• europe,  spain,  travel

    Barcelona bound

    Full set of photos I’m not going to lie; one of the biggest joys of my job is the opportunity to travel the world. A language development conference in Bilbao meant visiting a new country for me! My flight with KLM was comfortable and perhaps too entertaining (love when airlines have great movies available), and I didn’t end up getting hardly any sleep as a result. My first order of business in Barcelona was getting a SIM card, which thankfully were available…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Too hot to tölt

    Full set of photos After seeing all the Icelandic horses on my journeys, I’d decided to book myself a horse ride with Íshestar. As a kid, I’d done a few horseback riding summer camps and had always enjoyed it, but it had been ages since I’d ridden. There are a number of horse tour companies, but I decided to go with Íshestar because of their strong animal welfare policy. Wanted to be sure that the horses are well-treated! The tour company’s…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Edge of the world

    Full set of photos The clouds had rolled in by the time we got to the hotel last night, so I was pleasantly surprised to find in the morning that we were surrounded by mountains. After a quick hotel breakfast, we piled into our van and headed  to our first stop, Ytri Tunga, in search of seals. We did spot a few seals bobbing in the sunrise-dappled water, but my attention was largely focused away from the water. For all my desire…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Snaefellsnes Peninsula

    Full set of photos I was eager to start out on the second leg of my tour, where I’d be journeying to the west part of Iceland. So eager apparently that I was in the lobby waiting for the pick-up a full hour earlier than the actual pick-up time (I’d mixed up the pick-up time yet again!). I met my new guide, Saga, a Reykjavik local, and the somewhat sadder van we’d be given. Apparently, they had to rent a van,…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Lava and ice

    Full set of photos We started out before the sun was up (which isn’t terribly early I suppose when sunrise is close to 9:30) and made the relatively short drive to Glacier Guides. The clouds had lifted enough to reveal a gorgeous range of mountains, draped in rugged glaciers, in shades of blue in the morning light. We were fitted for crampons and given a helmet and an ice axe before piling into a large bus to be driven to…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Travel: Diamonds in the black

    Full set of photos The rain had slackened overnight, and we were treated to the faintest hints of clear skies. After a quick breakfast from the hotel buffet (I heavily favoured the cheese options), we piled into our minibus and made the short drive down to the Reynisfjara beach to watch the sunrise. Part of the reason I wanted to visit Iceland was I wanted to see places unlike anything I’d seen before. This was one of those places. Soaring basalt columns–symmetrical…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Travel: Touring the Golden Circle

    Full set of photos I had rather foolishly spent the previous night in a YouTube spiral of viewing insanity and so had went to bed really late. For whatever reason, the five alarms I’d set also conspired against me and decided not to go off, so I woke up at 9 am. This would not normally be problematic when on vacation except the pick-up for the 5-day tour I’d booked was 8 am. Panicked, I threw my things together and ran the block to…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Travel: Reykjavik and the surrounds

    Full set of photos After a rather challenging 2016, one of my resolutions in the new year was to make myself happy, and  that meant getting back to traveling again. A sale on Icelandair flights was the catalyst I needed for me to rather impulsively decide to take a trip to a wild new place. Iceland had always been in the back of my mind as a place that would be fun to see but never somewhere I thought I’d get to for awhile. The evening 5-hour flight…

  • europe,  netherlands,  travel

    Travel: Canalside in Amsterdam

    Full set of photos Last but not least: Amsterdam! With just one weekend left in my trip, I knew it had to be spent in Amsterdam. Thankfully, it’s only about an hour and a half train ride from Nijmegen, so after morning subject-running, I was soon rolling into the city. One of the things I’ve loved about the Netherlands is the universal transit pass (OV chipkaart), which allows you access to trains, buses, and trams all over the country. You…

  • belgium,  europe,  travel

    Travel: In Bruges

    Full set of photos A rather late night (recently started watching Downton Abbey, which has become a bit hard to tear myself away from) meant I got a relatively late start to my day. I said goodbye to Brussels and hopped on the train to Bruges, just an hour away. It wasn’t long before I was making the walk from the train station, along with a sizable number of other tourists. There was a quiet simplicity to the edges of town surrounding the old town.…