Tahiti to Peru 2019

Babs and I have never been in this part of the world before so this will be a totally new experience. Saturday March 2nd we leave the cold of Maryland, and fly Air Tahiti Nui from LAX to Papeete Tahiti’s  warm south pacific breezes. This leg of our journey is an 9 hour flight.

At Papeete we’ll board Oceania Cruise Lines ship Mariana, cruising for 15 days. We’ll visit Raiatea, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Pitcairn Islands, Hanga Roa (Easter Island), and end our voyage at Lima Peru. That’s nine days of cruising the Pacific. I hope it’s not rough this time of year!

Tune in March 2nd for the rest of the story!

Babs Says: Here we go again!

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Untamed Iceland, Day 11, October 11, 2018

On this last rainy, windy, and chilly day of our visit to Iceland we boarded our Iceland Air flight back to the USA. Other than long, the flight was uneventful. When we landed at Dulles International airport in Virginia around 7 pm, it was also raining hard.

We had intended to take an Uber home but there was not one available until 9 pm. As a result, we “bit the bullet” and took a Dulles airport cab. We arrived at our house at 9 pm, just when we would have been getting into the Uber vehicle. The Uber ride would have cost $63. Our cab ride home was $101 and well worth the price!

I may return to Iceland again but probably not on an OAT trip. It’s not that there is anything wrong with OAT tours. It’s just that I prefer to be an independent traveler and I’m REALLY not into traveling on a bus, regardless of how comfortable it may be. Our driver, Alfred, was a terrific driver and literally ” baby sat me” because of the trouble that I was having with my post surgery knee replacement. Our trip leader “Beggi” Alfthorsson was a wealth of knowledge and did everything he possibly could to make our trip memorable.

Rather than dwell on what I didn’t like about the trip, this is what I did like. I really enjoyed the Lief Erikson home site visit, the whale watching, the waterfalls, and the Blue Lagoon. But what I’m really going to miss is the lamb, the fresh baked bread, and most of all, the water. I have never, ever tasted water, direct from the tap, or from a bottle, that was as good as Iceland’s cold water!

I also liked our fellow travelers. They were a friendly group, who after the second day knew everyone’s name.

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(Photo courtesy of  “Beggi” Alfthorsson)

I turned 73 during the trip and am ashamed that those who were in there late 70’s, and the couple who were 83 years young, could run circles around me. I really hope that our paths cross again and that, this time, I can keep up with them.

Earlier I forgot to mention our greatest disappointment. The primary reason that we signed up for this tour was to see the Northern Lights.  In the ten nights that we were in Iceland we never saw them, boo! At least we are lucky that we saw them one year in Minnesota, USA!

This will be the last post of this trip. I’ll hopefully will be back again on March 3, 2019 with my blog of our south pacific cruse on Oceania line.

Babs Says: Iceland is a beautiful country but there’s no place like home!

PS. I want to thank my many followers. I check out each new followers site and I am awed by the professional quality of your blog posts. If only I could reach that level of quality!

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Untamed Iceland, Day 10, October 10, 2018

Today is the only day of our trip that it has been sunny almost the entire day! We had a late breakfast and boarded our bus at 9 am. We will visit a volunteer search and rescue squad that performs all non fire related rescues. The squad uses helicopters, super land rover 4X4 Toyota’s, and watercraft  of various types. A rainbow followed us for several miles.

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We arrived at the rescue squad building and were given a lecture on the various types of rescues that the squad has performed. There was also a demonstration of a line throwing cannon.

After the demonstration, we went on an ATV ride to view a couple of large boat wrecks. Unfortunately the camera appears to have malfunctioned during the rescue demonstration and the ATV ride.

After lunch at a gas station/ food court, we drove to the Blue Lagoon, where we bathed in the soothing hot mineral water. The white “mud” is supposed to rejuvenate your skin.

Returning to Reykjavik we passed one of Iceland’s prisons. Our guide says that the maximum sentence can be no more than 18 years unless you are judged criminally insane

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We stopped at a newly erected memorial to General Marshal Andrews who was to head the western command in the evasion of Europe. Unfortunately he died when the B24 Liberator that he was flying in crashed into a mountain when attempting to land at Reykjavik. Andrews Air Force base in Maryland is named after him.

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We had a nice  farewell dinner at  our Hilton Hotel. The food and the company was great.

Tomorrow we fly home!

Babs Says: Over bumps, avoiding rocks, through big brown puddles on an ATV just to see an old rusted boat wreck. Not for me.

 

 

 

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Untamed Iceland, Day 9, October 9, 2018

When we awoke, it was pouring down rain. By the time that we went to breakfast, it had changed to snow. The breakfast buffet was strange this morning with spaghetti, vegetables fried in an egg dip, “rubber” scrambled eggs, fruit, and pastries. I opted for plain spaghetti that I added butter to and pastries.

After breakfast, we boarded the bus and journeyed to the south coast of Iceland where we stopped to see the waterfall named Skogafoss. This is a magnificent waterfall pumping tons of water. Unfortunately it was  raining so we didn’t continue to the base of the falls.

Leaving  the Skogafoss falls, we continued on to the Seljalandsfoss falls. These falls are much larger than the Skogafoss falls. If one is brave enough, not I, you can walk behind the falls across to the other side. At least the weather had dried up some but it was still overcast.

This is Judith and Peter who at 86 are the oldest couple in our group. They do every hike and keep up with the best of them. They are who I’d like to be when I grow up!

Our lunch was at a nearby restaurant where we were served salmon with leeks as vegetables. Dessert was a delicious chocolate brownie with homemade whipped cream.

We then traveled to Vik where we boarded a “Super Truck” to traverse the black sand landscape caused by a glacier. The ride there in the Super Truck was back breaking.We had the opportunity to hike to the glacier but I opted out because of the rain and cold. Afterward we were offered vodka with pure glacial ice.

These are the only photo that survived a camera error.

Tomorrow we go ATV riding!

Babs Says: Vodka over pure glacier ice still tastes like vodka.

 

 

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Untamed Iceland, Day 8, October 8, 2018

Today we awoke at 5:30 am to get ready for our flight back to Reykjavik. The view from the  window of the breakfast room was interesting.

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After breakfast we boarded a bus that took us to the airport. Our aircraft was a high wing turboprop with two seats on each side of the aisle.  The flight was smooth and 45 minutes later we landed at the downtown Reykjavik airport where we met our tour bus.

Our first stop was at the house where President Regan and Mr. Gorbachev had their summit in 1986.

Our next destination was Thingvellir National Park which is the site where the Eurasian and North American plates form a major rift. The rift creates a massive wall where the plates have slipped. It is where the worlds oldest Parliament was formed.

Next we visited the Geysir area where we had lunch. This is the Icelandic version of Yellowstone National Park in the US. Their biggest geyser is the Strokkur geyser which erupted three times while we were there. Size of eruption wise, Old Faithful puts it to shame. Unlike Yellowstone Park, people wander all over the area near the geysers, pools, and mud pots. Its a wonder someone isn’t killed.

We continued on to visit the site of the Gullfoss waterfall which has water flowing from three tiers into a crevasse which is over 100 feet deep.

Leaving the Gullfoss falls area, we drove to the town of Selfoss where we will spend the next two nights. We had an excellent buffet dinner there tonight.

Todays drama, I booked our return flight on the wrong date, one day early. That was an $854 mistake. I saved $500 booking our flights instead of having OAT do it, but in the end it cost us more than I saved!

Tomorrow we will explore South Iceland.

Babs Says:  Proven today-there is no place like Yellowstone for thermal features. Also, 30 degree temperatures, wind, and huge waterfalls generating lots of mist may cause nose icicles and frozen nostrils.

 

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Untamed Iceland, Day 7, October 7, 2018

Today is a little warmer this morning with temperatures around 32 degrees. After breakfast, we boarded our bus and drove to the fishing town of Dalvik. When we arrived, we went to the outfitter and donned our survival suits.

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We walked the 300, or so, yards to the boat and motored down the fjord where the captain said we would be sure to see whales. The weather was overcast but not rainy. It was warmer on the aft section of the boat so that is where we congregated.

The mountains surrounding the fjord were snow covered and beautiful.

True to the captains word, we saw whales. Some up close others farther away.

After whale watching, the captain took us to a fishing hole where we got a chance to try our luck. This is my cod contribution. It got thrown back into the water.

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When we returned the outfitter fried up our catch on the grill so that everyone could get a taste.

As usual I have to have some drama each trip and this one was no exception. Going back to the outfitters, I fell , landing on my right knee which just had a full replacement. The survival suit cushioned the fall somewhat but it still is a little ache. I’m hoping that it’s just bruised.

The traffic lights here have a red light in the shape of a heart!

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Dinner tonight was at the hotel. Lamb or steak had by all. The lamb here is to die for!

Tomorrow we fly south back to Reykjavik and drive to Selfoss to explore the Golden Circle.

Babs Says: Happy Birthday Frank! Whales are big, yet graceful. Fresh fish is much, much better than “unfresh” fish.

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Untamed Iceland, Day 6, October 6, 2018

It is 20 degrees warm this morning when we woke up. The snow line has gotten lower on the mountains. This is our view from our room.

After breakfast, we were on board the bus at 8 am. It was still in the 20’s but not snowing or raining. We were traveling farther north to the thermal area of Iceland. Leaving Akureyri we climbed high mountain passes with icy roads and mountains with lots of snow.

Our first stop along the way was at Godafoss (waterfalls of the Gods). Babs and I hiked the path to the falls where we took these pictures.

After hiking to the falls, we met the bus at a little restaurant/ fuel stop to get some coffee and use the restrooms. Walking through the store, Babs found these cookies which are made in Maryland!

Leaving the falls, we drove to the thermal area where we visited Hverabraud a restaurant bakery where bread is baked by the thermal heat outdoors. There the owner/ baker demonstrated how he bakes his bread. He puts the ingredients in large plastic containers and then bakes it in ovens sunk into geothermal steam. We had a chance to taste the finished product which tasted like molasses pumpernickel with the texture of pudding.

Lunch was at a local restaurant that had a buffet featuring baked trout, lamb, soups, salad, chicken, vegetables, and fruit cocktail out of a can for dessert. Everything was delicious!

Across the street from the restaurant was a field of pseudo craters. Babs hiked to the end of the trail to take these photos.

Next we traveled to see the black lava formations of Dimmuborgir. We also stopped at an overlook with a view of the Namasskard geothermal area. I stayed with the bus but Babs, Tinker, and Vidal went exploring.

We returned to the hotel in time to freshen up before going to our home hosted dinner.

Our hosts for tonights dinner were Samuel and his mother.  The evening started out with everyone introducing themselves. I told them that I was recently released from prison after serving ten years for attempted murder. When I saw from the look on their faces that they believed me I set the record straight The main course was a baked salmon filet marinated mango chutney, covered with almonds, and baked to perfection. It was served with salad and boiled potatoes, and mango yogurt.

Dessert was a baked meringue two layer cake(?) topped with strawberries and chocolate. Everything was delicious.

Tomorrow we will go whale watching!

Babs Says: We found out today that children who are naughty get potatoes instead of coal at Christmas. Maybe I should be naughty.

Is it real if you can’t see it? That was the question of the day. Trolls, Hidden People, Elves? Who knows for sure?

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