Page 4 of Dr Gwen Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Keflavik October 29th 2017

Sunday morning we were up even earlier than usual & left in the dark to drive the scenic route to the airport which avoids Reykjavík. Although Vicky spent a while fixing her broken suitcase with duct tape (very expensive Icelandic duct tape!). We first headed south towards Þorlákshöfn then west along the coast to Grindavík then north past the famous Blue Lagoon towards Keflavík & the airport. We dropped off the car without any issues (the mouse thankfully having vacated after the first night) & as the shuttlebus didn’t seem forthcoming Vicky got a trolley for her broken case & we walked over to departures and checked in. As our flight was over an hour before Chavaunne’s we said goodbye before security. Sadly I couldn’t find any Ris Buff in duty free so had to but ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Southwest October 28th 2017

Again up & out in the pre-dawn light to drive the Golden Circle… Or rather the Golden triangle as we missing out the Reykjavík half of the route. We decided to go around it anticlockwise in the hope that as most tour groups go clockwise we might miss at least some of the rush. We started by visiting Keriđ – a stunning red & sienna crater complete with green lagoon. Although we did accidentally drive past it but the gateway we turned in had Icelandic horses that came to say hello which was nice. There were a few other tourists around even this early but it was a beautiful, even though the sun was too low to shine down onto the lagoon. Oh we also stopped at view point to admire the sunrise over the river ... read more
Strokkur erupting!

Europe » Iceland » South October 27th 2017

Again up & out by 8:30am. My turn to drive again which was interesting as it was still very windy so I took it steady. We first visited Fjarđrárgljúfur canyon which was cool, but as with other sites the light was a bit too dim for good photos. Although that didn’t stop a couple of professional(?) photographers who had camped out in the best position waiting for the sun to make an appearance! We think some of Game of Thrones was filmed here too. We continued heading west along the 1 to Vík where we stopped for a toilet break and then realised we’d accidentally parked by the track to the beach we had planned to visit! We braved the wind & rain to get to the black sand beach at Reynisdrangar to see the basalt ... read more
Icelandic horses
Fjarđrárgljúfur canyon

Europe » Iceland » South October 26th 2017

We woke to a frosty morning, very suitable as today we set off to visit glaciers & glacial lagoons in Vatnajökull National Park! Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland, and by area one of the largest in Europe, dominating south east Iceland. All the glaciers we saw today were offshoots of Vatnajökul. We drove past Vestrahorn (where they filmed Vikings!) to reach our first stop at Jökulsárlón – the blue icebergs in at the base of Breiđamerkurjökull. We also walked down the incredibly short river to see the icebergs washed up on the black sand beach, shining in the sun. We then stopped just up the road to see Fjallsárlón, another glacier lagoon where icebergs calve from Fjallsjökull.So lucky we had a sunny day for this bit as the ice just ... read more
Another beautiful sunrise
Snow is sighted!

Europe » Iceland » East October 25th 2017

We were up, breakfasted & out into a dull misty day by 8:30am. Skipping Grjótagjá (where Jon Snow was deflowered by Ygritte!) we went first to Hverir – a “magical, ochre-toned landscape of mud cauldrons, steaming vents & piping fumaroles”. We pottered around taking care not to leave the designated paths - for reasons of nature conservation & because we like the soles of feet unboiled! After this we headed up to Krafla, driving past a steaming stream and under the pipes of the geothermal power station to get up to Leirhnjúkur, described in the guide book as the “potentially most dangerous attraction”. We were uninspired by the car park & rough track disappearing into the mist but persevered & the bubbling pool, solfataras & encrusted lava field were impressive, but less so than the fiery ... read more
Aurora Borealis

Europe » Iceland » North » Mývatn October 24th 2017

We crept out early, but Filip still managed to see us off. We first visited Gođafoss then headed to Húsavík where we boarded Náttfari, got decked out in overalls and headed out to sea to search for whales! The sea was very, very rough & we had to hang onto the rails to stay upright - many people ended up hanging over the back rail losing their breakfast. We did spot 2-3 humpback whales and Chavaunne managed to get some good photos – I’m claiming some credit for them as my job was to brace her against the rail allowing her two hands to hold the camera! Lots of sea birds, guillemot & fulmars. Plus they gave us hot chocolate and cinnamon buns on the way back to port. The sickness tablet Vicky took meant she ... read more
Aboard Náttfari
Whale tail

Europe » Iceland » North » Akureyri October 23rd 2017

Having had the day off driving yesterday I took the first shift of the long drive today. We left the house before it got light but after a bowl of porridge and stopped off at Kirkjufellfoss which was pretty but it was still too dark for photos. We then stopped briefly in Grundarfjörđur to get petrol before heading along the gravel route 54 through the impressive Bersekjahraun larva field. This got poor Sigi (hire car) rather dirty! As the driving got more boring I handed over to Chavaunne who drove us to Kolugirljufur falls. We had lunch in the car before braving the wind to admire the falls. We deviated on route 1 to take the 744 around Tindastoll (where we failed to see any trolls, giants or monsters as promised by the book!) then the ... read more
Heeding the warning signs!
Kolugirljufur falls
Troll under Kolugirljufur bridge

Europe » Iceland » Northwest » Snæfellsnes October 22nd 2017

Up early for porridge and to pack up the car. We had discovered yesterday that the boot lock is a bit temperamental and takes a fair bit of slamming to shut which we felt rather guilty for doing on a quiet Sunday morning! We also discovered Chavaunnes spare water bottle which she'd left in the car now had a mangled lid. I later found a chewed muffin paper case so we must have had a mouse in the car overnight which liked chocolate muffins and water! We then headed to Helgafell where we climbed without looking back to get our three wishes – sadly 2 of mine didn’t come true. We couldn’t pay for the privilege of climbing the hill though as the booth was closed in spite of it being after opening time. Vicky drove ... read more
Snæfellsjökull from Öndverđarnes point
View from Helgafell
View from Helgafell

Europe » Iceland » Southwest October 21st 2017

Vicky stopped over at ours on Friday night so we could get up at 3:30am for Mark to drive us to Luton airport to check in at 5am. I got rather excited at seeing our Totternhoe Nature Reserve from the plane during take-off! A good tail wind meant we arrived at Keflavik International Airportjust after 8:30am. We met up with Chavaunne whose flight from America got in even earlier (she even saw the northern lights from her plane!). We picked up the hire car (Dacia Duster 4WD) & I got voted as first driver due to (a) having driven on the right before & (b) not being jetlagged! This meant I had to get us out of the airport then into the centre of Reykjavik & park in the car park by Hallgrímskirkja (the tallest church ... read more
Girls together!
First view stop!
Hallgrímskirkja organ

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 16th 2017

After another good breakfast we checked out of the hotel (leaving our luggage in their locked room) to head up Gellért Hill. We crossed the Danube by the Szabadság híd (Liberty bridge), got some we admired Sziklatemplom (church cave) but being Sunday didn't go in as there were services on. We continued up the hill to the Szabadság szobor (Statue of Liberty) enjoying great views all the way up. After a rest in the shade we wandered around the outside of the Citadella where I gave in & bought a rainbow pashmina & a new hat! We wandered down the north side of the hill via the Saint Gellért Sagredo monument (an eleventh-century bishop who tried to convert the Magyars to Christianity). We then left Buda for Pest via the Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Bridge) and after ... read more
Statue of St. Stephen outside the church
Szabadság szobor
Statue next to Liberty statue

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