The Artisan Blog
At the beginning of May, I was lucky enough to experience our small-ship cruise on the Aegean Sea. The cruise itself was unbelievable and it allowed me to travel to some wonderful Greek Islands. Certainly, an experience I’ll remember and cherish for years to come!
Unlike traditional cruises, a small-ship cruise focuses on the destination, not the journey, but one of the highlights of this trip for me was having time pre-and post-cruise to explore the ancient city of Athens. So, I thought I’d share some of my highlights, hints and tips!
As we drifted leisurely past a tiny Greek island and the sun shone down on the water, small diamond-like sparkles seem to bubble on the surface. It was one of those moments when I thought for the millionth time… ‘I absolutely love my job!’
After a dreary and damp UK winter, I was thrilled to learn that my next work trip was going to be sampling our new holiday - Small-ship cruise on the Aegean Sea
At this time of year, the sun does not set in Northern Norway. Whilst slightly disorientating at first, I soon came to really enjoy the never-ending days and the opportunities this opened. In this time of the Midnight Sun, Norwegians sleep less – they fish, they kayak, they BBQ, they island hop – more daylight means more time to enjoy the splendours of the land and socialise until the early hours.
At around 11.30pm the sun dips toward, but never quite reaches, the horizon. The Norwegian fjords and mountains are bathed in a pinkish golden glow and the scenery looks all the more idyllic, exuding a sense of warmth and serenity. As strange as it sounds, one of my favourite things to do was to simply sit on the water’s edge and enjoy the colours of the light.
One of the key highlights of the trip was the chance to spend time on the island of Senja. Having listened to colleagues rave about it for years, it was a place I was eager to see. I can confirm that it does indeed live up to the hype.
It didn’t really occur to me until afterwards, but to see a whale in the wild is truly a magnificent experience.
We were lucky enough to see four sperm whales up close off the coast of Norway (although, as Daniele our guide pointed out to us, your eyes play tricks with you at sea and what feels like 20 metres away is more like 80) and it makes you feel overwhelmingly humbled to witness an animal that has swum in our oceans for more than 5 million years.
The adjective ‘beautiful’ is banned in our office so I have had to delve into my thesaurus to accurately describe what I thought of Norway on my recent stay. Glorious, splendid, gorgeous, lovely and stunning are a good way to start, but perhaps most accurately, my overall thoughts on the parts of Norway we explored were that they were so easy on the eye that it was almost laughable.
Personally, I am not a huge believer in spirituality, for example, I have never experienced people or places having auras or special meanings.
However, when I met Sven Engholm the owner and head Musher at Engholm Husky in Karasjok, I was completely blown away by the sheer presence of this incredible man.
Today is the United Nation's International Day of Happiness and as expected the World Happiness Report 2017 was released. Here at Artisan Travel, we are thrilled to see that Norway was crowned the happiest country on Earth. However, we are actually not very surprised, as we can see why those who live and travel there fall in love with the magic and wonder it beholds.
Here’s why we love Norway!
After a short stay at Brändön Lodge, we continued our journey north and ventured further into the Lappish wilderness. We were heading for a small village called Sörbyn, in Northern Sweden, where we would undertake perhaps the most anticipated activity. Dog sledding conjures up a variety of magical images but nothing quite compares to the reality.
We arrived at the location of our activity in the early afternoon but already the sun had begun its descent casting an orange glow on the surrounding snow. Three teams of dogs lay in wait and the moment they saw us approach they began to realise the time had come for another journey. Never before had I witnessed such excitement amongst dogs. They were eager to set off, climbing on top of one another, barking and trying to pull a sleigh which was anchored into the snow.
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