Category Archives: Europe

Iceland..Round the Ring Road

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the infamous Blue Lagoon, after the sun has set and crowds departed

The Ring Road is a road circling Iceland that can be driven in 24 hrs straight, if necessary.  My favorite feature of Iceland was discovering the ever shifting geology and scenery along the way.  The 2 lane drive had the unhurried feel of a back country road,  rustic and untouched.  One minute we’d stumble upon glaciers and icebergs in a pond, and the next there would be volcanic rock and black sand beaches.    The serenity lulled us into such a sense of calm that we picked up 2 Icelandic hitchhikers and lived to tell the tale..

Iceland in 6 days?

Day 1 Reykjavik (capital)
-Blue Lagoon-geothermal spa
Day 2 Golden Circle
1)Pingvellir national park-site of rift created by the separating N. American and Euroasian plates
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Pingvellir national park

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2)valley of Haukadalur, with the geysers Geysir and Strokkur

3) waterfall Gullfoss

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-drive to Skafatell
Day 3
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-4 hr Glacier adventure on Vatnojokull, Europe’s largest icecap (world’s 3rd largest after Antarctica & Greenland)
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-drive around coast toward East fjords, beautiful lake within minutes of Fjallsarlon
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-stayed at Berunes
Day 5
-drive toward east fjords
-Lake Myvatyn, Krafla geothermal field
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-waterfalls near Gooafoss
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-dinner in Akuyreyn
-stayed in Saeberg/Reykir
Day 6
-touched Arctic Ocean
-drive toward NW Snafestnell peninsula, Stykks___ for lunch, drive west,
-visitor center in Hellnar-hike to volcanic rock near Dritvik, arches near Gatklettur
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-drive back to Reykjavik

 

 

Balkans Trip Planning

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typical view along the Balkan coastline

How did you choose travel destinations?

During my year of constant travel, I tagged along on as many planned trips as possible.  After the 20th or 40th country, planning every little detail like where to stay or how to get around becomes tedious.  When a friend mentioned a Balkans trip with his banker buddies, it was a no brainer for me.  I’m pretty sure he invited me.

How did the trip come together?

The guys did a great job of drawing up a general plan.  One of them was living in Europe and had a helpful friend in Sarajevo.  My poor backpacker budget would find out later that because they work pretty hard, the guys like to treat themselves by staying in 5 star hotels.   I was making my way around Europe while this trip was planned-not much time for due diligence.  In fact I suggested a hostel my friend recommended for Sarajevo, which probably had them concerned about my judgement.
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resort in Budva, Montenegro
Itinerary?
–(Saturday) Meet in Split, Croatia for dinner. Book 2 hotel nights at Marmont
–(Sunday) Morning leave Split to drive down the coast of
Croatia to Dubrovnik (stop off at Omis for an hour for breakfast and to see the tower?). This takes ~3-4hrs but assuming there are other
interesting stops along the way, we’ll be in Dubrovnik by late
afternoon. Book 2 hotel nights at the Hotel Bellevue
–Hang out in Dubrovnik on Monday, leave on Tuesday for Montenegro.
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Entering Dubrovnik
–(Tuesday) explore Budva, Kotor, and Tivat in Montenegro–decide where to stay overnight
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Kotor Bay, Montenegro (view from St. John’s fortress)

–(Wed) head to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This takes ~4hrs,

–Spend a full day there on Thursday, take a look at war history

–(Friday) drive back to Split, stopping off at Jablanica for a grilled lamb lunch, and then see Mostar in the afternoon (both are along the way). We can also loop in a place like this on our way back
–We could get back to Split for Fri night to go to Hvar, allow for a
Sat day trip north, etc., but will also have the flexibility to hang out
on the coast, south of Split, on Sat.
–End up back in Split on Sat night to drop cars. Fly out on
Sunday.