Getting a taste of Iceland with this 5 days itinerary

 
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I read so much about Iceland and it was exactly as described: beautiful and shocking landscapes. We chose to travel during the month of May which is shoulder season. It is a great month to visit, just before the tourist season begins. Prices were correct and the long day length was also very enjoyable. You might pick this month for spring wildflowers and first-rate birdwatching. We took some pleasure in identifying all the birds that crossed our path with the help of this webpage.

Day 1: Blue lagoon and Reykjavik.

For our first day, we rented a car directly at the airport, we went with Sadcars. Then we drove to the Blue Lagoon, about 20 minutes away. Book in advance and plan for 2 hours inside at least. Bring a water resistant case for your phone so you can take some great pictures inside. We enjoyed the large geothermal waters and got our silica mask inside the lagoon. The water’s milky blue shade is due to its high silica content. After exploring the entire lagoon, we drove to Reykjavik and explored the city with a stop at the Sun voyager statue and Hallgrímskirkja church. We stayed at the KEX Hostel.

Day 2: The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is the classic route that most people do. It began with Thingvellir. When Viking settlers arrived in the 10th century it was the site they chose as the meeting place of Althingi, the world’s oldest parliament. Second stop was the Strokkur geyser. It is one of Iceland’s most famous geysers, erupting once or twice every 10 minutes. Its usual height is 15 to 20 metres, although it can sometimes erupt up to 40 metres high. Gullfoss Waterfall came next and we were very impressed with this massive waterfall with wide curved three-step “staircase” and a very large crevice. Lunch was particularly excellent in the Fridheiman Farm, a tomato farm using the natural hot water. After that, we went to the Kerid Crater and passed Flúðir but decided that we had spent enough time in the geothermal waters. We stayed at the Héradsskólinn Guesthouse.

Day 3 – The South Coast

There are a few words to remember for the Icelandic explorer: jökull for glacier, foss for waterfall, gljúfur for canyon, fjara for beach/coast. We started the day with my favorite waterfall Seljalandsfoss. It is very easy to access and you can walk behind the waterfall. A second waterfall inside a small cave is also available a few meters right after. Skogafoss is the second must see waterfall, larger and very impressive. Ideal spot to use your wide angle lens. We stopped randomly for a fish and chips at “Nailed it” just after and it was just perfect. If you want to relax a bit more Seljavallalaug Zwembad pool is also a great thing to do on your way to Vik.

If you have time continue to the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. We choose to continue with Reynisfjara beach, the world-famous black-sand beach. Be careful over there with the deadly waves while you admire the enormous basalt stacks and turn your back on the ocean. We picked the Vik Farmhouse Lodge as our base camp for the 2 nights as it was ideally located for all the things we wanted to explore. We would recommend only two things in Vik for the evening: a restaurant Sudur Vik and a bar with a great selection of beers Smiðjan Brugghús.

Day 4 – Glaciers and Hiking

One thing about Iceland is that even if you have a perfect itinerary you will be tempted to stop in front of all the beautiful landscapes along the way. Glaciers, mountains, waterfalls are everywhere and they are just incredible. Our day consisted of Jokulsarlon and Vatnajokull National Park. You can find some of the trails here. Svartifoss was beautiful inside the park, its basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík. Don’t forget to check all the trails available near Skaftafell and Svínafellsjökull. We spent quite some time at Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon looking at the procession of luminous blue icebergs. As everything is melting and moving to the ocean, the panorama is always unique. It is the deepest lake of Iceland with its 248m.

Day 5 – On the road again

Our return flight was in the morning so it was already time to drive back to Reykjavik from Vik and drop off the rental car at the airport. Surely we will come back!

A year in Mexico City!

 
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After one year in Mexico City, I decided it was time to write about my experience and maybe give some advice about the best things you can do downtown and outside the city. Mexicans are welcoming, helpful and will even treat you like family if you behave yourself. If you have a decent Spanish you might even get their great sense of humour. Mexico has many things to offer across its 31 states, and each state is totally different. Mexico is a country rich in history, tradition and culture. Its bright colours, delicious food and natural beauty will take your breath away.

Best things you can do in the city

  • Palacio de Bellas Artes, if available I recommend the “Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández”
  • Walk along the Avenida 5 de Mayo to get to the Zócalo, the main square from central Mexico City
  • Visit the Museo del Templo Mayor,  it was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City
  • Check out the National Museum of Anthropology
  • Visit the Chapultepec Castle and relax in the surrounding Chapultepec Park
  • Buy some great art, souvenirs and handcrafts at the Ciudadela Market
  • Go on top of the Torre Latinoamericana and admire the 360° view over the center of Mexico
  • Visit the house-museum of Frida Kahlo, dedicated to the life and work of this Mexican artist and her husband Diego Rivera

And outside the city

  • Teotihuacan pyramids, ancient Mesoamerican city with the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon and the Avenue of the Dead!
  • Go on a hike on Iztaccihuatl to admire the view on Popocatépetl active volcano, located in the state of Puebla
  • Plan a trip to Tamasopo, with Xilitla (Edward James garden), Puente de dios, Tamasopo cascades, Micos Waterfall, Media Luna Lake and the Rio Verde
  • A weekend trip to Guadalajara is something easy to plan from the city, very charming city considered the home of the mariachi music!
  • If you have even more time take a flight to Cancun and visit everything around: Chichen Itza, Playa del Carmen, Tulum (playa el Paraiso is wonderful), spend a day at Xcaret. For the more adventurous you can drive up to Merida in Yucatan.
  • Bernal, Queretaro de Arteaga
  • Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
  • Xochicalco, Morelos
  • Los Atlantes de Tula, Hidalgo
  • Taxco, Guerrero, the city is known for its silver, both with the mining of it and the crafting of it into jewelry
  • Tepoztlán, Morelos and Tepozteco Pyramid nearby
  • Tequesquitengo, Morelos
  • Tepotzotlán, Mexico

Of course you can’t go to Mexico without trying some of the best Mexican food!

  • Chiles en nogada, most patriotic dishes with the three colours of the Mexican flag
  • Enchiladas, rojas gratinadas, my favorite!
  • Tacos al pastor, Pozole, Chilaquiles, Tostadas, Elote, Tamales, Mole, Guacamole, etc
  • And a few places where you can eat downtown: Cafe Tacuba, El Cardenal, Azul Histórico, Zocalo Central Hotel
  • For the amateur of even more fancy restaurants, Pujol is one of the best to put on top of your list