First day of the week and Monday blues had already kicked in early in the morning. One of the worst things to add to a manic Monday is the fact that there weren’t any autos plying on the road. Auto strike seems to be a once in a Month occurrence, pretty much like a regular feature of the buzz of this City that never sleeps… Having said that, one of the best part about such days is the chilled beer at the end of it all, especially when it’s with one of your best friends talking about the long lost journeys and travel tales from our past… most importantly planning out some future trips.
Over a couple of hours of regular small talks and nostalgia that we shared of our travels, he casually mentioned that his brother in law is planning to visit the Northern Lights, (Aurora Borealis) and with the same casual tone he mentioned that we should join him too…
Now imagine me, the traveler that I am, this, for me is certainly an enthralling proposition… And yes, that is where we stop running our imaginations wild and mentally start preparing for the trip… As a travel writer, the first thing that comes to my mind is, what are all the things that I’d require to take along with me to make this trip, one of it’s kind. Very few people are lucky enough to visit the land of the Northern Lights, and luckier are those who get to view the enchanting sighting after long hard days sometimes weeks of waiting… Whether the plan materializes now or later, this place is one on my bucket list for sure. A holiday worth taking, an opportunity that’s certainly not to be missed! Not in my book, sir, no… never. :)
Now a lot has been written and a lot has been captured about the amazing sights of the beauty that lies at the far end of the world… One of the most amazing and enchanting things about what I’ve heard and the stories that are told out here is the fact that one has to wait there, pitching a tent for days and sometimes more than a week to be able to sight the phenomenon. While there is a lot of patience that is required and it certainly tests you, ultimately the sight of the Northern Lights at the end of your long haul wait is something you’ll never forget.
For those who haven’t heard of it yet, here’s a little bit on what ‘Northern Lights’ and Aurora Borealis is all about. An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude Arctic and Antarctic. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from farther away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction. Interestingly ancient ancestors believed the Northern Lights were variously the reflections of dead maidens, the spirits of the dead, swans caught in ice, a terrifying force which killed those who mocked it and an omen of war or disaster. While it actually is caused when solar particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere emitting burning gases which create the light. The colours are created by the different gases.
Where can you see it?
Generally, the oval rotates with the sun, and it may grow and shrink in size considerably in only a matter of hours. The most spectacular displays occur in the northern parts of the following areas: the Nordic countries (including all of Greenland and Svalbard), Alaska, Canada and Russia.
Northern Norway is a particularly good spot for sightings.
When to get here?
Displays of the lights are notoriously unpredictable and cannot be forecast in advance. In the northern hemisphere, the aurora season runs from late September/early October to late March. The lights may be seen at any time during this period, but late autumn and early spring tend to be the best bets.
In my book, this place is a must visit and certainly deserves one of the top spots on my list.