South Coast Iceland – Skogafoss

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Continuing my posts on the attractions on the South Coast of Iceland.

While driving on South coast you will notice waterfalls after every few kms. So we decided to make a stop at Skogafoss , one of the most popular waterfall in Iceland and a true rival of the Gullfoss.

The meaning of the name of this waterfall is “skógur” meant “forest” and “foss” meant waterfall. That means somewhere in the old days this must be a “Forest Falls”. But it does not look like a forest at the moment, but has a lush of green all around. The tall waterfall (of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft)) surrounded by green mountains makes it spectacular.

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Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. But we could not capture that as given the time of the year we visited Iceland, there were very minute chances of Sun itself 🙂

During my time in Iceland, I was very much mesmerized with the stories behind each attraction. So I would like to share an Icelandic tale behind this waterfall 🙂

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According to Icelanders, the first Viking settler in the area, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum. How interesting, that chest actually disappeared.

If you did not have enough of the sight, you can choose to hike the path that climbs up the cliffs surrounding the recess containing the falls to yield top down views of not only the waterfall but also the view towards the Atlantic Ocean as well.

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Just before leaving Skogafoss, we took a small turn around the area to have a quick look at the open air museum that shows the houses during old times in Iceland. When I looked at the houses it definitely looked pretty, but then the thought of how people managed to live is such a small space and how bad it would be during rainy and snow days.

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The Royal Landscape|Virginia Waters Walk

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Winter weekends are always lazy, you just want to wrap yourself in a warm throw, have some mulled wine and watch TV. But Ash is always enthusiastic about walks, so he tries to plan a short or long walk almost each weekend to pull me out of the warmth of my bedroom. Once out on a walk, I am always glad that we did it as it teaches us to enjoy the beauty around us in those colder months too as well enhances our endurance to bear cold winds & rains.

Last weekend, we explored the whole of Royal Landscape walk in the Virginia Waters. We have been to this place twice in the past, but always went for a short walk with friends. This time we decided to finish this 7.5 miles circular walk around the lake. And to our wonders, this land scape had a lot of lost history in it.

This area is surrounded by a vast woodlands and have been continuously planted since 18th century. There is a beautiful lake and you will find remainders of the past through out the walk – cascades, caves, fishing temples on the shore. Walk is very easy, and fairly flat for most of the walk, plus very much accessible for wheelchair users as well. There is also a cafe for refreshments and hot coffee for the winters 🙂

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While walking on the south bank, you will see ornamental cascade that was built to bring more natural feeling of having waterfalls and caves in this landscape. Though cave was destroyed by a storm in 18th century, cascade was built up again to keep the essence.

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Continuing on the same route you will again find the remains of the past- Ruins of Leptis Magna (Roman Temple) built from columns and lintels brought from the ancient city of Leptis Magna in the early 19th Century. After the fall of the Roman Empire , it was occupied by the Byzantines but today is an abandoned site, still largely buried in the sand. The ruins have been preserved by the Royal Society now.

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Once you come to other side(north) of the shore after walking through Savill Gardens you will notice another addition to this landscape 100-foot high Totem Pole, a gift to HM The Queen from the government of British Columbia. It is sculpted out of a single piece of wood, Amazing!!!

Picture taken from Web

Picture taken from Web

We loved the walk, had a sandwich( prepared by me) and flapjack (baked by Ash) for break while sitting at the shore of the lake. It was a day well spent with a beautiful walk in the nature.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water or Winter

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Where Water meets the Sky 🙂

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This was the first time I saw snow in my life 🙂 I was a kid, believe I was like 2years old kid fascinated to see so much of snow 🙂

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In response to : http://ceenphotography.com/2014/08/12/cees-fun-foto-challenge-water-or-the-season-of-winter/

Khajjiar- Mini Switzerland of India

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I always wanted to visit Khajjiar, a hill station in the district of Chamba, very popular with tourists in India and abroad.

How to get to Khajjiar- There is local bus service from Dalhousie to Khajjiar, but they are limited in number. So you have to plan your trip really well and within the local commute availability, especially if you are staying over at Khajjiar. Else you can opt for taxis services or if you have a car you can spend time at your own ease.

Best Time to Visit– Anytime of the year depending on your preference. Summer is everyone’s favourite and the most busiest time of the year. Accommodation can also get a bit expensive. We visited in winter, so could see some part of the area covered in snow. I bet it will look wonderful in snow as well. Something to be aware of if there is a forecast of heavy snowfall, the roads access to Khajjiar will be closed.

Where to Stay – We did not stay in Khajjiar as our base in Banikhet’s youth hostel, under the budget. But Khajjiar offers hotels, cottages, rest houses run by HP tourism, but there are some private hotels too.

It has another name to add to its popularity- Mini Switzerland of India, name given by Mr. Willy T Blazer, VC of Khajjiar in India . He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar’s distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland.It does live upto its name.

It is a combination of lakes, pastures and forest. You can either choose to sit near to a lake, or go for a long walk in the dense woodland of Pine forests. It is a treat to eyes this vast lush greenland.

Local: The main income of Khajjiar comes from tourist visiting this land. So you will find a lot of locals selling Saffron(Kesar), they claim it is the best in Himachal but you gotta check yourself. You can also get your photographs clicked in traditional himachal clothes, horse riding etc.

 

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Weekend in Brecon Beacon

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Brecon Beacons in Wales is one of many paradise for outdoors adventure seekers. This famous national park offers hill walking, hill climbing, gorge walking, caving, horse riding, mountain biking and so many other activities.

We visited Brecon Beacons for a camping and relaxing holiday, no hikes, no climbing but just little walks around the Beacon village.

Wales has so much to offer when it comes to natural beauty and serenity. There are numerous mountain ranges to get that dose of adrenaline rush into your body, camping sites to sit back into rustic nature and taste the fruit of beauty around, poised and elegant waterfalls. Brecon Beacon is a mountain range in south of wales, name refers to the range of Old Red Standstone peaks. The Brecon Beacons are said to be named after the ancient practice of lighting signal fires (beacons) on mountains to warn of attacks by invaders.

Some recommendation if you would like to visit.

Where to Stay- The Brecon Beacons National Park covers 519 square miles and encompassing four main regions – the Black Mountain in the west, Fforest Fawr(Great Forest) and the Brecon Beacons in the centre, and the confusingly name Black Mountain in the east. There a lot of hotels, hostels, campsites, b&b in this area. For our visit we stayed in camping site at Brecon- Bishops Meadow Camping & Caravan Park (http://www.bishops-meadow.co.uk/). A very popular site with good tent pitched and beautiful view of mountains with clean basic facilities like bathrooms,toilets. They also have a outdoor swimming pool open for summer season. very affordable- 15 pp/night. I loved another camping site but unfortunately it was fully booked – Priory Mill Farm(http://www.priorymillfarm.co.uk/).

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What to do?-  There a lots of walk for each ability in Wales,  but on this occasion we choose to keep it light and relax more.

Grove Walk – We went for small walks near to the Brecon village that is called Groove walk (4kms return). You can start this walk right from the camping site, initial bit of the walk in through road but then soon it turns into a wood and canal walk, leads you to a an old cathederal and then to brecon village centre. Take some rest, drink some local beer or some nibbles will do too. I loved this beautiful short walk with a lot of greenery around, the soil smell and blooming flowers.

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4 Waterfall Walks – It is a very famous 3.8 miles walk near Ystadfellte and can start this walk from Gwaun Hepste or Cwm Porth car park. Highlights of this walk are a cave, 4 waterfalls, riverside walk, woodlands walk 🙂 It is an easy and doable walk of 4 hours in total, only advice on safety will be during rainfalls path can get muddy and slippery so do take care while near to the waterfalls.

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I will be visiting north part of Wales soon to hike Snowdon Mountain. Yey!! I am just waiting for my knee to recover from a sprain I got in my last hiking trip. As soon as I am fit, I will be on the mountain once again.