As I sit here in flip-flops reading about snowfall in the UK, I can’t help but feel whimsical. While we Brits love to share photos of our adventures in sunnier climes, at home, we’re also blessed with four distinct seasons.
The bright yellow of daffodils come early spring, the long summer evenings of barbecue season in London, the brilliant oranges of autumn on riverside walks and finally, the snow (albeit only a few centimetres of sleet in an average year).
Like most regions around the equator, Central America fluctuates between warm and hot. Dawns and dusks are beautiful but hardly vary in their timings. Rain is frequent and relatively unpredictable both in dry and wet season. And so hearing about the fact that schools have shut, trains are cancelled and the skies are an oppressive slate grey in the UK, has given me an odd feeling of nostalgia. Right now, somewhat ridiculously, I’m sitting here wishing to be part of the snowy chaos.
To snap myself out of this mellow mood, I’ve been remembering times on my travels when I’ve not only noticed the changing of the seasons, but also taken time to enjoy it.
Spring in Wales
In the country where I grew up, there’s a lot to look forward to in Spring. As well as the blooming of the first daffodils, we all get ready to enjoy the annual Rugby Six Nations tournament. Pubs get busier, the nights draw out just ever so slightly and schools celebrate St David’s Day by putting on eisteddfods. It’s my favourite time of year in Wales because beach walks are often sunny and brisk, without the inevitable disappointment of the summer rains!
Summer in Macedonia
The long summer nights throughout European countries should never be taken for granted. However, one of the best places that I’ve ever enjoyed the long dusk is from the terraces above Macedonia’s medieval town of Ohrid. The afternoon’s heat lingers for a long time after sun-down and I loved sipping my glass of wine while watching the dusk. Such a gradual decrease in daylight was barely noticeable until, suddenly, the lights of the harbour promenade flicked on to signal that it was time for dinner.
Autumn in Canberra
As I look back through my photos from Canberra, all of them fit clearly into one of the four seasons. It’s the best place in this vast country to experience a very traditional year. It doesn’t have the disadvantages of Melbourne’s winter rain or Cairns’ piercing humidity. Instead, it has crisp winter mornings, warm and green springs, hot picnic-perfect summers and the most beautiful autumns. A highlight of my three Canberra Autumns was cycling around the lake over a period of weeks at the trees changed from their leafy greens into their bare winter silhouettes.
Winter in Siberia
Winter in Siberia is about as wintery as you can get. Far from instilling fear and creating chaos in its wake, snow in this part of the world is embraced to its fullest. From ice sculptures in Irkutsk to dog sledding around Lake Baikal, life doesn’t just carry on as normal during winter snows, it positively flourishes. Of course with temperatures hovering around -20 most winters, for us novices it’s not all rosy. During my time there I rarely got out of my ski gear and really struggled to walk along some of the icier roads in normal hiking boots. That said, the hot stews, dog sledding and icy sunsets more than made up for these frustrations.
What’s your favourite season in the countries that you have visited?