Page 4 of Katravels Travel Blog Posts

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

Europe » Iceland » South » Vík August 17th 2008

Morning drive from Hella to the Skaftafell Region to visit Seljalandsfoss, our first waterfall of the day. Very fun, if also very wet, as it was possible to walk behind the waterfall although most of us spent the majority of the time trying to protect our camaras than actually appreciating the view! The sun decided to come out for us briefly though did very little to dry us - I am now resigned to spending the whole time here in my very unattracive raincoat! Next onto Skogafoss waterfall which I didn't have the energy to run up to the top of although my mother put me to shame by managing it! Bizarrely Skogafoss used to be part of the coastline of Iceland but is now a distance of 5km from the new coastline. According to legend, ... read more
Top of the falls
Face in the rocks
Farmstead and glacier

Europe » Iceland » Southwest August 16th 2008

Less than a week after returning from sunny Ecuador I'm heading to a place significantly colder - Iceland. Although it was certainly cold (our first couple of days anyway) I can't agree with the naming of the country at all as I had to wait until we say actual icebergs before I had seen any ice at all. Still, had a late night arrival in Reykjavik followed the next day by an early morning start to our tour stopping first at Thingvellir. Thingvellir National Park, or 'Parliament Plains', is the site of the first Icleandic Parliament in 930 and the parliament created at that first meeting continued until 1789. The Law Council met every summer there as well as becoming a meeting place for traders. More interestingly (seeing as there are no remaining buildings to show ... read more
Gullfoss and Rainbow
Thingvellir National Park
Parliament Plains

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo July 26th 2008

Well a trip to Ecuador wouldn't be complete without a trip to Otavalo to load up on all the touristy goodies that you can possible fit in your rucksack. Which is exactly where we were headed from the beach. Despite a six hour trip to Quito from Atacames and then three more hours to Otavalo (I'm sure it doesn't usually take that long but we seemed to stop every five seconds to let someone on or off) we arrived in good time to find a hostel and get money out of the bank in preparation for the next days shopping spree. We were up bright and early to beat the crowds at seven the next morning but the markets sellers had decided to have a lie-in and were still setting up so we went for breakfast ... read more
Fruit stall
Market stall in Otavalo
Chicken feet stall!!!!!

South America » Ecuador » West » Guayaquil July 12th 2008

Decided to finally see Guayaquil as last year as we ever saw was the airport and bus terminal. Despite the countless warnings of Guayaquil being very dangerous there has been a massive movement in the last few years to improve both the safety and the image of Guayaquil. The areas that would be of any interest to tourists at least have been smartened up a lot and on Las Peñas there seems to be a constant police presence (more to yell at people who walk up the wrong side of the barrier than anything else!) First stop was a park, ostensibly to see the Cathedral but in reality to see the land iguanas that call Guayaquil home. I think it has to be the only city in the world with land iguanas randomly living in the ... read more
Sunset over the city
Monument to Bolivar and San Martin
Las Peñas

South America » Ecuador » North » Mindo July 5th 2008

A visit to the cloud forest of Mindo always promises to be fun - unfortunately I spent the first day throwing up unable to eat or drink anything but undeterred we set off walking in search of the mariposaria that was ´just up the road´. It turned out to be a four kilometre walk which is not much fun whilst feling very ill and sans water. Mindo is really beautiful and a wonderful contrast to the mountains that are normally the view from the bus window. The downside was that it was just as hot as at the beach so I was dying of both heat and mosquito bites (apparently I was the free buffet as every mosquito in a two mile radius seemed to pay me a rather irritating visit.) Eventually got there and I ... read more
Pretty flowers
Random pretty tree in Mindo

Tot: 0.34s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 13; qc: 66; dbt: 0.0372s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb