Page 3 of Katm1987 Travel Blog Posts

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca June 27th 2009

Arrived today in Cuenca and was instantly grateful for the slightly lower altitude than Quito that at least meant I could walk ten metres without wheezing like an asthmatic ant. Walked my feet to death as usual - despite looking so small there is a deceptive amount of walking involved getting around Cuenca. At least the ridiculously organized block system means it´s next to impossible to get lost (I still managed it but that´s neither here nor there.) Despite wandering around for ages I still didn´t manage to find the shop I bought all my traditional Cuencan pottery from - I honestly think it vanished into thin air. Pity, I would have a liked a complete set of crockery. Nothing much has changed in a year (except the prices in Cafecito!), Cuenca is still as beautiful ... read more
New Cathedral, Cuenca
Cathedral dome
Catedral Vieja

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 30th 2008

For once on my travels my bank account is not the main victim - instead it's currently my feet which, after two days being stomped all around Vienna in little ballet pumps, (stupid I know) are protesting enough that a change of shoes is desperately needed. So what do I change into? Trainers? Sensible walking shoes? No, I choose brand new flip flops that have not yet been worn in to traipse the length and breadth of the Austrian capital for a third day. A highly unintelligent choice that I was unfortunately regretting as soon as we had got off the metro and marched to the Hofburg. Fortunately I managed not to bleed all over the inside of the Hofburg (an insult that would surely end in me being ignobly removed from the imperial apartments) and ... read more
Strauss monument
Church tower

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 29th 2008

Navigated the metro enough to be able to reach Schönbrunn Palace on the outskirts of Vienna today. I make that sound harder than it actually was, amazingly it was literally one train with no changes - London could learn a lot from the tube system here! I have decided, as of today, that I need to live in Schönbrunn. That's need, not want. Palaces are all very beautiful more or less but Schönbrunn I could actually see myself living in. Just the right size, nicely situated and, most importantly, yellow! Maria Theresa obviously had a stroke of genius when she decided to rebuild the small hunting lodge that used to stand where Schönbrunn now does and paint it the lovely buttercup yellow that it's so famous for. Apparently the design ws based on the Palace of ... read more
Statue and palace
Schönbrunn and gardens
Palm House and gardens

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 28th 2008

We started the day bright and early determined to cram in everything possible, had breakfast in the hostel before braving the Austrian metrosystem which proved to be ridiculously easy to navigate in comparison to the London tubes. The Gothic cathedral, Stephansdom, is the tallest building in the Innere Stadt of Vienna. The first church was built here in the 12th century, the current structure dates from 1304 when a Gothic building was erected around the earlier Romanesque structure which was subsequently dismantled and removed from the interior of the larger church. I can't say it struck me as anything other than impressively dark and forboding - Gothic has never been the most appealing architectural style although Vienna became a lot prettier once we arrived at the Hofburg. One of the most impressive things about Stephansdom is ... read more
Hofburg and statue
Buildings in Vienna

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík August 23rd 2008

Finally arrived full circle in Reykjavik, the least icy and least firey place in Iceland, having travelled the entire way around the coast of Iceland. I'm ashamed to say it was a huge relief to see civilisation again! However stunning the Icelandic countryside is (and it really is!) it's slightly unnerving to be able to go all day without seeing another living soul and nothing but vast expanses of nothingness. Reykjavik didn't seem as pleased as we were to see it and decided to be as grey and overcast as every other day had been so far. The town was also completely silent due to the fact the marathon was being run so the majority of the centre of the city was closed. Even so, we made it to Reykjavik Cathedral which looks just as modern ... read more
Icelandic flags

Europe » Iceland » North » Akureyri August 22nd 2008

Started the day bright and early with a visit to Akureyrí. Stopped for gorgeous photos over the town and lake (see panorama) before continuing onto the town itself. Akureyrí is the fourth biggest city of Iceland and the only metropolis outside Greater Reykjavík. The ”Capital of the North”, as it is often called, is the administration and service centre of Northern Iceland. Although only around 15.000 people live here, it offers an infrastructure that probably cannot be found in a City in Central Europe of similar size. It's truly unbelievable that a town that size can even be termed a city let alone be a major district capital!!! First we visited the town's botanical garden, founded by a Danish woman in 1912. It sounds crazy after seeing nothing but green all week but it was so ... read more
Icelandic Church
Light and shade

Europe » Iceland August 21st 2008

Off to Lake Myvatn today - midge and mosquito capital of Iceland! In fact that's what the word 'Myvatn' actually means. Strange to name a place after its most annoying inhabitant - hardly the best advertising campaign! Lake Myvatn is also apparently a bird watcher's paradise although we saw surpisingly few - perhaps the cold was keeping everyone but the crazy English people indoors! The lake is Iceland's fourth largest and apparently the world's most fertile spot on a similar latitude. It was created after the ice age ended in Iceland some 10,000 years ago. However, it was really only formed about 3800 years ago when a lava flow blocked the valley to create a shallow lake. The lake was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago, and the surrounding landscape is ... read more
Lake Myvatn
Lava park
Lava park

Europe » Iceland » North August 20th 2008

Up bright and early to pay a morning visit to Dettifoss in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, Europe’s most powerful waterfall with an estimated 110,000 gallons of water passing over the falls every second which tumbles down the huge gorge of the Jokulsa-a-Fjollum river, the longest in Iceland. If I wasn't awake before, the spray was certainly enough to wake me up if not drown me! We first visited the slightly smaller waterfall of Selfoss before continuing the walk up to have a picnic lunch by Dettifoss. Dettifoss is 144 feet (44 m) high and 330 feet (100 m) wide. In my personal opinion I actually found Sellfoss far prettier, although admittedly less impressive. Being near drowned every time you attempt to get anywhere near the actual falls is slightly offputting although the force is undeniably impressive! Another ... read more
Top of Dettifoss

Europe » Iceland » South August 19th 2008

.....The ice was all around : It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, Like noises in a swound! Not quite as dramatic as the Ancient Mariner's trip but still very impressive! Today began with an early morning boat ride of the Jokulsarlon lagoon and definitely one of the highlights of the trip. I believe it was even worth losing the feeling in my feet and hands for the whole day to see the blue icebergs at close proximity. Not exactly the monsters I was expecting but still very impressive to see. The lagoon is formed by chunks of ice melting off of the Breidamerkurjokull glacier I promise these photos are just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun) - it's truly amazing the ridiculous number of photographs that you can take of exactly the ... read more
Iceberg lagoon
All aboard
Ice cliff

Europe » Iceland » South August 18th 2008

We started the day with what, for me was to be one of the highlights of the trip, a trip to Ingólfshöfði aka Puffin Island. Despite being threatened that the puffins had already flown we were assured that the majority had not yet done so and we were guarenteed to see them. The word 'guarantee' should have put us on our guards to begin with but no matter. We piled onto our tractor pulled cart (standing room only) for a very wet and bumpy ride over the flloded black sand beaches towards Puffin Island. Admittedly it was actually very fun despite the constant banging of camaras on the sides and getting soaked every time the tractor changed direction. We arrived and were faced with the uphill slog on sand to reach the top of the cliffs ... read more
Flooded beach

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