Tagged: Travel

My Iceland Adventure: Outside the City

Here at last, is part two of my Iceland adventure! Find part one here: My Iceland Adventure: Reykjavik.

I’ve saved up my favourite photos from the trips I took outside of Reykjavik, and in all seriousness, looking back on the trip now, I can hardly believe how lucky I was to see so many stunning things. I hope you enjoy these photos, and maybe get inspired to visit Iceland – I cannot recommend it enough!

The Northern Lights

Photo of green northern lights
Watching the Northern Lights dance across the sky was one of the most amazing and awe inspiring things I will ever do. I was so fortunate to see such a wonderful display of colour and movement. My photography skills let me down… but I have learned a lot from the experience (mainly that I need to practice long exposures more and test out tripod stability too).

Photo of green and yellow northern lights
I’ve included the people in the photos to give the spectacle some context. These photos were taken with a super-wide angled Sigma lens and my Canon 60D on a light weight tripod or placed directly on the ground, lens facing up.

Photo of pink and green coloured northern lights
These shards of light were directly overhead, arcing across the sky, changing shape and colour.

The Blue Lagoon

Photo of the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is like a spa, only set on another planet! The temperature of the water is so hot that it constantly steams. Its a divine experience, though getting in and out is very cold!

Photo of mist rising off the Blue Lagoon
If you visit the Blue Lagoon, make sure to take INTENSIVE hair conditioner. The water absolutely ruined my hair and its not been the same since. Lesson learned!

Langjökull Glacier

Photo of Bonny on a glacier
This glacier was like nothing I have ever seen. We took a snowmobiling safari and got to drive all over it. It was like being in a film – so stunningly beautiful, and painfully cold. I lost a camera on this glacier with many treasured photos on it – its a lesson to use lots of smaller memory cards as loosing a few photos is bad, but loosing hundreds was terrible.

Photo of Langjökull glacier

Geysirs

Photo of an Icelandic Geysir
The geysirs stank. Really, really stank. Gag-worthing stank! Beautiful, but oh-so-smelly! I have been told the ones at Yellowstone in the USA don’t smell like these ones, so if you fancy seeing some steam burst out of the Earth, they may be a more pleasant experience!

Photo of a geysir erupting
There she blows!

Photo of geysir steam against snow capped hills

Gullfoss Waterfall

Photo of Gullfoss waterfall
Gullfoss waterfall is two waterfalls on top of each other. Its right near the Geysirs – so its worth a look if you visit those and vice-versa. The food in the cafe near Gullfoss is disgusting though!

Photo of Bonny at Gullfoss waterfall
I was so painfully cold here. You can see the pain in my face. I’m trying to smile, but its just not working.

The land of landscapes

The thing about Iceland, is its one amazing landscape after another. Your eyes cant take in all the stunning scenery. They become overwhelmed with the awesome.

Photo of a lake
This is close to the place where the Icelandic parliament was first founded. Its also right near where the Icelandic prime minister has a summer house.

Photo of rocks crushed by tectonic plates
The power of nature and the Earth is apparent everywhere. In this photo you can see how the North American and European tectonic plates are crushing each other.

Photo of steam over rocks
How other-worldly is this?!

Photo of the Icelandic coastline
The coastline is ravaged by the freezing cold sea. Its stark and stunning. I went on a whale watching trip but sadly saw no whales, I believe there is more chance in the summer months.

I really hope you enjoyed my photos, and are perhaps inspired to visit Iceland – I certainly want to go back – I cant wait.

My Iceland Adventure: Reykjavik

Last month I went on an adventure to Iceland, and I loved it. Really, really loved it! I stayed in Reykjavik, the world’s most northern capital city.

I’m splitting my posts about Iceland into two separate posts, this one is all about Reykjavik, and the next one will be about things outside of the city like the geysirs and the Blue Lagoon!

Beautiful Reykjavik

Photo of Reykjavik skyline

Photo of Reykjavik rooftops

The houses and buildings in the city are charming as they are very dinky and brightly coloured. They make the city feel like its a living and breathing Legoland.

Photo of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik

The Harpa Concert Hall is stunning – each of the honeycomb glass windows refracts light in different colours onto the area around the building.

Photo of Hallgrímskirkja church

The view from Hallgrímskirkja Church stretches for miles – out to sea and across the landscape of the city and beyond. The statue in front of the Church is of Leif Ericson, the Icelandic Viking who is thought to have discovered America.

Photo of Bonny in front of a wall of balls of wool

This is me in the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s shop. I was in knitting heaven!

Photo of cat

Reykjavik has a lot of cats (who the tourists admire as much as some of the main tourist attractions!).

Photo of the Sun Voyager sculpture

The Sun Voyager sculpture is small but striking in person. It looks out on to the harbour area of Reykjavik.

Photo of Bonny standing with a carved wooden viking

Me, posing with a large Viking.

Photo of Tjörnin lake in Reykjavik

Tjörnin lake is in the city center. It would be even more beautiful in summer. I’d love to live in one of the houses along the edge – what a view!

Photo of Bonny next to Tjörnin lake

I was sooo cold in this photo! Serves me right for not wearing a coat when it was -3!

Photo of two whaling boats

These whaling boats were in the harbour. I found it interesting to learn that its mainly tourists that keep the boats running – if tourists didn’t eat whale then the Icelandic whalers would loose their customers as Icelanders don’t eat it (the national dish is shark not whale). If you do visit Iceland, don’t eat whale.

Photo of a burger cafe

Hamborgarbúllan hamburger restaurant. A really sweet little hamburger joint with excellent food that was good value and served fast.

Reykjavik Tips:

  • Höfnin is a gorgeous little restaurant on the harbour-side which cooks beautiful Icelandic and Nordic food. I had a lovely meal of a traditional grains and vegetables to start, reindeer meatballs for a main, and skyr and berries for dessert. I would go back in a shot.
  • The Icelandic Phallological Museum is not for the faint-hearted and after visiting, I felt sick for hours (no, I’m not joking). Seeing so many pickled penises in one room was not amusing like I’d thought it would be!
  • Talk to locals: they’re really friendly and keen to share information, and they have a great sense of humour!
  • Wear layers. Its cold outside but very warm inside all the restaurants and shops.
  • Buy a real Icelandic jumper – they are beautiful. I put aside some money for such a purchase, and I’m so pleased with my gray real-wool-hand-knitted number. It cost somewhere between £80 and £100… which brings me on to my next point…
  • Take a calculator or a currency converting app on your phone. The exchange rate of Icelandic Kronas to pounds is way too weird to do in your head!
  • Take a good camera. My photos (above) were taken with my Canon 60D and a super-wide angle Sigma lens which enabled me to get more of the city into each shot.

Next time…

I’m going to post my photos from my excursions outside of Reykjavik soon, and yes, they will include the Northern Lights 🙂

Have you been to Iceland? Did you like it as much as me?

Iceland Adventure!

Photo of the northern lights behind a church

I have news! I’m going to Iceland in March and I cant wait! This trip marks many changing things in my life: letting go of the past, and taking control of things. I’m no hippy-tree-hugger, but I do believe we are all in charge of our own happiness. Without goals and things to look forward to, I find it hard to make sense of time, and that makes me prone to feeling down. One of my 30 before 30 resolutions is to visit a country I’ve never been to before, and Iceland has been on my list of places I’ve wanted to go for years. So why not make it 2013, and do something really exciting, and memorable to change things up.

I’ve booked some amazing trips while I’m there: a northern lights tour, whale watching, a day at the Blue Lagoon, a trip to the Gullfoss waterfall, geysers and a snow mobiling safari on a glacier! I’m beyond excited.

Photo of a whale
Photo of ice in the sea
I found some amazing photos of Iceland on the Creative Overflow site. They are really inspiring me to get skilled up on my photography before I go.

Have you been to Iceland? Do you have any tips or recommendations for me?

Winter Fun at Center Parcs

Photo of trees with sunlight shining through them
A few weeks ago I went to Center Parcs for a lovely relaxing long weekend. I went with three of my friends: Martina, Robb and Hugh, and we had a wonderful time. It was the fourth time I’ve been to Longleat Center Parcs, and my sixth or seventh stay at Center Parcs – so you can tell there is something special about the place that keeps drawing me back!

The highlights:

  • Going to the spa on Friday evening for a moonlight experience. Sheer bliss. Fell asleep on a waterbed.
  • Going on all of the water slides, even the outdoor ‘rapids’ for the first time!
  • Pottery painting with Tina. Painted a mug with my favourite trees on it: silver birch.
  • Eating lots of delicious food, including toasting marshmallows on our fire.
  • Eating pic’n’mix while watching WWE Wrestling, curled up under a duvet!
  • Feeding the ducks!
  • Watching a firework display then eating roast pork dinner courtesy of Mr Robb!

Here are some photos from our trip. I only had my iPhone with me, so the quality isn’t great, but I hope you get an idea of how much fun we had.

Photo of Hugh, Robb and Tina
Hugh, Robb and Tina. Smashing companions.

Collage of photos of winter scenes

Photo of Robb and Hugh playing crazy golf

Photo of Robb and Hugh by the lake

Photo of Robb and Hugh feeding ducks

Photo of a pack of giant marshmallows

Photo of a disgracefully large waffle with ice cream

Photo of Tina at Center Parcs

Photo of Robb giving some reindeers the thumbs up

AWESOME.

I cant wait to go again! Next year – who’s in?!

Nail polish from Corfu

Another post from the deep, dark depths of the drafts folder…


Photo of six bottles of nail polish
Who needs holiday souvenirs when you can have nail polish eh?

You know you’re a nail polish addict when…

…Holidays are an opportunity to buy brands you don’t already have in your collection!

Here are the six nail polishes I bought over the space of a week while on holiday in Corfu, all from brands I’ve never seen or heard of before. None of these bottles have names for their colours, so I’ll do my best to describe them below:

From left to right:

  • A clear polish with tiny holographic glitter particles and larger red and gold hearts by ‘Rapsodi’ (approx. 3€)
  • A clear pink polish with mid-pink glitter and strips of holographic silver glitter by ‘Hamilton’ (approx. 2.50€) – this one actually looks kind of rose-gold when painted on nails which surprised me
  • A clear blue polish with very fine silver glitter and holographic silver stars by ‘Hamilton’ (approx. 2.50€) – this is really pretty and sparkly, though its tricky getting the stars spread evenly
  • Neon pink Pacific by ‘Rapsodi’ – the formula for this is incredibly long wearing – I don’t have any other polishes that can outlast this beast! (approx. 2.50€)
  • Nude Pacific by ‘Rapsodi’ – this was a gift for a friend so I have not tried it (approx. 2.50€)
  • Light grey Pacific by ‘Rapsodi’ – this is still waiting to be tested, but I’m looking forward to wearing it with some sort of glittery French tips (approx. 2.50€)

Here is the Neon pink by Rapsodi in action (sadly the pink doesn’t show up as bright as it really is):
Photo of my feet in the bright blue sea

Earlier this year I went to Amsterdam where I also picked up a selection of nail polishes, you can read about those here: nail polish from Amsterdam.