Trail Of The Unexpected: Christmas card
Saturday 20 December 2008
From Lent (the Netherlands) to Trinity Peninsula (Antarctica) via Jesus Island (Quebec), Christianity can take you around the world – to islands where it is Christmas every day: one in the Pacific Ocean, the other in the Indian Ocean.
In theory, you could fly from Christmas (Indian Ocean) to Christmas (Pacific Ocean) across the International Date Line in successive days, and enjoy two Christmases on Christmas Island. But you'd have to be crackers.
Christmas island (pacific ocean)
This festive isle is part of the Kiribati archipelago, and comprises the largest coral atoll in the world. It is an isle the shape of an adjustable wrench located in the Pacific Ocean, and is known locally as Kiritimati – which is pronounced "Kirissmass". The settlement of London faces another called Paris across the lagoon formed by the jaws of said spanner, while the largest town (perched where the calibrator would be) is, perversely, called Poland.
The time on Christmas Island is 10 hours and many decades behind that in Britain. To experience this idyll, fly in to the airfield that unhappily adjoins the Bay of Wrecks. You need to fix up this connecting flight from Tarawa, which itself is a tricky destination to reach; but at least when you get there, you can spend cash in Australian dollars, one of the few currencies against which sterling has held its value.
Christmas island (indian ocean)
Although the nearest mainland is Java, 200 miles away, Christmas Island is officially part of Australia, 1,000 miles distant. Recent years have seen a lot of building work on the island, due to the prospect of the island conducting space launches on behalf of Russia, but so far this has not come to fruition. The trip to the island from London involves transiting Perth in Western Australia, which will cost you £1,111 if you fly on Christmas Day on the non-stop Qantas flight from Heathrow. From here, an organisation called National Jet System will get you to an airport whose scale is out of all proportion to the number of inhabitants – 1,600.
Did this speck of land, discovered by one Captain Mynars on 25 December 1643, put the "X" in Xmas? Possibly not, but your luggage tag will show the code XCH.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
A380 celebrates first decade in flight - but how long will the Superjumbo's time in the sky last?
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
12 best hotels in London
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...
£35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...
£20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...