Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Comments 27 Standard

Blue-Lagoon

Iceland – Finally!!! After planning for a year, postponing and cancelling the plan many times , we made it to Iceland. And I am so glad that we finally did that. It is truly the most volatile and magical place on earth,  its vivid stories, molten lava fields, sea, geothermal pools and much more.

For next few weeks, I will be sharing my Iceland stories on my blog. I hope you will like them. I would also like to thanks my very dear blogger friend Gin (http://darwinontherocks.com/) who helped me with her suggestions on the itinerary. Her Iceland journey is fantastic.

So we landed at Keflavik airport on a cool Sunday evening, picked up a booked car at Budget/Avis Company and headed straight to Blue Lagoon.

So I did not drive during this trip, Ash did all the driving/photography  and I did my part of reading maps/directions/planning J  It was Ash’s first experience of driving in Europe on right hand side, as UK and India have left hand drive plus the added snow/ice made it even more trickier. But as good as he is at lens, he is no less on steering wheels as well, with in 30minutes he was comfortable and cruising over Icelandic roads.

Blue lagoon is not far more from airport, just 30-40 minutes drives towards Grindavik. You will see sign boards on the road with Bláa lónið, so no chance you will miss it.

At this time of the year there was not much of traffic, from what I have heard during the summer months as well it is more or less same, we reached on time at Blue Lagoon. It was surrounded by snow and snow-capped peaks.  Blue lagoon no doubt is very famous and touristy place. When we reached the parking, there were a number of tour buses and cars that were already parked out there. So we already knew, we will not have this place to ourselves (just kidding!!! 🙂 )

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When you enter the building, you will be provided with a wrist tag that you will be using to lock down your lockers, pay for drinks if you fancy one when you get into the pool, or a meal or even a fack pack or massage. You can pay all of it together while leaving the lagoon.

So when you will come out of changing rooms and head out to the pool,  I bet the first reaction will be something like – OMG, WOW, Am I really here 🙂 , I have been seeing these pictures from last year and Yey finally I am here.  Oh yes I was so delighted and joyful to be here. Initially Ash was not that interest in going to blue lagoon as he thought pictures on internet makes it look beautiful, one might not know how it will look in real. But guess what after an hour in the pool, ash was the one who was not ready to leave the pool 🙂 🙂

This pool is magnificent, with it’s blue waters & steam looks like a fairy tale place. It is truly in the lap of Mother Nature. Who will not want to have this experience once in life.

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The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant and is renewed every two days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.

The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica  and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C . It also operates a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water. Few pictures from our trip.

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Back to Scotland!!!

Comments 13 Standard

I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life

It is going to be a long post as opposed to my normal way of writing small ones, So bear with me my people 🙂

It was the Christmas eve, we had a yummy, rich and heavy lunch of roasted lamb, gravy, baked parsnips & carrots, potatoes, veggie balls, prawn cocktail, champagne and Christmas pudding!!! I am already salivated with the thought of that drooly food 🙂 After this heavy meal, we cleaned up and sat to listen and groove.

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Well the post is not about what I ate for Christmas celebration, instead the story starts now.

My Husband (Ash) says all of a sudden – Let’s have breakfast in Scotland tomorrow, to be specific Edinburgh, at 11.30PM. And taking it as a joke we said Yes in uniformity and wore the jacket, put the shoe and headed out to our car. We sat, Ash started driving and what was racing in our mind- Aaah It’s the brandy in pudding speaking and after 30 mins we will be back home. But that did not happen and Ash kept on driving , it is then we realised Man we are going to Scotland, a 800 miles drive without any hotel booking, no extra clothing, no tooth brushes. Literally what we had- what we wore, a couple of us had their wallet (thank god)

I got super excited, a spontaneous & unplanned trip. I wanted to see how we will be managing all this in the season of bitterly winters and when we are on a real tight budget. The excitement gave everyone a high and we were already on this amazing trip.

Toddy & Hot Chocolate were a must for Minus Temp :)

Toddy & Hot Chocolate were a must for Minus Temp 🙂

Around 4AM, all of us started feeling sleepy (after effects of heavy meal and champagne), with no accomodation booked and everything pricey due to Christmas season, we stopped over York to stay in a YHA dorm room for £13 pp/night. Can you believe it? God Bless the guy at reception who entertained us at 4.30am in the morning and allotted us a room. We went In and slept like a log for next 4 hours. Got up early morning, with no brushes or facewash, we had to skip those rituals and replace it with a rinse. We had to have breakfast at Edinburgh as per the plan so had a coffee and went on driving to Edinburgh.

Coffee at YHA, York

Coffee at YHA, York

After driving for next 5 hours, Yey we reached Edinburgh- not for breakfast but for Brunch, Well who cares!! As long as it is a good meal in a beautiful historical city, all is well 🙂 Then we booked another hostel for the night and started to venture out pubs of Old Town Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a such a gorgeous city, with its untouched poised Victorian and Georgian architecture, those Gothic churches and beautiful town hall- it looks splendiferous. We went for a pub hopping, some visit pubs of the Ediburgh are :

The Last Drop (A haunted pub as per the stories)- http://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/thelastdropgrassmarketedinburgh/

The Three Sisters- http://www.thethreesistersbar.co.uk/

Guilford Arms- http://www.guildfordarms.com/

The World’s End- http://www.worldsend-edinburgh.co.uk/

Also visited Edinburgh Winter wonderland, It was a blissful experience.

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We called it an early night, as while drinking another plan took birth and that was for me. I wanted to drive to Scottish Highlands, see the snow and get my eyes all glorified with the beauty around. Next morning 5am we left for Fort Williams, one of the most beautiful drives of my life. Once you entered Highlands, what you see is Snow capped mountains kissing the sky, frozen lakes, bridges covered by Snow. It was a beautiful sight, a sight that could bring tears of happiness in your eyes. We just had a random destination post code of Fort Williams that was picked by our Sat Nav, we were not destined for a particular arrival.

 

We turned the car where we felt the road ahead will be beautiful, we stopped the car where we felt I want to get down and capture this sight in my eye. It was a spontaneous trip with spontaneously created memories. While taking one of the turn on the road we saw a sign board for Nevis Range Gondola Trip, and who could stop us. We took a ride to 300ft up to 2150ft on the north face of Aonach Mor, the eighth highest mountain in Britain. Played in the snow, took pictures and had an amazing Mountain Hot Chocolate at the Cafe on the mountain.

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Now I am back into my world after having to drive 1200 miles for a breakfast and breath-taking view, and everything was worth it.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water or Winter

Comments 7 Standard

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/

Dalhousie- Retreat to Hill Station

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Dalhousie Hills

Dalhousie Hills

Last December I visited Himachal Pradesh along with my Ash, brothers and cousins. The whole idea of the trip was to walk and hike in some of the most beautiful places of Himachal Pradesh, and get ourselves soaked in the rustic beauty of this place. There is no fun like family fun, it is one of my most memorable trip with loved ones.

It was a week-long backpacking trip and we were on a budget. We knew we were going to hike around whole day long so there is point spending a lot of money in fancy hotels, we used local transport i.e. buses, we ate local food and at the end of each day we played Black Jack (without money) to end the day with a bash 🙂 I will soon write a post on how one can plan a week long budget trip to places I visited.

Our first stop was Dalhousie- a very popular and beautiful hill station in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Dalhousie is built over 5 hills – Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora. Dalhousie is located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas.

A little bit of History – Dalhousie town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was British Governer General in India during British ruling days. It was established as a summer retreat for it’s troops and bureaucrats. A lot of churches, convent schools were opened up. In 1954 Pandit Nehru initiated promotion of tourism in Dalhousie with a call that stated Let us go to the Himalayas. Since then Dalhousie has become a popular tourist spot for people in India or abroad.

How to get to Dalhousie – There are a lot of way to get to Dalhousie via car/self drive, bus, train or flight. We opted for train as it is the most cost-effective and convenient way to reach Dalhousie. Pathankot’s Chakki Bank railhead is the nearest railway station from Dalhousie. Once you reach Chakki Bank, you can take a local bus ride to Dalhousie. It is a frequent service.

Places to Visit – Tourism plays a very important role in the economy of this state. Dalhousie being one of the most popular destination offers you a list of attractions – Dainkund Peak, Khajjiar, Bakrota Hills, Gandhi Chowk, Subash Bazaar, Panchupla waterfall, Kalatop forest, Tibetan Market. We could not visit them all as it was a winter season and there was a forecast of snowfall prediction for next week, we limited ourselves  to fewer places and hiked to Dainkund Peak, Kalatop Forest, Khajjiar and boating in Chamera lake.

On our first day we strolled around in the streets of Dalhousie – Subhash Bazaar, Gandhi Chowk and some inner alleys while exploring the town. Subash Bazaar and Gandhi Chowk both are famous for shopping and a lot of restaurants. If you love Pashima Shawls or handicrafts- this is the place to be. But do not forget since is it is a tourist spot everything is costly.

I fell in love with the peaceful life of people living in the mountains. Life in hills is very much different from living in plain lands. Living in cities we are so much used to of comfort living and easily accessed life but still find ourselves complaining and grumpy many times in a day. But people I saw there were happy, smiling, strong. A man or woman will walk up to Dalhousie each day to earn their living on a fruit stall or vegetable stall, a shop keeper will travel to plain land to stock up his shop weekly, kids will walk upto hill to reach their school, a house wife will walk up and down on a hill to furnish the needs of house hold. They do not have massive shopping malls, loads of cafe bistros, cinema halls, yet they are happy and content.

Sharing few pictures of this beautiful town showing the beauty and street life.

 

Himalayan Ranges

Himalayan Ranges

Sun was Rising

Sun was Rising

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Dalhousie from Top

A street  vendor

A street vendor

A street Vendor selling Paani Poori

A street Vendor selling Paani Poori

In Beautiful Alleys of Dalhousie

In Beautiful Alleys of Dalhousie

Oh Yes!! It was cold :)

Oh Yes!! It was cold 🙂

 

I hope you enjoy reading it. Like always please feel free to get in touch with me in case you want further information. I will soon write another post that will talk about budget stay at Dalhousie.