Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Icelandic daylight

Friday, July 8th, 2016 | Travel

On my previous trips to Finland I discovered just how much daylight there is when you go north. However, there was always some kind of a night in Finland.

For example, here is a photo I took shortly before midnight while visiting in mid-July:

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It is not exactly a proper night, but it has got darker. There is something you could genuinely refer to as night there. Iceland is not like that. Even by the start of June, anything you would describe as night has disappeared.

It is difficult to represent exactly what it looks like because you are always interpreting the scene through the exposure setting. However, I took a few photos from my hotel window shortly after midnight.

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I purposely have not done any editing on these images. There is a clear difference between the first two and the last one, depending on what I told my camera to set the exposure by, but none of them really class as anything other than daylight.

This was from my bathroom window, a room which you could easily use without switching a light on. Equally, while you have to have your lights on at all time while driving in Iceland, it was enough light to do without them.

Icelandic Phallological Museum

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 | Travel

penis-museum

The Icelandic Phallological Museum, better known as the penis museum, houses the world’s largest collection of animal penises. The collection has been going since 1974 when it was founded by Sigurður Hjartarson. It now has 282 specimens from 93 different species.

A lot of the species come from around the Iceland area, and whale penises are featured heavily. They are huge.

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Elina standing next to the penis of a sperm whale.

There are many other animals also, and even some folklore penises: such as troll penis and elf penis. The museum now has several human penises too, after several people offered to donate theirs after their death.

The museum is based in one room, with some side compartments, so will not take you long to get round. It is worth the visit just for the novelty of it. They do some nice merchandise too.

Hallgrímskirkja church

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 | Photos, Travel

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Hallgrímskirkja church is a Lutherin church that forms the focal point of Reykjavik. It is one of the tallest buildings in Iceland and situated on the top of a hill, can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

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Icelandic humour

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 | Photos, Travel

Icelanders seem to have a good sense of humour. Take this t-short for example…

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What part of Eyjafjallajökull do you not understand? Or how about this one…

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Bars offer free wifi and Islandic beer…

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How could you possibly be confused by that? Said bars are clear about what they think of intolerance…

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And they like to paint their bathrooms like red-light districts…

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A perfect backdrop for a honeymoon.

Snæfellsnes peninsula

Monday, July 4th, 2016 | Photos, Travel

While staying at Hótel Búðir on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we spend some time exploring the area, including driving down to Hellnar for a closer look at the Snæfellsjökull glacier.

There are quite a few of them, so if you’re not on the post page itself, you will need to click through to that to see them all. Alternatively, if you can see more than one below, you are already on that page. Click any photo to get a larger version.

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Hótel Búðir

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 | Reviews, Travel

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Hótel Búðir, spelt Hotel Budir in English, is a hotel located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It does not have a hot tub, or proper blinds for the windows, but what it lacks in these features it more than makes up for in location. Not to mention the friendly staff, excellent food and lovely decor.

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You could definitely have a worse view. The other window, and the bathroom, look out across the Snæfellsjökull glacier.

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The hotel seems to have a bit of a rock and roll attitude. Some of the rooms only seem accessible by crossing the roof. This is definitely worth a visit even if you are not in one of those rooms, simply for the panoramic view.

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Their restaurant is busy, but the food is tasty, beautifully presented and comes in reasonable-sized portions.

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Just up above the hotel is Búðir church. It has been re-built several times since the original.

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Beyond the church is the ocean, and a surprising amount of sandy beach.

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Without a doubt, Hótel Búðir offered us the most beautiful location of the trip. Mountains, a glacier, a waterfall and the ocean, all visible from the same room.

Ion Hotel, Iceland

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016 | Reviews, Travel

ion-hotel

The Ion Adventure Hotel is located in Þingvellir, Iceland. You get there by taking route 36, unless it is winter, in which case you have to go a different way because the road is closed. Winter remember, is October to May.

With the whole area to choose from, they decided to build the hotel next to the geothermal power station. You really can smell the sulphur, which smells like eggs, but it didn’t bother us.

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“We have the whole of Iceland to choose from: where shall we build our hotel?” “Next to the power station!” “But won’t it smell of eggs the whole time?” “Yes, it will be a feature.”

The location is very convient for exploring Geysir, Gullfuss and Þingvellir. All of these are within an hour’s drive. When both the clouds clear and the wind blows the steam from the power station out of the way, you get a beautiful view.

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They have a huge huge tub (it is an eight metre pool, half a metre deep). If anything it was too hot, especially for Elina and the bump. I loved it. I went in twice a day, once after breakfast and once before going to bed. It was only really that Elina insisted on doing things that caused me to get out.

Once end of the building is given over to their Northern Lights Bars. We didn’t see any of the Northern Lights, given it was light the whole time, but we did get a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

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Click to see in full size.

They have a restaurant, and also offer a bar menu (which seems to be bigger than the restaurant menu) in the Northern Lights Bar.

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The room itself was nice. There was desk and chair, the bed was comfortable, and it came with a floor to ceiling window looking out onto the snow-capped mountain. The curtains did an excellent job of blocking out the light.

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Some of it felt a bit dated, and maybe in need of a little love. The above shows the handle on our window. However, the window did open fully, and much of the hotel was modern: every room had an iPad Mini and their communal areas were filled with Sonos Play:3s.

I would definitely stay here again. The staff were friendly, the room was nice and the view was excellent.

Geysir

Friday, July 1st, 2016 | Travel

geysir

Geysir is the original exploding hot spring: the one all the other geysers are named after. Technically it refers to Great Geysir which goes off infrequently, if at all. However, there is a smaller, and still very impressive one (pictured above) that reliably goes off every four minutes or so.

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The hot springs around it really are hot. The hottest parts are behind a fence, but even sticking my finger in the run off is not something I would want to do for long.

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In the video below, you can see the steam coming off the water.

If you’re visiting, do not miss the excellent range of ice creams in the visitor’s centre. It isn’t more magical than seeing the eruption, but it is very tasty.

Gullfoss

Thursday, June 30th, 2016 | Photos, Travel

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Gullfoss is the largest waterfall in Europe. This is dubious claim because Iceland isn’t really in continental Europe. However, it is a very impressive waterfall. It is located quite high up and has a wonderful view of the mountains surrounding it.

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Click for a larger version. The spray from the water creates its own rainbow.

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I also recorded a video of the water going over the edge:

Grillmarkaðurinn, Reykjavik

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 | Food, Reviews, Travel

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Grillmarkaðurinn, Grill Market in English, is a sister restaurant to Fiskmarkaðurinn. As you might be able to guess from the names, this one is a little less focused on fish and a little more focused on meat. However, there is still a lot of crossover.

They make a good seafood soup for example and can cook a decent steak too. The real winner of the meal was Elina’s grilled redfish. It came with a crab roll that could have been a main course in itself. I did not enjoy it as much as Fish Market, but it was still a fine meal.