Tag Archives: mountains

Rocking the Golden Circle with GeoIceland

If you want to emerge a whole lot smarter after a tour in Iceland, here’s a good recipe:

1.) Grab a geologist (or better yet, a glaciologist!).
2.) Make him show you around.

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Luckily, we stumbled onto GeoIceland Tours, ran by the very witty Javier — a glaciologist-turned-land-surveyor, who eventually found himself creating his own tour-guide business. From the moment we set off from Reykjavik until he dropped us back home, he rattled on facts one after the other — not just about geology, but also about history, folklore and everyday Icelandic life. There was no lull nor dull moment, I kid you not.

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Trekking in the Land of Ice and Fire

“So, this is how I die,” I sigh to myself.

I stare hard at the long wall of loose gravel, then shoot a look at our guide, waiting for him to say that he was just kidding and that this isn’t a part of the trail. Except that he wasn’t. And yes, this is the trail. A light kick sends a rain of pebbles tumbling down. Yup, that’s a long slide from here.

Geirmundur, our guide, patiently holds my hand as I shuffle slowly sideways, facing the wall. Deep breath, baby-step. No, don’t look down. Deep breath, baby-step. All my wits are funneled into this delicate dance, until we finally make it to solid soil after what seemed like forever. Lucky me, I live another day! And this was only Day 1.

You know you're up for adventure when the wheels of your bus look like this.
You know you’re up for adventure when the buses around look like this. We saw a tiny SUV trying to cross from the other side of the river; I could only shake my head.

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Wow, Hualien!

River Tracing

How Taiwan isn’t rolling off everyone’s tongues when they speak of adventure trips in Asia is a bit baffling. In the brief time I’ve spent overall in this country, I’ve seen stunning landscapes, met inspiring people, and took part in memorable traditions. Hualien County, around 2-3 hours by train from urban Taipei, is one of such little-known places, but one I would urge all my friends to see.
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Meeting Ben Lomond

Jump-off for the Ben Lomond Trail
Jump-off for the Ben Lomond Trail

I haven’t actually started on the proper track yet, and I’m already lost. I backtracked to the last sign I chanced upon for the Ben Lomond trail, and saw the shaded path that I’ve missed. The thick canopy of bare-leafed pines looked ominous, as if I were Little Red Riding Hood who should have known better than to wander alone.

Out of the blue, the trail suddenly opened up to a great vastness of sky, sunshine and meadows. The green horizon met the wild blue yonder of the heavens for almost the whole trail. On every spot you stood upon, you can freely admire the range of the Remarkables, glimpse upon the near green and yellow rows of trees, smile at the intense blue-green of Lake Wakatipu.
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Africa, at last we meet!

It’s confirmed! South Africa has a lot of animals. And beaches. And breathtaking landscapes. And mouth-watering food and wine. Wait, why did I leave again?!

Song: Jubel by Klingande

If you want to read more about our safari adventure in Kruger, click here.



Our itinerary:
Days 1-2 – Touchdown Johannesburg! Settle in a bit and go around town with the City Sightseeing bus
Day 3 – Fly from Johannesburg to Nelspruit (KMIA) Airport, pick up the rental car and drive onto Kruger National Park
Days 4-6 – Take a self-drive safari around Kruger National Park
Day 6 – Drive back to KMIA to fly back to Johannesburg, then take another flight to Cape Town
Day 7 – Hike up Table Mountain and check out the nightlife at Long Street
Day 8 – Go canyoning with Abseil Africa
Day 9 – Pick up the rental car, drive off to explore Camps Bay and Muizenberg, and to visit the penguins of Boulders Beach. At night, check out the V&A Waterfront’s dinner scene.
Day 10 – Take more scenic drives to Bloubergstrand, Chapman’s Peak and Cape Point
Day 11 – Enjoy the good life in a wine-and-cheese tasting tour around Stellenbosch and Franschoek
Day 12 – Relax and see the Two Oceans Aquarium
Day 13 – See Cape Town on foot by joining a walking tour
Day 14 – Fly back to Johannesburg
Day 15-16 – Relax and drive a bit more around Johannesburg before heading home.

Expenses

Seventh Heaven at the Jungfraujoch

The trip up Europe’s highest railway wasn’t originally in the itinerary, but I took the very pleasant weather as a push from fate. Launching myself into a fury, I cancelled and made last-minute bookings left and right. It almost looked like it wasn’t happening, but then at last, the day trip to Jungfraujoch was a go, and the sights were worth every bit of the trouble.

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