It was like stepping through Narnia.
Clumps of snow-bent branches. Our breath was frosty, and you could snap mini-icicles off car mirrors.
Lapland's short hours of daylight were coming to an end, the sky was waxing violet, and our guide encouraged us to make a wish, "like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake".
It was barely 2pm, but the 'blue moment' had arrived.
Ever since, I've seen moments of transition differently. Not just twilight - when Lapland's winter skies turn a stunning blue - but times when I move from one conversation, or walk, or place to the next, trying to absorb what I've learned or felt, before being distracted again.
The opportunities are fleeting. As Ireland moves through its roadmap, as countries prepare to reopen and airlines to fly, I wonder are we approaching a blue moment in travel.
If all goes well, things may begin transitioning over the summer. The pace of life will pick up. Is this fleeting moment the time to ask what lessons we will take from lockdown, and what we will leave behind?
Here are five questions I've been asking:
1. More or less?
Can mass travel go back to what it was? Will we binge-fly, or take fewer, more thoughtful holidays? Many travellers are now re-evaluating how they plan trips, what they really want from them, and what to pay for the right experience.
Millions of travellers were caught in the consumer chaos that accompanied Covid-19, and still await refunds and vouchers. Trust is at issue. Will we book with licensed and bonded agents? How will we weigh customer care against cheap prices?
In lockdown, we've reconnected with nature and the little things, from birdsong to local history, fresh air to family time. What will that mean for climate change, disposable tat and responsible travel when we get back on the move?
4. Small print:
Travel insurers are now moving to exclude Covid-19 from policies, but this pandemic has underscored how crucial it is to pay for the cover we need. Will we read T&Cs?
5. Local heroes
Community has been critical in this time of coronavirus, and will be even more so in our recovery. How can we maximise the contribution of tourism to local economies? Can we sustainably rebuild, creating a tourism that delivers for locals rather than simply bussing volume in and out?
In Lapland, days were short. Today, it feels like they last forever.
But the weeks have flown. So, too, will summer.
Now is our blue moment, the time to start thinking about what we've learned, and how we can make future travel better for us, and the planet.
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