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Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Silfra Snorkelling & Diving – Thingvellir, Iceland

Silfra Snorkelling & Diving – Thingvellir, Iceland

Exiting the Cathedral area We were hoping for a warm day for our diving trip, so were relieved after a wet and windy night when the skies were clear and blue for our drive back to Thingvellir National Park. In the end it was the warmest, sunniest day of our time in Iceland and amazing weather for diving. Three different companies use the Silfra pools at Thingvellir, but I’d chosen Dive.Is as they set off earliest. Hopefully this would mean minimal disturbance to the silty river bed and therefore maximum visibility – supposedly over 100m in the clear glacial water. The water is very clear throughout Despite the sun the glacial water was unsurprisingly still cold so there was a long lecture on using dry suits which boiled down to don’t fill up your legs with air otherwise you’ll float upside down and be miserable. Seemed reasonable. We met the dive company in the car park to collect our dry suits, flippers, masks, boots, gloves and air tanks. It...

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Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Summer In Scottsdale And The Livin’ Is Line-Free

Summer In Scottsdale And The Livin’ Is Line-Free

To the ordinary outsider, a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the 4th of July, may seem a bit crazy, what with the average temperature hovering above 100 degrees for the month of July. However, throw into the mix the fact that hotel prices drop anywhere from 50% to 80% off their peak season rates (from the very high-end resorts down to basic chain hotels), restaurants otherwise normally difficult at best to get into are home to empty dining rooms, and the reality that the dry desert air doesn’t really feel that bad (at least to this New York City dweller who suffers through perspiration-inducing walks from the subway to the office for the entire summer season), and you begin to realize Scottsdale is a smart, attractive and a not-very-scary destination for travel during the summer. I was here last summer around the same time (you can watch my Travel Guide to Scottsdale Video here), so I was both prepared for the massive amount of really well prepared food I was about to...

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Iceland South Shore Drive – Reykjavik to Vik

Iceland South Shore Drive – Reykjavik to Vik

The last time I was in Iceland, 10 years ago, I took a tour to view the Northern Lights. This involved standing on top of a mountain in the middle of winter. It was utterly cold and miserable despite me wearing all the clothes in my suitcase. After four hours of seeing nothing we gave up and went for a late night dinner. The driver recommended a nearby place that served simply lobster tails, potatoes and bread, all doused in garlic butter. Whether it was due to the hunger, the flavour or warmth of the roaring fire it was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had on my travels. Wanting to revisit this was tricky. I didn’t really know the name of the restaurant or where the mountain was, just that it was about a two-hour drive from Reykjavik – not much to go on really. Asking around at the hotel and in shops the place people guessed the most was Fjorubordid…I went to look it up then...

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Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Going “Deep” In Indonesia: Diving The Gilis

Going “Deep” In Indonesia: Diving The Gilis

It is a glorious morning. With the sort of light that deserves to have a few moments taken to stop, breathe it in, and absorb the possibility it brings; to make a memory of the way the sun dances across the sea, sprinkling it with gold; to relish the cool that blurs the horizon; to squint your eyes into the gentle mist which offers the promise of the hot day ahead. But I am doing precisely none of these things, too distracted by the certainty that this will be the last dawn I see. [Pause for dramatic effect] Today I am scheduled for my first deep scuba dive: The dive that has prevented me from taking the PADI Advanced Open Water qualification since I first strapped on a BCD almost five years ago. And I’ve been awake all night, running possible scenarios through my head. A lot can go wrong at 30 meters underwater, I’ve decided. My head exploding like a pressurised grape or being eaten by the Loch Ness’s salty compatriot were perhaps...

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Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Return to the Blue Lagoon – Iceland

Return to the Blue Lagoon – Iceland

Inside the Blue Lagoon The first time I went to Iceland, 10 years ago now, I remember visiting the Blue Lagoon on the way back to the airport and falling in love with the place. Blue skies matched the minerally milky-blue spa water, clouds of steam from the adjoining geothermal plant occasionally revealed the surrounding lava fields and the people daubed with blue mud gave the whole place an other-worldly feel. I’ve often cited it as one of my favourites places on earth, so was excited to return. Otherworldly view from the car park After a long day driving and getting rain-soaked along Iceland’s Golden Circle we kept the hire car and drove out to relax in the hot spa waters. Since my last visit everything seems much larger and less fun. Now just getting in requires pre-booking in a specific time slot, ticket collection, briefings and endless warnings about showering before entering the pool. Amazing milky blue water Admittedly the locker rooms are better, and the lockers are...

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