- Category: Experts
- Author: Francis Tran
The Frozen Pleasures of Winter Wanderers
While writing about winter travelling, I kept returning to one question: What is it that draws tourists to the snowy parts of the world? The sun shines in southern Spain, where margaritas are served year-round. On the island of Saint Barthélemy, the record low temperature is 18.5°C (or 65.3 °F). Yet, year after year, crowds of tourists head north for the holidays season, looking for icy lakes and wind chill, tossing their migration instinct out the window. Apparently there is charm to the snow on the ground.
Sure, it’s fun being in the sun! I’ve written recently on this blog about Saint Barthélemy, Barbados, Marbella and Ibiza. For those of us from the cold parts of the world, the sandy beach and the swimsuits present an escape.
While many of us shudder at the thought of being outside in the cold for more than five minutes, some fully embrace the frosty charm and sips of hot chocolate. Friends of mine who live in cities on the Canadian Great Lakes own cottages in even more northern regions, often going away for weeks into the snowy remote regions.
I find that this quote from Richard Adams’ children’s novel Watership Down addresses the nature of cold attraction: “Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. For them there is no winter food problem. They have fires and warm clothes. The winter cannot hurt them and therefore increases their sense of cleverness and security.”
Perhaps it is that! We love winter because we feel strong surviving and thriving in the cold. We are blessed with the ability to find celebration in desolation and warmth in the chill.
I have previously written on the winter wonderland of Prague, where people keep warm sipping mulled wine in Christmas markets. The tradition of Christmas markets is also prevalent Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, drawing tourists to the warm attractions of its frozen scenes.
For many the best way to deal with the cold is to just go outside and embrace the weather. If you feel this way, regions such as the Swiss Alps are perfect for you, where you can relax by a hot fire, sipping a liqueur, after a day of skiing or hiking in the mountains.
Another good reason to embrace the cold is simply its beauty. From aurora lights in Northern Canada to majestic highlands castles in the snow, winter puts on a show of natural beauty that can’t be beat. Just take a look at Whistler, B.C., a poster child for winter tourism, with its fabulous slopes and unbeatable restaurants and nightlife.
So why stay home under the blanket when can stay really warm by the fire of a mountain chalet, warmed also by your memories of cold adventures? So tell me, are you a winter person?