Golden Ea­gle’s iconic lux­ury train pur­sues the North­ern Lights.

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To see the North­ern Lights, danc­ing grey-green in the night sky, is to wit­ness na­ture at her most spec­tac­u­lar. This fa­bled phe­nom­e­non is the goal of your quest, a 12-day Arc­tic Ex­plorer voy­age aboard the Golden Ea­gle from St Peters­burg to the far reaches of Nor­way. For to see Au­rora Bo­re­alis in all its lu­mi­nes­cent glory is one thing; to see it in the co­coon of a pri­vate train is quite another.

The quest be­gins in St Peters­burg, a city of gilded palaces and onion-domed spires, decked in Christ­mas re­galia in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the Rus­sian Christ­mas of Rozhdestvo on 7 Jan­uary. Guided tours will take you be­hind the turquoise Ro­coco façade of the Catherine Palace in Pushkin and into the depths of the Her­mitage Mu­seum, home to over three mil­lion art­works and arte­facts, be­fore board­ing the Golden Ea­gle in time for a New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion. Her­ald the New Year by cross­ing into the Arc­tic Cir­cle and join the guest as­tronomer for tea and an il­lu­mi­nat­ing dis­cus­sion of the majesty to come: the North­ern Lights.

In the Nor­we­gian min­ing town of Kirkenes, cast your eye to the heav­ens by night, in the hope of wit­ness­ing the Au­rora’s kalei­do­scopic show, and ven­ture into the frozen tun­dra on a dog sled by day, vis­it­ing the nearby Snowho­tel. You may even choose to spend a night in its sub-zero em­brace.

From Nor­way, the Golden Ea­gle re­traces its steps back through Rus­sia to Mur­mansk, a port city some 193 kilo­me­tres north of the Arc­tic Cir­cle. If luck is on your side, the North­ern Lights will writhe above, re­mind­ing all those be­low why gen­er­a­tions of Rus­sians have as­so­ci­ated the dis­play with the

le­gendary fire dragon, Og­nen­niy Zmey. Your on­board as­tronomer, how­ever, will re­veal the sci­ence be­hind the mys­tery.

As Rozhdestvo ap­proaches, Golden Ea­gle will spend the Rus­sian Christ­mas Eve in Petroza­vodsk, the Kare­lian cap­i­tal that spreads along the shore of Lake Onega, the sec­ond largest lake in Europe. Cel­e­brate with the city, tak­ing in folk per­for­mances and feast­ing on a tra­di­tional Holy Sup­per of 12 meatless dishes, mark­ing the end of the Ortho­dox Christ­mas fast. Rozhdestvo – Rus­sian Christ­mas Day – then dawns, sur­rounded by the UNESCO World Her­itage charm of Vladimir and Suz­dal, where monks at the St Euthymius Monastery will trans­fix guests with their spell­bind­ing har­monies.

Moscow marks the end of your Arc­tic ex­plo­ration. The grandeur of the Red Square, the Krem­lin and dome-crowned St Basil’s Cathe­dral are a fit­ting back­drop to a jour­ney into a stark land­scape where snow seems ever­last­ing.

Aboard the Golden Ea­gle, how­ever, life is any­thing but chilly. Pri­vate en­suite ac­com­mo­da­tion amid the train’s grandeur en­velops pas­sen­gers in com­fort, with un­der­floor heat­ing and a cabin at­ten­dant ready to trans­form your suite from day to night. The Im­pe­rial Suites, the most spa­cious found on a Rus­sian train, also ben­e­fit from a com­pli­men­tary mini-bar, small li­brary, in-cabin din­ing and bot­tle of Dom Pérignon to chris­ten each north­ern adventure.

With jour­neys de­part­ing on 29 De­cem­ber 2014 and 2015, the Arc­tic Ex­plorer is set to be a hub of fes­tive fin­ery with a tra­di­tional Rus­sian flavour. Ad­di­tional de­par­tures are sched­uled for 12 Fe­bru­ary 2015 and 11 Fe­bru­ary 2016, herald­ing Valen­tine’s Day with re­mote Arc­tic splen­dour and in­dul­gent cel­e­bra­tion on board.

02 02 Into a white wilder­ness 03 Tak­ing in the light show 04 Con­tem­plat­ing the Kirkenes Snowho­tel



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