Ruins Explorer


Ruins Explorer

Where we've been (Updated April 2011)
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Europe » Iceland » South » Vík August 18th 2015

With no other ideas of what to do, and the desire to see puffins, we all set off for the South Coast – in a single car this time as we had no luggage. We went straight to Seljalandfoss, a long drive, because no one wanted to go to the Njal’s Saga museum again. We did get gasoline in Hverdagerdi, but didn’t visit the lovely bakery again. At Seljalandfoss, we made an effort to do something new. Of course we walked behind the waterfall again, but it didn’t have the same magic the second time. On the other hand, Kai did it – bravely – for the first time. This time, we walked along a pathway to the left, which I hadn’t remembered from last time, and found the hidden waterfall. Several waterfalls must be passed, ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Southwest August 17th 2015

For the second year in a row, we visited the Golden Circle. We wanted to make it different, and we were able to experience something different at each stop. At Þingvellir, it was different by virtual of the huge crowds. We had to park more than a mile from the visitor’s center at the Oxarafoss parking lot. That meant we got to see Oxarafoss, which was too far for Kai to walk last time. This time, he never once complained about the walking. The gorgeous blue skies didn’t hurt. In fact, it was so warm that I stripped down to my tank top! It must have reached 60° Fahrenheit. This time, we were prepared, with Icelandic cash, to pay for the restrooms. I had intentionally withdrawn cash to pay for both the tolls to Borgarnes and ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Northwest » Snæfellsnes August 16th 2015

Saturday We saw so much on Saturday, driving all the way from Keflavik (the airport) to our guest-house Langaholt on the golden sand beaches of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. We made a few stops worth mentioning – Geirabakeri (next to the Hauckaup & Bonus) in Borgarnes – and Eldborg, a beautiful crater. In my mind “eld” means “elf”, so it’s an elf crater; but it really means “lava ring” in Icelandic. The crater was created when the volcano blew its top off. It’s gorgeous – appearing alternatingly black, green, or brown depending on the light. We didn’t have the chance to hike up to it – as it would have taken two hours round-trip. The brief stop however was our first geological wonder in Iceland. Next, we drove all the way to Langaholt to check in. We ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam August 14th 2015

With help from my son. It was a family trip - multi-generational - my mom and stepfather (in their sixties), my wife A. and son K., who turned six while on the trip. Sunday - Day One – Amsterdam Arrival It was Sunday and 3PM by the time we checked into our AirBnB. We had been travelling for almost 24 hours, from two plane rides, a train, a tram, a walk, and finally arrived at the place. Then two flights of narrow spiral stairs. It turned out to be a beautiful place, with high windows and airy rooms. We had a kitchen, a living room, and four bedrooms. It was perfect. My parents each took their own bedroom to spread out in, and K. had his own “kids” room to sleep in. I have rented homes ... read more

What we did Mystic Mountain Zipline Here is a big operation that also runs places in Costa Rica and other countries. That, however, gives you the assurance that they know how to do a zipline. We started on a chairlift up the mountain. You could make a day of it up there with their cafe, small museum, hummingbird garden, nature trail (restricted to those with a guide only unfortunately), and waterslide. However, we had a specific pick-up time so we got right to zipping. Talking to others, the famous Jamaican Bobsled ride was not worth it - too short. We enjoyed the ziplines and got to see the Bobsleds beneath us. The guides we had were really professional and great for us (afraid of heights and all). We did five ziplines, plus belayed down a tree, ... read more

North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Tulum March 18th 2015

We just spent a week in Mexico. Our five-year-old son was excited since he loves Mexican food (especially quesadillas, but we found the local equivalent, "gringas". Not a joke - that's what they call it when you put cheese and meat in a tortilla.) We chose to go down to Tulum, to avoid the Spring Break crowds, and I'm glad for it. Tulum is a nice chill town, with interesting people-watching. It's quiet, the kind of place where moms walk their kids home from school, alongside dogs running in the streets, many people (tourists and locals) on bicycles, and the cars go slow enough to avoid accidents. It's the kind of place where a rooster awakens you in the morning. We stayed at the Posada Yum Kin, with its gracious hostess, Graciela. This inn is very ... read more

Europe » Iceland » South » Vík July 3rd 2014

Iceland is like an amusement park, by which I mean, it's just one exhilaration after another. Unlike many places where the tourist destinations end up disappointing you, or are so mobbed with people that it takes all the magic away, Iceland's sights can't disappoint, and their majesty cannot be lessened even by crowds of tour buses. On our final full day, we drove all the way to Vik, stopping at several cool places along the way. Our first stop was a friendly bakery in Hverdagerdi (forgive me, but I don't want to stop to insert the Ð all the time or the Þ). Then we drove all the way to the Saga Centre, where I was in heaven, remembering the story of Njal's Saga. On the way, I read the first section of Njal's Saga out ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 2nd 2014

We made it to Iceland last night, staying at the Castle House apartments near the Tjornin. Reykjavik really is a small town (at its center), with a large amount of sprawl. In this, it reminds me more of a North American city than a European one. We found it easy to walk to a center of restaurants and found the restaurant Gandhi - amazing Indian food. We also located the closest grocery store. Believe it or not, I lost my raincoat in the Iceland airport as we disembarked (it was attached to a carabiner, and packaged up in its pocket - it came detached). We arrived in blindingly horizontal rain, wind that could pick up a small child and move him, and cold temperatures (... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen June 30th 2014

After a brief stint in our room, we discovered a whole new Bergen, off the wharf and into the city. It turns out that our son is a fountain lover, and Bergen is full of fountains. The best fountain for kids is the statue of Ole Bull (a violinist) and a mock rocky waterfall, and stepping stones through the fountain base. All the kids were playing in it, on it, climbing up it, and I believe this was a true highlight for K. We also continued through to the park with the lake fountain, and to the Grieghallen, where there is another cool fountain, trying to find a restaurant A. had heard of. It turned out to be some of the best food we've had on the trip (Norway is turning out to be quite good ... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen June 30th 2014

Bergen looks so incredibly charming in the tourist brochures, with the wooden Bryggen area and all the artisan workshops there, and the old fortress. I was so excited to come here, but now that I"m here, I kinda wish we had left earlier and gone to Iceland. I'm glad that we came to the fjords, but I'm not loving Norway the way I loved Copenhagen, and the whole family is definitely "museum'ed" out. That said, we have now learned sadly that our son is afraid of any "dark" place (which includes most museums), and he's also easily bored at this point in the trip, so we decided not to go into any museums. We walked through the fortress area, through the Bryggen area, to a few souvenir shops (he likes those), but no museums. That leaves ... read more

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