A Polar Giant – Weekly Travel Photo & Product Review

Posted on / by Alex Berger

When you watch a giant ice bear walk across crisp snow you can’t help but mentally narrate the crunch of ice in your head.  For a creature of such size and obvious power, it is difficult to picture the reality: these king and queens of the north can move in almost complete silence across treacherous frozen landscapes that humans would find impassable. There is a slow precision and grace as they amble forward. Mouth slightly ajar, pivoting from left to right and back again…inhaling and tasting the plethora of scents frozen upon the brisk northern air.

One of my most cherished travel adventures occurred in 2012 when I had the rare opportunity to head to Churchill in the Manitoba province of Canada.  There I had the chance to spend time with the polar bears in their natural habitat.  For three days and two nights I joined them out on the tundra. I watched as more than 10 bears made their way to our raised caravan of heavily modified winter safari vehicles-turned-small-urban-train. The Tundra Buggy Lodge served as our home – one which was partially de-powered when one rascally polar bear unplugged the power connector between cars. At other times we could feel the sleeping cabins shake ever so slightly as one of the bears used the wheels for morning exercises. It was awesome.

Even though we slept soundly knowing we were perfectly safe and well outside their reach, it still provided a level of access to wild polar bears I can only dream of re-experiencing.  They are beautiful, incredibly intelligent, and profoundly powerful creatures.

Timberlands Shoe Review

The Timberland Cupsole Merge Boots (Product Review)

The folks over at JD Sports UK invited me to try one of their products which got me on their site. They’ve got a high quality selection of top brands and products at competitive prices in addition to a very solid clearance section.  After looking through a mixture of their offerings I settled on sampling a pair of Timberland Cupsole Merge Boots. The Cupsole peaked my interest because they blended the feel of a pair of Converses with the build of a real substantive shoe. Solid leather uppers, a robust Timberland build, and what looked like a very comfortable design. In short, a pair of shoes that had the local style appeal for daily life in Copenhagen, but a bit more bite to them and the guts to survive rain puddles and a bit of snow.

So far I’m quite happy with the build quality. Everything about the shoes seems solid, including the white bumper which is a part of the shoe I’ve had issues with on other brands (I’m bad about separating the bottoms from the uppers within a matter of weeks – too much street dancing I guess?).  The leather quality is good and I love the shoe-lace eyes. These shoes also tend to give my feet an added-visual length which can be a nice convenience when picking certain types of trousers.

My one concern about the shoes – and this very well may turn out to be a plus – is how they fit my feet. I’m not quite sure how to describe it but essentially their foot and arch support is different than I’m used to.  They not only hit my inner arch but also the front right pad of my foot with support. I think* this is intentional and part of the shoe’s design to include added support. It’s a bit uncomfortable when I first put on the shoes, but after walking for 4 or 5 minutes, the shoe becomes quite comfortable which is why I suspect that it is actually a case of having unaccustomed support and needing to re-train my feet, slightly, to the shoe.  It’s also worth noting that I have strange feet. At least, the muscles in my feet are a bit a-typical as I’m a salsa dancer and my feet spend 5+ hours a week in specialized dance shoes while dancing almost exclusively on the balls of my feet.

Eventhough I didn’t actually go through the order process, as this was a product sample review,  I was impressed by how quickly JD Sports shipped the shoes and their responsiveness. The folks over there seem to be energetic, customer-service minded, and excited about the products they sell.

My pair of Timberland Cupsole Merge Boots were complimentary and provided for review by JD Sports. However, this review is completely independent and the Timberland Cupsole Merge Boots are a product that I am currently actively using.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here.

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.

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