Day 11–13 Halong Bay

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We wandered around Halong this morning – in search of coffee and to stretch our legs before our boat journey. There’s a heap of construction so the area will look very different in a few years time.

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We walked to the beach. Lots of tree planting with each tree assigned it’s own number plate.

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The beach was deserted. Lots of chairs setup for anyone wanting to look out to the back.

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Then it was off to our boat to sail through the bay. We had a pretty swanky room for the first night with our own little balcony.

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First activity was kayaking at the Pearl Farm. The vests were a bit ‘interesting’ – hard to find one remotely the right size.

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Luckily we stayed dry side up as we did our little cruise around.

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Next was swimming and hiking. The beach was a little crowded for my taste we we opted for the hike.

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Lots of stairs, 100 humidity but a pretty decent view.

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There was a bit of a queue right at the top to get a photo.

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Eventually we could see the view.

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Next morning we could see sunrise from our bed

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Then transfer to the day boat for our stay at the “bungalow”. There wasn’t a lot of time but thee was a paid option to go to the shore. I’d spotted the Canon Fort on Cat Ba and thought we’d miss it.

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So we got our little boat ride to the island.

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Walked up the 10% gradient hill to the Canon Fort. Quite cool with a few canons and ruins to check out.

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View to die for at the very top with a well-placed café for an icecream and a cold drink.

Night at the bungalow and then boat back to Halong and a long drive back to Hanoi. Now it’s really busy – scooters everywhere. Time to hid in our hotel room to avoid the streets of Hanoi Smile

Day 9 10 Nihn Bihn and Halong

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After a good rest we get up for an early learn to make your own lunch. Pork spring rolls, mango salad and beef with lemon grass. Were too full by then to make the 2nd main.

We had intended to go for a hike but the rain rolled in so we chilled instead. My great plan to watch some You Tube originals content was foiled by the fact it’s block here Sad smile

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There’s so many ducks around here. We have tried to explain we rescue ducks to a few people and they seem perplexed esp when we mention we don’t eat them but let them go.

We do the 4 hour drive to Halong today and it’s a good travel day as it’s wet and miserable. So starving when we arrive we settle for the hotel restaurant. It’s certainly more western with western prices to match.

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John’s first proper coffee for over a week Smile

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I was going to get a coke but the mojito is actually cheaper than either the coffee or the coke.

For the last hot and humid week I’d been looking forward to the hotel pool. I’m not normally a hotel pool kinda person. It’s so much cooler here today we stayed in maybe 10 mins before we got too cold.

Tomorrow we’re off on our Halong Bay cruise so I assume we’ll have no internet till we get back to Hanoi on Wednesday.

Day 8–Bich Dong Pagoda

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Our last shift at EPRC today. They put us both on the hill in the soft release area. We got to feed the langur sweet potato and the gibbon did come down for food while we were there.

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Our final lot of untie the bundles of leave and we were done. Off for our last breakfast, packup and our car is ready to take us to Ninh Binh for a couple of days.

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Elke suggested Bich Dong as a stop on the way.

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It’s a pagoda and it looks old till you see this sign (or maybe we’re just old).

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There’s a few steps to climb.

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You do get a decent view from the top.

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It’s pretty exposed (read hot) so we head back into the cave area which is super slippery.

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Few statues to take photos of.

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And then we’re pretty much done. We know we’re already back in “civilization” cause there’s already a lot of people. Our driver suggests lunch and drops us at what seems to be a westernised restaurant. Burgers, toasties and a few cold drinks later and we’re off to our accommodation.

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We turn on all 5 fans, drop the mossie net and it’s time to relax.

Day 7–Asian Turtle Program

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This morning was a similar routine of feed in the morning, I feed 2nd shift while John helps repair cages.

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It’s really humid today and we’re just dripping.

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There’s a new volunteer/researcher arrived and he’s staying for 6 months.

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After lunch we head down the road to the Asian Turtle Program to have a look around.

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They have some invasive species for education along with the turtles they are breeding to release. These guys seem tiny after the giant tortoise we saw in Galapagos.

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They had some really cool tshirts but unfortunately they were all too tiny for me so I settled on some turtle tape measures instead.

Day 6–Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

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Today was a busy work day. Overnight, on of the Gibbons had given birth so there’s a new baby at the centrey. It was hot and humid. What’s hotter than that? Being on burn duty! I got to stand in the hot sun and make a giant fire. By the time we were done I was absolutely drenched in sweat.

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This afternoon we got to visit the neighboring centre – Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. They have some carnivaores and pangolins.

At 5 we got a tour and then helped with the food preparation for the animals. Then we sat with the keeper who pulled up some chairs in front of the fans for us, made us a cuppa and fed us a few rice crackers before we feed the carnivores.

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We fed the Civets which were very timid. They are about house cat size with similar markings on their face but then spotty on the body with much larger eyes as they are nocturnal.

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Next was the binturongs, These guys look like a small bear with a tail. A bit like a big red panda. We hide the food around the enclosure for it to sniff out during the night.

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Back at 8 to feed the Pangolins. They are quite cute with their scaly little body.

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Day 5–Van Long

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Usual morning of feeding and clearing today. Had a slight miscommunication for the next session so we wandered around to grab some more pics.

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The babies are always so full of energy and inquisitive.

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While the adults are happy to watch the tourists walk on by.

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There’s heaps of stick insects in the centre and the gibbons like to reach out through their cage and grab them.

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We’ve been trying to work out what these big green fruit are – a kind of grapefruit.

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We wandered over to the hill to try and grab some pics of the gibbon in the semi-wild area.

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Fortunately the hung around long enough for us to grab a few shots.

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They are just a giant ball of fluffy muscle.

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In the afternoon Elke took all the volunteers for a trip to Van Long.

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We took pics of the rice paddies while we waited for it to cool down a little.

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Then Elke sorted out 3 boats to row us to the cliffs in search of the Langurs.

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The normal touristy route is to turn right – it has nice scenery but less chance of seeing wildlife…or left – less pretty but more chance of Langurs.

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We left it up to Elke to choose left…there was a bit of commotion when the first boat turned left.

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Her choice paid off – we spotted a family on the rocks with babies in tow.

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It’s cool watching them easily traverse what appear to us as sheer, impassible cliff faces.

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We sat and watched as they moved higher and higher. There’s 7 of them in this photo – not so easy to spot!

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It was getting dark so we headed back and our boat rowers were very happy when we tipped them.

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Back just in time for dinner and to hang with the local cat wanting to share our food.

Day 4–Night tour

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This morning I did the perimeter check. This was super tricky in the wet as it was a bit flooded and very slippery. On one hand I regretted wearing my gumboots as they are heavy and don’t bend and on the other hand with the amount of water my hiking shoes would have been filled with water.

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After breakfast I worked on enclosure repair. We must have replaced half the enclosure. New beams and fixed up all the swings.

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The itch to ride was too much for John so he tried out one of the hire bikes…loving the crazy coloured spoke upgrade.

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He went for a ride through the local area with Elke and a vet from the other rescue centre while I worked on Loris enrichment.

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The local kids joined in and followed.

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Checked out he local water buffalo.

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Then back into town to get some snacks.

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At night we met up with Elke to check out the Loris at night. First we found a sleeping lizard.

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Being nocturnal, these guys were much more active at nighttime.

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And they love insects! This one looks super happy at the insect we’ve presented to it through the wire.

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We also spotted a few grasshoppers.

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And a sleeping bird.

Day 3– Enrichment activities

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Today we ensured we arrived well before 6:30am. We spent the first session watching the Langur introduction between a male and female. They’d spent some time next to each other in the enclosure before the main door was opened. They spent a lot of time at opposite corners with their backs facing each other pretending they didn’t exist. There were a few tense moments where they chased each other around the pen but generally seemed to go well.

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After breakfast John was on enclosure repair while I prepared some enrichment items for the Loris. They eat a lot of tree sap so we make up a paste and mix it with other sap and place into the timber with holes for them to eat.

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After lunch we brought in the zoo toys we’d bought from Aussie Dog. we met Joe on our Thailand trip 11 years ago when he was making shoes for elephants. We love bringing along his creations for the animals to use.

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The keepers had fun working out how we’re going to use some of the items and paired them with some home made enrichment.

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The langurs watched the excitement trying to work out what we were all up to.

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Then we were off with our wheelbarrow of fun.  Delivering toys to the varying groups of gibbons to try.

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They were excited to see a new toy. These tube feedballs are a bit more complicated. The food is placed in the red ball and they have to get it into a hole in the blue tube before it drops through the bottom.

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They were quite taken by the bungee. Inside the yellow ball is a marble that make the all rattle. It’s attached to a bungee that stretches when they pull and swing on it.

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They sniffed, licked, tugged and kicked at them.

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The went back to the homemade version that they knew well.

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But kept going back determined to work out these new toys.

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The even tried turning the feed tube upside down to investigate further.

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After all that fun it was back to bundling leaf for tomorrow.

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Day 2–Introduction to EPRC

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Up early to start our first day at EPRC (Endangered Primate Rescue Centre). We’re told to be there at 6:30am for the morning shift (if we were up to working). We arrived and started changing shoes and the keepers were already zooming off. 6:32 and we were the only ones left. Mental note for tomorrow – arrive at 6:20.

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They found us different keepers to follow for the morning. I looked after the gibbon feed which involved moving them to holding pens, then switching their bowls of food over and removing the leaf from the day before. Bowls are all carabineer’ed to the enclosure. The reason becomes obvious quickly when you see how much they bash on things.

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John was on pre-release duty – walking the fenceline and collecting all the stick insects who’d died on the electric fence during the night.

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Then off to breakfast for an hour. Our little restaurant had the choice of sandwich or soup.

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The pre-lunch shift I helped out preparing a few cages for Loris that are arriving soon in the quarantine area and John helped fix another area. Just before lunch we were on leaf bundling duty. I’m still not sure the right way to do this task as we were quality checked with conflicting instructions. I’m sure we’ll be much better at this by the end of the week.

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With so much food we basically skipped lunch and had a snooze for an hour or so. Our accommodation is this cool yellow house. We’re in one of the rooms on the ground floor

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The afternoon was a bit of a rush as the keepers were keen to knock off early are there was a big football final on. Lots more leaf bundling which was getting placed into buckets of water to make the next day’s job easier.

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We got to help out ie watch as they medicated the Loris that are getting ready for release and then the place was fairly empty. This worked out great for us as we got to spend some time with Elke, the head keeper, who could tell us all about the animals and meant we could get closer to some of the cages to shoot through the wire.

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In the evening we were treated to dinner at Elke’s house with Adam the director with a massive spread of food that was way too much to eat.

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Day 1–Off to Vietnam

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We had what seemed like an extra busy last couple of weeks so I think we felt extra relieved to get this break. We’ve not seen much of each other with me working late many nights and weekends full of activities in different locations. Before I’d even left the guys at work put a counter till I’m back. 

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As the flight drew closer we were faced with the inevitability of a very full flight, no status, no premium class, no exit row. “It’s only 9.5 hours” John says at lunch on Friday. When I think about it, it must be 10 years since we’ve had to do a flight with cattle class legroom for that long a leg.

With a smooth and efficient packing effort we’re off to the airport in time for the flight checkin to open. It’s already a really long queue. I eventually realise we get to skip ahead as I’ve done the online checking already. With dagger looks from people in the queue we shuffle over a line. While the lady at the checkin explains it’s really full and we’ve got someone in between I ask how much to upgrade. My heart sinks when it’s more than what I’d told myself was my limit. After a looking at each other and waivering a bit … it’s done… let’s just pay the money.  The advantages of course are skipping through the massive security line, lounge access etc.

As we are waiting to board I look across at the queue of families with infants and there must be over 20 babies. We get our seats in our cabin with 18 others and I think already it’s worth it. I barely make it through dinner … all I want is sleep and the curl up on the lay flat bed till we hit Bangkok.

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When we wake up in the morning I look across to John who has actually gotten sleep and he says “totally worth it”. We find our next gate and watch the sun rise over the plane. This next leg is less than 2 hours but it feels a lot longer. Getting into Hanoi, baggage, immigration etc are a breeze. Walk outside and bam! humidity hits you. I’m now wishing I’d packed my shorts in my carryon and changed into them.

We find our driver, who speaks no English, and fade in and out of sleep on the 3.5hour drive to EPRC.  We’re met by our co-ordinator who quickly shows us around before heading off for a few days. Back to our room to change into less sweltering clothes, a quick tour of the animals then a bit of a snooze before dinner.

We wander into town to or designated restaurant, and pick at the food then back to our room. Glad I took a torch or we could have stepped on this guy on our way back into our room.  Tomorrow we start bright and early at 6:30am.

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Day 19–Ferry ride and Northern Lights

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Today we leave the West Fjords and head south on the car ferry Ferjan Baldur. It’s a 3 hour boat ride and we had internet connectivity the whole way. I still got a little bored and had a nice nap on the way.

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Looking at the forecast for tomorrow it was going to be overcast so we decided to take advantage of the sun and see the sights this afternoon.

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We decided to make it a loop as we have all afternoon.

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First planned stop was Búðakirkja a little black church.

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This one was built around 1703. There are what seems to be a large number of churches in Iceland and they seem to be from a similar template. There’s something about the couple of little black ones that really stands out or maybe I just like black and white.

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Of course we had to see another waterfall – Kirkjufellsfoss.

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This one had the fullest (yet small) parking lot we’d seen with people parked awkwardly on the side of the road. We luckily arrived at a car turnover and managed to get a safe spot.

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What makes this one worth stopping for is you can get Kirkjufell Mountain in the same photo is you take a panorama.

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Or you have a wide enough lense and can get a good angle on it. Here I was approached by some men (you can just see them in the pic) to help them with their photo mission. One was dressed like a caveman and wanted to get a pic of him with the mountain…sure … not sure why his buddy couldn’t take the photo. Once agreeing to assist his mate then quickly disrobed and put on a gag. Hmm…ok. So about 10 photos and high five’s later they seemed happy. Not sure how they’ll look as it was just on a phone and the difference in light was difficult but they seemed happy.

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I’d been refreshing the aurora forecast a lot. It had been forecast to be cloudly and activity of 1-2 but stubborn as I am I just kept refreshing. As the afternoon drew on it was going to be clear with a 3. By night it was a 4.

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There wasn’t much around on our scout worth driving out to so we opted to stay up till midnight and just walk up the hill behind town to the lighhouse.

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As we tried to find shelter from the town lights which totally wipe out your ability to see the green wisp across the sky we started to see colour changes.

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It’s very subtle as it’s early in the season but it looks like a thin cloud. The cloud will glow slightly. You actually see the colour come out better on the photo and I wonder if people don’t even realise they are seeing the lights.

Day 18 – Dynjandi

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Today’s highlight was the trip to Dynjandi.

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We’ve seen a lot of waterfalls by now but I think Dynjandi is the prettiest with it’s wide veil.

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You see this waterfall many k’s away and it gets more impressive the closer you get.

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It’s actually a series of waterfalls with a total height around 100 meters.

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Surprisingly there’s not a lot of spray so you can get quite close up.

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On our travels we passed Garðar BA 64 – the oldest steel ship in Iceland.

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Launched in 1912 (same year as Titanic) it had a varied history before purposely being run aground in 1981 it’s now slowly rusting away.

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I’d seen a couple of pics of this ship but hadn’t found it’s name or location other then the West Fjords till we literally drove up to it.

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Heading down to the Red Sand beach we came across this little black church. There’s another one similar that I have my eye on for a few days time.

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The light and the tide weren’t the best for the beach and it is more orange than red so we didn’t stick around here long before heading back.

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The clouds here seem to spill over the tops of the mountains just like the waterfall.

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Day 16-17 Rainy West Fjords

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Saturday – Our run of good weather has ended for now.

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It’s been a pretty bleak drive to get to  Ísafjörður.

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We’re taking the opportunity to rest and enjoy staying in the one hotel for 2 nights in a row and to try and get some washing done in the sink and make use of the heated towel rails to get things dry.

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Sunday – it’s still miserable, cloudy and rainy but we venture out to find some food and wander around the small town.

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In the afternoon I venture across the road for another swim. This one is an indoor heated swimming pool.

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The guy collecting my money asks if I’ve been to a pool here before and if I’m familiar with the “sacred shower ritual”. When I look at him and ask “Do you mean having to use the shower 1000 times to swim”… he replies “I see you have been initiated. At first the pool is a bit full. People swimming up and down and across and kids playing. It’s a bit like Frogger trying to time your lap just right to avoid collisions. It starts to think out and left with swimmers but all of them so slow even I look fast. By 4:30 it’s down to me and another guy and he’s there to do laps too so I just follow his feet. After about an hour I’m done…my arm is starting to ache (it’s going to be so sore tomorrow) and I’ve done 2k’s of swimming so time to have yet another shower before I head back to the hotel.

Day 14 15–Heading West

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Day 14 – After a disappointing night, and a bleak outlook we weren’t keen on an early start so took out time to head west today.

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First stop to break up the drive was Goðafoss. I’d had it on my list originally, then removed it as there were more impressive waterfalls but last minute to add it back to give John a rest. Then a quick stop in Akureyri for lunch before heading to our guesthouse for the night. I’ve got a cracking headache – the type when John is eating cornchips on the other side of the room it sounds like a drummer playing right inside my ear. After crashing on top of John for a few hours I move to the otherside of the room to continue my attempt to sleep off the headache.

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Day 15 – Feeling super drained after my headache last night. We were going to go hiking yesterday afternoon but I wasn’t up to it. Big drive ahead today but we first head up to our original hiking spot at Þórðarhöfði to stretch the legs and see what the view was like.

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Needing more things to break up the drive I picked Skarð lighthouse as somewhere to stop.

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Once you stop you give other people the same idea. Had 2 other cars try and stop in out not even a pullover area we found. The side of the road was quite marshy and required concentration to not fall over and roll my ankle.

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By now our car is kinda dirty – I think we win dirtiest car on the road at this point. We spot a washbay in Hólmavík so John gives it a good clean down. This is good because the servos here don’t have the bucket and squidgy like home to wash your windscreen so ours is pretty manky by now. Don’t want to put too much pressure on the window though…case the crack becomes a giant hole.

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Once at our accommodation for the night we notice there’s a pool next door that closes at 6pm. Quickly grab my togs and off I go. Not quite up there on Icelandic poll etiquette so I clearly look like a noob. It’s a bit of a process….

1. Leave shoes at the door

2. Pay

3. Have a shower (no togs)

4. Goto pool (but not through the front door … through the shower area I clearly missed the first time

5. Swim (oops was supposed to leave my bag in the shower area). Seems noone else is actually swimming but just sitting in the spa pool things. So I swim till close time. Oops again….probably needed to get out 10mins before.

6. Have another shower

7. Get shoes back on

8. Say sorry to the pool lady who looks upset I’m running out the door with my shoes half on at 6:05pm

Day 13–Hunting for the Northern Lights

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It was really overcast this morning so we took the opportunity of having the same hotel for 2 nights and getting some sleep. With the long sunlight hours we’ve been having long days on the road and we’re both pretty tired. Things like riding around the lake I’d originally had on my list are out and hiking round a crater edge in fog is probably not the smartest of activities.

By the afternoon (advantage of long days) the sun is back out. It’s new moon at the moment and this area is good for seeing the lights so I check the forecast and it’s a 6! We decide this is our best chance as the forecast for the rest of the week looks bleek. So we head out looking for some good spots for photos.

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First up Hverarönd. It’s a geothermal spot with bubbling mud, some hills and decent views in most directions. This could definitely add something to some green in the sky.

On the other side of the hill there’s a decent look out spot- this will be our go to spot for elevation.

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And the base of the hill there’s geothermal activity and some water – great for capturing reflections in the sky.

Back to the hotel we head to wait for dark (even though the sun has just set) which will be about 10:30 onwards. Grabbing all our warm gear we head back out to spot 1. The carpark is empty and you can smell sulfar. Waiting, waiting for the light to go away we see a star. This is a good sign. Then a wispy white cloud appears to my left and suddenly it has a tinge of green. That’s it! Out of the car with the camera and it’s gone. Out to the middle of the geothermal plumes all rugged up and ready to go for the next bit of dancing green to appear and all of a sudden it feels like the geothermal plumes are on steroids, can’t see a thing. Gonna have to move.

Back to the car and to elevation. Up here it seems worse – damn…new plan…get away from the geothermal area. We drive east. We soon realise it’s actually fog. Driving, driving and then clear. Ok..now to find somewhere to pull over.

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Now in the middle of nowhere with no real focusing aspect we wait.Wisps of green appear but it’s still not quite dark enough at 11pm. We know it’s there for sure now as we can get it on camera. Now to wait for darker skies. The fog has other ideas and is starting to chase us so back to the car. Head back through town and try north, still fog. We hit gravel road and turn around. Last chance – we go around the lake…still fog. 1am and we call it a night. I check the hotel webcam in the morning and they got nothing. So sad that it was right there but couldn’t get away from the fog.

Day 12–Dettifoss

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This morning we set off on a little adventure to find the location of a photo I’d spotted – Bjolfur. It’s just before the turnoff to Seydisfjordur. It’s a small gravel road and all I have is my memory of the photo and a rough lat/long other than the name. We find the sign that matches and it is indeed a gravel road. We putter along and the road gets a lot rougher and rougher. We hit a steep bit with pretty large rocks…at this point if I was driving I would have stopped. John seemed to think it was fine so I held my breath and all that came to mind was the fact we don’t have a real spare…just goo and hoped we didn’t tear the inside wall of the tyre or we were stuffed. We made it over that bit and continued on. I don’t remember reading it being this bad. We hit another really hairy bit – very steep, loose and rough…again I think I wouldn’t have gone up….but up we went…meanwhile I’m hoping we don’t lose traction slide backwards and sideways and roll. As we continue on, it gets quite narrow and while we can drive now I wonder if we’ll hit something too 4WD and not have room to turn around. Eventually we pull over and find somewhere we can turn the car and continue on foot.

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The local sheep look up as we walk by – not sure if the ram (not pictured) is grumpy or inquisitive at our presence.

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We continue on over the ridge and walk up to the bigger rock area – this is it…this is the shot I’ve seen. So we grab a few photos and admire the view and head back to the car. As we head back down towards the road I re-check my notes and I’ve definitely written “passable by normal car and bus”. Hmm…me thinks I’m missing a NOT here and then also see my notes say 2.5hr walk. I think we should have stopped at the first sign…oops.

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We continue on to Seydisfjordur cause we’ve come all this way we might aswell have a look at the town we could see from up high.

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We go to the end of the road and admire the big cliffs around before heading back to town where we thought we spotted a restaurant that has real coffee.

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We pull into Hotel Aldan and they indeed do sell real coffee and as a bonus their “mains” are buy 1 get 1 free for lunch time which starts in just over half an hour…so we hang round drinking our coffee and then order some steak which would be hideously expensive but it’s half price so now it’s only expensive.

We continue north to our hotel for the next 2 days in Reykjahlíð, were we dump a few things and do some hand washing before heading to Dettifoss.

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As we have the whole afternoon we try both sides. First the west side (via the 862) which is a paved road.

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This side gets you really close but doesn’t give you a great view (in my opinion). Good if you like to stand in the spray and get wet. This also gives you the west side access to Sellfoss – again I think the east is better.

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On the way back to the car we notice what looks like a giant rainbow way up in the sky but like a crescent moon.

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Next the East side (via the 864) which is gravel. This is the side you’d be familiar with if you’ve seen the opening scene of Prometheus.

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This waterfall has a massive amount of water coming out of it.

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Upstream there is it’s little sister Sellfoss (not to be confused with the town of the same name just of the Golden Circle in the South of Iceland).

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It’s also very cool as it has so many little cascades entering it. The west side is also the best outlook on it. The path is a bit sketchy so I take my old lady walking pole. I’ve been irrationally overly cautious with rough surfaces and I thought this might give me more confidence. I have 2 big fears on rougher ground at the moment. The first – slipping in general and falling on my elbow which would be insanely painful. The second is using my left arm to push off or lower around bigger boulders and me not being able to hold the weight and toppling. I’m usually a slow scrambler but currently I’m tortoise pace. Eventually I get there.

Then back to the hotel for the night. This hotel shows last night’s webcam sky footage and the last 2 nights It’s had northern lights so fingers crossed we’re awake it it appears.

Day 11–Bye Icebergs, Off to The East

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After being told about the previous night’s Northern Lights I woke about once an hour and looked out the window in hope of the elusive green in the sky to no avail. Up early for sunrise to head back to Jökulsárlón to get the Icebergs in the morning light. We headed for the beach and noticed as we crossed the bridge it appeared empty. We pulled in and confirmed the beach was clear other than a few oversized ice cubes.

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We decided to check out the lagoon instead. As we crossed the road everything was still – the icebergs just sitting there and then like something out of Dark City the switch was flicked and the icebergs started to move.

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We wandered around the other side of the lagoon to where we explored yesterday. The sky had a light cloud cover when combined with the light on the lagoon gave it a sheet look. It was really beautiful and only 1 other person there. I was expecting to at least see a dozen keen photographers. We wondered if those that did turn up just left when they saw the empty beach.

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After wandering around for a good hour we ventured back to the beach. There are quite a few campers etc. here and even they aren’t up yet.

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By now some of the iceburgs have washed ashore and the beach is again littered with bits of ice.

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We have this completely to ourselves while everyone else is asleep. It’s like being a kid in a candy store. Bonus is because everyone else is sleeping there are no footprints – it’s like we’re the first people to walk this beach.

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After about an hour I’m getting a bit cold – even with decent clothing 6 degrees gets cold after awhile and we’ve probably taken way too many pictures of ice we head back to our accommodation to get breakfast etc.

We head into Hofn to get some fuel as we’re quite low and then head towards the “Viking Café” as on his land is access to Stokknes Beach. After paying, we drive down and for a moment I think I’m in the wrong place till I turn around.

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The big mountain as a backdrop, then black sand dunes with green grass tuffs and a tidal lake with just enough water for a good reflection – this is what I came for. We rand into a couple of blokes who’d been here yesterday and had a bit of a chat. They’d found Jökulsárlón disappointing as the beach was empty. Ha – they must have been there at the turn of the tide – it did catch some people out.

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We wandered around the black dunes – again finding spots with no footprints. The sand is so fine and a little sticky it almost feels like ash.

Getting on in the day we head back to the ring road and through our first Icelandic tunnel. This one is a good introduction as it has 2 lanes.

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Stomachs are getting rumbly and so we pull into the first town we find at Djúpivogur to get some lunch.

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Now with full stomachs we make the final drive to our accommodation for the night just outside of Egilsstaðir. Both quite tired from all the travel we crash –  so that’s us done for the day. Hoping to snooze for a bit and then wake up to look for more green skies through the night.

Day 10 – Off to Jökulsárlón

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While we slept last night there was a great Northern Lights display….bummer. The hotels really need a  “Please wake me if there’s Northern Lights option. I had checked the forecast earlier in the day and it was cloudy..must have cleared up.

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After yesterday’s windscreen sacrifice to the weather gods we were given another beautiful day. To break up our trip we stop first at Kirkjugólf – also known as “the church floor” which is 80 sqm of basalt columns that look like floor tiles. ‘

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Then an hour’s drive to Skatafell National Park to see Svartifoss. It’s a 12 metre high waterfall that has black basalt column formations. It’s a bit of a hike up the hill to go see but was worth the visit. The carpark was absolutely packed.

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Then another hour and we arrived at Jökulsárlón.

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This is truly a magical place. We wander around the lagoon part and take a stack of photos.

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It is high sun and we wandered around the lagoon. We found a few mini iceburgs to catch and take photos of. Problem is then everyone wants your piece of ice instead of finding their own. Walking around here is the sound of 100 drippy taps.

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The big iceburgs melting and every now and then a crack as a chunk of ice breaks off. I could sit here and watch the iceburgs do their dance with the current.

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Then we head to our accommodation to check in and then back again for sunset.

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This time we go to the beach section. You can see why it’s also called “Diamond Beach” as the little iceburgs wash up and in the sun they glisten and look like diamonds. It’s a photographer’s playground with ice, waves and black sand.

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These huge to small chunks of ice as like beached whales, washed ashore rather then sent out to sea.

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Some of the chunks easily fit 5 grown men standing on them. It’s interesting to watch families dodge the waves and as the waves go out rush to the berg with their small children, deposit them on the chunk of ice and quickly run back to shore to take what I’m sure is a cute photo. I wonder if they think about the fact the icebergs floated there and if they got a bigger wave could float back off again, dragging their small children out to sea.

Day 9–Vik And Surrounds

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After crashing hard and a good night’s sleep we woke to a beautiful morning. First we headed to Reynifjara Beach to suss out the area.

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Light isn’t good there in the morning and there’s nobody in sight.

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The sand is dark grey and full of the most perfect skipping stones.

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Short drive round the corner to Dyrholaey and up the hill to the light house.

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Only one other person here and not great light yet but there are some puffins.

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On the road we have to pull over to admire the amazing view.

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To break up the onslaught of waterfalls I’ve got the  Solheimasandur Plane Wreck on my list.

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It’s about a 4k walk from the carpark.

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It is so flat but you can’t see the plane until the last minute as it’s in a slight dip.

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That’s enough walking for the morning so we head to Skogafoss which is one of the biggest waterfalls at 25m in Iceland.

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I head to the base to give an idea of size. We pop into the bistro here to get some lunch before heading back to our accommodation to put our feet up for the afternoon.

Really needed the nanna nap and was lucky to not just sleep the afternoon away.

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Back to Dyrholaey to get some afternoon shots. Clouds are out so not going to get nice colours here so head for Reynifjara Beach to wait and hope for sun.

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windscreen

On the way back at, almost stopped BANG! There goes the windscreen. I’ve heard horror stories of people being charged over $1000 US for a simple windscreen so this time we actually paid the extra insurance. Still expensive and hopefully cheaper than the alternative. I consider calling about the windscreen and the thought of them telling me I have to go somewhere right now to get it fixed and miss the shots I’ve been waiting all day for put me off. So we park the car and decide to deal with it after the sun goes down.

Back to the beach and it’s packed. We spend the time finding the shots we want, watching the people and keeping a close eye on the sun. As I watch the sun getting lower behind the giant cloud and the people slowly leaving I nab a spot on the basalt rocks so nobody else does.

Waiting, waiting…another lady is impatiently waiting and easily frustrated by the crowds. A group is playing with their drone (one of the only places I haven’t seen a No Drone sign) and 4 seconds after launch a propeller flies off and the drone crashes.

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Finally the sun goes below the cloud cover and lights up the rocks.

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Time to get those photos we’ve been patiently waiting for. We’ve only got 1 tripod and no use us both taking the same photos so I’ll just be director of photography for the afternoon.

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Lastly head into the cave now the light is a bit less intense outside for some arty shots.

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Back at the hotel call Thrifty about the windscreen. I’m picturing spending tomorrow getting this fixed but they said It’s fine.

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Day 8–The Golden Circle

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Today was a massive day – lots to see and a long way to drive. We’d  made the right sacrifice as the weather gods were in our favour today. We had clear skies and amazing light.

We picked up our CX-5 – probably the grubbiest rental we’ve ever had. The good thing is we don’t have to be too careful with the interior – there’s marks everywhere. We got picked up a bit later than I’d originally planned and spent a long time going over the car so we were down on time from my original plan.

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The next adventure was finding Bruarfoss Waterfall. Finding the correct place to park and enter was the challenge. I chose poorly at first and we hit a barbed wire fence. Me not wanting to jump fences, stubbornly turned around. After thinking it might be too hard/too dodgy finally settled on parking a lot further away and walking up what we think was the right path.

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It was worth the walk. While not a big waterfall, the colour of the water was breath-takingly blue.

The ultra-touristy part of our day now started with a trip to Geysir. The massive carpark was full and all you could see was people everywhere. After scoring a spot we followed the crowds to all stand in a circle to wait for Strokkur to blow.

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My goal here was to get the water bubble just before it exploded. The timing is challenging and not all the explosions give you a nice sphere. Even though there was a lot of people, most moved on after an eruption. So after 6 or so eruptions and 2 different view points we thought we got some ok pics. We were never going to get the isolated shot with nobody there as we just don’t have the time to be here at sunset.

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By now we’re both a bit hangry….better eat before we get too grumpy at each other. The Geysir centre is pretty big but still struggles to service all the visitors. We settle for some overly priced sandwiches, eat and on our way.

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Next on the big tourist list is Gullfoss. It’s a decent-sized waterfall with the watet plumetting 32 metres over 2 stages. The spray is pretty strong – but nothing in comparison to Vic Falls.

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Again, every man and his dog is here. The challenge here is to get a photo (preferably with a bit of a rainbow) before your lens is so covered in spray you don’t see anything.

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Phew the 2 big tourist spots done and I managed not to punch somebody!

As a stretch task I wanted to see Haifoss – it’s the 2nd tallest waterfall in Iceland at 122 metres. It’s over an hour’s drive from Gullfoss,, I’m not totally sure of how to get there and it’ll add at least 3 hours to our day on the road. John seems up for the task so off we go. The road gets a lot worse towards the end but it doesn’t start with an F so it’s all good right. After following the powerlines for what seemed like eternity I know we must be ok as there’s other cars literally in the middle of nowhere.

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The waterfall is different again and amazing. The other amazing thing is he WIND! I’ve been in high winds but I’m literally struggling to stand. The wind grabs my bag and makes it a sail. I bob down to take off my lens cap and as I stand I’m almost blown on my butt. I think I take a photo..who knows if it’s in focus, steady or remotely well framed. My jacket is getting whipped in the wind so hard I’m just waiting for it to tear.

It’s now 4:30pm and we’ve still got at least 2.5 hours of driving to Vik so I’m pretty keen to just go there and do a bit of back tracking tomorrow. We stop at one of the bigger service stations to fill up and grab some food for tonight from the grocery store next door and then back on the road.

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I’m pretty tired now but as we approach Seljalandsfoss which is just off the side of the road the light is just too amazing to pass up. We decide to at least suss it out for tomorrow as it’ll be 45 min drive back here. This is the first place we’ve hit that has paid parking – 700 ISk ($8-9). Something about paying which I totally don’t mind and think is a good thing if it helps maintain these place makes me think may aswell look properly now.

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The goal with this waterfall it to get up close – you can walk behind it – and get some good pictures (preferably with rainbow) without destroying your camera. Our cameras and lenses are pretty tough but lets not destroy both at the start of the trip so I’m just taking my phone. It’s also going to test out my really expensive – yet so comfy hiking pants I bought – how wind and water resistant are they.

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It’s wet, wet, wet but so worth it. The light is amazing and not overly crowded.

Last push onto our home for the next 2 nights – Black Beach Suites. I took a bit of a gamble when I booked this place. It didn’t’ exist yet but I wanted to be close to Vik for access to cool stuff. Well by bet paid off.

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This place is awesome. It is pretty big, brand new, has a kitchen and the most amazing view- I think I want to buy one.

Then for some washing, eating and crashing hard!

Day 7–Bye Helsinki, Hello Reykjavik

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I tried really hard for some night shots last night but by the time the sun went down and was finally dark I could barely keep my eyes open. Luckily I was wide awake at 4am. I wanted to see what Central Station looked like lit up and this was my last chance.

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Of course I didn’t want John to miss out so I dragged him from his snoring slumber. Annoyingly it wasn’t as lit as I was expecting and people have put annoying street lights and signs that kinda ruin the frames.

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So these were the best of a lot of bad angles to choose from. Then it was back to the hotel to snooze for a few hours. Then awake and in search of our last breakfast. It was drizzly outside and not a nice day so we settled for just breakfast a few blocks away as there was nothing else we really needed to see. Then packed up and stored our luggage before a steak lunch – the last steak I think we’ll be eating for a few weeks and then back to the airport on the Finnair bus.

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I’d paid for exit rows and glad I did – It was a full flight. It also had no entertainment at all so lucky I had my phone fully changed. Arriving into Reykjavik felt a bit odd with no passport control and a barely visible customs. Outside our car was waiting to drive us to our guest house for the night – Heiða’s Home. The sun is out and there is blue sky so we go for a walk….for about 100m and then run into the supermarket cause it’s so cold. Grab a few things for breakfast and head back to layer up!

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We wander to the water to find the Sun Voyager and I remember what I think I’m not going to enjoy here…all the tourists. The light isn’t so great – the statue isn’t glowing so we get a picture and head.

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Then up the hill to check out Hallgrimskirkja. You can see it from quite far away but there’s a bit of repair work going on so not as stunning as some of the photos I’ve seen.

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Then a bit more of a wander before heading back to our guest house for some food and a snooze before or first big day tomorrow.

Day 6–Wandering the streets and Tech Excellence Finland

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After forcing myself to sleep at midnight I was awake at 4am. Eventually we gave in and had first breakfast cleaning off the food we’d bought during the week. Handwashed our remaining dirty clothes in the hope they dry before we leave tomorrow and we have as many clean clothes as possible for Iceland.

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It’s overcast and gloomy today. We spent the morning wandering the streets.

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If you’’re into architecture I think this would be the place for you. I just noticed a few cool looking old buildings and have no idea on the types/periods etc. as I’m just not cultured.

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We’ve taken the long route to a coffee place John has spotted down by the water.

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Then we wander back past the Uspenski Cathedral.

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Better get the full set while were out so we head to Helsinki Cathedral on our way back to the hotel.

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Back to the hotel to find some lunch! John spots a pizza place not far away that serves Rudolf. Bit of an odd place where you overlook the people in the supermarket below you. The pizzas are big and in 1 piece. Fearing being there all day, wearing the pizza or all of the above I get John to cut it up for me. Little bit too much food for me though.

Back to the hotel to put my feet up before heading off to our meetup.

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We walk down this really cool path which looks like an old railway – just bikes and pedestrians and it goes under the roads so no pesky intersections.

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We make a slight routing error and end up cutting through a construction site before making over the bridge to F-Secure which is a very cool looking building.

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Then it’s into work – and deliver my session on Cognitive Services. Had some good audience participation with some native Finnish speakers giving the sentiment analysis a go in their native language. Thanks Maaret for hosting us. If I’m still awake later will try and get some night shots as we leave Helsinki tomorrow.

Day 5–Helsinki

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After waking up early, realising the internet was out and eventually going back to sleep we had a lazy morning of eating through the rest of our non-transportable food and generally packing before heading off to Helsinki. Great run with no dramas and with the petrol station leading into our drop-off we bid farewell to the POS Skoda “Rapid”…. another car to add to the I will never buy list.

Found our way to the Finnair City Bus which takes about 30 mins to get to town, was only 6.40 and stopped literally at the door of our Holiday Inn hotel which is also right next to the railway, and across the road from a big supermarket.

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Our room was ready so we dumped our bags and headed towards the sign that said steaks and burgers. Little did I realize till later it was an Australian themed bar/restaurtant…oh well the food was good and the Ginger Beers a little big for me.

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Then a bit of a wander around to walk off that giant drink and to get our bearings.

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Lots of people out on bikes and small dogs – must be summer. Then a quick trip to the supermarket to get a few snacks/drinks and a nanna nap. On check-in they asked if we wanted to join their free club…I was temped to say no…except you get upgrade to faster free wi-fi – they really should open with that line!

So now with decent internet I can prep the last of the screenshots etc I need for tomorrow night – much less stressed now.

Day 4–Spin around the Archipelago

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After another bad night of sleep with a throbbing arm I was wide awake for 3:30am. Switching sides had made it a lot better meaning my good side got bumped in the night. Good time to do the previous day’s post. I’ve given up on finishing my deck till I get to Helsinki tomorrow where we should have better internet.

The sun is out and the temperature down to 8.5. You’d never tell in our little cabin which seems to have 30cm thick walls. I’d picked Turku as a place to do some outside activities : sea kayaking and cycling. I’d planned on doing a few rides around the extensive bike network. Having broken my arm and still not having much range all that was out the window. So today we’ll do a spin …. in the car … and when I say we, I mean John with me barking directions.

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The archipelago is littered with little islands and lakes…so I was expecting to see lots of water.

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We soon discovered that all the roads are the furthest from the ocean and the water is little private roads to what I’d call lake houses. So I imagine people owning a holiday home by the water and walking their dogs. My handy little $40 Windows Phone which as been a cheap GPS has been crashing on me at the worst times i.e. just before critical turn offs. Luckily we’re in no rush.

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We did finally find 2 spots where we could see and pull over to see the water. The first a glimpse at the side of the road of a little boat on the water.

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The 2nd we went through a bit of a pine forest to get a bit of a water view. The islands are covered in the most perfect Xmas trees.

We did spot a strawberry stand and “had” to buy a kilo of fresh strawberries. We had great intentions to make use of the sauna in the afternoon and cook dinner but I made the mistake of laying down for a nanna nap at 3pm and didn’t wake up again until 3am…opps.

I’ve been really bad with adjusting to the timezone change this time. I’ve been snoozing during the day instead of forcing myself to be outside. I think the lack of good sleep for the last 8 weeks is really making it harder. I’m not too worried as I want to be awake for sunrise/set for the first few days we hit Icelenad later in the week so it might work out well.

Day 3–Rainy Day In Turku

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As we settled into our cabin it started to rain. It rained most of the night and the early hours of the morning. After a full day of being out of my arm brace and battling for bed space in the not king size bed my arm was sore so I was promptly awake at 3am. I thought it’d be a good time to write yesterday’s blog post and polish my presentation for Tech Excellence Finland.

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It ended up taking about 2 hours to do the blog post because of the myriad of issues I faced getting the pictures and uploading due to the really poor internet. John’s phone didn’t want to stay connected to my laptop and getting 3 small pics from him took forever. I finally cracked open the Sky Roam but it was just as slow. Then I spent the morning ironically trying to get enough internet to grab screen shots for my presentation in case I have bad internet on the day. I had been so busy with physio etc with my arm, organising and packing coming up to the trip I hadn’t had a chance to get the final bits I needed…lesson learnt there.

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After a nanna nap  /  sulk that I wasn’t getting very far, John dragged me out of the house and we wandered into town to find lunch. The triathlon was on again today and this one looked very serious with bicycles leading out the top 3 in the Pro Men’s and Women’s category. There really wasn’t much open for lunch on a Sunday so we settled for some traditional Finnish Mexican Winking smile 

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On our walk back we came across Candy Land. Above is only 1 side of the store. It is probably the biggest lolly shop I’ve seen so of course I had to get 2 of everything. This actually took awhile with the giant scoop and it’s going to be a challenge to keep the pairs together. I have no idea what half of them are as they’re in Finnish.

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It started to pour down on the final leg home and this time I packed our shell jackets. We tried out the sauna that’s attached to our bathroom. It’s a timber-fired sauna. As John fed the wood and I feed the humidity we watched the temperature gauge rise…30, 35,40, 45, 50, 55, 60. My final bit of water at 60 sent me from hmmmm…it’s warm and I’m starting to sweat to OMG my lungs are burning, I can’t breathe and I feel dizzy so that was me tapping out. John endured a bit more humidity till about 65 before calling it a day. Mental note – don’t sit in the hottest corner.

Day 2–Cruisy Drive to Turku

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After crashing hard, unsurprisingly I woke up crazy early. Luckily I packed a bag of lollies we quickly devoured at 2am. We have heaps of time to kill before we head to Turku so lots of light napping till about 8 when we venture out to the big shopping centre on the other side of the highway to get some breakfast / dinner.

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After wandering around, Hesburger is open and the guy recommends getting the Mega Burger if we’re starving. It really was mega – can barely get it into my mouth it is so big and I struggle to eat it one-handed buy manage to not wear it. Now that my rumbling stomach is satisfied we head to the supermarket. Kinda odd but I like just looking through overseas supermarkets.

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Here we see the best supermarket trolley ever! It made me want to be a little kid again…a trolley that is a toy car the kids “drive” while you shop.

This supermarket is like a Big W and Woolies in one and they have a decent Lego section. I did really well to not buy Lego – maybe on our way back to Helsinki Winking smile

Wise choice to eat first as there’s lots of yummy food here and we do well to not buy the whole supermarket as we have to walk this stuff back to our hotel.

We pack up and catch the convenient shuttle back to the airport and find the rental cars. The lady on the desk is quite amused we’re using John’s credit card but I tell him which one to use. We get the crucial directions from her – which way to turn when we first exit the airport and off we go to grab our little red Skoda.

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Our AirBnB host recommended stopping at Kasvihouneilmio on the way to Turku at the halfway point and described it as “an experience”. It’s just off the highway and looks like a giant shed. When you walk inside, not knowing what to expect, you think … what is this place. I don’t know how to fully describe it but “different”. It’s like a museum, 2nd hand shop on steroids but you can buy everything. It has craft books, golden books, swords, armor, chandeliers etc. I’m not a shopper but it was by far the coolest shop I’ve ever been to. Luckily for our bank account it’s in Finland or I could have easily bought half the shop.  We settled on an eagle door knocker and some card boxes.

Then last bit of our journey to Turku. John as done well with driving on the wrong side of the road with a manual car. It looks odd watching him shift gears with his right arm.

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We arrive at our little guest house for the next few days, meet our host who gives us lots of little tips and decide to stretch our legs. We wander down to the river, jump on the free ferry and walk around.

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We’ve arrived at the end of a triathalon so there’s a big range of bikes around. Starts to look grey so we head back via the smaller supermarket to grab some cold goods and food for dinner and make it back as it’s starting to rain.

The internet where we are in Turku is atrocious….which is saying something cause we have really bad internet at home. Next posts maybe a few days away

Day 1– To Helsinki

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Our journey began with a delayed flight. Many thanks to Cathay Pacific for the sms around 6pm to tell us our flight was delayed till 2am so we could alter our pickup and spend a little less time at the airport. Unsurprisingly it is fairly quiet at that time so getting through security was pretty quick.  My tiny zippers in my pants set of the body scanner and good to know that my titanium arm doesn’t show up.  Then just a lot of waiting and micronapping.

I booked us a bulkhead which worked out pretty good – extra legroom without the annoying people that gather at normal exit rows. Got a bit addicted to the live plane camera on our take/off and landing. After leaving 1.5 hours late they made up a bit of time and didn’t land that late into Hong Kong. Enough to grab something to eat and stretch our legs.

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I’d booked us an exit row for the 2nd leg on  Finnair. We’d also bid on a business class upgrade and got denied. Exit row was going to be better than nothing until my ticket beeped boarding. Our wishes were granted – we’d been upgraded. It really makes such a difference! Discovered I can’t put on the nice bose headphones so needed help getting those on and after that it was time to relax and get a bit of sleep.

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The crew were great – kept us fed and let me sleep. Having done lots of trips to the americas and africa it was odd to get up mid flight and be flying over land rather than ocean.

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Little flight map showed the dog-legged route we took.

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Finally touchdown into Helsinki. Our passports didn’t work on the machines so we had to queue to go through customs. It’s odd not having to fill out arrival documents full of trick questions. Our bags timed themselves nicely to arrive as we hit the carousel and then we ventured outside to find the hotel bus, made it to the hotel and collapsed.

Day 26 Humberstone

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I booked us a rental car so we could go to Humberstone for the morning. The Thrifty was a few blocks away and we picked up our little car.

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It’s manual (neither of us has driven a manual for almost 3 years) and they drive on the wrong side of the road here and almost every street is a one way street.

We make our way out of town and up the dunes. It boggles my mind slightly they manage to put major roads on a sand dune.

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We arrive at Humbrstone and get to wander around. It’s a deserted mining town that used to refine saltpeter (sodium nitrate) that is now an UNESCO site. The place is quite massive.

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It’s an interesting illustration how a town built by one industry completely collapses. Chile used to supply 62% of the worlds supply until 1929 when the Germans development of the synthesis of ammonia which led to the industrial production of fertilizers. 30 years later works were abandoned and by 1970, even after much modernisation it was a complete ghost town.

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It gives you an idea how they related job to living conditions. General workers were assigned tiny living quarters.

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That had to fit a whole family.

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Supervisors were assigned much larger quarters with 140 m2 of living and outdoor space.

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Many of the building have deteriorated over time with the iron roof full of holes

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or hardly any iron left at all.

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Everything has this rusted, dilapidated look to it it would be a good set for a post apocalyptic movie.

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The place hasn’t got many other people during the weekday (advantage of not taking a tour) so you feel like you’re the only one there.

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Lots of bits of old machinery are still there.

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The administration building looks like a grand plantation home.

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Lots of trains around to transport.

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Key bits of infrastructure still in place (and held up by many wires and concrete)

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After awhile you start to feel like you’re going to need a tetnus shot when you get home.

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There’s nails, wire, rusty old ladders and big holes everywhere.

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Cart and fake horse remenants.

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A grand theatre. This thing was massive!

Take back the car and after some google translating we confirm we’re done with the car. The Thrifty lady seems most amused at either we’re done in half a day or the fun of dealing with non-Spanish speakers.

Last real day of holidays. Tomorrow we head home on flight number 9,10 and 11. It’ll take us about 30hrs to get home so I’m sure we’ll be exhausted by then.

Day 25 – EarthQuake

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After a good sleep-in after yesterday’s long bus trip we went for a wander around the town and to look for some lunch.

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There’s a long ‘boardwalk’ along the coast. There’s a bunch of construction going on all along here which I’m guessing is getting ready for summer. They’re adding some nice timber walkways and other paths. It’s going to look pretty cool when it’s done. So you have a big main street with multi-lane divided, then a separated bike path, then what looks like it could be a running track (bouncy bitumen) then a tiled walkway, then a timber walkway.

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There’s a bunch of high-rise and residential all packed between the water the the giant dunes behind.

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After being in San Predro where you were spoilt for choice for restaurants every step you took, we walked for what seemed like hours till we finally stumbled onto this cool restaurant with great food and service with a nice view of the water.

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After some food had a bit of a relax in the hotel and all a sudden it felt like the room was moving and then it was definitely moving and I could see the powerlines out the window swaying.

I’m pretty sure we just felt an earthquake. So I jumped straight on the USGS site and hit refresh every few minutes until my suspicion was confirmed – a 5.4 100 k away. You can see the details here. I was a good citizen scientist and contributed to the “Did You Feel It” section.

Then we booked a car for tomorrow as I want to check out the nearby Ghost-town but can’t bear another tour. On the way to dinner we checkout where the carhire place is, grab a few snacks and get some food.