Tagged: vacation

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Food for the soul

Iceland, so many thoughts and experiences wrapped up in a short 8 days. A land that on one hand seems barren and like another planet carries with it the awe of the wonders of nature and the potential for life after what seems unthinkable in the volcanic activity. Iceland hosts 30 active volcanic systems. Black sand beaches are some of the tourist attractions in this country. Really, I wonder, are there any white-sand beaches in Iceland? The roads, the ground, the beaches -seems all comprised of this black molten material. The after-effects of the volcanic activity comprise the countryside. How can such devastation result in such beauty? It’s a different beauty, a beauty that you see and feel at once and is awe-inspiring in so many ways. There are waterfalls and rivers everywhere. An abundance of the most delicious water is available at every tap. There is a green moss that covers the ground. When you walk on it it has a spongy feel and seems to bounce right back. (I’m not saying this would be true if there were tourists walking all over it). I sought out areas where I could explore without the throngs of tourists. I did visit a number of the tourist areas which were beyond spectacular but the real enjoyment was from experiencing nature on a hike with no one in sight. Climbing to the top of a hill and seeing this green moss or listening for the running water and trying to get to the source of the flow and see the waterfalls all over the place. There is a certain magic to this country. The wonders of nature, of God, of trolls, or magic whatever you believe. Maybe a combination of all of the above. The timing of this trip was perfect and...

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Iceland -what an adventure

I could write for days about my adventures, experiences, encounters, observations, and overall feelings about visiting Iceland. Maybe I will write for days on this topic but for now, I will just summarise some thoughts and experiences from my visit that came to an end far too quickly. I was fortunate enough to manage two mini trips to Iceland within a two-week span. The break between trips was great for making more educated plans for my second go around. Let me start by summarising my overall impressions before the memories start to fade a little. On one hand, the countryside through a bus or a taxi window at times seemed dark and dreary and at other times intriguing and green. The weather was predictably unpredictable. Any Icelander would tell you to wait 5 minutes for the next weather pattern. I experienced, rain, sun, wind (gusting cold wind) and a repeat of all of the above frequently within the span of a couple of hours. My return trip to Iceland had remarkably stable good weather for 3 out of the 5 days which seems pretty rare as patterns go per the locals. Overall, visiting in early October seemed a good move. On average the temperature was in the high 30s to low 40s during the day and the rain when it came was gone within 10-20 minutes. The only time the temperature really felt cold was when the winds picked up and by picked up I mean, almost pick you up – or blew you over!! Those winds!! I like to sleep with my window open at night wherever I am and Iceland was no different. I was conscientious and of course, turned off the radiant heat in my accommodations. I was also fortunate enough to not have direct wind coming...

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Day 1 in Iceland!!! (Tuesday, 4 Oct 2022)

My overnight flight to Iceland was spent getting as much sleep as possible during the 5-hour flight. I hit the ground running I must say. I caught my bus to the downtown area of Reykjavík, the BSI Bus terminal. Most people when they travel to Iceland wind up booking a spa day at either the Blue Lagoon or the Sky Lagoon. This was on my to-do list but it had become very complicated to try and figure out the transportation and transfers and timing so I decided to just get to town and check out the local swimming pool. The local pool is Sundhöllin. What a find. 1 outdoor and one indoor lap pool, several varieties of hot tubs, a cold dip a steam room, and a dry sauna. I spent about 3 hours there waiting for the time for my check-in and I don’t regret a minute. It was very relaxing. I checked into my AirBnB, about a 20-minute walk from the pools. Afterwards I made my way toward the downtown area and started my exploring/sightseeing. I just started walking around the waterline until I would see something interesting. It was really quite beautiful but I also discovered quite spread out, not to mention, a bit chilly with intermittent rain. I had already booked a ticket for the symphony for Thursday night at the Harpa so I wanted to get an idea of that location. As I was walking along I noticed all sorts of the infamous electric scooters available for rent. Why not? I looked up the app on my phone and soon I was off for my first electric scooter ride. What a difference! I have to say I was quite glad for the knit cap I had purchased on arrival at the bus station and the...

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Planning a trip when you fly standby!

As an airline employee, I have the privilege of being able to fly for free or at a significant discount.  This sort of travel, as luxurious and free-spirited as it sounds, is not without its share of potential stress if allowed to be a part of the packing list. Flexibility is key as is being able and willing to change plans as needed. I have an annual trip I take to the UK during the first part of October. This year I decided it would be nice to break the journey into smaller segments. Really I was just considering visiting my friends in Toronto and then heading on to the UK. As I looked at the routing I discovered that Reykjavík, Iceland was an interim point between Canada and the UK. The bright idea occurred to me to spend a few days in Iceland on the way to the UK. The planning of a trip like this entails checking loads/availability on flights and working out the timing to coordinate with less busy air travel times. I work at the Oakland airport. The closest airport for an international destination is San Francisco but the flights to Toronto were full so I decided to fly with my airline to LAX and then proceed on to Toronto from there. I arrived in Toronto between 8 and 9 pm and met up with my friend who had also just flown in and we headed on back to his and his wife’s house in Toronto for a pleasant evening of conversation. The addition of Iceland to my itinerary was so last minute that I really hadn’t had the time to properly plan. I’d done some research and had an Airbnb lined up for the nights I would be in the country. I had no idea...

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Summary of my unplanned Carmel Vacation in Carmel

My trip to Carmel was meant to really just be an overnight quick getaway.  I had no intention of spending 3 nights there by any means, but, that is just what I did.   In general I am not really a person who knows how to go on vacation and get away from the miscellaneous things that need to be done at home.  Although my dogs are with me all the time at home around my place, it is a whole different thing to be going on vacation with them and focusing on activities that all three of us can do together.  At home my dogs only come with me when the weather is good and even then I don’t usually eat out with them or do much more with them than take them to work or to the beach or a park. In Carmel, I never left the dogs behind in the hotel room or the car.  They went to all my meals except for my first dinner.  They went to parks with me and then the best of all to be able to hang out with me in the Cypress Hotel Lounge and just lie there on the carpet whilst the different performers played was perfect.  The dogs first meal out on this trip to Carmel was at the Forge in the Forest Restaurant.  They were a little restless at first but loved their chicken strips dinner which I ordered for them from the canine cuisine menu. Overall they were real angels and though I say that with prejudice I am being quite honest in my assessment of their behaviour.  I received a number of compliments on their behaviour even from other dog owners. One lady said she had been advised against getting a dog such as an Australian shepherd because they are...

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Carmel Vacation, The Birthday Party (night 2)

After our great dinner at Forge in the Forest and a quick walk on the beach to enjoy the sunset we headed over to the Cypress Inn.  Cypress Inn is known for their Dog Friendliness!  They did not disappoint.  There was a dog that had just turned 3 that was fortunate enough to have his birthday party at the Cypress!  Just take a look at his birthday cake. There was a great music for most of the evening provided by Lee Durley & Joe Indence. The music was a jazzy laid back style and very relaxing and enjoyable.  We went back to the hotel and checked into a new room (number 22) for the night.  I had observed that the cottage across from the one I stayed in the first night had a really cool little patio that backed up to empty land and woods.  This is the best little cottage.  Love the patio and the amenities!  

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The unplanned vacation. Day 2 (Nov 5th, 2015)

Day 2 began with a 9am breakfast with Dana & Kurt.  We all went for a quick walk on the beach afterwards and Dana & Kurt headed on home to Southern California.  I had intended to leave after 1 night and head back home.  Then I realised, I really had nothing pressing at home and could actually use some true decompression time.  Why not stay another night! The pups and I went to Garland Ranch Regional Park  where we enjoyed a couple of hours of exploring. We had dinner at Forge in the Forest and when I say we had dinner that’s what I mean!!  They had the Hen House  Chicken Strips and had no problem wolfing them down in a hurry!!  I ate here before a few years ago and have to say that the previous visit seemed more dog-friendly.  Last time there were stainless steel dog dishes and the staff didn’t act afraid of the dogs.  The staff on duty on this particular night seemed to dread the dogs on patio even though this is one of the things they cater to.  Sky and Zulu were not deterred and enjoyed their dinner and I enjoyed my dinner very much as well.  There was nice fire place going on the patio and all the patrons, with or without dogs were very friendly.    

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The unplanned vacation. Day 1 (Nov 5th, 2015)

As mentioned in my last post, an unfortunate bumper car incident put me in a rental car whilst my truck was being repaired.  I had family that had contacted me only days earlier to see if there was any chance I could meet them in Carmel, California.  Carmel is about a 2 hour drive from my home and is a town I love because it is known as the most dog friendly town in the United States!  It’s known for stuff like art and food too but what’t the point of any of that stuff if you have to leave your best friends (the dogs) at home? The pups and I headed to Carmel on the 4th of November.  We arrived just in time to enjoy a wonderful dinner with my birth mother Dana & her husband Kurt at Il Fornaio. After a good dinner and conversation we parted ways around 9pm and I headed off to find my hotel and they headed back to their accommodations. In the past I have always stayed at Carmel Resort Inn – some little cottages that were in a nearby neighbourhood and dog-friendly.  Fortunately I had called them before heading to Carmel because they are no longer a dog-friendly hotel.  This was a disappointment to me but as it turns out the place I did find, Carmel River Inn is a true gem!  Carmel River Inn had the option of cottages as well as regular hotel rooms.  I had booked my room and advance and discovered that by booking the room (the cottage that is) through my smartphone Expedia App I was able to save $25. Carmel River Inn was perfect!!  I loved the place so much that I knew at least 1 more night was in order.  So Thursday afternoon after I officially checked out of the...

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It started with a rainbow!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015.  The day was an okay day.  I was doing a lot of driving to help out a neighbour of mine with some work of his.  Unfortunately the day had also been spent re-living some events from a few days earlier which were not quite so pleasant.  I couldn’t seem to break the mesmerism of the in-harmony which had occurred the previous week.  Then I saw the most amazing thing.  In the distance a beautiful rainbow.  As I got closer, it became obvious that the end of the rainbow was right in front of me.  It was amazing as far as I was concerned.  I have never seen the end of a rainbow it wasn’t until a few days later that I realised that my dash cam had actually captured this phenomenon! Unfortunately, in my awe of the rainbow I failed to notice that the traffic in front of me had come to a halt and as such I rear-ended the car in front me.  I wasn’t going fast but distraction had taken me away from the more important task of full attention on the road and not the rainbow.  I had to get towed and wound up in a rental car but all along I kept thinking to myself, ‘there must be some sort of blessing in this unfortunate incident’.  ‘Something so beautiful as this rainbow must have some blessing to accompany it.’ See my next post …