Commit 136fc936 authored by Richard Perry's avatar Richard Perry
Browse files

Updated Vietnam posts with photos

 - Added photos to the following posts
   - A Very Long Journey
   - Ha Long Bay
   - Back to Hanoi
   - Blue Lagoon
   - Gullfoss & Geysir
   - Northern Lights Hunting
   - The Land of Fire & Ice
 - Started changing the site structure, now posts are going to be sorted into folder based on the
   trip and then tags will be added to display the location. This will reduce the length of the
   urls, and make it easier to find posts in the source (hopefully).
 - As part of the restructure, added location icons to the metadata
 - More to follow shortly 😃
parent 32dbcd29
Pipeline #2346030 passed with stage
......@@ -40,6 +40,40 @@ thumbs: /assets/images/thumbs
 
category_dir: /
 
# Location Config
locations:
UK:
name: UK
link: /uk/
Cornwall:
name: Cornwall
link: /uk/cornwall/
North-East:
name: North East England
link: /uk/north-east/
Vietnam:
name: Vietnam
link: /vietnam/
Hanoi:
name: Hanoi
link: /vietnam/hanoi/
Ha-Long-Bay:
name: Ha Long Bay
link: /vietnam/ha-long-bay/
Huế:
name: Huế
link: /vietnam/huế/
Hội-An:
name: "Hội-An"
link: /vietnam/hội-an/
Iceland:
name: Iceland
link: /iceland/
Reykjavik:
name: Reykjavik
link: /iceland/reykjavik/
flickr:
enabled: yes
cache_dir: _cache/flickr
......
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<span class='meta'>
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&nbsp; | &nbsp;
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<i class='fa fa-folder-open'></i> <span itemprop='keywords'>{{ post.categories | category_links }}</span>{% if post.tags %}
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<i class="fa fa-map-marker" aria-hidden="true"></i> <span itemprop='keywords'>{{ loc_links }}</span>{% endif %}
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<span class='alignleft'><a href="{{site.baseurl}}{{page.next.url}}"><i class='fa fa-chevron-left'></i> {{page.next.title}}</a></span>{% endif %}{% if page.previous.url %}
<span class='alignright'><a href="{{site.baseurl}}{{page.previous.url}}">{{page.previous.title}} <i class='fa fa-chevron-right'></i></a></span>{% endif %}
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{% for post in site.tags[page.tag] %}
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{% unless year == this_year %}
{% assign year = this_year %}
<h3 class='year'>{{ year }}</h3>
{% endunless %}
{% capture this_month %}{{ post.date | date: "%B%Y" }}{% endcapture %}
{% unless month == this_month %}
{% assign month = this_month %}
<h4 class='month'>{{ post.date | date: "%B" }}</h4>
{% endunless %}
<li><span class='day'>{{ post.date | date:"%d" }}</span> <a href="{{ post.url }}">{{ post.title }}</a></li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
\ No newline at end of file
---
comments: true
date: 2010-12-31 18:00:05+00:00
layout: post
title: The Land of Fire & Ice
wordpress_id: 709
categories:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
- New-Year-2010-11
---
We took the late flight into Reykjavik arriving shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, so our first day in Iceland started a little late. We got up for breakfast at about 0930 and the sky was still pitch black! A very weird situation indeed. The plan for today was to visit Reykjavik itself, then head out on the Northern Lights Tour/Hunt this evening so upon finishing breakfast, we got sorted and headed out into the city. The sun was starting to creep up over the horizon giving us approximately 4 ½ hours until it sets again. Bizarre. On the plus side, Reykjavik is quite small so 4 ½ hours should be plenty.<!-- more -->
[![](/files/2011/01/across-the-bay-300x200.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5327886967/in/set-72157625631292293/)We walked into the city as the sun was rising, taking a slight detour along the coast road. The views out over the bay to the mountains on the other side were breathtaking and well worth braving the Arctic winds. However, the temperatures in Iceland were not exactly what we were expecting. Iceland is in the Arctic Circle and upon arrival, the temperature was no different to back home. This was another shock to the system, but rest assured, the wind did it's best to make it feel cold!
![Hallgrimskirkja](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/Hallgrímskirkja-300x200.jpg)
The first stop on our whistle stop tour of Reykjavik was the [Hallgrímskirkja](http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://hallgrimskirkja.is/&act=url), the largest church in Iceland. The impressive 74m tower was the most impressive part of the structure, although the simplicity of the architecture within was also stunning. Naturally, we took a trip upto the top of the tower to get some decent views across the city, only to find that it's a very small city! It is beautiful though with an array of colourful roofs brightening up the view from the top.
As the sun had reached it's highest point (just over the horizon) we felt it was time to get a move on so we could see the rest of the city in daylight! Next stop... the center. Quiet doesn't even begin to describe this place, it was deserted. We saw hardly anyone about, and most of those we did see were tourists like us! We walked around for a bit before hitting a local fast food place for a late lunch.
[![Sunset over the Tjörnin](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/Sunset-over-the-Tjörnin-200x300.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5327885961/in/set-72157625631292293/)We strolled through the city to the coast road again to walk back to the hotel stopping at City Hall in time to catch the start of the sunset over the Tjörnin lake. It was beautiful! Walking back along the coast, Mark got a number of comments and strange looks for his chosen footwear... yes that's right, sandals! Otherwise a pleasant sunset walk (at 1530, this place gets dark far too early!).
[![The Sky is on Fire](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/The-Sky-is-on-Fire-300x200.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5327887787/in/set-72157625631292293/)We got back to the hotel in time to see the real reason Iceland is nicknamed the Land of Fire and Ice (well the fire part anyway). It has nothing to do with the volcanoes, it's the sunsets! The sky actually looked like it was on fire.
Our Northern Lights tour begins a little later this evening, hopefully the cloud cover will dissipate some before we go so we actually get to see something, but if it doesn't, it's all good. From what we've seen so far, Iceland is extraordinarily beautiful on it's own without the need for cosmic phenomena as well!
Once I have sorted through the photo's I will put a link up for each post.
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-01 18:31:42+00:00
layout: post
title: Gullfoss & Geysir
wordpress_id: 727
categories:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
- New-Year-2010-11
---
Up early again this morning for our next tour, the Golden Circle. Rosie's starting to suffer a bit with the lack of any daylight before 10am, but still good. We boarded the bus and headed out. The first port of call was a local nursery to see how they cope with the lack of daylight hours when growing food, however, someone had forgotten to tell the owner so nobody was there, and due to it still being dark, we couldn't see much so we moved on. We had a toilet break on route to Gullfoss (the big waterfall) where we were able to visit a local Lutheran church. Inside the guide gave us a brief introduction, then serenaded us! Turns out he was a very impressive singer.<!-- more -->
Gullfoss was our first major stop of the day, although we did stop at a much smaller waterfall beforehand to emphasise it's impressiveness I think. To be fair, Gullfoss was absolutely amazing! The temperature was very much positive, and had been for a while from what we understood, but the waterfall was surrounded by ice, and the spray was freezing on us almost immediately. It was great, but my camera wasn't really getting on too well with the rapid formation of ice on the lense.
[![Gullfoss](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/gullfoss-150x150.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5328500078/) [![Gullfoss Frozen Island](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/gullfoss_frozen-150x150.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5328499420/)
The next stop on our tour was lunch and the geysers. Whilst most of our group headed out to check out the geysers, we took the opportunity to get in before the rush for lunch. Turns out it was a good move. We strolled around the micro-museum then before heading out to experience the wonder of the geysers themselves. Apparently Geysir is the original geyser that gave it's name to all other geysers, but it's very unreliable and hardly every 'erupts'. So we joined the crowd surrounding Strokkur which is very reliable and erupts about every 5-10 minutes. The pools around the area were bubbling nicely, but the area was also covered in ice, right up to the edges of each of the pools. It was a very bizarre sight!
[![Strokkur Growing](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/strokkur_growing-150x150.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5328500524/) [![Strokkur Bubble Bursting](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/strokkur_bubble_bursting-150x150.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5327891205/) [![Steam flying out of Strokkur](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/strokkur_erupting-150x150.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-perry/5328501208/)
We left the geysers for Þingvellir which was the site of the first Icelandic Parliament from 930 to 1789. It is also the site of the Mid Atlantic Ridge (or Atlantic Rift depending on who you talk to) where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. The weather was really drawing in at this point, as well as the night so this was the end of the tour. Even though the weather was so poor and the dark was settling, the views were still stunning! Iceland is definitely a beautiful country.
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-01 08:56:59+00:00
layout: post
title: Northern Lights Hunting
wordpress_id: 731
categories:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
- New-Year-2010-11
---
Last night we headed out on our Northern Lights Tour/Hunt. We spent three fruitless hours trying to find gaps in the ever increasing cloud cover, but unfortunately saw not even a glimmer of the Northern Lights. However, the tour was due to finish at midnight back at the bus depot in Reykjavik, but due to the enthusiasm of the tour guides, we were still about 10-15 miles outside of Reykjavik as the New Year was approaching. We took the opportunity to pull over to the side of the road to watch the fireworks over Reykjavik from afar.
[![New Year Fireworks over Reykjavik](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/IMG_3088_9_90-500x135.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/IMG_3088_9_90.jpg)
The sight was incredible! As was the noise. Fireworks were being let off from every part of the city lighting up the whole sky. It was like looking out over Basra! The air reverberated with the low, loud rumble of persistent explosions over the city as we headed into 2011. It was an absolutely incredible start to the New Year. Mark managed to get a good video of the scene and hopefully he will let us link to it at some point :-).
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-02 19:00:08+00:00
layout: post
title: The Blue Lagoon
wordpress_id: 757
categories:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
- New-Year-2010-11
---
[![Skyline of Reykjavik](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/img_3306_7_8_9-1024x245.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/trips/iceland10-11/the-blue-lagoon/attachment/img_3306_7_8_9/)
[![This Door is Closed](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/img_3323-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/trips/iceland10-11/the-blue-lagoon/attachment/img_3323/)Our last full day in Iceland was always going to be memorable, but when we woke up this morning, we had no idea just how memorable! The plan for today was to hire a car, visit some of the local area we missed in the last couple of days, and finish up at the blue lagoon. So we got off to a good start, got up early, booked the hire car and had breakfast. We then headed out into the night/morning in the hope that the miserable weather would fade away before sunrise.
[![View over Reykjavik](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/img_3324-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/trips/iceland10-11/the-blue-lagoon/attachment/img_3324/)We were picked up from our hotel by the hire company and taken to their offices where the paperwork was sorted and we were handed the keys. After picking up some food for the day we drove around Reykjavik for a while trying to work out the road systems. With that (kinda) sorted we got on with our day. First stop was Perlan, a set of hot water storage tanks and viewpoint on the Öskjuhlíð hill. Although the weather was actually taking a turn for the worse, the views were still spectacular. This is also where we saw one of the biggest advantages of natural geothermal energy. The underfloor heating is so cheap, the balcony around the outside of the Perlan had it!!
[![An Awesome Looking Mountain Outside Reykjavik](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/img_3325-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/trips/iceland10-11/the-blue-lagoon/attachment/img_3325/)We then decided to just take the scenic route around the Blue Mountains to the Blue Lagoon. The weather was not on our side one bit. Most of the mountains were hidden by the mist and clouds, but we pressed on ever optimistic. The route was planned using the recommended road map for the country, but what the guys in the hire place failed to mention was that different road surfaces are not marked and once you are out of the main centres of Iceland, the road construction turns slightly less sturdy! We soon found ourselves on a main road (we guessed it was a main road by the width of it, but could have been wrong) that was simply constructed out of compacted gravel. The best thing about this was that the amount of gravel used meant that the drops off the side of the road were quite sever, ranging from about 50cm to about 3m, but they had obviously perfected this method as the road seemed fairly sturdy, despite the rapid pinging of the gravel as it hit the car.
The adventure had definitely begun! As the weather got worse, so did the road. We continued on and made a couple of wrong turn on the way. Well when I say wrong turns, we used the map and apparently some of the roads marked on it are not so much roads as fields so we didn't notice them. Despite the worsening conditions, we were in fact having a great time! We stopped in a small coastal village for a walk on the volcanic beach, another interesting experience. We were glad we picked up lunch in Reykjavik though as this place was deserted, just like everywhere else we had been through today. The afternoon saw us continuing along the coastal 'road' admiring the alien-like landscapes that surrounded us until eventually we came across civilisation and the Blue Lagoon!
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in South Western Iceland. The place was absolutely beautiful. The water temperature's varied across the lagoon starting at about 38°C and significantly hotter right next to the geothermal feed (oddly enough). It was an amazingly relaxing place and we could have stayed there until our flight the next day if it hadn't been for the fact they close over night. We relaxed in the deep blue waters long into the evening before heading indoors for a quick Reindeer burger.
It was at this point that we made our next mistake. We decided to take the scenic route over the Blue Mountains eventually ending up on the road we drove along as part of the Northern Lights tour. Everything was going well, we negotiated the interesting section of road still under construction again without incident and found the turning to the mountain road. This was where we made our second mistake. The road looked a little rough at the junction, but we just assumed that because it was shown on the road map as a main road it would be fine. Well it did get a little better, before it got a lot worse. In the end we had to abandon this idea, so Rosie and I directed as Mark managed to pull of a 15 point turn in 6inches of mud without denting the car, or driving off the cliff. It was a bit of a mission though!
[![Our Hire Car After Our Mountainous Expedition](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/01/img_3368-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/trips/iceland10-11/the-blue-lagoon/attachment/img_3368/)Once we were back on the main(ish) road we thought that would be the end of it and we could just head on back to the hotel. No such luck! We stopped on route to take a photo and when we pulled away again, a horrible grinding noise began. To cut a long story short, we had a stone lodged in the brakes, so sat on the hard shoulder of, what it seems was, the only busy motorway/main road in Iceland we had to take the wheel off and dig out the stone. This was not the best situation to be in the night before we were due to leave Iceland whilst in a rental car 20 miles from the nearest town, but thanks to Mark, we got it all sorted and we were back on the road in no time.
We got back to the hotel and packed up ready for our early departure in the morning. We then drove the hire car to the airport, handed it back in and headed home after a wonderful couple of days.
---
comments: true
date: 2011-04-17 15:28:00+00:00
layout: post
title: A Very Long Journey
wordpress_id: 787
categories:
- Vietnam
- Hanoi
- Vietnam-2011
---
Our latest journey started at the relatively late hour of 6am. We headed out to Heathrow for the first leg to Kuala Lumpur. The 12½ hour flight was fairly uneventful, but neither of us managed to get much sleep so we were both a bit tired on arrival in Malaysia. We had a three hour stop over and after enquiring we found that we wouldn’t have enough time to actually visit KL. This was a little disappointing, but the airport had an outdoor courtyard area so we visited that instead.
[![IMG_4003](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4003_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4003.jpg) [![IMG_4004](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4004_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4004.jpg)
Our next leg was three more hours up to Hanoi by which point most people were feeling a little worse for wear. We picked up 3 million Vietnamese Dong (about 90 quid) and met up with our Exodus guide, Hai. We transferred straight to the hotel for about 2 hours sleep, then after a quick shower and change we headed out into Hanoi to visit the Old Quarter and get some food. We ate in a quaint little place called Little Hanoi. The service was friendly and very quick and the food was excellent! We had a selection of local specialities and drinks and paid a little over £6 for the two of us. Bargain!
On the way back to the hotel we took a stroll through one of the night markets but most of us were too tired to really be that interested so just made our way back to the hotel for some proper sleep following our very long journey to Vietnam.
[![Traffic in Hanoi](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4017_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4017.jpg) [![Lady With Her Shop on Her Shouders](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4022_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4022.jpg) [![Little Hanoi Restaurant](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4028_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4028.jpg) [![Hanoi Night Market](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4035_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4035.jpg)
---
comments: true
date: 2011-04-18 11:57:00+00:00
layout: post
title: Ha Long Bay
wordpress_id: 802
categories:
- Vietnam
- Ha-Long-Bay
- Vietnam-2011
---
The next morning we had a fairly early start. We had to sort out an overnight bag for staying on a boat in the bay, have breakfast and checkout by 7am. A tall order on most days, but especially considering the amount of sleep we had all had in the last 2 days. However, by 07:05 we were getting on the bus for another seemingly long journey south to Ha Long Bay. Hai spent about 45 minutes giving us an endless stream of information about Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, what the plan was for the next 24 hours and what we should expect. Unfortunately, by that time, he had lost half of his audience to sleep so he gave in. We stopped at an interesting lacquer ware place on route but it was only a loo stop so we weren’t there long. We arrived at the boat station at about 12 and jumped on a transport boat to reach our accommodation for the next night.
[![Our Home for One Night on Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4063-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4063.jpg)
It was a lovely private boat for our group with twin and double sleeping rooms for everyone and a sunbathing deck up top too. We checked into our rooms while lunch was prepared and then met up for a selection of Ha Long Bay specialities for lunch. A much more seafood based meal this time, which suited us, but not everyone likes seafood as much as we do. Unfortunately the spectacular views we had been anticipated were nicely hidden behind the mists of the bay, but this gave a mystical look to what we could see.
We cruised through the mist for a while before pulling into a small cove with a boat house and cave behind. This was to be our first stop of the boat trip.  The caves were just that, caves, but the views out over the bay were stunning and absolutely worth the effort of walking up the hillside/steps. After a quick look around the caves we jumped back on the boat for a trip to a pearl farm.
[![IMG_4126](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4126-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4126.jpg) [![View Out of a Cave Over Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4156-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4156.jpg)
The mist was clearing gradually as we approached the pearl farm so we were able to see more and more of the bay. It was everything we had expected it to be apart from the blue skies, or lack thereof. On arrival at the pearl farm, we were given double kayaks to explore the bay ourselves. This was brilliant. Once we got used to being in the same kayak we were sorted and paddled around the whole area for ages before heading back to the boat for a swim, well, I swam and Rosie watched. The water was a bit murky, but quite pleasant to swim in, although I definitely felt the need for a shower once I was back on board!
[![Pearl Farm in Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4175-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4175.jpg)
As the dark began to settle over the bay, we had our evening meal and cruised into the only spot in the area where we were allowed to drop anchor for the night, so we were soon surrounded by boats like ours. Quite a comforting feeling really. After a few hours chatting and getting to know the other people on the trip, we all turned in.
[![Sunset over Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4194-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4194.jpg) [![Nighttime Anchor Point in Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4203-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4203.jpg) [![Nighttime Anchor Point in Ha Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4203-150x150.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4063.jpg)
---
comments: true
date: 2011-04-19 12:42:00+00:00
layout: post
title: Back to Hanoi
wordpress_id: 835
categories:
- Vietnam
- Hanoi
- Vietnam-2011
flickimg:
---
We started early again today with a long walk to breakfast, well 5 steps anyway. Oddly, we then had to check
out of our rooms even though we weren’t due back at shore for another 2 hours. The views this morning were
better than yesterday with only a thin morning mist obscuring things. We got back to the boat station at 9am
for the journey back to Hanoi.
[![A Misty Morning in Hạ Long Bay](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4236_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4236.jpg) [![IMG_4251](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4251_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4251.jpg) [![IMG_4259](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4259_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4259.jpg) [![IMG_4274](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4274_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4274.jpg) [![IMG_4278](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4278_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4278.jpg)
The first stop was at a local pineapple stall where we were shown how they cut pineapple in the north. It certainly looked simple when done by the experts, but when one of our group had a go, I think the stall owner was a little concerned about him losing a finger. Once we had all sampled the small, sweet pineapple and the excessively sweet, over sugared, passion fruit, we were back on the bus heading for lunch at a handycraft place.
[![IMG_4284](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4284_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4284.jpg) [![IMG_4287](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4287_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4287.jpg)
Once we arrived back in Hanoi, we began our city tour (or at least very brief highlights tour). We started off by visiting the Temple of Literature and the University of Hanoi, which are both, located at the same place. It was quite a beautiful and peaceful place with all sorts of statues and more bonsai, but not a huge amount of classrooms/places to study that I could see.
[![IMG_4292](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4292_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4292.jpg) [![IMG_4312](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4312_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4312.jpg)
The next part of our tour took us to Hỏa Lò Prison, a place built by the French back in the day. The whole place reminded me of the concentration camp in Niš, Serbia. We were given a load of information by our guide, Hai, about how terrible the French were to the prisoners when they ran the place, and how brilliant the Vietnamese were to the prisoners once it was under their control. It seemed to be a very pro-Vietnam demonstration, although some of the photos of the American prisoners held by the Vietnamese looked almost staged.
[![IMG_4316](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4316_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4316.jpg)
The evening was taken up by a strange but interesting local art form, the Water Puppet Show. It wasn’t really to my taste, or many of the others in our group, but we still thought it was quite good, and very cleverly done. We finished the evening with another stroll through the town, back along the street where the night market had been held a few nights before. It looked completely different! We then had dinner at the hotel restaurant, a Mandarin Hot Pot restaurant of all things, although it was a little different to the hotpot we had in Beijing.
[![IMG_4330](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4330_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4330.jpg) [![IMG_4337](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4337_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4337.jpg) [![IMG_4366](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4366_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4366.jpg) [![IMG_4390](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4390_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4390.jpg) [![IMG_4397](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4397_thumb.jpg)](http://travel.perry-online.me.uk/files/2011/04/IMG_4397.jpg)
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......@@ -5,11 +5,12 @@ date: 2012-04-10 20:00:59+00:00
layout: post
title: The Eden Project
wordpress_id: 997
categories:
- UK
- Cornwall
- Cornwall-2012
flickimg: 14166809126
image: https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7407/14166809126_f69f372dd9_q.jpg
tags:
- UK
- Cornwall
redirect_from:
- /uk/cornwall/cornwall-2012/edenproject/
---
 
{% flickr_image 14189977295 alignright %}
......
---
comments: false
layout: page
title: "Category: Cornwall 2012"
category: Cornwall-2012
permalink: /cornwall-2012/
title: "Trip: Cornwall 2012"
category: cornwall-2012
redirect_from:
- /uk/cornwall/cornwall-2012/
---
......
---
comments: true
date: 2010-12-31 18:00:05+00:00
layout: post
title: The Land of Fire & Ice
wordpress_id: 709
image: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5209/5327886967_448fda6817_q.jpg
tags:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
redirect_from:
- /iceland/reykjavik/new-year-2010-11/the-land-of-fire-ice/
---
{% flickr_image 5327886967 %}
We took the late flight into Reykjavik arriving shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, so our
first day in Iceland started a little late. We got up for breakfast at about 0930 and the sky was
still pitch black! A very weird situation indeed. The plan for today was to visit Reykjavik itself,
then head out on the Northern Lights Tour/Hunt this evening so upon finishing breakfast, we got
sorted and headed out into the city. The sun was starting to creep up over the horizon giving us
approximately 4 ½ hours until it sets again. Bizarre. On the plus side, Reykjavik is quite small so
4 ½ hours should be plenty.
We walked into the city as the sun was rising, taking a slight detour along the coast road. The
views out over the bay to the mountains on the other side were breathtaking and well worth braving
the Arctic winds. However, the temperatures in Iceland were not exactly what we were expecting.
Iceland is in the Arctic Circle and upon arrival, the temperature was no different to back home.
This was another shock to the system, but rest assured, the wind did it's best to make it feel cold!
{% flickr_image 5327885139 aligncentre m %}
The first stop on our whistle stop tour of Reykjavik was the [Hallgrímskirkja][hgm], the largest
church in Iceland. The impressive 74m tower was the most impressive part of the structure, although
the simplicity of the architecture within was also stunning. Naturally, we took a trip upto the top
of the tower to get some decent views across the city, only to find that it's a very small city! It
is beautiful though with an array of colourful roofs brightening up the view from the top.
As the sun had reached it's highest point (just over the horizon) we felt it was time to get a move
on so we could see the rest of the city in daylight! Next stop... the center. Quiet doesn't even
begin to describe this place, it was deserted. We saw hardly anyone about, and most of those we did
see were tourists like us! We walked around for a bit before hitting a local fast food place for a
late lunch.
{% flickr_image 5327885961 %}
We strolled through the city to the coast road again to walk back to the hotel stopping at City Hall
in time to catch the start of the sunset over the Tjörnin lake. It was beautiful! Walking back along
the coast, Mark got a number of comments and strange looks for his chosen footwear... yes that's
right, sandals! Otherwise a pleasant sunset walk (at 1530, this place gets dark far too early!).
{% flickr_image 5327887787 alignright %}
We got back to the hotel in time to see the real reason Iceland is nicknamed the Land of Fire and
Ice (well the fire part anyway). It has nothing to do with the volcanoes, it's the sunsets! The sky
actually looked like it was on fire.
Our Northern Lights tour begins a little later this evening, hopefully the cloud cover will
dissipate some before we go so we actually get to see something, but if it doesn't, it's all good.
From what we've seen so far, Iceland is extraordinarily beautiful on it's own without the need for
cosmic phenomena as well!
Once I have sorted through the photo's I will put a link up for each post.
[hgm]: //translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://hallgrimskirkja.is/&act=url "Hallgrímskirkja"
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-01 18:31:42+00:00
layout: post
title: Gullfoss & Geysir
wordpress_id: 727
image: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5047/5328499420_027afee150_q.jpg
tags:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
redirect_from:
- /iceland/reykjavik/new-year-2010-11/gullfoss-geysir/
---
Up early again this morning for our next tour, the Golden Circle. Rosie's starting to suffer a bit
with the lack of any daylight before 10am, but still good. We boarded the bus and headed out. The
first port of call was a local nursery to see how they cope with the lack of daylight hours when
growing food, however, someone had forgotten to tell the owner so nobody was there, and due to it
still being dark, we couldn't see much so we moved on. We had a toilet break on route to Gullfoss
(the big waterfall) where we were able to visit a local Lutheran church. Inside the guide gave us a
brief introduction, then serenaded us! Turns out he was a very impressive singer.
Gullfoss was our first major stop of the day, although we did stop at a much smaller waterfall
beforehand to emphasise it's impressiveness I think. To be fair, Gullfoss was absolutely amazing!
The temperature was very much positive, and had been for a while from what we understood, but the
waterfall was surrounded by ice, and the spray was freezing on us almost immediately. It was great,
but my camera wasn't really getting on too well with the rapid formation of ice on the lense.
{% flickr_photoset 72157667498659061 %}
The next stop on our tour was lunch and the geysers. Whilst most of our group headed out to check
out the geysers, we took the opportunity to get in before the rush for lunch. Turns out it was a
good move. We strolled around the micro-museum then before heading out to experience the wonder of
the geysers themselves. Apparently Geysir is the original geyser that gave it's name to all other
geysers, but it's very unreliable and hardly every 'erupts'. So we joined the crowd surrounding
Strokkur which is very reliable and erupts about every 5-10 minutes. The pools around the area were
bubbling nicely, but the area was also covered in ice, right up to the edges of each of the pools.
It was a very bizarre sight!
{% flickr_photoset 72157667653760145 %}
We left the geysers for Þingvellir which was the site of the first Icelandic Parliament from 930
to 1789. It is also the site of the Mid Atlantic Ridge (or Atlantic Rift depending on who you talk
to) where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. The weather was really drawing in
at this point, as well as the night so this was the end of the tour. Even though the weather
was so poor and the dark was settling, the views were still stunning! Iceland is definitely a
beautiful country.
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-01 08:56:59+00:00
layout: post
title: Northern Lights Hunting
wordpress_id: 731
image: //c5.staticflickr.com/2/1455/26648488476_8db3a08edf_q.jpg
tags:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
redirect_from:
- /iceland/reykjavik/new-year-2010-11/northern-lights-hunting/
---
Last night we headed out on our Northern Lights Tour/Hunt. We spent three fruitless hours trying to
find gaps in the ever increasing cloud cover, but unfortunately saw not even a glimmer of the
Northern Lights. However, the tour was due to finish at midnight back at the bus depot in Reykjavik,
but due to the enthusiasm of the tour guides, we were still about 10-15 miles outside of Reykjavik
as the New Year was approaching. We took the opportunity to pull over to the side of the road to
watch the fireworks over Reykjavik from afar.
{% flickr_image 26648488476 aligncentre b %}
The sight was incredible! As was the noise. Fireworks were being let off from every part of the city
lighting up the whole sky. It was like looking out over Basra! The air reverberated with the low,
loud rumble of persistent explosions over the city as we headed into 2011. It was an absolutely
incredible start to the New Year. Mark managed to get a good video of the scene and hopefully he
will let us link to it at some point :smiley:.
---
comments: true
date: 2011-01-02 19:00:08+00:00
layout: post
title: The Blue Lagoon
wordpress_id: 757
image: //c6.staticflickr.com/2/1720/26608825581_3ea1971b4a_q.jpg
tags:
- Iceland
- Reykjavik
redirect_from:
- /iceland/reykjavik/new-year-2010-11/the-blue-lagoon/
---
{% flickr_image 26608825081 aligncentre b %}
{% flickr_image 26648024926 alignright %}
Our last full day in Iceland was always going to be memorable, but when we woke up this morning, we
had no idea just how memorable! The plan for today was to hire a car, visit some of the local area
we missed in the last couple of days, and finish up at the blue lagoon. So we got off to a good
start, got up early, booked the hire car and had breakfast. We then headed out into the
night/morning in the hope that the miserable weather would fade away before sunrise.
{% flickr_image 26648022346 %}
We were picked up from our hotel by the hire company and taken to their offices where the paperwork
was sorted and we were handed the keys. After picking up some food for the day we drove around
Reykjavik for a while trying to work out the road systems. With that (kinda) sorted we got on with
our day. First stop was Perlan, a set of hot water storage tanks and viewpoint on the Öskjuhlíð
hill. Although the weather was actually taking a turn for the worse, the views were still
spectacular. This is also where we saw one of the biggest advantages of natural geothermal energy.
The underfloor heating is so cheap, the balcony around the outside of the Perlan had it!!
{% flickr_image 26608825581 alignright %}
We then decided to just take the scenic route around the Blue Mountains to the Blue Lagoon. The
weather was not on our side one bit. Most of the mountains were hidden by the mist and clouds, but
we pressed on ever optimistic. The route was planned using the recommended road map for the country,
but what the guys in the hire place failed to mention was that different road surfaces are not
marked and once you are out of the main centres of Iceland, the road construction turns slightly
less sturdy! We soon found ourselves on a main road (we guessed it was a main road by the width of
it, but could have been wrong) that was simply constructed out of compacted gravel. The best thing
about this was that the amount of gravel used meant that the drops off the side of the road were
quite sever, ranging from about 50cm to about 3m, but they had obviously perfected this method as
the road seemed fairly sturdy, despite the rapid pinging of the gravel as it hit the car.
The adventure had definitely begun! As the weather got worse, so did the road. We continued on and
made a couple of wrong turn on the way. Well when I say wrong turns, we used the map and apparently
some of the roads marked on it are not so much roads as fields so we didn't notice them. Despite the
worsening conditions, we were in fact having a great time! We stopped in a small coastal village for
a walk on the volcanic beach, another interesting experience. We were glad we picked up lunch in
Reykjavik though as this place was deserted, just like everywhere else we had been through today.
The afternoon saw us continuing along the coastal 'road' admiring the alien-like landscapes that
surrounded us until eventually we came across civilisation and the Blue Lagoon!
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in South Western Iceland. The place was absolutely beautiful.
The water temperature's varied across the lagoon starting at about 38°C and significantly hotter
right next to the geothermal feed (oddly enough). It was an amazingly relaxing place and we could
have stayed there until our flight the next day if it hadn't been for the fact they close over
night. We relaxed in the deep blue waters long into the evening before heading indoors for a quick
Reindeer burger.
It was at this point that we made our next mistake. We decided to take the scenic route over the
Blue Mountains eventually ending up on the road we drove along as part of the Northern Lights tour.
Everything was going well, we negotiated the interesting section of road still under construction
again without incident and found the turning to the mountain road. This was where we made our second
mistake. The road looked a little rough at the junction, but we just assumed that because it was
shown on the road map as a main road it would be fine. Well it did get a little better, before it
got a lot worse. In the end we had to abandon this idea, so Rosie and I directed as Mark managed to
pull of a 15 point turn in 6inches of mud without denting the car, or driving off the cliff. It was
a bit of a mission though!
{% flickr_image 26648022616 %}
Once we were back on the main(ish) road we thought that would be the end of it and we could just
head on back to the hotel. No such luck! We stopped on route to take a photo and when we pulled away
again, a horrible grinding noise began. To cut a long story short, we had a stone lodged in the
brakes, so sat on the hard shoulder of, what it seems was, the only busy motorway/main road in
Iceland we had to take the wheel off and dig out the stone. This was not the best situation to be in
the night before we were due to leave Iceland whilst in a rental car 20 miles from the nearest town,
but thanks to Mark, we got it all sorted and we were back on the road in no time.
We got back to the hotel and packed up ready for our early departure in the morning. We then drove
the hire car to the airport, handed it back in and headed home after a wonderful couple of days.
---
comments: false
layout: page
title: "Category: New Year 2010/11"
category: new-year-2010-11
redirect_from:
- /iceland/reykjavik/new-year-2010-11/
---
{% flickr_image 5327885139 %}
Spur of the moment travel has to be the best possible type. Our good friend (and Best Man at our
Wedding), Mark Charlton, spotted an advert from [Icelandair](http://www.icelandair.co.uk/) promoting
a Deluxe Northern Lights Tour package. The message was duly posted on Facebook to see if anyone
fancied going and suddenly the three of us were booked on for New Year. It was a good deal at a
fairly reasonable price (considering it was Iceland) and so there was almost no question of whether
we would be going or not. Awesome!!
{% flickr_image 5328499420 alignright %}
We had absolutely no idea what to expect with Iceland as none of us did any research before leaving
at all. We therefore had loads of warm clothing, big winter walking boots and I even hired a fancy
wide angle lens from [Lenses for Hire](http://www.lensesforhire.com/) to make sure we could capture
the potentially stunning landscapes and Northern Lights :smiley:. On arrival we found that the
temperatures were comparable to the UK at this time of year and there are only 4 ½ hours between
sunrise and sunset. It was a brilliant couple of days, but the weather was against us from the
evening of our first day so we never managed to see the Northern Lights, although we did get the
opportunity to see the incredible fireworks display over Reykjavik to see in the New Year. We would
thoroughly recommend taking a visit to Iceland, but maybe do it in March or September to get the
best of the daylight, and the best of the dark (for the Northern Lights obviously).
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---
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title: "Category: Iceland"
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title: "Location: Iceland"
tag: Iceland
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