The sun is special during the winter time at the polar circle. First and foremost because it is scarce. Depending on the latitude our home star even disappears for a couple of months and the world remains dark. Slowly the sun raises again every day a little bit more, shy in the beginning it dares going higher with the weeks passing by. In this time of the year the few hours of daylight are encompassed with a very particular light and it provides little warmth in a bitterly cold and hostile (though beautiful) environment.
When flying from Bangkok to Southern Thailand you notice some changes immediately after leaving the airplane. The Thai capital is not exactly known for cool temperatures, but soon you learn the difference between hot and tropical hot. It is not the temperature itself though but the high humidity that makes the largest difference. Some of our electrical equipment actually could not cope with these conditions and I got some droplets of water in the back camera of my iPhone. Not because I went swimming with the device but solely coming from the extreme humidity.
Also there are tropical rain showers awaiting you, these are definitely different than rain in Europe. Of course it depends on the season; there are two basically, the raining season and the dry season. Although coming into the dry season it can occasionally rain as well. Mostly it happens in the evening when the high humidity rises up and discharges in the atmosphere, thus creating heavy (but fairly quick) rain showers and thunderstorms. Under these conditions the nature is very different then in tempered climate zones, but more diverse then you would think. Of course there is the jungle and exotic animals (picture 6), but also beautiful lagoons and even pine trees. Of course the endless blue sea dominates everything in Southern Thailand and the coast is fascinating itself with rough rock formations and bizarre little islands (pictures 1, 2, 5, 7). Also the tide is surprisingly strong, at some places uncovering the sea floor for many hours during the day (picture 3) and showingcasing a rich biotope of many different kinds of crabs and crustacean.
The city of Thessaloniki is situated at the Gulf of Therma, which is part of the larger Aegean Sea. Sometimes also called Gulf of Salonika or Macedonian Gulf. It is a busy body of water with many transiting container ships. Some impressions from November 2019.
The Lofoten islands are situated far north at the arctic circle in Norway. Actually the name of the archipelago means foot of a lynx in norse and derives from the fractured geography of the islands, which looks somewhat like the limb of an animal. Historically the islands were known for cod fishing. Additionally to local fishermen thousands of men from the main land used to come to these islands in winter for a good catch. They lived in typical red fishermen houses close to the rough sea. (Continuation in part II)
When travelling north to Scandinavia you begin to gather an understanding for the vastness of our planet and how many places there are still without any human population. Nature can roam freely here. Though at the same time the human made infrastructure, being roads, tunnels or even high speed internet, is superb and links even the most far away places to the population centres to the south. The beautiful bridges seem to integrate perfectly in to the nature, but make no mistake nature itself is the undisputed star here.
In relation to other European nations Germany is a big country with some interesting features. While the south of Germany is bordering with the Alps and is in parts quite mountainous, the north is a very different place. Not many know that the country lays ashore not to one large body of water but two. There is the more quiet and enclosed Baltic Sea in the east and the more wide and open Northern Sea in the west. At the shore there are endless sand beaches and many quiet islands to relax with these unique colourful beach chairs. The most interesting feature though is most probably the wadden sea (last three pictures). It is a kind of a muddy place which is flooded twice a day and reaches at some points deep into the sea. The wadden is one of the most diverse bio habitats on earth and home to many micro organisms because it is biologically very rich in nutrients. Also it is home to the sandworm and to many kind of birds.