Just floating like peppermint candies without the red stripe.....

I know that this has made the rounds on the blogs for the past few weeks but I couldn't help but include myself on the list. These amazing icebergs in the Antarctic were photographed by Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen. These striped lines are formed by the little tiny bubbles in the ice that are squeezed out when the ice melts and refreezes. The huge dark lines are when the ice rapidly melts and again rapidly refreezes so no bubbles reform The lines appear blue and as you can tell offer a significant contrast to the white bubbled ice that still exists.
Images via

Comparing Christmas in NY and London

I was stunned at how much London goes all out for Christmas and 2009 is not any different. We have our M&S ads working overtime, our mince pie sales shooting up and the sales start in under two weeks. Recession be darned, we need to compete with that New York extravangenza. This year, I wondered - honestly what city represented more 'holiday cheer'?


NY - Rockefeller Centre: It's one of the biggest frozen ice rinks. You actually have space to skate. But oddly enough there's a huge fountain that still has running water. Shouldn't that be frozen?. There are 'packages' including breakfast skates with Santa. (But if you're into Santa....)

London - Somerset House: You're skating under a heritage building, steps away from the Thames but with loads of privacy. There's a Tiffany's tuck shop where you can get jewellery and champagne. If you're looking for a 'Holly Golightly experience' this could be a dream for you.

London wins - it just seems classier and a little bit more personal (maybe it's the word 'tuck' that has me convinced)


London - Oxford Street: Every year, a movie sponsors the street and the lighting is just crazy. However at either end the lighting is representative of the movie (This year it's Jim Carrey's a Christmas Carol). The street is crowded (except for this weekend when they close it down to traffic) but definitely decked out. Big bobbles, men in stilts and Santa walk down the street. It's actually kinda creepy.

New York - Bloomingdales/Macys/Saks Fifth Avenue: So there isn't a street of lights, but each of these department stores deck out their window displays. From snowflakes to fashion to just a lot of brands in a festive environment - the shop keeps you warm while you shop (and there's no need to go to another store). It's pretty isolated but really don't you just want to quickly finish your shopping (if you have to do any) so you can have fun doing all your holiday traditions.

New York wins - because they clearly have dealt with tourist crowds by having malls. No going outside in the miserable rain. No double decker buses to run into you when you're trying to get between Topshop and H&M. And it's actually less commercial (no sponsorship of an entire street!)


London - Trafalgar Square: Lit by the Norwegian Prime Minister (as Norway gives the city the tree as thanks for WWII). Between the plinths of the great warriors (not very Christmassy), it is one of the tourist centres of London. But the tree does get lost as it doesn't have too many lights and Norwegian pine is taller rather than broad.

New York - Rockefeller Centre: The tree is absolutely massive. It's beautifully lit in golds and really the lighting process itself is a production. Aretha Franklin this year - ok I'll see her! But again with Rockefeller - shouldn't they mix it up a bit - spread the tourists out....?

London wins: Because Christmas is about giving, and that's how we got the tree.

So in this comparison - London wins. I probably would have said that before I started. It may be a personal bias (I do live in London). Thoughts, additions to the comparison?

Image of 'Skate at Somerset House' via


I want to go to there

Currently it's grey, wet and dark in London. I was dreaming of long summer days and colour when I ran across this old photo of Amsterdam. I want to go to there. Photo by he says.


it won't be a metal detector that you need

Over 23 years later - people are touring the biggest nuclear disaster...
In April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, near Pripyat exploded. Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout over large parts of Russia and Europe. It meant over 300,00 people had to be evacuated and quickly. The town of Pripyat was completely emptied within a few days and they were ordered to bring only minimal clothing. A concrete temporary sarcophagus covers the plant and the land surrounding the area is inhabitable for humans. Pripyat is still considered radioactive.

Curious on what probably the most recent ghost town looks like? Well you can now take a radioactive tour of Pripyat and watch it be reclaimed by nature. Given a radioactive device and some very knowledgeable guides, wander this city and wonder how quickly nature would reclaim yours.
Ecological tours are based from Kiev (an easy flight from most major airports in Europe). You must be registered to visit the area - so make sure you have all your IDs, visas and papers in order (and with you!)
One last remark - some people still had to live here after the disaster to deal with the situation. There were no lights, no humans, no running water and everything you ate was imported. But for a while - you could still swim in the pool. That water can't have been healthy - unless chlorine really does kill everything.
Images via


the necessary evil, an introduction.

he says, she says is a travel blog. Written from a male (L2) and female (Shannon) perspective (and a few others who succumb to my pleas for help), this blog hopes to provide some insight, some fun and some ideas about how, where and why you should travel.

Taking inspiration from design blogs (and a few social ones too!), I hope that you enjoy posts by those who occasionally travel, those who aspire to and those who make travelling their life.

Photo by 'he says' on our recent sojourn to Italy - the beautiful tuscan fog. Please just ask us if you want to grab any pictures from the blog.