Alexis M Spencer


Alexis M Spencer

I was an engineer on a long term assignment, first in Dubai and then in Qatar. During this time, I took advantage of my nice paycheck and proximity to other places to start seeing the world. After three years, I decided to take a much earned break and I am currently on sabbatical. And still traveling...

Europe » Iceland » Northwest » Snæfellsnes February 26th 2016

We left Hvammstangi in the morning, stopping first at the Wool Factory, one of the highlights of the area. Then we continued on to the completely empty roads to the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Seriously, we only saw one truck until we got to the turnoff to the peninsula and even then, probably a total of less than ten cars for the next hour. Some beautiful sights though. You could see the snow covered peaks in the distance, the beautiful fjords along the way, and the winding road for miles. I had been reading up on the area and I really wanted to see a place called Beserkjahraun, where two hired hands had cleared a path through a massive lava field so one could marry the farmer's daughter. Unfortunately, it was on a small gravel path through about ... read more
view of the Snaefellsnes peninsula
our new favorite couple
heading out to the sea

Europe » Iceland » Southwest February 24th 2016

We left our cabin before 9am, right on schedule, to head back west towards the Golden Circle. Honestly, the windstorm of the beginning of our road trip turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We had beautiful weather and can you imagine viewing some of these places in the harsh, cold, blowing wind? So, the drive through the Golden Circle to Hvammstangi was quite pleasant. Golden Circle Our first stop was Geysir. This is a geothermal area with many hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. All geysers in the world are named for the famous Geysir, which used to spew heated water into the air up to a height of 80 ft. However, it is now dormant and it's brother, Strokkur, is still active and spews water up to 40 ft every few minutes. Still quite ... read more
Thingvellir - Silfra fissure

Europe » Iceland » South » Vík February 22nd 2016

As our Icelandic friend told us the night before, a wind storm was coming. We still made our way north towards the Golden Circle from Reykjavik the next morning before being turned around about 10km onto the route. There were many stopped cars and ahead of them we could see massive wind gusts and snow blowing across the road, which didn't look to be letting up any time soon; I was bummed as I was looking forward to imparting my geologic knowledge onto some unsuspecting teenagers. So, we turned around to head back on Highway 1 south towards Vik. After getting a little lost in Reykjavik, we made our way to our destination. I knew we were going up the mountain pass, but I was amazed at how scared I was driving here; I grew up ... read more
Getting stuck in ice at our cottages

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík February 20th 2016

It's only been four months, but I returned to Iceland. I just can't get enough of it and with the WOW airlines prices and services, it was easy to take off again. This time, I took my cousin's son, Gabe and we left from Baltimore to meet my friend K and her little sister, E, who were leaving from Boston. Gabe has been wanting to see the Northern Lights since he was a little kid; I had previously had his sisters out to California to visit me and his younger brother travels the world with the choir and since he is also going through a bit of a hard time right now, it was the perfect time to bring him. While I picked comfortable seats on the correct side of the plane this time, we did ... read more
Laugarsdalur swimming pool

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores February 16th 2016

I took another Cruz del Sur bus from Nazca to Lima, arriving at around midnight at the bus terminal nearest Miraflores. I quickly got a taxi but was stymied because there are apparently four, FOUR, Casa Andina hotels in the Miraflores area. After missing on the first stop, the second stop, Casa Andina Select, was the winner. I checked in and made it up to my very nice room. Unfortunately the hotel, while comfortable and in a good location, did not deliver based on the cost. It was by far the most expensive hotel I stayed in during my entire trip and I kept paying for things. The water was not only not complimentary, it was as expensive as those found at Machu Picchu. The internet was not only not complimentary, it was as expensive as ... read more
Fish dish from Saqra
Larcomar movie theater

South America » Peru » Ica » Nazca February 12th 2016

My last morning in Arequipa was a lazy one, before I boarded my bus to my next location: Nazca. I booked online with Cruz del Sur because I had heard good things about it and I was not disappointed. The service at the station seemed a bit disjointed, but I was starting to get used to that. However, I had booked the VIP seat for an extra $12 and it was perfect. The seats were much bigger and more comfortable than on Tranzelo which I had taken from Puno to Arequipa, so I was starting to get excited for my next bus ride. First things first - Nazca. Leaving at 1:30pm, I got to see a lot of the scenery for the next few hours, but most of it quickly became isolated either on the mountainous ... read more
Flying over Nazca
Flight path over Nazca
Trapezoids everywhere

South America » Peru » Arequipa February 10th 2016

After getting out of Puno, taking an overnight bus, and landing in Arequipa at the wonderful hour of 4:30 in the morning, I managed to get a cab to my hotel. I woke up the receptionist at the hotel but he was cool. The room I had booked was not ready, but if I wanted an upgraded room for $20 more a night, it was available. Yep! And it was totally worth the splurge. I took a nice long shower, took a nap, and just enjoyed my smart move. The I took the next few days to take it fairly easy, but I still did a lot and so have separated them as below. Plaza de Armas My hotel is located very close to the main plaza and cathedral, amongst other places. To get to the ... read more
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca February 5th 2016

Right away when I got off my tour bus and into the lobby of the bus station, a man came right up and asked me if I needed a taxi. Usually I go past the first ranks to the less pushy guys, but I was exhausted. So I said ok: he didn't know where my hostel, Cozy Hostel, was located but I showed him on a map and agreed to the price. Then he asked if I wanted to set up a tour of the islands. Again, tired, but also want to get this taken care of before I go to bed. So, he actually had an office at the bus station and I felt much better about the whole set up. Plus, the price he gave me for the tour was the same I had ... read more
Puno - grilled trout and wine
Local women singing
Alex and Alex showing us the construction of the islands

South America » Peru » Cusco » Raqchi February 3rd 2016

It was time to leave Cuzco, (Days 13 and 14 were pretty lazy, so nothing to write about) so I did some research and found the Inka Express, which for $50 took you from Cuzco to Puno (on Lake Titicaca) via VIP bus seats and with various cultural stops along the way. It was hard to find their office and they did not respond to my email immediately. So, I asked my hostel to set it up and somehow I got snaked away and put with another company, Wonder Peru Expedition. I didn't realize it until the next day, Day 15, and the confusion I had felt when Inka Express finally returned my email but said I was not in their system was solved. Oh well. Their bus, and thus group, was smaller so the ride ... read more
Raqchi - terrace steps
Raqchi - Storehouse ruins
Raqchi - temple ruins

South America » Peru » Cusco » Aguas Calientes January 31st 2016

When I returned from Machu Picchu, I stopped first for lunch as I was starving. And thirsty! I picked a cute little restaurant which looked right out on to the river. I ordered a soda and a water, as well as a personal pizza and avocado vinegarette, the appetizer that I had the previous night that I just loved. Unfortunately, this was not nearly as good - it was smothered in a mayonnaise based dressing rather than a vinegarette. Yuck. Oh well, at least I got to check my email on the slow connection. Then I went next door to my hostel, where i had told the guy that morning I anticipated I would be back around 3. It took about ten minutes to get anyone to come see me at reception and even then, I ... read more
Aguas Calientes Main Square
Handicraft market
Love the drainage system here

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