Oh look, it’s time for a seasonal edition of Wish You Were Here!, my (supposedly, ahem) monthly collection of unique, unusual and beautiful travel-related finds. A scroll-through promises escapism from the stress of Christmas alongside a healthy portion of holiday planning inspiration. So grab another cup of eggnog, kick back and scroll. Enjoy!
1 Monschau in Germany is a picturesque small town 4km across the Belgian border in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. Set on the River Rur, its historical centre is home to preserved 300 years old half-timbered houses. These beautiful photographs are taken by Johannes Höhn.
3 Corbets Couloir ski run in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Where legendary skier Doug Coombs once skied. Photo by Bob Woodall. Found on Nowness.
4 Japan’s lake of ‘frost flowers’. These might look like snowflakes, but they’re a beautiful natural phenomenon called ‘frost flowers’. They’re around 3cm in diameter each and form every winter on Lake Ahan in Hokkaido, Japan when the weather dips below minus 15˚C because a mountain blocks the wind making the conditions perfect for these crystalline structures to exist. Found on My Modern Met.
5 How Christmas crackers are made, circa 1933. Found on the incredible lose-yourself-for-hours-on British Pathe’s You Tube channel.
6 Abandoned checkpoints across Europe. A ghostly reminder of before the European Union, Polish-born photographer Josef Schulzand documents the defunct boundaries of Europe. Josef turns up the nostalgia by ‘subtly blurring the photographs’ backgrounds in post-production to remove them from their original context – which gives them the appearance of being captured in a different era entirely’. Found on It’s Nice That.
7 American eggnog waffles. Recipe found on Smitten Kitchen, here.
8 The annual 200-year-old festival of Els Enfarinats, Spain. Every year on 28 December the town of Ibi in Alicante is the setting for the Day of the Innocents celebrations. Els enfarinats comes from the Valencian word for “breading”, and roughly translates to “the breaded ones” or “the floured ones”. In the day-long festival, participants are known as the Els Enfarinats dress in mock military dress and stage a mock coup d’état. Found on Wikipedia.
9 A Christmas tree made out of fishing catch boxes in England somewhere. Found on Twitter I think!
10 The hill station town of Gulmarg in India in a popular skiing destination. India is considered a warm, tropical country but the northern parts are a “heartland of winter sports in India”. Who knew? Gulmarg is apparently rated Asia’s seventh-best ski destination. Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift. Gulmarg has been the shooting location for many Bollywood films. Found on Wikipedia.
11. The Great Blizzard of 1947, New York, Buried in White. “In December 1947, a huge, historic storm dumped record levels of snow on the northeastern United States. In New York City, where the snow fell quietly, and steadily, for hours and hours, several LIFE photographers stepped out of the magazine’s offices, cameras in hand, and recorded the scene. Here, we remember the Great Blizzard of 1947 with some photos that ran in LIFE, and many others that were never published in the magazine.” Photos via Life Magazine.
12 The narrow gauge railways of Germany’s Harz mountains. For decades, they were locked away behind the Iron Curtain, a minor part of the East German State Railway, the Deutsche Reichsbahn. It’s perhaps a blessing in disguise they were never fully modernised with diesels, otherwise travelling on the Harz railway on a magnificent steam locomotive might not be such a wonderful experience… More information found on Seat 61.