Page 3 of Crannster Travel Blog Posts


North America » Canada » Nunavut » Resolute Bay July 5th 2017

There are two kinds of Arctic problems, the imaginary and the real. Of the two, the imaginary are the most real. Vilhjalmur Stefansson. I have become quite familiar with Yellowknife airport. It is a small, single terminal, three-gate affair, with a nice coffee bar called Javarama. I also know Pete, the guy at the desk. And Sarah, and Kevin. Much of our five days in Yellowknife were consumed by dealing with flight cancellations and delays, switching airlines and re-handling our massive amounts of freight. I have even started calling the airport by its international three-letter code now ‘YZF’. It’s just what happens I guess? However, as the expression alludes to, ‘good things come to those who wait’. The eight of us eventually boarded a Buffalo Airways,1938, Douglas DC-3. This vintage aircraft took us into Canada’s high ... read more
Douglass DC-3
DC-3
Ed Force Three

Europe » Russia » Far East » Vladivostok March 12th 2017

Дoбpый дeнь (Dobri dyen) Good day. Education is light. The lack of it is darkness. Russian Proverb. The Provodnitsa (attendant) is the boss. She’ll ensure that all will be well and that all will comply. Resistance is futile. She must be obeyed… Our favourite Provodnitsa was during our first-class train trip from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. She was our travel mom, our carriage attendant, she checked on us, gave us food and towels. She even told Theresa to get her shoes off the bed, keeping with the standards of first class travel and first class riders. Behave or be disciplined. And never stare her in the eyes! Riding first class is the way to go. We had our own comfortable cabin for our train rides as we trundled across Siberia. Many an hour was spent looking out ... read more
Big guns
Decemberists Museum
Crumbling sidewalks

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk February 28th 2017

Firstly, Irkutsk (Иpкyтcк) is not to be confused with Yakutsk (Якyтcк). Irkutsk (south of Yakutsk), a vibrant, artsy city dotted with beautiful and fun sculptures was where we spent a lot of our time wandering along the waterfront admiring the Angara River. The city told a story of shiny, golden-domed cathedrals, glittering marble buildings and collapsing wooden houses that were being consumed by permafrost deterioration. Fishermen lined the river banks, while young cadets marched by the war memorial. Vibrant outdoor markets pulsed in the city centre. As we prepared to order food in Russian at the fashionable Irish Pub in the flashy, yet unimaginatively named, 130-Kvartal Neighbourhood, we were pleasantly surprised as to the waiter’s English-speaking ability, and the English menu that he presented to us after he heard us struggling with what to say in ... read more
Fishing on the Angara River. Irkutsk.
Irkutsk
Baikal Ice

Europe » Russia » Far East » Yakutsk February 21st 2017

"You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold" A seven hour overnight flight and a six hour time difference from Moscow is the Far Eastern city of Yakutsk, in Russia’s Sakha Republic. Yakutsk (Якyтcк) is a city of quarter of a million people, and is the coldest city in the world, regularly dipping below minus 50ºC in the winter (occasionally below minus 60ºC). It was, however, a relatively mild minus 37ºC or so for most of the time we were there. The cold felt very comfortable actually, due to the fact that we were prepared for it and there was no wind (unlike a brutal arctic northwesterly back home in Churchill). We were bundled up in many layers of down and fleece, we donned mighty mittens, clumsy boots and thick woolly hats. ... read more
The Lena Pillars
Walking the Lena
The Mighty Lena

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow February 16th 2017

"Follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park, listen to the wind of change." Opening lyrics 'Wind of Change' by The Scorpions Finally making it to Russia (Рoccия), we enjoyed Moscow (Москва) during their quiet season. Some snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures meant for short line-ups and few tourists. The joys of travelling at these times. Our home base was near to the core of the city where we enjoyed the beautiful Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral and the mighty Kremlin. Wandering the Kremlin grounds was awe-inspiring. Cathedrals, statues, big bells and big cannons. And don’t forget the golden onions! Incredible riches of Russia's imperial past sit in secure display cases inside the Kremlin walls. The armoury houses thousands of priceless golden pieces, bejewelled with diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. The collection is so sickly overwhelming ... read more
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
Changing of the Guard
Tsar Bell

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin February 11th 2017

"When the power of love is greater than the love of power, the world will be a better place." Anonymous. After a flight across the Atlantic and quick family visit to the United Kingdom, we took another flight over the North Sea, to Berlin. It was a busy time in the bustling German Capital, and we had to bounce from hotel to hotel due to a government event, a farm exhibition, and film festival - it was really tough to find a room, we persisted, and eventually we found a gem for a steal of a deal. Separated by Concrete We don't know for sure, but we reckon the concept of a wall was conceived at a time prior to the taming of fire, and certainly millennia before the first wheel rotated. Wall building is certainly ... read more
View of Berlin
Checkpoint Charlie
Cold War Propaganda

Antarctica » Antarctica January 22nd 2017

If you have never been at sea in a heavy gale, you can form no idea of the confusion of mind occasioned by wind and spray together. They blind, deafen, and strangle you, and take away all power of action or reflection. Edgar Allen Poe. Coffee with Joan - Ushuaia, Argentina One of my favourite books about the early explorers of the Antarctic is ‘The Storied Ice.’ It’s an easy-to-read book with accounts of many different explorers that ventured south during the age of exploration during the turn of the twentieth century. The expeditions of Adrien de Gerlache in the Belgica, Jean Francois Charcot and the Porquoi Pas, and the epic race to the South Pole between the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen and the British, Captain Scott. It’s a great book, one that I use as a ... read more
St Andrew's Madness
Cuverville Island
The Bayard and the Ellies.

Antarctica » Antarctica December 31st 2016

The Kappa, Gamma, Lambda Dilemma… “Why then do we feel this strange attraction for these polar regions, a feeling so powerful and lasting, that when we return home we forget the mental and physical hardships, and want nothing more to return to them? Why are we so susceptible to the charm of these landscapes when they are so empty and terrifying?” Jean-Baptiste Charcot , Towards the South Pole aboard the Francais. The Ocean Endeavour has taken me on three short, nine-day trips to the Antarctic Peninsula and back and has ventured into some incredible territory … It is always a bonus to go somewhere relatively unexplored – the rewards are many and the sights are awe inspiring and emotional. We saw a few emperor penguins in the depths of Wilhelmina Bay and some big pods of ... read more
The Sea Ice
As far as we can go
Checking the Ice

South America » South Georgia » South Georgia December 13th 2016

“The inner part of the country was not less savage and horrible: the wild rocks raised their lofty summits till they were lost in the clouds and the valleys laid buried in everlasting snow. Not a tree or shrub was to be seen, no not even big enough to make a tooth-pick.” Captain James Cook, 1777 Mt Brown overlooks the administrative capital of King Edward Point and the old whaling station of Grytviken. Hiking to the summit was my first venture into the interior - it is a stunning place! The flat areas are really wet and swampy, the hills are steep and rocky – it’s a harsh environment. The view from the windy summit was superb – I was surrounded by a tangle of rugged glaciated peaks, deep valleys and fjord systems. Ah! South Georgia… ... read more
Standing Proud
St Andrew's Colony
A time for Reflection

South America » Falkland Islands » East Falkland November 23rd 2016

The Britishness of the Falkland Islands is very apparent - the islanders are British and are proud to be flying Her Majesty’s flag. The streets of Stanley are abuzz with Landrovers and Ford Transits and have a very British look with the terraced houses and well-groomed gardens. I was in my element in the FIC (the local supermarket) with its loaded shelves of penguin biscuits, Ambrosia rice pudding, and other sweet goodies that are typically only available on British soil… I marched out of the store with an open packet of Galaxy Minstrels, I sat by the public jetty in Stanley’s large natural harbour and consumed them, then went to the pub for some pub-grub - fish and chips. I’ve also squirreled away many treats for the wild sea days that lie ahead of us. There ... read more
Black-browed
Colony on Saunder's Island
Resting




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