Ten Of The Coldest Countries In The World

Ten Of The Coldest Countries In The World

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” —Robert Frost

I‘ve lived in Southern California for a long time. I do not do cold very well. Neither does my body. I have a weird autoimmune thing where my fingers and toes turn blue very quickly from cold resulting in circulation problems.  I don’t usually consider very cold trips, but there are some places i will have to go. The places on this list are cold. They have some beautiful white scenery. They are amazing countries. The only thing is – it is very, very cold.

Antarctica is the coldest country in the world. It is the Northernmost place on planet earth and gets little to no sun all year round. There are no native human Antarcticans. Nobody conquered anybody and it really was discovered. People who travel to Antarctica are tourists or they work on scientific research stations. No one actually lives in Antarctica the way they do in the rest of the world. If you want to go to Antartica on your own without a tour, you need permission from your government and you have to show how you will have no environmental impact. It is an environmentally sensitive place. The last  flight out of the South Pole is in February and there is not another one till November so plan your trip accordingly.

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Greenland is the  world’s largest island located  between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.  When you hear the word Arctic you know it is cold. Eighty percent of the island is covered in ice. the other twenty per cent is inhabitable. Greenland has an Arctic Tundra that is being affected by climate change. so you might want to see it soon.  Tundras are among the earth’s harshest landscapes. If you’ve missed the Northern Lights, you can see them here three hundred days a year. Icebergs are visible everywhere.  They do have a short  summer season. People live in Greenland. There are flights from Iceland, Denmark and Canada which are other cold countries.

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Iceland. Take a look at the name. The country is cold. Iceland is a road trip and best done in summer. If you are thinking of road tripping in the winter in the snow, I hope you are in a four-wheel drive. Seat warmers are a good thing. Iceland is one big photo-op so be prepared to take a lot of pictures. Also Icelanders love ice cream.

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Russia. Parts of Russia are very cold-like Siberia.The world’s coldest city is Yakutsk, located in Yakutia a republic in Siberia. I can not go there because if you wear glasses outside the metal will freeze to your cheek making them difficult to remove without taking out part of your face. Five to ten minutes a day outside in winter can cause pain. Clothing for maximum warmth is fur. It is expensive but it’s a good investment in your future of not freezing to death. If you drive to work, you will need to run your engine all day.  Winter lasts about seven months. This doesn’t sound like a trip for everyone.

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Kazakhstan. The best time to travel to Kazakhstan  is not in the cold biting winter. It would not be my personal choice. The danger in winter is frostbite and stupidity. Things fall on your head – ice slides off a roof, large icicles drop from branches trees fall.  Stay away from narrow slippery streets. You will never dress right – no matter how much clothing you wear. You will be too hot inside or too cold outside.You cannot predict it.

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Canada. Parts of Canada are effing freezing. (I’m running out of cold adjectives.) Winnipeg, Manitoba has the coldest winter weather of any major Canadian city. It ranks first for the lowest average temperatures. Snag Yukon is the coldest city in North America. Canada is frigid dark and cold in the winter. You will have no trouble getting into restaurants, museums and events  because most people are home. It is beautiful in the summer.

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USA. Alaska is one of our states. Weather in Alaska in the winter is cold and dark. Days are short to very short, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t skiing, dog sledding,  ice skating and viewing the Northern lights. They are big on winter festivals and hotels and tours are fifty per cent off. Do you know why? because it is cold, cold, cold. It’s not deadly cold like some other places. But cold enough to wear a heated jacket and carry a supply of handwarmers.

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Finland is close to the Arctic Ocean and the Northern winds bring the cold. It is one of the  northernmost places in the world with a population.The cold does not disrupt their life. They have well heated houses, cars, saunas and food. Lapland doesn’t get any light from December to mid January. Lapland is the official home of Santa Claus so of course it is cold. Santa never looks cold. 

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Estonia is the most northern of the Baltic countries and has very cold winters. It’s always below  freezing and snowing with plenty of cold air coming in from Russia. The best time to visit Estonia is not winter.

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The capital of Mongolia which is Ulaanbaatar, is described as the coldest capital city in the world. It is cold from October through April. No other capital city demands as much tolerance, fortitude, and strength from its citizens than Ulaanbaatar does. I guess the next time you are cold, it could be worse, you could be living in Ulaanbaatar.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-8-17-19-pmNone of these beautiful winter photos were taken by me.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Things That I Have Learned In Helsinki, Finland

Things That I Have Learned in Helsinki, Finland

“Countries are like people: by their very existence they exalt or deflate the opinions one would like to have of themselves. When I return from Finland, I feel younger and livelier; I make great plans, I like many things in the world and, what is more, I like myself a little better.” George Duhamel

Helsinki is one of the coldest cities in the world.  It does not receive sunshine for about fifty  consecutive  days in winters. The city has around a hundred average  days of snow and a hundred and seventy days of below freezing weather. (not winter)

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Helsinki has many heavy metal bands. They even have them for kids. You are never too young to rupture your eardrums.

You can take the ferry from Talinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland.

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Helsinki’s has one hundred kilometres of coast and over three hundred islands of which many are accessible for recreational use. You can take a ferry to Suomenlinna which has one of the world’s largest maritime fortresses. The islands of Pihlajasaari and Uunisaari are good for beaches and sauna.  You can go to Seurasaari Open Air Museum, or the Helsinki Zoo which is located on an island called Korkeasaari.

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There are around 2.2 million saunas in Finland – 1 for every 2.5 people. Visiting the sauna is as normal to a Finn, as going to the pub is to a Brit.

A Finnish sauna is taken naked. Wearing clothes in the sauna is a big faux pas. A bathing suit counts as clothes. It’s normal to go in with groups of friends or family, drink beer and even grill sausages on the fire.

The Sibelius monument, designed by Eila Hiltunen, is dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which was made public on 7th September, 1967. It is made up of 600 steel pipes, plastered together in the shape of wave.

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Helsinki has the highest cellphone-to-resident ratios in the world. This is odd because the people don’t appear to be that talkative. Maybe it is not so odd because the world’s leading manufacturer of cell phones, Nokia, is based in Finland. Nokia used to make rubber boots. I see the similarity (?)

The amount  that you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn. I heard that the CEO of Nokia had some really expensive speeding ticket.

The Design Museum of Helsinki has a permanent collection of over 75,000 pieces. It is Finnish design from the nineteenth century to the present. I have always been a fan of Industrial Finnish design of the fifties and sixties and so i spent many  hours there.

In 1952, the 15th Summer Olympic Games were held in Helsinki. They proved to be a milestone in the city’s history as they led to further urbanization and development of the city.

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There are more women than men in Finland.

Finnish food is simple, local and organic. Being so close to Russia (we took the train to St Petersburg) there is always meat and potatoes. Meat is served well done, with blood or with a lot of blood.  There is always fish because of all the lakes, rivers and the sea, Whitefish, herring and salmon are popular. I had hot smoked salmon which was weirdly delicious – so was reindeer. (Sorry Rudolph fans)

Helsinki was originally Helsinkflors which is Swedish (and apparently so were they for a time –and  then they were Russian).

Swedish is also an official language in Finland. Linguistically Finnish is closer to Hungarian than Swedish. Signs are indecipherable – don’t even try.

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Helsinki enjoys long days of almost 19 hours during summers. Conversely, during winters, the nights are longer with almost 18 hours of darkness. ( summer in Helsinki)

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One of my favorite modern art museums is the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art. It is not just an art but a spatial experience.

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Helsinki has a huge bunny rabbit problem. Very little happens in Finland which is how I know about the bunny problem. They report it a lot on the news.

The Church of the Rock was designed by the two brothers, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. They started their work in 1968 by exploding a rocky outcrop, which was developed as an underground church with a copper wire ceiling in 1969. From the aerial view it appears as if a UFO has collided with the ground.

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Finns can drink. Don’t try to keep up.  Alcohol is a food group here. Finns have long life spans unless they die of alcohol poisoning or related accidents. They will pee anywhere when they are drunk- which is why a city which such clean air can often smell bad in the morning.

Try not to mention architect Aalvar Aalto and composer Jan Sibelius when speaking about famous Finns. At least say you have heard of Esa Pekka Salonen. (being that he conducted the LA Philharmonic –I’m good)

Finns say hei for hello. It’s not rude – it’s friendly.

Oct 13 is failure day –a day to share your failure stories and learn from them. I have a lot of those days.

Because of the presence of buildings resembling St. Petersburg, many Hollywood films were shot in Helsinki, for instance, The Kremlin Letter, Reds, and Gorky Park. The city offers some picturesque streets that are reminiscent of old Leningrad’s and Moscow’s ancient buildings. (Helsinki Cathedral)

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The Molotov cocktail was a Finnish invention during World War II and was used against the Russians. The Russian foreign minister Molotov claimed that the bombs they sent to Finland were food rations. So the Finns sent back a “cocktail” to go with the food.

Turvallista matkaa!,

JAZ