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 traveled for a year. After working about two years in New York State, I am on my way back to Dubai.

Europe » Iceland » Southwest April 25th 2023

Planning this trip, I only had a couple days before I needed to return to work, so I planned a couple roadtrips around the Reykjanes Peninsula. This is an area near Reykjavik, but much of it is not as well known to tourists as the Ring Road, Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon. The first day, J and A joined me. A, who is Icelandic, had never visited some of these places himself, so he also enjoyed it. Day 1 Our first stop was the Bridge Between Two Continents. Iceland straddles the boundary between the North American and Eurasian Plates, which is spreading. Over this part of Iceland, the boundary is in a roughly NE-SW direction, as you'll see later with some of the geothermal locations. You can actually see it from the plane - dark lines ... read more
Hveradalir Geothermal Area
Fagradalsfjall lava flow

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík April 23rd 2023

It was amazing to fly over Iceland and see the coastline, places that I recognized from my previous trip, and especially to see the recent lava flow from the eruption of the volcano last year. We landed on time and I did not even have to go through customs or anything, and since I just had carryon, I made my way to the shuttle to the rental car agency, Enterprise this time. The guy was super nice, but it was funny to know my car was twice the cost of Norway for half the time, and a much less impressive car - not to mention, the last time I was here we got screwed on some 'damage' that apparently insurance did not cover. So, I was much more careful with driving here and did as little ... read more
Hallgrimskirkja and Leif Eriksson
Flying over Fagradalsfjall eruption area
View from my hotel

Europe » Norway » Eastern Norway » Fagernes April 21st 2023

Following my refreshing morning hike, I left Flåm behind and first set out to see the lookout point: Stegastein. There is a tourist road to go around the tunnel, but of course it was closed above Stegastein due to snow and season. However, the lookout point was amazing! Aside from the first 36 hours, the weather was absolutely perfect. When i parked, there were only two other cars and five other people. The lookout is a pine and steel structure that extends out from the hillside so you have a full view of the Aurlandsfjordand Aurlandsvangen below. I loved what looked like the interlocked connections. So, I got my initial view then waited until gradually the others had left and I had the whole place to myself! It was so lovely, words and pictures just cannot ... read more
Borgund Stave Church
Reinli Stave Church
Oye Stave Church

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Flåm April 19th 2023

I think the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to was Flåm. It was the place where I had based my roadtrip around, even though it was not my original plan at all. While researching my trip, i noticed a hotel called Flåmsbrygga, which had a two-night package, including dinner both nights, a beer tasting at its brewery and nice rooms. I thought this looked perfect - a good mix of chilling and sightseeing in a typical Norwegian fjord. It is a town that typically receives cruise ships during the summer months, but thankfully it looked pretty low season this time of year. My kinda place. After driving through the tunnel from Undredal Stave church, i took the exit into town and easily found my hotel, got checked in and went to ... read more
Viking plank

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Flåm April 18th 2023

This was the time I was most looking forward to: heading to Flam. I enjoyed my early breakfast, checked out and paid my car parking fees (yikes!) before heading back out of town. This time, I was heading towards Flam, on the E16. First though, I drove along the same road I did two days previously. Nothing much exciting here as it is either city or surburbia. It was a pleasant drive to Voss, about 90 minutes, and here at this tunnel is where the road went to the north and split away from my previous route. So, new territory! My first destination was drive up Route 13 to head to another stave church. I was a bit worried the road would be closed, due to the snow which was clearly increasing. It was a beautiful ... read more
Hopperstad Stave Church
Undredal Stave Church
Skiing over the pass

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen April 17th 2023

Since I reached my hotel in the evening after a long day of driving, I did not do much except have dinner of a delicious salad, a glass of wine, and walk out to the nearby city parks to take some evening photos. Then I took a nice long hot shower and went to bed in my cool room. I was a little disappointed in the room because I specifically booked one that had photos of a hanging chair - something for me to relax and read in. There was no such chair. Oh well. Otherwise, Hotel Norge by Scandic was fantastic. It was right in the middle of town, the room was nice and spacious, the restaurant was nice, and the breakfast buffet was incredible. The next day, I enjoyed my breakfast buffet, with various ... read more
Hike to Tippetue

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Odda April 16th 2023

Scandinavian breakfast buffets are fantastic. The one at Hordatun was the least impressive of all the ones I had this trip, but still better than just about anywhere else. I started to head north early and immediately ran into a lot more snow. There was a ski center just above the hotel, but I could not tell if it was closed or just early in the morning. Thru another tunnel, back into the snow, then thru another tunnel - I missed the tourist road above, clearly closed this time of year but there was not much to see anyway. On the other side, there was no snow but was overcast and drizzling. However, I made it to my first point of interest: Latefossen. This is a massive waterfall that falls just near a bridge with the ... read more
South of Odda

Europe » Norway » Western Norway April 15th 2023

Due to pressures at work, I needed some me / quiet time. Initially, I had planned to go to Sweden to visit my sister and take a week to myself before visiting friends in Iceland. However, due to work and my sister's schedule, Sweden was off the table, but I decided to still take my Norway trip. I really started to look forward to my own solo vacation, the first time in 18 months and it was well worth it. I initially planned to do a lot of hiking, but since it was still considered the winter / off season, most of the trails looked either inaccessible, potentially too muddy, or just too plain cold. I definitely wanted a road trip and started to plan around visiting Flam, and as I was searching, I got into ... read more
Oslo Opera House
Roldal Stave Church

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore March 5th 2023

My colleague / friend (U), whom I have known since 2014 was celebrating his marriage in his home village in Pakistan and invited me to join them. His family live in a small village about 90 minutes drive from Lahore, so my friend (L) and I (all of us colleagues) flew into Lahore and were picked up by yet another friend / colleague (M). It was late when we flew in. In general, the airport seemed fine, but when we arrived at the foreign visa counter, they were having a bit of an IT issue, so it took about 20 minutes just to get me through. Then the few people behind us went through easily. Driving in Pakistan M and his cousin were outside waiting for us and planned to take us to a late dinner. ... read more
Arriving in Lahore
Kilns all around
Stylish Z and I - she was amazing

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo February 5th 2023

We got to sleep in just a little more, until about 8 today, before having breakfast and checking out by 9am. So, no free time in the afternoon as was listed in our program, which meant I had to cancel plans with a colleague I had intended to meet up with. Well, we were kept just as busy today as the day before and I knew I would suffer at work on Monday... Egyptian Museum of Antiquities Our first stop and one of the trip highlights was the Egyptian Museum (for some reason, I always default to calling it the British Museum..... take from that what you will....). The new Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open in 2023, but has been delayed many times for various reasons.... so don't hold your breath. But we drove ... read more
Kushari - fried onions!
Mosque of Muhammed Ali
Sunset on the Nile

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