18 January, 2017
breaking the ice.
Ripping off all my taste buds after sticking my tongue to the freezer door (after I skulled scalding hot milo).
Dashing outside to ‘play’ in the hail (this happens, very, very rarely in Sydney).
Mum making her signature drink – ‘the titanic’ – you drown one ice cube in sambuca in a shot glass.
Flailing around like a baby giraffe on the ice skating rink in central park, NYC (it was not romantic or fun, Hollywood is lying to us… I spent majority of my time horizontal with a wet bottom).
So there you have it, some of my memories of ice (yes, I am referring to the ‘h20 type’ of ice, if you are looking for info on the ‘other kind’ of ice… then you are at the wrong site).
Born and raised under Sydney’s sunny skies, I usually only get to experience ice as a Seven Eleven slurpee or when I travel…
Yes, I’ve watched Everest documentaries. Yes, I’ve skied a few times. And yes, I have even been lucky enough to ‘survive’ a winter when I studied in Boston – a place where cars disappeared under piles snow and dogs had to wear little boots on their paws to prevent frost bite.
But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw on my honeymoon (a couple of weeks ago).
For the very first time in my life – I saw a glacier.
Not only did I just see a glacier….but I was lucky enough to trek on it.
With proper clamp on spike, my hubby and I walked onto the Porento Moreno Glacier (located near El Calafate, Argentina).
The glacier was a majestic beast. I felt like it was alive. Breathing. Pulsating. Melted water running through its veins.
What was even more magical is that at the base of this imposing mass of ice was not only an aqua lake but a lush green enchanted forest. I learnt that it is very rare for a glacier to be enveloped by such dense vegetation. Such a juxtaposition.
Not only was it visually striking, but every time a large chunk of ice melted and fell off the majestic beast let out a load roar. I coined the term ‘glunder’ (aka glacier thunder) to describe the unique sound.
(Also, did you know? when a chunk of glacier breaks off to create an iceberg, it is called calving. So a fresh iceberg is called a calf… so cute!!).
Trying to catch a glimpse of the ice snapping off the glacier, reminded me of the times I have been camping and tried to see a shooting star. My eyes frantically darting back and forth. Attempting to focus on one area, but then getting FOMO…fretting that it would be breaking somewhere else. (NB: Don’t forget, light travels faster than sound. So it would break, then the glunder would occur.). Whether it be shooting stars or falling icebergs, the feeling is the same. You just have this sense of hope and anticipation. Time stands still. Your whole body yearns to witness that rare, unpredictable moment that happens extraordinary fast and is completely out of your control. But, when you do witness it, nothing matches that injection of adrenalin. You shout (usually at a high pitch…men included), you point and you jump violently up and down…’look, look, over there….ohhh on you missed it’. Yes, we go a little nuts.
This glacier had me completely mesmerised.
My eyes were fixated on it.
An ethereal aquamarine blue. So electric. So brilliant – as if had been lighted from within by an intense halogen bulb.
I hadn’t been this captivated by something, since the soccer world cup final penalty shoot out.
The best part was trekking on the glacier itself. We attached ‘cramp on’ spikes to our shoes and walked onto the glacier. I felt like I was part of a National Geographic documentary. I felt like such an adventurer (although let’s be honest, the ‘adventure’ on the glacier only lasted two hours and hot empanadas were waiting for us)
I learnt some fun facts about this glacier too (may come in handy next time you are at pub trivia or helping a 10 year old with their geography project)
- Glaciers behave like really, really, really slow moving rivers.
- I couldn’t get over how blue the glacier was (especially the crevices which were such a DEEP, electric blue). They are SO blue because unlike red and yellow lightwaves, blue light can penetrate snow and ice, thus creating that cool shade of ‘winter wonderland’ blue)
- Glaciers form the largest reservoir of fresh water on the planet. In fact, they store 75% of the world’s fresh water!
- Perito Moreno (the glacier we trekked) is the one of the only glaciers in the world that is in ‘equilibrium’ – it is very unusual as it is actually advancing, while most glaciers worldwide are retreating. Glaciologists (what a cool job, by the way) still do not know the exact reason as to why.
So yes, we decided to swap the typical honeymoon cocktails and poolside sunbathing for maggi noodled cooked upon a camping stove, chapped lips and chaffed thighs. But I would not have had it any other way. Our honeymoon was a real adventure. Between trekking through Torres Del Paine (Chile) and camping in sub-degree temperature in complete wilderness – we really ‘bonded’ and created memories which we hope to pass onto our children someday.
There are so many fascinating architectural and interior designs that draw inspiration from the texture, colour and form of glaciers. I spent some time creating a collection of images which reference glaciers in varying degrees – some subtly mimic the glaciers jagged edges whilst other design project literally attempt to reinvent the ‘glacial experience’ through application of actual ice structures (for example the Ice Hotel in Sweden).
To begin with….I couldn’t resist sharing some images of me galivanting on the glacier (with cramp on spikes)!
Ice Hotel in ukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden – the best part….is that the hotel melts back into the Torne River and is rebuilt each year! This is definitely on my bucket list.
(image via Archdaily)
Church altar inside Sorrisniva Ice Hotel in Alta, Norway. Hard to believe that places like this actually exist…
(image via visittheworld.tumblr)
Although a little difficult for friends to just ‘drop in’…
(image via sharenator)
The tiny Swedish locality of Jukkasjärvi, site of the original Icehotel since 1992, then little more than a well-crafted igloo, is the perfect location for the permanent 20-suite hotel, art gallery, and bar.
(image via cntravel)
(image via the chive)
Handcrafted blue agate ring by Joya. It is like wearing a glacier on your finger!!
(image via fancy)
It is just like looking at a glacier through a window…ok, maybe not – but it is still very pretty.
(image via urban outfitters)
Alpine Glacier side tables. Whilst they don’t embody that infamous ‘glacier blue’, it is the jagged uneven edges and raw texture of the wood that creates an intrinsic connection to naturally forming glaciers.
I am back in Sydney now – it is 30 degrees here and I have a fan blasting on my face. I dream of being back on that glacier!