In Iceland: The Golden Circle in Summer

While in Reykjavik I decided I want to go on the Golden Circle tour again. I already went on this tour in January but I didn’t want to go to the church or the geothermal plant. I found that the last two were just unnecessary. I went into the Grey Line sales offices located at Hafnarstræti and asked if there were any tours that just offer the main attractions of the Golden Circle. This tour only goes to the main three locations and lasts about 5 and a half hours. First stop…

Þingvellir National Park

PhoebeGill150814218I once again feel like I didn’t spend enough time here. We only got half an hour and it’s just not enough time! It’s not all doom and gloom though. I loved seeing Þingvellir in colour. Seeing a vast open landscape covered in snow is beautiful but there was no definition in the vista making it hard to really get a sense of it.  PhoebeGill150814261I loved seeing the definition in the rocks and the fissures. I will one day walk through and find that waterfall that I keep seeing images of but for now I am happy I got to see this amazing National Park in all it’s green glory. PhoebeGill150814574

Strokkur

PhoebeGill150818001I could stand at this location for days. I find this natural wonder fantastic. I don’t think it matters if this location is covered in snow or none at all, it is just amazing. What I did find is that you could get more definition in your photographs because the background isn’t blending with the sky. Regardless of season it is a wonderful location! PhoebeGill150814675

Gullfoss

PhoebeGill150814162Last time I was at Gullfoss was just incredible I didn’t really think it could get any better but oh wait it’s Iceland, it can always get better! The water in January was colder and frozen. The only way I can describe how I saw it in January was that it was elegant and composed because of this. This time it was roaring.PhoebeGill150814378In January the walk down to the look out was closed so I was very very happy to go down and look down the crevice. Since the water was in full force, the spray coming off the waterfall was just epic. It is such a beautiful area and is amazing in any weather but seeing it’s power up close is just incredible!
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The Drive

PhoebeGill150814529Driving this in January it was amazing but very difficult to see any definition in the landscape. The sky and the earth blended together but it was still beautiful. I didn’t even think that the surrounding area when I chose to do this tour again but it is just amazing! These mountains are so so beautiful! There is gorgeous scenery along this entire drive. PhoebeGill150814615It costs €57 and because it was a late afternoon tour we were on a small bus and we had the whole back row to ourselves. We also got brought to our apartment when the tour was over.  This tour doesn’t feel like five hours long because there is so much to see and your tour guide is talking the entire time. We got to spend 30 minutes in Þingvellir, 30 minutes at Strokkur and an hour at Gullfoss. Not a lot of time but I definitely think it is worth it. It’s really informative and such an amazing route. I am so happy that I got to do the Golden Circle again.

Happy Travels!

In Croatia: Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

I love being in the water, I love swimming, snorkelling and the small amount of diving I have done was incredible. I should have been born a mermaid! So these are the spots I found close enough walk from the city for a really nice swim.

Split

Split is a great place to go swimming, there are a few options for what you want. There are three spots just past the bus station that I really recommend. Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 18.10.12

I put a star on the main beach in Split, when I walked by the first day it was packed with loads of people, screaming children, terrible music and bounce houses. It really wasn’t the kind of beach I like, but there is a walkway that connects all three coves in the above image. I recommend the middle small cove if the weather is a bit cooler but still sunny and warm. The last cove is better if it is really hot because there was a stronger breeze so you might get cold on a cooler day.

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There isn’t much marine life in these little coves but it is fun swimming with schools of little fish and spotting sea urchins at the bottom of the sea floor.  DCIM103GOPRO

Dubrovnik

If you are on foot there is one beach close to Dubrovnik that is pretty nice (it’s on the right hand side of the picture). It is small so it will probably be very crowded on a hot day, so go early! Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 18.09.45

The views of the old city are nice to see from the water. This beach has a maker that is a safe zone for you to swim, there are a lot of boats that use the area outside the marker to go to different islands around Dubrovnik, so it is not safe to swim outside of it.

DCIM103GOPROTip:

  1. Get beach shoes! Wearing flip flops isn’t good as you can’t swim without them falling off. Get slip on shoes they are a lifesaver. From the beach to the water is all stones and can hurt quite a bit. I found in Split there are beach shoes sold in the kiosks by the bus station.
  2. Keep wandering, getting to the beaches and finding the entrances can be tricky but just keep walking around, the beauty of Croatia is that it’s small so it will never take you too long.

Swimming in the Adriatic is fantastic, the crystal clear, cooling water is a dream to swim in. I definitely would be interested in coming back one day and finding spots to dive and see more of what this water has to offer. Have you swam in the Adriatic? Do you have any places you can recommend?

Happy Travels!

In Austalia: Uluru

Going to Uluru was a really cool experience! If you are travelling all the way to Australia on holiday going to the red centre is a must! When I was there is 2008 there were 5 resorts that you could stay in and we stayed in the Desert Gardens Hotel. PhoebeGill081229674-1

So before I get in to the wonders of Ayers Rock I must tell you that although my pictures look all sunny and wonderful…do you remember that Hurricane Billy I mentioned before, well he was in full swing, it rained every day we were there, torrential rain!

Also please note that Ayers Rock has a lot of bugs, there are different plagues of various creatures that come with the seasons, we just missed the locusts and when we where there, December time, there were giant moths and Christmas stink bugs.

When I say a plague, I mean a disgustingly large amount of bugs everywhere, even in the hotel. The stink bugs would be crawling up the back of chairs, on peoples backs and scurrying around the floor. As the name suggests, if you step on them, the smell is rotten so just ignore them, they are harmless. Moths were on every sign, painting, flat surface you can think of. It is even worse at night. Believe me when I say, it can get really bad, the lights are crawling with every bug you can think of and the lights are in the centre of the paths as you go to your room. Quite off putting. It’s not somewhere I could stay for very long. I would be a shaking mess in the corner. Right, now that that’s out of the way let me get on with the wonder that is Uluru!

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This beautiful sandstone rock in the middle of the Outback is beautiful! It is quite fascinating, think of an Iceberg, most of this rock is underground, we can just see the top. It is 348 meters tall and just under 10km walk around. PhoebeGill081229609-1

The natural erosion is beautiful! Above is the barrel, it is absolutely gorgeous! A big thing I noticed is that in the pictures of Ayres rock it is round, relatively flat and big but in person it is all different heights and bumpy. It also looked like quite a doable hike. I liked that it wasn’t like the postcards I had seen so many times over, I found that it was more interesting and engaging! TIP: buy a net hat. The flies are everywhere and they get in your ears. Buy one, it doesn’t matter how unattractive it is, it is more unattractive twitching and swatting as you try to shoo away the flies. PhoebeGill081229618-2

There are a couple of things I didn’t like about this tour I took, apologies I don’t have any information on what tour I took so you can know before you go but the first thing was that I didn’t like the way the guide used the Indigenous Australians as part of the tour.

About halfway through, two women joined the tour in order for us to get a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. Our guide would tell us what happened and their history but looking back as a 23 year old woman who has learnt a little bit more about the world, if I was there now I would want the white man to stop talking and for the people that were shoved into ‘our society’ (ie. into inadequate housing, with little help) to educate us. I still have a very primitive understanding of their history, (one of my favourite films is Rabbit Proof Fence, I recommend you watch it) which I must rectify. Getting back to my point, it felt that these two women were asked to come out in the blistering heat to stand around, answer a couple of questions and then be used for photos. I purposefully didn’t take a photo and I am very glad my 16 year old self refused to use these women. I understand that this interaction benefits both parties in some way but I don’t think of these two women as tourist attractions, they are human beings.

The more I travel and the older I get, the more I don’t always want to hear what someone who has learnt the information from a book, has to say on the matter. If possible I want real accounts, real people, real stories.
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The other, less major thing I didn’t like is that we didn’t go to a lookout point in order to see the rock from a distance. I got my photos, which are terrible, from the bus window.

Anyway, I want to finish this post by saying that my trip was definitely worth it. It is a beautiful, other worldly part of Australia. Couldn’t recommend it enough and am so glad I got the opportunity to see this wonder! Have you been to Ayers Rock? Do you want to go?

Happy Travels!

In Australia: Sydney Harbour

The waterfront in Sydney is a really nice place to be, busy, but nice. There are lots of tourists in this spot for a good reason. This area is where you get to see Sydney’s main attractions and where you can catch a ferry. We got two ferries, one to Taronga Zoo and one to Darling Harbour. PhoebeGill081224090-1

It was a great way to see the city from a different perspective, to get shots of the Sydney Opera House from all angles. It should be noted at this point, that Hurricane Billy was passing by Australia so the skies were not the classic sunny Aussie weather we were expecting.  PhoebeGill081224131-2

I have said it before but I really love boats. It really is such a fun way to travel.PhoebeGill081224137-3

Sydney Opera House is practically on every postcard for Sydney. We were all pretty excited to see it but in reality, it was a little underwhelming. I know that sounds terrible but I thought it would be bigger and cleaner. PhoebeGill081225306-4

There is a a great walk that runs along the edge around Sydney Harbour. It has a nice vibe, everyone is relaxing in the sun or taking a stroll. PhoebeGill081225307-5

Have you been to Sydney? If I go back I want to walk up Sydney Harbour Bridge, definitely!

Happy Travels!