From picturesque walks in the Turkish countryside to death-defying white-water rafting (without a raft) in Finland, we’ve discovered a wonderful collection of travel posts published in December.
On Travel Unpacked, Gordon Lethbridge tells how he joined a bunch of adventurous locals in what I can only describe as utter madness. “On previous visits to Finland in winter I had seen the craziness of the Finns. They carve a swimming pool out of ice and then have races in it wearing a woolly ensemble of hat, gloves and socks with their Speedos. They plunge naked into freezing lakes or roll about in the snow in the buff after a sauna. Now I was joining a bunch of Finnish crazies who were about to voluntarily jump into a river fully clothed in the middle of a Nordic winter.” Did he survive in one piece. Read My Finnish Madness to find out. Follow Gordon on Twitter @Lethers
Anita MacKinnon had a different kind of adventure beneath the waves of the Caribbean Sea. The most memorable day of her recent visit to Barbados was when she had the opportunity to swim with turtles. “They are magnificent. Slowly, first one, then another … big prehistoric looking turtles started swimming our way … At one stage, I felt like I was surfing a turtle as he swam right under me and started to rise towards the surface.” If you are thinking of making this experience your own, Anita covers all the practicalities in a separate post about swimming with turtles in Barbados. Follow Anita on Twitter @wheretogoAM
For more great underwater photography, check out photography student Suzy Walker’s stunning images on her post Best Photos 2012, a collection of her images taken at numerous locations around the world. If I had to pick a favourite it would be her shot of a clown fish, which Suzy titled Operatic Nemo. “This little guy looked like he was singing an aria for me (in deep baritone),” she writes. Follow Suzy on Twitter @scuba_suzy
Back on dry land, Walking into December, on the blog Back to Bodrum, gives a fleeting glimpse of life in the Turkish countryside as it changes with the seasons along the author’s favourite local walk. “The route never gets monotonous. Last month, the fields were still brown and frazzled, last week they were busy with tractors ploughing and bee hives being unloaded and this week, everyone is out picking olives.” This is a fascinating portrait of a Bodrum that will be unfamiliar to the thousands of tourists that descend on the resort each summer.
There have been some great posts about Christmas celebrations around the world. I particularly enjoyed Jeff Titelius’ In Search of Christmas: Celebrating Italian Christmas Traditions. As well as outlining the main traditions of the season including the tale of La Befana, the good Christmas witch, he also covers where to find the loveliest presepi (Nativity scenes) and the best Christmas markets. Follow Jeff on Twitter @EuroTravelogue
I’m sure 2013 will see many more travellers set off on their own journeys of discovery, blogging as they go. If you spot any captivating stories or stunning photographs from independent travel bloggers, please share them by commenting below or by sending me a tweet @travelwithkat using the hashtag #greattravelposts.