A lot of questions! Let me try a few answers... Absolutely I'd say stop in Iceland. Every place in the world is unique, but Iceland is more so, geographically, in climate, and in history. Half a week (or even a week) won't do more than scratch the surface, but you'll be able to visit incredible waterfalls, climb on glaciers, see evidence of recent volcanic activity, and realize that under it all is a huge pool of thermally heated water that provides over 70% of the nation's energy. If that...
Well, I said so much about Iceland, I decided to leave the rest for another post. Getting from Barcelona (or Madrid) to Lisbon: the only practical way is to fly. Train takes too long for this one, and costs more! From Barcelona to Lisbon, flights on Vueling, Iberia, TAP, etc. run from $35 one-way to about $80 before you hit the high-priced ones. I just looked in May; Vueling and Iberia have $68 in the morning and $35 at 7:30 pm. Madrid-Lisbon, there's a $40 mid-day flight, but most other...
PHeymont has given you some excellent advice, Travel Luver. By all means, spend some time in Iceland. If you can fit it into your trip, 4 days would be my minimum stay here. As Paul pointed out so well, Iceland is unique. It is also very sparsely populated, with only 300,000 people on the island and two thirds of those living in Reykjavik. And it is a newly form volcanic land with tons of glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal events. So by all means, see it. When you land at Keflavik airport...
Hey, I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but no matter how cold it is, they keep the outdoor pools open in Iceland with underground hot water. We went to the Blue Lagoon in February, and it was funny...usually people get OUT of a pool because they are getting cold, but there we stayed IN to keep warm!
Originally Posted by voyager: Hot springs are to die for. You always see pictures of the Blue Lagoon. Are there other places to go for a warm swim in Iceland ? There are lots of places to go for geothermal swims in Iceland, Voyager. Almost every small city and town has a public geothermal pool. The most famous is the Blue Lagoon, but it's also quite pricy, especially if you go for a family. This website gives you some idea of all the pools you can access in Iceland. Here's that link.
Well, thanks everyone. You've been great and this has all been very helpful. So yes, I will go to Iceland for 4 days. I will base myself at a hostel in Reykjavik (all I can afford), and I'll do 2 day trip tours, still researching which ones but those recommended look great. And I love hot springs, so I plan to soak the evenings away after enjoying the "youth scene" over there. I need to check out a good Icelandic beer. Any recommendations. And I will visit Iceland at the of my trip, rather...
You're most welcome, Travel Luver! Give the VIKING beer a try -- it's pretty good. And made with that great Icelandic water that has a unique taste (and pleasant at that). Also be sure to try their Coca Cola, made with Icelandic water and sugar (not corn syrup as in North America) -- definitely a better product.
I love visiting local markets. I try to make a point of seeing one every trip if possible. Sometimes you can pick up great gifts from these (eg. tea, spices). Another place I like to visit when I can is the local library. The quality of a library tells me a lot about a people and the values they and their government have.
How timely! I was just in Catalunya this past week on a trip to visit PortAventura World and Tarragona. I loved experiencing the local culture - and previous to my trip I had no idea that Spain wasn't more homogeneous.
It is good that a people face up to and learn from the past. We must learn from the lessons of history, but I do hope this will not become a "self-flagellation" exercise. At the end of the 18th century, everyone had slaves. Every people, every race, every culture, every country participated in the buying, selling and owning of other people. It was the norm. Fortunately, with a few rare exceptions, modern society has become enlightened and the rights of individuals is now a central focus of...
'Presentism' is always a danger for historians, but in this case, there's a real issue of interest based on the late-in-the-day entry into slave-owning by the later Catalan grandees; they went into it when all European countries had already abolished it, and when it had been abolished in many colonial areas. Sadly, not Cuba, Brazil, or, at the beginning of that period, the United States. One of the reasons it's important to consider these past things is because they do enter into the...
Slavery is just part of a long cruel history. Wherever there is chance to make money, people of any race or creed will gladly join in. Even the African warlords who sold the "prisoners" to the slave ships played their parts in this piece of history. Even today fortunes are made by sending young men to die in the name of "Defence". Money has no morals.
I've taken a lot of pictures outside Sagrada Familia and a few inside, but none of my inside pictures capture the light, space and shapes as these do—great! I'm not Gaudi's biggest fan (I've confessed that elsewhere here), but even if he had nothing but this place to his credit, he'd have earned that title: Genius.
Thanks for the photo Pheymont. I adore ornate ceilings. Something from the past you don't get repeated today. This is in the Cunard Building in Liverpool. Built in 1914. Before it moved its HQ to New York in the 60's.
Well, turns out to be a moment of mis-identification. The building I was in, 1 Broadway, had been the offices of United States Lines; Cunard was up the street at 25 Broadway. I haven't a picture yet for the booking hall-turned-bank, but here are two shots of Cunard's Great Hall, which is now a postal facility.
Great thing about Europe, especially for travelers, are the many options they have for getting around. Train is often the best option for those going from the heart of one city to the heart of another. I'm glad to her this route is now open to people.
Most countries would envy Spain this particular problem. Given how week other aspects of their economy are, I can't see the government putting a stop on this, despite the actions of some mayors. I'd suggest they look at diverting tourists to less traveled parts of the country. Spain is a large place and there are lots of places tourists hardly ever go.
While searching for some other photos, I came across these two that might have joined the birds above. One is a scene of well-mannered pigeons on a rail at the Musee Rodin in Paris, perhaps waiting their turn to annoy diners in the garden cafe; the other is yet another of those ironic meetings of statue-fied dignity with feathered pit stop...
Another part of the agreement is of interest to US travelers. We can only spend 90 days in the Schengen country for every 180 day period,without having to contend with Visas . I haven't heard too much about the consequences of overstaying the 90 days ,until I saw this comment online about getting a $500 fine for overstaying. http://www.latimes.com/travel/...-20150405-story.html More info on the 90/180 day rule http://www.latimes.com/travel/...20150329-story.html#
I don't share the nostalgia for border crossings, having experienced some of the worst crossings in the world in the late 80's And while Schengen said it wiped out land borders for travelers throughout most of Europe, I've still experienced controls in those countries . On one such occasion ,I took a bus from Brussels to Paris and the bus was stopped twice in France. ID was checked and people questioned. Even bags were inspected for people from Romania and Bulgaria.
Interesting, given the history of prejudice against Romany, that those countries were singled out. At the time they were not yet Schengen members, either, although they are now in the process of joining, leaving only Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and UK out among EU members. The non-EU members of Schengen are Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
From a historic perspective, I think it's still a little early to know if this was all good for Europe or not. The border crossings are definitely easier and faster, and I, too, miss the passport stamps no longer on my pages. For me the greatest convenience is the common currency -- not having to change money so often, usually at a loss. Of course, some would argue that the Euro is the greatest weakness of the EU (will it survive?), so I'm not sure in the long run how this will all play out.
For another urban perspective, from Pheymont's details to the photographs of Michael Wolf's Hong Kong, large scale " Architecture of Density ", currently at Flowers Gallery, London. Don't neglect to click on "#39" on the gallery page for more images.
Unbelievable density...unimaginable to me to live in such a tight space. It started a discussion here at home on the viability of cities, whether we could, with Marge Piercy, look forward to a future where cities do not exist—or to a future where, free of some of the economic and political structures of today, we could guarantee cities that are a pleasure to live in. In the meantime...I wish I could be in London to see these pictures at gallery size.
There are so many things there that I wouldn't eat. Many because I don't know what they are. But just looking is an amazing journey into the unknown. Many cheaper meats - like pigs feet and tripe - are now more "fashionable". But hold memories of my youth. I didn't like them then. But broadening the imagination is a must - unless we just stand still and stagnate.
You've just reminded me - Haslet. Last time I ate that was when I discovered it was made from brains ! Of course you have an advantage being a professional - but being so familiar with "body bits" would turn me vegetarian. My wife - an operating theatre nurse - always comments on TV cookery shows when the Chef remarks on the " Juices flowing from fresh kidneys" when they're being fried. "That's not juice - it's.....! " ...... Yes, thank you - I know what it is !!
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