Cool destination

02Feb12

The village of Oymyakon in north-eastern Siberia was, until recently, famous for being the coldest permanently inhabited place in the world. The village has probably been a tourist destination for a thousand years or more, mainly due to the convenient natural hot spring which provides drinking water in a place where all other water is frozen solid for seven months at a time. More recently it has been visited by tourists who were interested in extreme weather as well as thirsty.

The town of Ely in Cambridgeshire has been a tourist destination for a thousand years or more, mainly because at 26 metres above sea-level and surrounded by marshes it was the only place in the vicinity where you could interrupt your journey without getting wet feet. It was also a convenient place to build a magnificent cathedral and a railway junction.

This morning at the railway junction I realised that Oymyakon had lost its title as the coldest permanently inhabited place in the world. Platform 2 at Ely station as the sun rose this morning was almost certainly the coldest place on the planet. I know, because I was there, shivering.



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