I've just come back from Reykjavik; high point was the Golden Circle trip. Head out early to catch the mid-Atlantic ridge, the waterfalls, collapsed volcanos and, especially, the geysers in one day.
I went with Black Tomato, photos at the link below...
Just an hour and a half's drive from Kiruna is the Abisko Mountain Station considered as the best place on earth to view the Northern Lights.
With its fresh clean air and its practically cloud-free skies the conditions for seeing the lights are optimal. Aurora occurs, more or less, every night but to detect it the skies have to be dark. The period from September to March is best time of year.
For those of us of a certain age, it will always be simply Star Wars. Now, I beleive it is Episode IV: A New Hope. Late in the movie, a rebel base is situated in a remote jungle - with the occasional Mayan pyramid poking through the trees. This is the Mayan city of Tikal - close to the Guatemalan town of Flores.
Tikal, Guatemala - nearest Airport/ Bus station at Flores.
The archaelogical ruins at Ephesus are simply amazing. Frequently on visiting ancient ruins, all you can see is a small bit of rubble.
However, Ephesus has many buildings including Celsus Library, Roman latrines and an ampitheatre among many other ruins.
There is a very special atmosphere there and on one section of the road, you can see the ancient worn-in tracks of Roman chariot wheels. A carved effigy of Nike the ancient goddess can also be viewed there. The city is inland and it gets incredibly hot there, so bring plenty of sun lotion and water and remember to wear your hat.
Any resorts like Gumbet, Bodrum etc run trips there.
If you want to see the most wonderful scenery in America, then I suggest you take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. The feeling you get from hovering above the canyon is quite amazing.
During a holiday to Las Vegas with my husband we were able to witness a storm which passed across the canyon. To stand there and watch the forks of lightning crossing the sky was quite magical, especially when you're standing in hot sunshine on the other side.
For the more romantic of you, there is an option to actually land in the canyon and have lunch over looking the truly wonderful scenery.
During the flight back you fly over the strip which is lit up in all its glory. All I can say is "wow". This has to be one of those trips you certainly have to make in your lifetime.
You can get a trip to the canyon from most tourist shops along the strip, or your hotel will have information.
A one-day pass is sufficient enough time to visit some of the key temples in this beautiful enclosure. Make sure that you arrive early - sunrise is a very recommended time (go to the Bayon wat), though for the more relaxed traveller a seven/eight o’clock start will ensure that you will not only see most of the site but also without the hordes of people that arrive around eleven o’clock. Hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day, should cost no more than $10, many can speak English and some have great knowledge of the site or hire a guide. Be a bit wary of some of the freelance guides in the major wats, who’ll approach you - say one thing about a wat then expect a few dollars.
It is part of the Angkor temple complex, one of the smaller sites that is far less known by the casual tourist.
Anyone planning on visiting Siem Reap and going to experience the treasures of Angkor needs to know that Angkor Wat is just one of dozens of sites in the immediate vicinity - it is the biggest and undoubtedly the most impressive, but is also incredibly crowded and not particularly relaxing.
Many of the other temples - such as Ta Prom - are far smaller, but also far less busy - when we went to Ta Prom, we had it to ourselves for about an hour, and wondered around Indiana Jones style and were blown away by the serenity and beauty - highly recommended.
Angkor Wat is simply brilliant. I recommend that if you are travelling from Bangkok take the train to the Cambodian border rather than the bus as when you reach Cambodia you will probably find yourself in a clapped out minibus rather than the promised air conditioned coach. Although you will probably end up in this minibus anyway for the journey through Cambodia, at least you will have got the chance to travel separately from the vast majority of tourists.
Pass required to vist temple complex at Angkor Wat. Passes are available for a variety of days with some visitors spending considerably more to visit for anything up to 5 days. Despite the obvious attractions of the temples etc anything more than a day can become very repetitive... seen one ruined temple you have seen them all.
Impossible not to find it as it is the only reason that you will be there.
Bar and cafe; amazing location, good food and drink (reasonably priced considering its location) and the most breathtaking views from the terrace. Great flathead and chips, risotto, wine, cocktails etc. Also, if you happen to be around on a Sunday afternoon they also have live jazz.
There is a long chain of 87 pyramids running from El-Lahun (near El Faiyum) in the south to Giza in the north. At both Dahshur and Saqqara you can see pyramids to the north and to the south and so get a better idea of the extent of these monuments.
At Dahshur there is the Red Pyramid with its three corbelled rooms and the Bent or Rhomboid Pyramid. Halfway through building it, they changed the slope so it looks bent as the name suggests.
At Saqqara, the Step pyramid with its courtyard and surviving temples gives a much better idea of the way a funerary complex was more than just a tomb. It was a whole collection of buildings for the worship of the gods as well as the preparation of the Pharaoh's body.
These sites are best appreciated with a good guide or guidebook and a small group so you have plenty of time to explore and see the whole thing.
Dahshur is 40 miles south of Cairo.
Saqqara is roughly 25km south of Cairo.
Ask your hotel to hire a car and driver for the day and you can visit both sites.
The ancient Egyptians didn't have the arch so they used corbelling to create large spaces inside the Pyramids. Only a limited number are allowed in any of the Giza pyramids on any one day and you have to get there first thing to queue but it is well worth it.
The long Gallery is in the Great Pyramid and is some 60 feet long and slopes upward. It has been created by slightly overlapping stones as they go up to create a long-toothed triangular space. It is amazing.
If you haven't the time or patience to queue for tickets, the Red Pyramid at the Dahshur Pyramid has three much smaller corbelled rooms which are truly amazing.
Giza is approximately 20km southwest of Cairo.
Dahshur is approximately 40km south of Cairo.
The world-famous Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi is just outside Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, which itself is worth a visit. The world’s largest underground iron ore mine, a magnificent view of the mountains, plenty of fresh air – it’s nearly always windy – and a population who are completely obsessed with being outdoors. The further north you go, the more chance you have to see the midnight sun in summer and northern lights in winter.
Far Out Nepal is a small local trekking company that can organise treks, cultural trips or any kind of trip you would like to take in Nepal. They are really fantastic to deal with and on-the-ground arrangements are first class. My friend and I trekked to Everest base camp with them - two middle aged ladies - and they looked after us so well, to the point of providing hot water bottles when it got cold! They have now organised us a trip to Tibet, with a few days in the south of Nepal, a jungle adventure. Their prices are amazing, and even though your flights might cost a bit more to book independently, your trip will still be cheaper than going with another trekking company. I can highly recommend you contact Sunir in Kathmandu.
Take a trip around the bay in a small boat. Walk along the seafront toawards the Golden Gate Bridge from Fishermans Wharf. Along the harbour there are many smaller ex-fishing boats. These are much better than the larger ferry-like boats available. Not only are they cheaper, the trip is longer and much more personal. You even get to go under the Golden Gate Bridge, which you don't in the larger ships.
Walk along Fishermans Wharf towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
Going to SF on a fairly tight budget, you can't beat renting a bike for a day (eg. at Blazing Saddles on Fisherman's Wharf). Very easy ride across the bridge, and down to Sausalito or Tiburon. Amazing views and a sense of achievement, all for $35 each including ferry ride back across the bay.
Get a 360º view of San Francisco hills and neighbourhoods, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It beats going to the top floor of a skyscraper.
Look at Coit Tower's vibrant frescos of life in California during the 1930s Great Depression that was commissioned by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to employ local artists. Then walk down the Filbert Steps. Telegraph Hill is so steep that Filbert St. is a stairway, part of it is still wooden. It has a quasi-park feel with homes clinging to the side of Telegraph Hill. You might want to watch the documentary film, "The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill."
Halfway down at 1360 Montgomery St. is an Art Deco apartment building that was used as Lauren Bacall's home in the 1947 Humphrey Bogart movie, "Dark Passage."
When you reach the bottom of the Filbert Steps, you can walk up the Greenwich Steps back to Coit Tower or continue walking through Levi’s Plaza (Levi Strauss HQ) to the Embarcadero and walk, or ride a Muni F/Market-Embarcadero streetcar, to the Ferry Building or Fisherman's Wharf.
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94133
1 (415) 362-0808
Walk to the top of Telegraph Hill or ride Muni #39 Coit bus.
The Golden Gate Bridge is very impressive. Walk along it (it takes about an hour), then either walk back or go on to Sausalito (all pretty houses and greenery) and take the ferry back to San Francisco from there.
The famous Inca trail to Machu Picchu is both expensive and difficult to book beforehand. Rather than taking the train to Aguas Calientes it's possible walk an alternative route. Take an eight-hour bus to Santa Maria and hire the services of local guides Lorenzo or Johan. They'll take you to Santa Teresa, stopping at beautiful hot springs on the way. On day two you can walk to Aguas Calientes. After visiting Machu Picchu it's possible to take a one-way train back to Cuzco or walk back to Santa Teresa and then catch a bus to Santa Maria before returning on the bus to Cuzco. This route requires more time, but is very friendly on the wallet.
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