In summer, northern Europeans are prone to go a little bit crazy. It’s probably the long winter that does it: the endless nights; the short, twi-lit days. Huddled indoors, they have plenty of time to think about all the stuff they’ll get to as soon as their part of the Earth tilts back toward the sun.
When, at last, their surroundings are transformed by golden warmth, there is only a limited window of opportunity in which to put their pent-up schemes into action.
Would it, for instance, be possible to drive a snowmobile across an unfrozen lake? Come the first flush of summer, they try it. It turns out it is possible, with sufficient run-up and enough speed (though nobody has tallied how many rusting snowmobiles lie at the bottom of Icelandic lakes from the early attempts).
Can you play soccer in a peat bog? Every June, there is a championship held in Finland proving that you can, though not easily. Or cleanly. You’ll never see a laundry detergent commercial offering to get the stains out of uniforms after a swamp soccer match.
It was within this northern tradition of nutty pipedreams that, in 1996, an Estonian, Ado Kosk, conceived a new sport. Or rather, he revived and formalized an old one, for it seems that Estonians have been kiiking for centuries.
The Estonian language is impenetrable at the best of times. To outsiders, kiiking could refer to … well, just about anything. With a little folkloric research, you will discover that a kiik is a traditional wooden swing. What sets an Estonian swing apart from the childhood swings we’re familiar with is that it dangles from rigid arms, usually made from wood.
But how does a humble swing become the basis for a mad northern European sport?
Kosk’s brainwave was to realize that if the swing’s frame was substantially heightened, and if the wooden arms were replaced with steel, then in theory it would be possible to swing 360 degrees: You would be able to swing right over the top and come back down the other side.
Theory was put into practice in the village of Viimsi, on the shore of the Baltic Sea northeast of Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. The pioneers honed the equipment and devised the techniques necessary to generate sufficient momentum.
The kiiker stands with feet securely strapped to the swing and sweeps back and forth like a metronome, using the entire body to maintain the rhythm, squatting like a skier on the back swing and straightening up on the follow-through.
The swing rises a little higher each time until it is almost vertical above the frame. At this point, the kiiker reaches heights of 30 or 40 feet, depending on the length of the swing’s arms.
The tension builds. A couple of times the swing is momentarily stationary above the frame, with the kiiker perilously upside down. Then gravity pulls it back the way it came. With one final, muscle-sapping effort, the 360-degree swing is completed — as satisfying as hitting a home run or throwing a touchdown pass.
From parochial beginnings, this addictive pastime has spread beyond the Baltic. Kiiking frames are increasingly springing up in the United States; a new summer sport is taking hold.
Back in northern Europe, everything is currently in the cold grip of winter. Frustrated sportspeople endure the long nights, dreaming of summer and the new ideas they will be able to try out. In some remote homestead in Scandinavia or the Baltic States, the next big sporting craze could be in someone’s head right now.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
There’s an aspirational rustic chic/farm-to-table restaurant genre often associated with Northern California’s wine country. When you drive down the main street of Napa, Sonoma or any of the other towns, it appears there are as many of them as there are vineyards. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this genre, as the quality of the food is consistent and ambitious chefs earnestly endeavor to elevate home-style dishes to a higher standard.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco announced a new amenity for guests in collaboration with Porsche. Porsche electric vehicle charging stations will now be located in the valet area of the hotel’s parking deck, allowing guests and visitors to top off the batteries of electric vehicles while enjoying a cocktail at Top of the Mark, enjoying farm-to-table fare at Nob Hill Club or staying overnight at the property.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Reykjavik with us.