Tag Archives: Iceland

Links & Likes March. β™‘

Starlings and Hares by Rob Barnes.

Hey and welcome to March Links& Likes. I thought I would include some pretty pictures of mad March hares frolicking around with not a care in the world.  If only our lives could be as carefree as these beautiful illustrations.  Anyway without further ado….

Gina put   The Kelpies

 

 in Falkirk on her visit list. I would love to see these Giant horse sculptures for myself. 

Fancy a walk that meanders through a pub and ends with a Waterfall?  Let Jo  show you the way.  

Naomi tells us about  The Joy of Gorse and how the shrub’s sunshine yellow flowers  can be made into a fresh and delicious cordial. πŸ™‚

Illustration by Lucy Grossmith.

Louise  follows in the footsteps of  Peakland writer Roger Redfern and finds that things haven’t changed all that much ,since he published his own rambles in the 1960s.

One of my favourite travel boggers ‘Mary’ from Travels with the Blonde Coyote hasn’t posted in a while, but hopefully that will all change now she’s introduced her gorgeous new dog pal ‘ Vida’. What a beauty! πŸ™‚ 

Erin has visited the vibrant and colourful city of Lisbon. Me too please. πŸ™‚ 

Illustration by Louise Scott.

This fab post by Baked by Mummy Iris explores London’s Covent Garden. It looks like foodie heaven and certainly makes my tummy rumble. πŸ™‚

 Hey did you know that there is a A Cat ~^^~ who actually works in B & M Bargains???  Check out this cute Kitty ! 

And if your planning a trip to Iceland this year , here is a very useful blog to consult I β™‘ Reykjavik.

Wendy Andrews ~ Dreaming of Spring.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If you have any blog recommendations, that you think I will like, please let me know. β™‘

 

 

Sunday Sevens ~ July 3rd.

Hi I thought I would join in with Sunday Sevens this week ,as devised by Natalie at Threads And Bobbins. Here’s what I have got up to lately! 

We booked a break down in Cornwall at the lovely Spring Park in the Tamar Valley.I am beyond excited as it is somewhere I have wanted to stop  ,ever since I discovered the owner Kitty’s blog,a few years ago.She doesn’t blog anymore ~ I think she’s just to busy with the park,two dogs…. and a new baby. Spring Park is a collection of colourful Showman’s Wagons,all beautifully done up and decorated with vintage touches.We shall be staying in The Duke, which even has it’s own Hot Tub.Roll on August.:)

I had an Amazing Surprise this Week.I got a nice little windfall from claiming back a PPI refund!  If your a bit like me ,and really can’t be bothered with stuff like that,then I would advise you to give it a go anyway. It’s something you can do yourself over the phone,without going through a company. My bank ( Barclays) simply gave me a number to ring ,when we discovered I had been paying Β£6 a month for a ppi ,that I didn’t realise I had taken out. Six weeks later…….and I’m feeling quite flush.;) Silly story though,I went on a mini spending spree,got as far as buying the above new bag and sunglasses……and promptly lost my bank card! I had to cancel it and wait for a new one.Spending Spree temporarily over.What am I like!

This week has seen the Season Six Finale of That show. That tv show that literally makes my teeth chatter whenever I watch it. Game Of Thrones has gripped me from the very first episode.And now it looks like the next season could be the last! But if it is, its set up to be a humdinger.Is anyone out there a fan? I kid you not about my chattering teeth!!

 

Yesterday I went to the Races for the first time ever.I went with Wil and several of his old work colleagues,a trip they plan yearly. There were certainly elements to the day that I enjoyed.I enjoyed dressing up for a day out and seeing all the lovely ladies parading in beautiful dresses and hats. It was fun to sip cocktails and prosecco. It was even fun picking potential winners ( or losers in my case), but then there was the uncomfortable moment when one of the horses didn’t want to race. The poor thing was incredibly stressed as several of its trainers tried to push it blind folded into it’s starting block. Then some stupid moron shouted ‘shoot the thing’ because the horse refused to play by the rules. Luckilly in the end that particular horse and rider pulled out. But the situation did make me think, is this really such a good day out? What do you think about horse racing?

And finally I will leave you with two pictures from the Euros. I’m not really a football fan but I do enjoy a good tournament. And if I was actually a betting type,I would never have fancied my chances with either Wales or Iceland.Who knows ,one of these passionate nations may just reach the finals. Good luck with your match this evening Iceland. Can’t wait to hear that Haka like War Chant! πŸ™‚

Five destinations I would love to return to…

I’ve seen this post idea on various blogs, most recently on the excellent Darwin On The Rocks and around the World. and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the places I would love to revisit. It was hard narrowing it down so I have decided to choose from holidays abroad and all are destinations I would hop on a plane and fly to right this minute if I could.:)

Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.
Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.

Essaouira ~ Morocco.. I have visited Morocco twice and loved the vibrant bustling souks of Marrakech and the long sandy beaches of Agadir. I must admit my favourite place though is less than three hours drive from both of these more better known resorts. The beautiful and windswept coastal town of Essaouira is an ancient fishing port with fortified walls and whitewashed buildings. It has a laid back vibe and I remember the fresh sea breeze ( which is present at all times!) was a welcome respite from the stifling heat inland. The same breeziness means it is a popular base for beach sports such as wind surfing and kite surfing. Its an aspiring photographers dream too of course. Look at those gorgeous blue fishing boats! Seafood, Souks, Sun, Sea and Sand. When we stayed in Essaouira we made our own way from Marrakech on a packed locals bus complete with whole families, chickens and paper fans.;) Easyjet have just started flying twice weekly from Luton Airport. Fancy it?

Moroccan Moggies.
Moroccan Moggies.

Cannes and the French Riviera. The recent Cannes Film Festival made me hanker for that touch of class that is the French Riviera. Quite a few years ago now we found ourselves in the crowds waiting for a certain ‘Brad & Angelina’ to grace the red carpet for the world premier of the film ‘Inglorious’. To cut a long story short we never got to see them. Sob! If only we had waited around that little bit longer. I think Angelina must have been busy getting airbrushed or something. That aside I would love to return to this part of France again. Just wandering round at Festival time was so amazing and glamourous but the area has so much more to offer. Other memorable moments of our holiday included a crossing with two nuns in a little boat from Cannes to the picturesque island of Ile Saint-Honorat and a wander round the ancient mountain village of Eze and its exotic cactus gardens with exceptional views. Can I go back now!

Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Cactus garden in Eze.
Cactus garden in Eze.
Inside the Reichstaag.
Inside the Reichstaag.

Berlin. There is never a more fascinating city than Germanys capital. Nine years ago now, Wil and I experienced a city break in Berlin. Its history is so powerful and engulfing that you can’t help but be moved by it. Remnants of the Berlin Wall still exist. Bullet holes in old elegant buildings date back to the second world war. We visited the topography of terror, the holocaust memorial and the Checkpoint Charlie museum for an insight into the lives of everyday people caught up in gigantic events. And we ate out lots……sourkraut with everything. Think thats the national dish! Despite this I would love to go back one day. πŸ˜‰

A part of the Berlin Wall.
A part of the Berlin Wall.

British Columbia ~ Canada. I have been fortunate enough to visit BC in Canada twice. Luckily for me one of my old school friends lives in the scenic ski resort town of Fernie in the Canadian Rockies. Vast amounts of snow are dumped on the mountains every winter making it a powdery paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. But I would love to relive our fantastic road trip to Vancouver Island if thats possible please? Or get stuck in a bear jam. Or spy a mountain lion ambling into the forest. Or watch whales in the Pacific rim national park….. πŸ™‚

Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.

Iceland. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go to Iceland. And in October last year I finally got to realise my dream when Wil and I stayed for three nights in Reykjavik. Highlights of our trip included the Golden Circle tour where we got to visit the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall and the gushing Strokkur Geysir. We also had a memorable dip in the iconic Blue Lagoon. πŸ™‚

Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Reykjavik Rooftops.
Reykjavik Rooftops.

Although I never got to see the Northern Lights ( it was too cloudy) this is not the reason I would like to return to this beautiful country. I would also like to explore more of the island and as I’m a bit of a nature lover Summer seems the perfect season for a revisit. Well one summer, one day eh!

What would be your favourite destinations to return to? I would love to know! X

Ten Fun things to do in December.

Winter is nearly here ! And festive thoughts abound as December is almost upon us. I thought I would compile a Top Ten post ~ so wrap up snug and warm and take a look. πŸ˜€

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Get your Skates On. Lots of large towns and cities open up temporary open air ice skating rinks at this time of year.Β  Time to twirl as snowflakes fall. Or at least cling to the side with a hot chocolate and watch the experts glide by.

Christmas Cocktails. Expand your Christmas cocktail repertoire ( Maybe I should experiment more ~ than just Baileys & Ice. πŸ™‚ ) , here are some festive fizz and merry mulled wine recipes to indulge in.

Manchester Xmas Market CHEESE!
Manchester Xmas Market CHEESE!

Christmas Markets. Continental Christmas Markets spring up all over the UK every winter these days so there is no excuse not to browse the Bavarian style wooden chalet stalls with their endless supplies of French cheese, Smoked sausages, festive decorations and winter warming gluwein. Or step back in time at a Dickensian Christmas market where traders dress in costume and sell food and wares from a bygone era. Find out where Christmas markets are setting up near you here.

Festive Forage. A winters walk in the bracing cold air could prove festively fruitful. Bring the outside in this December and hunt for holly, fir cones, scarlet berries, snow berries and evergreens to decorate your home. πŸ™‚

Afternoon Tea. Well I would never normally need an excuse to treat myself to Afternoon tea, but hey if there was ever a time to indulge yourself…..December must be it! Why not look out for a ‘Christmas Inspired Afternoon Tea’ like this one I posted about last year. Divine. πŸ™‚

Christmas Picnic Bench Afternoon Tea at the Garden Kitchen.
Christmas Picnic Bench Afternoon Tea at the Garden Kitchen.

Chilling Tales. Get cozy by the fire and scare yourself silly with a few spine tingling Christmas ghost stories. Charles Dickens himself was fond of a Christmas Spine tingling tale and he wrote several short stories as well as his most famous, ‘a Christmas Carol’. In the Victorian era, Christmas Eve was the time to gather round the embers and tell each other ghost stories. Merry ghoultide…..

Other Countries Christmas Traditions. Why not incorporate other countries Christmas traditions into your yuletide festivities. Having recently travelled to Iceland ( you know about that right;)) , I treated myself to a book about the Yule lads and the Yule Cat ( naughty elves and a scary looking moggie) who leave presents in shoes left out for them. Nice ones I hope! Maybe I shall leave a shoe in my window. πŸ™‚

Yule Lads and Yule Cat.
Yule Lads and Yule Cat.

Roast Chestnuts. I for one am not lucky enough to have an open fire so I may check out how to roast them in the good old oven. mmmmmm I have a hankering for this tasty winter snack already.

Christmas Eve Box. A tradition I took up last year and hope to continue with, is a fun one for all the family ( or whoever you spend Christmas Eve with). Wrap up a cardboard box with Christmas paper and fill with bits and bobs to enjoy over the evening. Festive pjs, family movies, sweets, hot chocolate mugs, christmas tunes. Whatever takes your fancy. I really had fun making up mine for myself and the other half. πŸ™‚

Christmas Eve box contains ~ boozy gifts ( reduced at sainsburys), Lidl Gingerbread and chocs, The Hangover 3 on dvd, Pants for poverty boxers ( for him) and snuggly fawn hot water bottle ( for me) :)
Christmas Eve box contains ~ boozy gifts ( reduced at sainsburys), Lidl Gingerbread and chocs, The Hangover 3 on dvd, Pants for poverty boxers ( for him) and snuggly fawn hot water bottle ( for me) πŸ™‚

Get Away! Theres nothing more relaxing than getting away from all the hustle and bustle of the build up to Christmas. Indeed getting away from it all together and spending Christmas away from home was what we did a couple of years ago.Just us and the hound in a cozy cottage over Christmas.Even had that real fire, I so lust after. πŸ™‚ Check out Sykes Cottages for last minute deals.

Hope my list has inspired you.Feel free to list any more December treats in the comments below. :))

Iceland day three~ The Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik.

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Day Three in Iceland and our last full day here. We had already fallen in love with the place and Reykjavik itself is a small city that makes you feel so much at home. In the morning we had booked a trip to The Blue Lagoon which turned out to be as amazing as it looks. I guess the Blue Lagoon is the Ultimate Spa! The Lagoon is about 40 minutes drive from the city and only 10 minutes drive from Keflavik International Airport, so some tourists go for a relaxing dip before catching their flights home. Surrounded by lava fields and close to a geothermal power station , the location is not the most scenic , but is certainly interesting. The warm waters are a toasty 40 degrees celsius so there is nothing nicer than swimming around in them, even on the coldest days. And they contain minerals that are good for the skin.:)
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There are various entry packages for the Blue lagoon. We chose the comfort package which includes a towel, bathrobe, a drink at the swim to bar and a mini spa treatment. These set us back about Β£50 each but we totally appreciated the towels and robes when getting out of the hot water into the cold air. Everyone wears wrist bands which cleverly operate the changing room lockers and they are scanned at the bar too ,when paying for drinks.

We spent a good five hours in the resort and found plenty to occupy us. The pool area has hot tubs, a steam room and sauna and a massaging waterfall. There are pots of silica mud to put on your face (see above photo :)) and the whole experience is amazing and surreal. It even started snowing a little! We had our lunch in the cafe and also had time for a walk round the lava fields afterwards. The lava fields location certainly gives the Blue Lagoon an otherworldly feel. πŸ™‚

Wil on our lava field walk where there are more geothermal waters.
Wil on our lava field walk where there are more geothermal waters.
Lava fields surround the Blue Lagoon.
Lava fields surround the Blue Lagoon.

We headed back to Reykjavik late afternoon and the weather had gotten colder and very windy. Look how choppy the sea was at the harbour. Had a bit of a wander round, a nosy in a Christmas shop πŸ™‚ and then located to the Bunk Bar on Laugavegi ( the main shopping street) , which by an amazing stroke of luck had a Happy Hour on. πŸ™‚

Choppy seas.
Choppy seas.
Colourful house in the old harbour area.
Colourful house in the old harbour area.
Longboat on a roof !
Longboat on a roof !
Inside one of Reykjaviks Christmas shops.
Inside one of Reykjaviks Christmas shops.
Theres also a shop devoted to puffins.
Theres also a shop devoted to puffins.
A beer and a rhubarb, vodka and aniseed cocktail in the Bunk Bar.
A beer and a rhubarb, vodka and aniseed cocktail in the Bunk Bar.

So there you have it, my last Iceland post…..for now anyway. Now that I have seen a tiny part of the country, I would love to see more. Maybe one day hey. πŸ™‚

Have you ever been to Iceland and what was your favourite part of your trip?

Iceland day Two ~ Reykjavik and the Golden Circle.

Hofoi  House.
Hofoi House.
On Day Two of our trip to Iceland , we did the touristy thing and went on a couple of sightseeing tours. I had booked them before we came away, using Grey Line , a reputable excursion company with an office in Reykjavik, not far from the harbour.

In the morning we did their City Sights Tour and our guide was interesting and informative. A mini bus picked us up from our hotel and we were on our way. This is a bit of a whistle stop tour of the city with a few hop on and off photo opportunities. Places we saw included the Hofoi House where the Presidents of the US and Russia ended the Cold War in 1986, Icelands President’s residence on the coast ( unfortunately obscured by fog), the glass domed Perlan which has great views over the city and a revolving restaurant & also the massive Hallgrimskirkja, which we had taken a look at the day before.

Pretty church looking out onto a fog obscured sea.
Pretty church looking out onto a fog obscured sea.
The Perlan.
The Perlan.
View of Hallgrimskirkja from the Perlan.
View of Hallgrimskirkja from the Perlan.
Hallgrimskirkja Church, a focal point of the city.
Hallgrimskirkja Church, a focal point of the city.

There was time at the end of the mornings tour to go in search for lunch and so we found Gamla/Old Island on Laugavegi 72, which is the main shopping street in Reykjavik. We both had warming Salt Fish au gratin followed by Icelandic pancakes served with whipped cream and rhubarb jam. Delicious!

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In the afternoon we did the Golden Circle excursion , which I would say is probably a must if you visit this part of Iceland. The Golden Circle is a 190-mile round trip from Reykjavik which takes in some of the most important historical and geological sites in Iceland. Included was Pingvellir national park( the site of Iceland’s original parliament), Gullfoss Waterfall with its awesome flow and the Geysir area which was my favourite part of the day. The original Geysir unfortunately rarely spouts anymore but luckily Strokkur nearby still has the ability to make you jump out of your skin every five minutes or so. πŸ™‚

Pingvellir National Park.
Pingvellir National Park.
Gullfoss - The Golden Falls.
Gullfoss – The Golden Falls.
Gullfoss from the top.
Gullfoss from the top.
Strokkur Geysir.
Strokkur Geysir.
Engulfed in the steam.
Engulfed in the steam.
Walking around the geysir area.
Walking around the geysir area.

It was great to get out of the city into the countryside. I had imagined Iceland to be a bare and barren place once you get away from the coast, but the National Park area was actually really scenic with moss covered lava fields, grassy meadows, mountains ( every one is a volcano) , farmsteads with colourful buildings and planted forests dotted here and there. Saw lots of beautiful hardy looking Icelandic ponies, sheep, flying geese and grouse as the coach made its way back to the city in the early evening.

Once back in Reykjavik we had a few drinks in town and went to Icelandic Fish & Chips at Tryggvagata 11 and had just that. πŸ™‚

Fish and Chips. :)
Fish and Chips. πŸ™‚

This post is my last one for #take12trips. Look out for my Day three post featuring The Blue Lagoon very soon.

Our stay in Smoky Bay ~ Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik Rooftops.
Reykjavik Rooftops.

For a very long time I have wanted to visit Iceland and recently my dream came true. Early on Saturday morning our plane landed at Keflavik International Airport and our Icelandic adventure started. It was cold ( though not as cold as I imagined it would be!) and damp but our spirits were high as we made our way to the capital city of Reykjavik. I thought I would write a short post about each day we spent there ( three days in all ) so here is the first. πŸ™‚

Day One.

After checking into our room ( we stayed quite centrally at Hotel Klettur) , we walked down to the harbour, purely because I’m always drawn to the sea. Just before the shimmering glass Harpa Concert Venue is the beautiful Solfar ( Sun Voyager) sculpture , looking out accross the ocean. It is said that this art work symbolises hope, light and freedom. Another interpretation is that the Sun Voyager is a vessel that takes dead people’s souls out to sea. Anyway it has the perfect location and I’m glad we saw it. πŸ™‚

Solfar Sculpture.
Solfar Sculpture.

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Further down from the sculpture is the Harpa Concert Hall looking resplendent in all its glittering glass glory. I wish I had taken more photos now as none I have do it justice. There seemed to be a multitude of monster trucks outside in the car park !

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The harbour area has various cafes and bars, fishing boats, whale watching boats and two whale hunting vessels. Although whale hunting is practised in Iceland’s waters , they do seem to have a ‘Meet the Whales, Not eat the Whales’ attitude going on. πŸ™‚

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Not far from the Harbour we came across Reykjavik’s famous Hot Dog stand. Tourists and locals flock here for Baejarins beztu pylsur ( the best hot dogs in town) and the business has been doing a roaring trade since 1937 apparently. Not sure why the stand is such an institution….but it is incredibly cheap for Iceland , about Β£3 for a hotdog with the works. And yes they are tasty with crunchy onions, raw onions, mustard, ketchup and a sweet onion sauce.

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Reykjavik is full of wall art.
Reykjavik is full of wall art.

Next we headed for Hallgrimskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. Its rocket like appearance is easy to spot all over Reykjavik, so its a good place from where to get your bearings. We took the lift up to the top of the church tower and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the cities colourful rooftops. πŸ™‚

Hallgrimskirkja.
Hallgrimskirkja.

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After we walked to Tjornin which is the city pond and a favourite haunt of ducks, geese and swans.

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As you can see it was a bit of a damp and drizzly day, so time to get toasty with a brew and cake. We found a fab place called Laundromat Cafe in Austurstraeti 9 which is a laundrette/cafe with a library and board games and friendly and cozy atmosphere. By night it turns into a bar.

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Laundromat Cafe.
Laundromat Cafe.

On our way back to the hotel to get ready for our Northern Lights trip, we passed the Icelandic Phallological Museum which I totally forgot to photograph in my infantile fit of giggles.It houses over 200 penis specimens ( mostly mammals) and has a gift shop too…..

Picture from website.
Picture from website.

Saturday night we went in search of the Northern Lights with Grey Line Tours , who took us out of the city and away from any light pollution. Unfortunately the lights are unpredictable and I guess the cloudy weather was against us. 😦 Grey Line tours , to give them their dues tried their very best for us, chasing ahead of the clouds as if chasing twisters! It wasn’t to be though. 😦 They do offer to take you out again for free if you don’t see them. Unfortunately the weather was against us this time.

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I enjoyed my Northern Lights cocktail in the hotel bar though! I will post about Day Two of my Icelandic adventure very soon. πŸ™‚