If you have ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that BEING THERE is far more meaningful and thrilling than looking at a picture of it. And being there, it is hard to describe the emotions you feel, but one thing is for sure — you are humbled by the grand scale of it.
Experiencing Totality of a Solar Eclipse is like that. As darkness falls quickly in midday, you feel the grand scale of Nature. It is peaceful and leaves you in awe.
Hiking a glacier in Iceland offers you both serene beauty and real treachery at once. If you are lucky to have a sunny day and a knowledgeable guide, you can focus more on the beauty around you. Here is my photo of Snaefellsjokull, the 4,745 ft. high dormant volcano, which last erupted in A.D. 250.
While the summit looks close in this photo, it is takes two hours to reach it. (We did not hike to the summit.)
One should never hike this glacier without crampons, an ice pick and a safety belt as well as a buddy, as it is very slick. If you were to fall into a crevice or a hole that leads to an underground river, you may become stuck or drown.
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I’ve only spent two days in Reykjavik, Iceland in my life, so I’m not ready to write the guide book for Lonely Planet. But so many friends have told me that Iceland is on their bucket list, so I thought there would be some interest in some personal recommendations. I’ll keep this brief: two super hotels, two phenomenal bakeries, and two memorable seafood restaurants.
Our very first stop after driving the 30 miles from Keflavik International Airport to the city was the Braud Bakery. We were hungry right off the bat for breakfast, and I remembered my friend Britt’s words, “best cinnamon rolls I ever tasted.” Well, Britt was not exaggerating. Apparently, the hard working Icelanders practice baking all winter long, as they huddle inside their homes in the 24 hour darkness. And here is your first vocabulary word: Braud means bread. A second and third visit to Braud brought us to the conclusion that cookies and everything else they bake is exceptional as well. (Time to fly home before gaining the Iceland-15!)
Apparently all tennis players love pastry, and Britt (my tennis buddy) also recommended the Sandholt Bakery on the main shopping street Laugavegur. Eggs are healthy, but they cost $40, so let’s be practical and have another pastry and coffee here. (Warning: everything in Iceland — food, drinks, hotel, wool hats, etc. — all cost twice as much as you expect.) By the end of your trip, you’ll be relaxed and saying, “who cares?”
There are many nice looking and convenient hotels in Reykjavik. We favor Hilton hotels, and I can report that both the Hilton Reykjavik on the north perimeter of the city as well as the centrally located “Canopy by Hilton” were terrific. If you don’t have a rental car and plan to walk the city, choose the latter.
When it comes to food, I doubt that you can get a bad meal in Reykjavik. Literally everything we had to eat was fresh and delicious often with interesting preparation. A shopkeeper where we bought a wool sweater recommended these two restaurants. For a casual bistro, try Salka Valka “Fish and More” at 23 Skolavordustigur. (Say that fast three times!) The local dish fish stew is yummy. We spoke with some friendly Norwegians there.
Sjavargrillid “Seafood Grill” is on the same street — Skolavordistigur, which you can easily find on foot in the shopping district. I had the perch, creatively prepared. Service was great, and the place was busy. Make a reservation here: +354 571 1100.
Wherever you go in Reykjavik, whatever you eat, whatever you buy – have a wonderful time!
This rookery island is a favorite nighttime resting place for these large birds — the pelicans, ibis, egrets and cormorants. At sunset large flocks swarm in from every direction and birds land on every available branch, squawking at one another to move over and make room. It is a peaceful and unique sight to witness by boat. This location is south of Naples in the Gordon River estuary.
This roseate spoonbill was fluffing her feathers before tucking in her bill and going to sleep. Luckily she let me creep kind of close so I could take her photo with my new camera, the Sony a7rII with a 24-70 f/4 lens. Even though this lens is a short one for wildlife photography, the images from the Sony are so large, that you can crop and still end up with an amazing image. Today was my first afternoon to practice with the camera, here in Naples, Florida.
The first day of Winter may be tomorrow December 21, but the icy cold weather is already here. When I go outside to walk my dog in Sewickley PA, I think about what Niagara Falls looked like after an exceptional winter in April 2015. Brrrr.
The Kohala Peninsula on the Big Island of Hawaii is drenched by four meters of rain a year, while the dry side of its mountain range looks parched. On the wet side, you can see some pretty spectacular waterfalls after a good rain, especially from a Blue Hawaiian helicopter.