from a shimmering mass of steel blue sheet ice, impacting the sea with a thunderous roar that can be heard for miles. The spectacle is unique and totally thrilling.
Iceland enchants, with Reykjavik a cluster of multi hued, low rise buildings set against a backdrop of almost ethereal, smoky blue mountains. Nearby, the spectacular outdoor thermal baths of the blue lagoon invite relaxation and rejuvenation with an incredible backdrop of field ice and pale, powder blue skies that seem endless.
Once north of the Arctic Circle in summertime, daylight becomes, quite literally, endless. Sail between rows of silent, impassive mountains, black against a silver sea as the sun shimmers on the water at two in the morning, and experience that sublime, surreal wonderland that is the summertime Arctic.
At Honningsvaag, stand on the plateau of the North Cape, the northernmost point in mainland Europe, and savour the spectacle of the summer sun hanging above a rolling, gold tinted ocean. Meet native Lapp people in their natural environment, almost a million miles from conventional reality. Then head for a land of half forgotten legends, myths, and mischievous trolls.
Summertime Norway boasts twelve thousand amazing miles of stunning, indented coastline. Remote hamlets and the bustling cities of the south, roaring waterfalls and jagged, soaring mountain ranges are only a part of Norway's unique, almost chocolate box charm.
Mighty Oslo has a stunning natural setting at the head of its own fjord and the spectacular, brooding gothic pile of Akershus Castle. Outgoing and gregarious, Bergen has an amazing warren of restored, half timbered hanseatic shops and houses dating back to the thirteenth century in places.
Yet for sheer beauty, perhaps nothing on earth matches the visual smorgasbord of the Norwegian fjords in summertime. Jagged, snow capped mountains loom against the length of a powder blue sky, while babbling streams and roaring waterfalls bisect huge patchwork carpets of rolling greenery in a hundred different shades, each carpeted with swathes of brightly coloured flowers and dotted with sturdy, turf roofed houses and stave churches.
All of this is mirrored to perfection on the still, silent fjord. Coastal steamers bumble fussily about their business, while yachts and tugs bustle about like exotic water beetles. In this charmed landscape, reality itself seems to be put on hold.
From the steadfast splendour of the awesome Greenland coast to the benign, breathtaking spectacle of the North Cape and the stunning visual smorgasbord that is summertime Norway, the amazing Arctic will enchant, entrance and amaze you by turn. And at the end of the day, isn't that exactly what a true voyage of discovery should do?