"Where to next" enquired travel agent

I don't know. I'm booked in July 2021 to head north to Franz Joseph Land, but other than that I've nothing in the pipeline.

A week ago I went to the "Destinations" travel fair at Olympia - getting there in itself was a trek and a half. The North London Overground goes from Stratford to Clapham Junction via most of North London, on the way conveniently stopping outside Olympia. There were loads of cruises - the ones that take a small town with its shopping malls, casinos, pubs, theatres, gyms and mini-hospital across the oceans and now are stuck outside ports unable to disembark because of Coronavirus. At the moment I suspect the cruise industry is experiencing choppy waters, but the travelling public have deep pockets and short memories so once this bug is off the front page it'll be full steam ahead. But not for me.

I thought Hurtigruten's MS Trollfjord was big and swanky enough - I don't want to up size to a floating city. There were quite a few small ship cruises to exotic places  - Antarctica, Svalbard etc, but not really at my price point. Also I spoilt myself by going solo to Norway and having a cabin all to myself.

I'd like to go back to Norway again and next time take a small boat which can get in and out of the smallest fjords and ports - but in the spring or summer - except there will be masses of midges and people. Antarctica calls: I had a quote for a trip to the Ross Sea (with helicopter) sharing it would cost £27k! I could slum it - share a four berth cabin - but my travelling companions would likely be young and might find it hard sharing with a septuagenarian.

I could have a kayaking holiday in Scotland or one of the Nordic countries - in the summer (see above reservations). I had planned to do it after my exhilarating experience in Antarctica in March 2018 , except my capsizing in Surrey Dock Basin in April that year took off some of the glamour. Mind you I've foolishly signed up to kayak in the Arctic in the Summer of 2021 so a short non capsizing break this summer or autumn might be essential preparation.

My biggest fear is getting a Russian visa. Franz Joseph land is Russian and we sail from Kirkenes and spend a day in Murmansk - a delightful port created by wonderful Russian citizens and loads of vodka and potatoes. I can't recall writing anything which would upset the Russian authorities but I'm not going through nearly 900 postings to find out. Anyway I'm sure a day or two's visit - I'll fly out of Murmansk - can't lead to an undermining of the Soviet state - so I shouldn't worry too much.

Have just clicked through to a Russian site and found a place I'd love to visit: Olkhon Island is the largest island in Lake Baikal.

Anyway, it's miserable here and I haven't done anything on my allotment for ages - I blame the weather. To lighten the darkness I keep dreaming of far pavilions of ice and rock.


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