Outdoors

aptly named

road tripping - and car camping, except for the super cold north side wind chill anyone - through Iceland has been the most visually stunning experience.

nothing except being in the car and hiking following our eyes with wheels and feet onto the next gorgeous vista. 

just a typical next bend view

just a typical next bend view

Day 1 : Exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Road 4 > Road 1 > Road 54 

Braarbaut 

Braarbaut 

right on the edge of the Greenland Sea

right on the edge of the Greenland Sea

Day 2: Exploring the wild Westfjords in splendid isolation

Road 54 > Road 60 > F Road 66 > Road 61

sunrise at Grundarfjörður

sunrise at Grundarfjörður

mark II

mark II

the stunning fjords

the stunning fjords

thermal pool addiction commences at Reykjanesvegur

thermal pool addiction commences at Reykjanesvegur

Day 3: North Iceland and ridiculously only 60km south of the Arctic Circle

Road 61 > Road 68 > Road 1 > Road 85 > Road 87 > Road 1 > Road 860 

Akureyri Harbour  

Akureyri Harbour  

Godafoss  

Godafoss  

Myvatn Lake top of the crater

Myvatn Lake top of the crater

Myvatn Lake, well the lava fields bit

Myvatn Lake, well the lava fields bit

Day 4: Finishing the North and heading down the East

Road 1 > Road 93 > Road 92 > Road 96 > Road 1 > Road 99

Hverir lava fields  

Hverir lava fields  

Eastern Fjords

Eastern Fjords

late afternoon sunshine near Hofn  

late afternoon sunshine near Hofn  

Day 5: East Coast Glaciers and Waterfalls

Road 1 > loads of unnumbered turnoffs > Road 1

Yep.  not a glacier, but who can resist Icelandic Ponies... 

Yep.  not a glacier, but who can resist Icelandic Ponies... 

  Jokulsarlon  glacier lagoon

 Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

end of the Jokulsarlon galcier lagoon

end of the Jokulsarlon galcier lagoon

hiking the Skafatell national park 

hiking the Skafatell national park 

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Fjardragljufur Canyon  

Fjardragljufur Canyon  

Day 6: South Iceland black sand beaches and waterfalls

Road 1 > Road 215 > Road 218 > Road 1 > Road 30 > Road 35 > Road 37

start of the hike to look over Reynifsarja Beach

start of the hike to look over Reynifsarja Beach

basalt columns Reynifsarja beach

basalt columns Reynifsarja beach

only 468 steps to reach the top of Skogafoss

only 468 steps to reach the top of Skogafoss


Day 7 : South West, Golden Circle, Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Penisula

Road 365 > Road 36 > Road 1 > Road 41 > Road 45 > Road 44 > Road 245 > Road 43

the bloody thirsty and macabre Þingvellir historic site & national park

the bloody thirsty and macabre Þingvellir historic site & national park

mark II

mark II

Reykjavik street art  

Reykjavik street art  

basalt church Hvalsneskirja

basalt church Hvalsneskirja

rice & beans

Costa Rica has equalled slothing, gorgeous birds, frogs, beaches, outdoorsing and the ubiquitous rice & beans. 

La Fortuna: super sweaty MTB

La Fortuna: super sweaty MTB

perfect sunday afternoon: swimming hole rope swinging @ El Salto rio  

perfect sunday afternoon: swimming hole rope swinging @ El Salto rio  

iconic wildlife - toucans, sloths, quetzals - abundant in the national parks, no doubt assisted by stringent anti-hunting policies and enforcement

Arenal National Park - too busy admiring for any decent wildlife photos

Arenal National Park - too busy admiring for any decent wildlife photos

Cahuita National Park - incredibly brazen capuchin monkeys  

Cahuita National Park - incredibly brazen capuchin monkeys  

Jaguar Rescue Centre Puerto Viejo

Jaguar Rescue Centre Puerto Viejo

Pacific vs Caribbean : tough choice, being dumped by waves and invigorated or warmer not so dumping and turquoise.

Pacific Coast afternoon change : Quepos  

Pacific Coast afternoon change : Quepos  

Caribbean : Cahuita

Caribbean : Cahuita

My three favourite learnings from Costa Rica, first up for yourtown to be considered a town it needs just 5 things:

  • Primary School - gotta learn, literacy >85%
  • A fútbol pitch - gotta stay fit
  • A supermercado - gotta eat
  • A bar - gotta socialise
  • A church - gotta believe, right?

Secondly, you can easily eat rice and beans as the base for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  That is beyond me: 1 meal great, 2 meals doable, 3 meals getting repetitive

 

Lunch version

Lunch version

And where else as an adult do you get to climb such awesome trees this high

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beaches, geeking, cityscapes

nowhere near enough time for Panamá (for reasons beyond me can't get across any border in Central American without an onward ticket super frustrating when you guess awesomeness or lack thereof wrong) sure it's a small country but filled with amazingness

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so limited to exploring just 2 spots - San Blas Islands and Panama City, totally beyond expectations it's an awesome city architectural mishmash of skyscrapers vs 18th Century vs Spanish Mission 

 

sunrise and PTY masquerading as Miami

sunrise and PTY masquerading as Miami

UNESCO Casco Viejo slowly fixing the decay

UNESCO Casco Viejo slowly fixing the decay

very much a food, coffee and street art city

Central Ave Panama City  

Central Ave Panama City  

oh and not forgetting the Panama Canal, no way worth missing  the opportunity to sail through this pretty incredible engineering feat (it was completed in 1914) - ships go thru 24/7 365 days a year...daily gross around $6M

 

inside the miraflores lock

inside the miraflores lock

city hiking resulted in a toucan spot, but no sloths but with views like this close to immaterial

Parqué Natural Metropolitano

Parqué Natural Metropolitano

and the indescribably stunning San Blas Islands, I always though cartoon islands were imagined, but no they absolutely exist

Isla Niadup

Isla Niadup

Isla Sirdichup

Isla Sirdichup

Isla Niadup

Isla Niadup

multiple countries in one (and a lot of 70s/80s)

astonished by how diverse Colombia is: the climate, geography, flora/fauna and cities

it's been like spending time in four different countries

heydey? contemporary cars are plated by city  

heydey? contemporary cars are plated by city  

Bogotá: far, far colder than I care for, kickarse street art, Museo de Oro which is going to pale every future gold museum I go to into insignificance, corner stores doubling as bars

bling to covet - articulated joints & around 40mm2

bling to covet - articulated joints & around 40mm2

Totally in a time warp, made all the more amusing by what appeared to be a 1970's gangsta movie being shot in the main plaza

main plaza Villa de Lleyva

main plaza Villa de Lleyva

Medellín: suddenly warmer, super agreeable spring weather, pockets of green loads of neighborhood parks, one way loop streets and the cleanest metro I have been on worldwide.  Fell in love with the tea salons and the la memoria museum photos and video montages

 

La Memoria : Medellín  

La Memoria : Medellín  

Guatape in the background of what was obviously a drug money summer house

Guatape in the background of what was obviously a drug money summer house

Cartagena: indescribable light, gorgeous colonial buildings, boganvillia, pretending to be a pirate and an inquisition museum with real gallows and guillotine.  Who does that?

 

the cliche sunset Cartagena shot

the cliche sunset Cartagena shot

Pretending to get lost in the jungle, 4 days lost city hiking.  I didn't know there was so much green.

 

tiny portion of all the greens

tiny portion of all the greens

And just off the coast, Caribbean islas with national parks and views to melt for

 

Isla Grande - sunset

Isla Grande - sunset

Isla Grande all the blues

Isla Grande all the blues

centre of the world

both hemispheres / w the literal equator line

both hemispheres / w the literal equator line

ended up in Quito for longer than planned - the flood disaster in Perú closing the Pan American both north & south meaning flying here

turned out fortuitous - everywhere you turn is sublime architecture

 

Quito Cathedral

Quito Cathedral

under renovation Teatro Bolívar

under renovation Teatro Bolívar

Basílica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional

over the top gothic and to add to the bizarreness there at the same time as an Ecuadorean boy band filming.  Bad beyond description 

decay too

decay too

even more than usual taking advantage of public transport, security guards in the strangest places and vibrant murals  

 

as best I could tell - from the bus - guarding a torte vendor... 

as best I could tell - from the bus - guarding a torte vendor... 

when the bus terminates unexpectedly in places unknown, and the down hill walk throws up this gorgeous wall

when the bus terminates unexpectedly in places unknown, and the down hill walk throws up this gorgeous wall

the centre of not just the world but also access to brilliant day hikes: think volcanoes, craters, canyons, gorges

Quilotoa crater hiking and wildflowers

Quilotoa crater hiking and wildflowers

zumbahua canyon  

zumbahua canyon  

and the cutest and smallest ice-creams I have ever seen, more or less 2 teaspoons  

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for good measure one last archiporn  

temporary home : old town

temporary home : old town

other worldly

Unbelievable and super hard to articulate the beauty and diversity of the Bolivian southwest corner.

 

playing with reflections - Salar de Uyuni

playing with reflections - Salar de Uyuni

The obvious one, Salar de Uyuni - otherwise known as the worlds largest salt flat.  Which pretty much equals blinding blue and white, with the bizarre and beautiful fish island.  First up it's an island that you drive to, second filled with cactus that look soft and huggable (don't be fooled) and coral; third only two species live on it - well 3 if you count 2 pet llamas - finches and rabbits.

salt plates formed by temperature changes between day and night 

salt plates formed by temperature changes between day and night 

Isla Incahausi  

Isla Incahausi  

Deserts ringed by volcanoes, with other worldly rock formations.  And Dali's inspiration.

Dali: it all makes sense... 

Dali: it all makes sense... 

mirandaesque (there's a lot out of shot)

mirandaesque (there's a lot out of shot)

Thermal geysers complete with shooting stars, red lagoons filled with flamingoes, and aquamarine lakes.

who contributes the red? 

who contributes the red? 

Train graveyards complete with more of the brilliant Bolivian graffiti.

 

Uyuni carriage art

Uyuni carriage art

Uyuni wreckery and art (favourites)

Uyuni wreckery and art (favourites)

jungle to altiplano

The Peruvian jungle was filled with deliciousness, mostly in the form of new to me fruits.

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My favourites all the colours of the Karambola (star fruits).  As always there's one huge exception, Noni looks and tastes like blue cheese.If it had been served to me on a cheese plate I would have loved it, but the incongruity of picking and peeling it, meant to my mind it was supposed to be sweet.

Cacao - Madre De Dios

Cacao - Madre De Dios

Gorgeous birds, flowers and plants.  Ghastly insects, spiders and a gazillion butterflies. And a kick arse lightening storm.  So worth being there in the wet season.

 

Bit too picturesque for piranha fishing  

Bit too picturesque for piranha fishing  

Back up to 3800m and the blueness of Lake Titicaca.  Pretty special, and all the more so for spending time on it in both Peru and Bolivia (lassiez-faire if very slow overland border crossing : can't possibly see why they might have contraband issues).

Perú side of Lake Titicaca

Perú side of Lake Titicaca

  • Floating reed islands - yep
  • Slowest motor powered commissioned boats in the world - yep
  • Bolivia hiked smelling like home, eucalyptus everywhere- yep
  • More blue than imaginable - yep
  • Sunsets not hyped - yep
Uros Islands - floating made from reeds, 3m deep last 35 years

Uros Islands - floating made from reeds, 3m deep last 35 years

Bolivia side of Lake Titicaca

Bolivia side of Lake Titicaca

And back in the land of good graffiti.

Copacabana  

Copacabana