Iceland Circumnavigation Cruise: My First Impressions

 
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Sunset on Day 1

After nearly three hours of driving through central London to reach Heathrow Airport followed by a two-and-a-half hour flight to Reykjavik, the BF and I finally arrived at our home away from home: The MS Ocean Diamond.

On the itinerary for the next nine days was a series of port stops and excursions around the whole of Iceland – there will be much more about that to come. But first, I’d like to share with you my first impressions of my first cruise.

Cruises come with their stereotypes. They tend to be associated with older people who prefer a more leisurely form of travel. This cruise, in which optional excursions included trips to far flung glaciers, I thought would be different.

I was wrong.

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My New Panasonic Lumix GX-7!!

 

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

Ok, I’ll admit this is a bit of an odd follow up to my previous post which was all about how smartphones come with really impressive cameras these days. But, hey, what’s a girl to do when she gets an early birthday present from her boyfriend?

A New Camera – YAY!

After almost two years of smartphone-only photography, I finally have a brand spankin’ new camera with some manual features that should allow me to take better shots. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GX-7, and it’s super cool. I just got it yesterday so all its little feature and doodads are still new to me, but so far I’ve been really happy with the snaps :)

Panasonic Lumix GX-7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Earlier I went out and took some test shots using the Panasonic as well as my Samsung Galaxy S5. Both cameras take 16MP photos, but I definitely saw sharper quality photos with the Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Why Now?

Well my readers, I’m glad you asked. I find myself in the possession of this nifty new device in preparation for an upcoming adventure. Next week I’ll be embarking on a cruise trip around the whole of Iceland, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Needless to say I’m pretty excited to get out there and start snapping photos — there will be much more on the Iceland cruise to come!

Oh the Places You’ll Go: My 2015 Travel Plans

 

If I’m being honest I wasn’t planning on travelling that much in 2015. There’s a lot happening this year for me on several different fronts. I’m closing out a graduate program, studying for exams, and of course there’s the whole permanent residency thing. Don’t you just hate it when life gets in the way of…life?

Anyway, as it turns out I’ve still managed to squeeze in a fair bit of global galavanting over the next 10 months or so. I’m staying put in London for most of the spring, but after that I’ve got a few major trips planned:

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

Giant's Causeway Ireland

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland Image Source: http://whc.unesco.org/

My BF and I have been entertaining the idea of visiting Ireland for quite some time now. We’re finally going this year and during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations no less! It will be a quick four-day trip to Dublin where I’m sure much Guinness will be consumed, with a day trip to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.

Viva Las Vegas

Las-Vegas-Strip-featured

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this in person!

It’s happening. I’m going back to America for the first time in 4.5 years. My brother is getting married and that means I’ll be headed back to Sin City for a week or so to reacquaint myself with the American way of life. For the uninitiated, this translates into eating lots and lots of food. Then taking a break, and eating more food. When I’m not shoving food down my face, I’ll you’ll probably find me at Target marvelling at all the cheap prices.

Returning to Iceland

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Continental Divide – Iceland

I first visited Iceland in October 2013 and was absolutely blown away. The people are lovely, the food is excellent, and the scenery is out of this world. This summer I’m returning to the island to explore the coastline – all of it. I’ll be going off the grid and onto a ship to circumnavigate the whole of Iceland. There will be whale watching, bird watching (puffins!), glacier hiking, volcanic golfing, fishing, and lots more. Needless to say, I am really really really excited about this trip!!

Nordic Nations

Seurasaari Island – Helsinki, Finland

If you take a look at the travel section of my blog you’ll probably notice my affinity for Scandinavia. Northern Europe is without a doubt one of my favourite travel destinations, so when an old friend told me he was visiting from The States it immediately set the wheels in motion for another trip. This time around I’ll be visiting Stockholm and Oslo for an extended working holiday and city break. Old friends and new places. It doesn’t get much better than that!

If any of you have any tips or advice on things to do in any of these locations they would be much appreciated. As always, you can follow my journeys on Instagram @girlinlondon_rtw. Happy travels!

Iceland: A Photo Essay

 

It’s been described as the Land of Fire and Ice, but what I discovered on my first trip to Iceland is that the island nation is much more than that. Isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland feels like another planet. Its landscapes are unforgivable yet remarkably beautiful, and its capital Reykjavik appears to have developed perfectly in tune with its surroundings. The air is clean, the food is fresh, and the people are extraordinarily friendly. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

First glimpse of lava fields from the air . . .

Lava fields near Keflavik, Iceland

Close up of moss growing on porous volcanic rock (basalt)

Continental plate divide in Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park in autumn

Steamy Blue Lagoon

Icelandic horses near Gullfoss


Gullfoss

Strokkur

Strokkur erupting

Reykjavik Harbor

Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik

Pickled herring on rye bread

To view more of my photos from Iceland and larger versions of all photos above, hop on over to my Flickr page!