Posts Tagged ‘topdeck travel bucket list’

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 29!

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

29. Cross the Arctic Circle and see the Midnight Sun

What would you do if you have a few extra hours of sunlight each day? Would you be motivated to make the most of it and do some late-night exercise, socialise with friends or just enjoy the outdoors? Well, what if the sun never set and you had 24 hours of sunlight each day for a couple of months? For those who live in parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, the United States and Canada that are above the Arctic Circle, days that are full of sunlight are not so uncommon.

Before jumping straight into the phenomenon that is the Midnight Sun, let’s talk ‘Arctic Circle’. The Arctic Circle is one of Earth’s major circles of latitude in which the area northward will have the sun above or below the horizon for a continuous 24 hours at least once a year. This area north of the Circle is known as the Arctic and it’s generally a pretty cold place to be with the lowest recorded temperature hitting a cosy -68 °C! Brrrrr!

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the Arctic is not a very populated area of the world. Some of the most inhabited areas belong to Russia, with around 500,000+ Russians calling the Arctic home.

The Midnight Sun is a spectacle that many people from around the world travel to see as it’s something that is so strange and incomprehensible. As the Earth has a slightly tilted axis, during summer the North Pole faces the sun and creates lengthy periods of sunlight. On the contrary, during winter there are extended periods of darkness.

The North Cape, or Nordkapp, in Norway is one of the more popular spots for travellers to go and see the midnight sun as it’s the most northern point in Europe and has around 76 days of midnight sun per year. That’s approximately 1,824 hours of continuous sunlight over a 2-3 month period! Norway provides an incredible backdrop for the Midnight Sun and all-day sunlight with picturesque mountains and fjords, amazing ocean views and beautiful fields of tundra.

It may be difficult for some to cope with days full of sunlight, but if a truly unique experience is what you’re after then crossing the Arctic Circle and seeing the Midnight Sun has to be on your list!

Topdeck Top Tip: Sunlight is a powerful thing! It is known that travellers to the Arctic Circle during summer can feel as though they have more energy and need less sleep. Before you go, prepare yourself for a change in your body-clock and get ready to make the most of the additional hours of sunlight.

5 tips for photographing the Midnight Sun via

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 28!

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

28. See the Sagrada Familia before it’s finished

Have you ever started a work project, school or University assignment that just seemed to take forever to complete? Well… this one trumps all!

Described as the Bible written in stone, built by ‘God’s architect’ Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain is an important monument in the religious community and is an incredibly amazing architectural masterpiece. As the most visited monument in Spain and the third most valuable monument in Europe, the Sagrada Familia is not only an incredible architectural masterpiece but is a vital part of Spain’s tourism, attracting around 2.8 millions visitors each year.

It’s fair to say that it’s one impressive landmark… and it’s not even complete!

Paid for entirely by public donations, combined with the intricacy of the detail and features, plus a Civil War, it’s no wonder it’s taken over 100 years to build! Construction officially began in 1882 and the acclaimed Gaudi dedicated over 40 years of his life to the structure, which was only a quarter complete at the time of his unfortunate death.

Gaudi was an architect said to be well ahead of his time, introducing a new style of design that had not been seen before. Many of Gaudi’s most famous works can also be found in Barcelona, including the heritage listed Casa Batlló and the Park Güell.

Photo courtesy of

The Church, declared a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2010, has three façades: Nativity, Passion and Glory, each having strong Christian themes.

Nativity: The only façade to be completed by Gaudi, it represents a celebration of the birth of Jesus and is also referred to as the façade of Joy, Life and Christmas.

Passion: As the name suggests, this façade is designed by Gaudi to represent the passion of Jesus, his last days, death, and sacrifice. Facing the west, this part of the Church receives the last sunlight, creating an eerie effect that is well worth watching if given the opportunity.

Glory: Signifying the creation and glory of man, his origins, his problems, the roads he must take and his purpose. Still under construction, this will be the main entrance to the Church when completed.

During the 1936 Spanish Civil War many of Gaudi’s plans and models were destroyed or damaged leaving a difficult job for current architects to piece together information from photographs of the plans. Consequently, there is criticism that the modern construction is of a style dissimilar to Gaudi’s vision. Nevertheless, work continues and the President of the Sagrada Família Trust, Joan Rigol, has announced that the landmark may be entirely complete by 2026, almost 150 years after work began on the site in 1882 and a century after Gaudi’s death.

If you’re one for memorable life experiences, there’s no question that Sagrada Familia should be on your own personal travel list. To go down in history as one of the greatest architectural works, combined with the story behind it’s development and construction, it’s an experience that you will look back on in awe and amazement and be delighted to say, “I’ve been there!”.

Topdeck Top Tip: For visitors to Sagrada Familia, don’t just stop at entering the Church. If given the time, make your way to the incredible tombs below where Gaudi is buried. You can then make your way to the top to enjoy incredible views over Barcelona!

Sagrada Familiar video journey: An incredible video taking you on a journey outside and inside the Sagrada Familia

Virtual Tour: Go on a virtual tour throughout many parts of the Church and get a taste of it’s awesomeness!