Page 6 of Laura421 Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Iceland August 15th 2017

Arriving late afternoon at the Reykjavik airport after our weeks traveling in Europe was very exciting; this was a new country for both of us. I had wanted to do a stopover in Iceland for many years, and this summer it finally became a reality, one I had carefully prepared and packed for. Temps year 'round in Reykjavik hover between 30 and 50ishF; with an almost constantly blowing wind it feels downright cold. There are a few ways to get into the city from the airport; predictably we chose the public bus. While waiting outdoors in the chilly wind both of us donned our fleeces and then our windbreakers on top, but still a wool hat was needed. Only then was I somewhat comfortable standing there waiting. The #55 bus took almost an hour to drive ... read more

Europe » France » Alsace August 2nd 2017

At this morning's gathering onboard the River Rhapsody somewhere in France, we happily learned that we would have half a day in Strasbourg, far too little a time, but at least we would get there on this trip. Busses arrived to remove us from Breisach am Rhein to take us to Strasbourg. I was not the only one who was elated by this news. The journey took an hour and a half; instead of an orientation walk we toured the city by open canal boat, reminiscent of the canal boats in Amsterdam. This was fun and informative; I usually prefer to explore on foot, but certainly not following behind some of the very very slow elders who are on this tour. It took at least a quarter hour for our group to board a canal boat, ... read more

Europe » Switzerland July 31st 2017

Flying on IcelandAir for the first time, after Bill and I had meandered our way south to Boston, we were underimpressed with the almost non-existent cushioning on the seats, but had been forewarned about the lack of food, wine, and beer on their flights. The staff was very polite, but they didn't have much to do except offer water occasionally. Our goal was to reach Basel, Switzerland before dinner on Tuesday, August 1, but the boat wasn't scheduled to leave until the next afternoon, so we knew we had quite a bit of leeway in getting there on time. IcelandAir does not fly into Basel, so I booked our flights to Zurich, figuring that we certainly could find our way between the two cities in such a small country. IcelandAir doesn't do Global Entry either, so ... read more

North America » United States » Maine July 19th 2017

Two and a half weeks ago I returned home after travelling in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia, but it just occurred to me this morning that I had confused two different funiculars in two different countries, combining them into just one! And, of course, sent out a blog post while these mixed memories were happily playing in my head. So this entry is a retraction, an apology for not only allowing two different countries to synthesize into one, but in reporting things that happened in two different cities as if it were a single occurrence. I think we all adjust our memories, changing what happened to reflect more kindly on ourselves or others, dulling and smoothing the sharp edges, and over time I have read that these enhanced memories become what we believe truly ... read more

Europe » Slovenia June 27th 2017

Yesterday morning, still in Opatija in western Croatia, I awoke before 5AM, dressed quickly, finished packing, and walked down the hill to the sea to take one last walk on the Lungomare, enjoying gazing out at the peaceful Adriatic Sea. It was perfect. The downpours of the afternoon before had cleansed the air; it felt cool so early in the morning, but I knew it would warm up quickly. This time I walked in the opposite direction on the pathway, towards a little fishing village just over a mile away. It was another lovely morning's walk, but I was sweating by the time I returned. On our bus ride from Opatija to Ljubljana we stopped at Postojna Cave, an astonishing twelve mile long labyrinth winding through other-worldly underground beauty. We had been warned it would be ... read more

Europe » Croatia » Istria » Opatija June 25th 2017

I am looking out my window at an expanse of the beautiful Adriatic Sea. How I was lucky enough to get such a fantastic view of the Adriatic from my room is a mystery, but I am so thankful for it. Flat and calm, reflecting the variably cloudy sky, a few pleasure boats are scattered here and there on this calm, early Sunday morning. I've already been on a walk along the Lungomare, a mostly paved promenade that stretches for miles alongside this part of the Adriatic, connecting little resort seaside towns. At first my walk was peaceful and quiet, but as I strolled along, enjoying the gorgeous views, more and more people appeared and music began to be broadcast from the many hotels along this route. I prefer quiet, especially when most others' choice of ... read more

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik June 22nd 2017

If you count the day most of us left the States, we are ten days into our trip now. It's been very busy, but for some reason I haven't felt like writing, perhaps because TravelPod has shut down, and I don't know if my new vehicle of choice, TravelBlog, has been able to transfer all my entries, maps, and address book. These are all important things I don't want to lose. And, except for long bus rides, our schedule has been quite active, so there hasn't been much time to write. We started in Dubrovnik, called Croatia's crowning jewel, a gorgeous, wonderful ancient city built on the Adriatic Sea. We only had one full day there, not nearly enough time to explore its secrets and riches. A few of us walked on top of the mile-long ... read more

Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls February 24th 2017

Geo: -17.93, 25.84 Last night we slept in civilization again, enclosed in a very pleasant hotel with all its attendant (and undesired) amenities: windows that don't open (monkeys could scamper inside), television, sounds of traffic, a refrigerator humming on and off, outside lights shining all night long, and an annoying fresh paint smell because our rooms have been recently renovated and there is no way to dissipate the foul air in these sealed rooms. I'd rather be in the bush any day. But the staff here at the Rainbow Hotel is lovely, accommodating, friendly, courteous, and seemingly happy, as are all of the Africans we've met on this trip. And so today is our last full day here in Zimbabwe, here in ancient Africa. It will be enormously sad to leave this continent. I need to ... read more

Africa » Zimbabwe February 21st 2017

Geo: -19.1504, 26.5759 We left Zambia yesterday, and travelled most of the day to reach Zimbabwe, to arrive at our last camp on this trip. Two flights, two vans -- one in each country, two different jeep rides, and there we were at Kashawe Camp. It's another lovely camp, but we are in hills now instead of flat land. Sadly, we saw the first litter we've seen on this trip on the sides of the road after crossing into Zimbabwe, unexpected and as ugly as litter anywhere. At camp it was almost too quiet last night, so I didn't sleep well; I missed hearing the sound of the hippos snorting and splashing, and walking right by my tent, plus I missed the sounds of the river too, the gentle, beautiful Kafue River. Here we are also ... read more

Africa » Zambia February 19th 2017

Geo: -15.1305, 25.7849 Early Sunday morning was chilly in the still dark of 5AM. I thought about getting up, but it felt almost cold outside of the blankets. So I stayed in the warm bed under the snug duvet for another hour until it became impossible to lie there any longer. During the night I had heard a crashing through the bushes immediately beside my cabin, followed by a large splash into the river --only a few feet away; a hippo had brushed right by! Even though I am usually an avid night-walker in the woods, and routinely use a red cover for my flashlight so as not to disturb wildlife or anyone's night vision, no one at OAT had mentioned bringing along a red cover for our flashlights. So, with only a relatively powerful small ... read more

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