Winchil (aka The Deep Freeze)

There will be no pictures today, dear readers.

Everything has frozen up here in the less-than-great white north. My toes are frozen, my fingers and nose-tip too. Believe it or not, I’m embalmed in four layers… and I’m INSIDE. Indeed, I’ve not seen the outdoors since shortly after my sisters et al migrated back to their warmer climes. And now it’s worse – much worse – than while they were all here. Thankfully; hands down, we would have had a mutiny on our hands.

You might think that I’m writing from a place as distant and remote as Alert, Nunavut – considered to be one of the northernmost permanent settlements in the world. Today’s temperature in Alert was -35 with the wind chill.

But no, I’m hunkered down in a place somewhat further south than Nunavut.. though you’d never know it by looking at the thermometer (if it’s not yet cracked). This city was today clobbered by temperatures teetering around -40.

You probably want to know: Celsius or Fahrenheit? Ha! It matters little at that point, because by the time double digits descend into that big-chill black-hole, all bets are off, celsius converges with fahrenheit – and climatologists the world over are fending off renewed calls to make sense of it all.

Granted, -40 comprises the Wind Chill Factor. Winchil. Very Winchil indeed. Black, icicle-laden wicked Winchil, to be sure. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of Winchil, imagine walking towards and into a two-storey high, industrial-sized fan, blowing the coldest breeze possible up your nostrils, into your corneas, right through your epidermis, down into the deepest recesses of your body.

I am made of lesser stuff than this. I am made of stuff that can no longer tolerate cold, freezing, or Winchil; I shiver at the mere mention of those words. My stuff craves sunlight, heat and if need be, even a dose of humidity; my comfort level (and the only way to manage pain, if at all) is on the plus side of life. So I’ll take +40 over its evil twin any day.

Oh, and about the missing pictures. Not quite so… You see, the upside (there MUST always be an upside!) is that I’ve managed to get some writing and research done, phone calls and emails ticked off my list, and best of all… finished uploading photos from my Camino onto my Flickr site. Voila, inquiring minds, take a look, and I hope you enjoy!

Happy New Year to all.. and to all a less-than-Winchilly night!


  1. Winchil? Is that seriously a word in your part of the world? It’s hard to read about those temps and that kind of cold. In northern Minnesota where I’m from, my family sends weather reports. There have been actual temperatures of -40 without the wind chill this year! Add that in and you have something that defies any description of cold! I assume you are planning your escape soon? And a subsequent return to Bali?
    Hope so!

    1. Nope, I made it up.. but I figure that if I’m in the Big Chill, I’m permitted such literary liberties 😉
      I WISH I could be on my way back ..but not quite yet… hope you are reveling in the h-e-a-t 😉

      1. You are permitted. The heat right now is modified by the rain…which is a frequent visitor, sometimes spending all day and all night! Yesterday I wore full-length pants and long sleeves all day! That’s so rare here, as you know! When I checked the temp it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That shouldn’t feel cold, but it did!

  2. Amit,
    Wouldn’t some of that lovely hot chocolate they served in Leon be deliciously warming right now?

    1. Ha! I was just thinking that a cuppa chocolate (caliente) con churros would help soothe the chills.. and there you are… evidently, chocolate-loving, pilgrim-minds think alike 😉

  3. The pictures are amazing. I also appreciated seeming the churro s
    We are in the middle of a snow storm here in Phila. Brrrr

  4. Beautiful pictures of the Camino, Amit. Sure am happy that I am not where you are right now. I also much prefer the heat. Not that I can say that I have ever experienced that kind of cold. Thank goodness. Stay warm!

    1. Thanks Lottie, and happy new year! No, I was in Granada early last month. Why, were you there in Oct? And where are you these days? I certainly hope that we weren’t crossing paths (or buses, or trains..) and oh-so-close to each other all over Spain….oh no!! xx

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