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Europe, Iceland

Iceland – The perfect 8 days itinerary

August 13, 2022

We were postponing our trip to Iceland for a while now, but we finally decided to give it a go this year.

We decided that Iceland would be the perfect country (especially being midsummer) to try something new – go around the country in a campervan. And we were right. I don’t see any other country more suitable for touring with a campervan. It will probably take you out of your comfort zone, but I guarantee it would make your trip special.

After 8 days and about 2000km around the island on the Ring Road, here is what we consider to be the best itinerary and the main attractions.

Day 1 – Arrive at KEF and pick up your rental car, stop for groceries and get on the Ring Road towards Vik, where you will spend our first night. It will take up to 5 hours, depending on your pace and how many stops.

The main stops:

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Geysir Hot Spring Area and Strokkur
  • Gullfoss
  • Kerid Crater
  • Secret Lagoon Hot Spring – it’s worth the extra drive if you have the time
  • Skogafoss Waterfall, the hike up the stairs at Skogafoss is worth it (there is a 2nd waterfall up there)
  • Sólheimajökull Glacier
  • Dyrhólaey Black Sand Beach – look for puffins against the cliffs

After visiting Dyrhólaey continue towards Vik and stay your first night at the Vik Campground.

Day 2 – Drive towards Skaftafell Camping or Hof

The main stops:

  • Fjarðarárgljúfur
  • Seljalandsfoss
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Reynisfjara Beach (Black Beach)
  • Svínafellsjökull Glacier – glacier hike. We did our glacier hike tour with Melrakki Adventures and it was one of the highlights of our trip. they take you right till the glacier tongue in a super jeep (which in itself is a fun ride) thus maximizing the time on ice. Also, their maximum group size is 8 for a more exclusive experience.
  • Skaftafell Camping

Overnight at https://vikingcafe.is/

Day 3 – Drive towards Egilsstaðir

The main stops:

  • Múlagljúfur Canyon
  • Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Seydisfjordur

Camp at Egilsstaðir Visitor’s Center. If you have time, visit the newly opened spring called Vox Bath.

Day 4 – Drive towards Mývatn

The main stops:

  • Stuðlagil Canyon – unfortunately we didn’t have a 4×4 to cross over and drive all the way for the perfect view inside the canyon. Alternatively, if you have the time, you can walk about 10km return trip. It is one of our biggest regrets of our trip, that we only got to see it from the iron platform, which gives you limited view.
  • Dettifoss & Selfoss – Take 862 instead of 864. Ignore the road sign saying it’s a gravel road. It hasn’t been updated. It is now paved all the way to the carpark.
  • Námafjall Geothermal Area
  • Mývatn Nature Baths

Camp at Bjarg-camping

Note: At this point you have the option of adding one more day and go north to Husavik to see the whales. We opted not to do it, considering we’ve seen whales on multiple other occasions.

Day 5 – Drive towards Blonduos

The main stops:

  • Godafoss
  • Akureyri – We took the road 83/84 which is just a small detour to Akureyri. Not only this avoided the toll tunnel, but it was a lot more scenic as well.
  • Fosslaug (natural hot springs)

Camp at Hotel Huni campsite

Day 6 – Drive to Snæfellsjökull – Sanefellsnes Peninsula

The main stops:

  • Kolugljúfur Canyon
  • Kirkjufellsfoss
  • Svödufoss
  • Svörtuloft Lighthouse
  • Londrangar View Point
  • Snæfellsjökull View Point
  • Bjarnarfoss
  • Gerðuberg Cliffs
  • Búðakirkja – probably the most photographed church in Iceland

Camp at Borgarnes Camping.

Day 7 – Drive to Reykjavík

The main stops:

  • Barnafossar
  • Deildartunguhver
  • Húsafell
  • Þingvellir National Park

Camp at https://vogarcamping.is/

Day 8Blue Lagoon if you don’t have time to go the previous evening and spend whatever time you have left until your flight visiting the city. Make sure you don’t miss the Fly Over Iceland tour for a truly unique and unforgettable 4D experience.

Now, I know you haven’t seen the Golden Circle anywhere in the itinerary, but you will see some of the attractions on the first day and maybe some on the last day. Although the Golden Circle is beautiful, it is actually quite dull compared to the rest of Iceland. Spending a day in the Golden Circle is a day you are missing from the amazing South East.

Europe, France

How to buy tickets to Roland Garros, last minute

May 26, 2016
buy tickets roland garros

Let’s just say that you happen to be in Paris and you love tennis. Of course, you would want to go and see your favorite player. Obviously, you don’t have tickets for the event because you either didn’t know you’re going to be in Paris or you wasn’t fortunate enough to reserve the tickets on the official site when the tickets went on sale. But you still desperately want to buy tickets to Roland Garros and enjoy a full day of tennis.

So what do you do in this case and how can you buy tickets to Roland Garros?

Well, it’s not easy but not very complicated either. All you need is patience and perseverance.

There are ONLY two options to get official tickets for the Grand Slam du Paris:

  1. The official Roland Garros website – they have a Resale portal open on their front page. You need to register and try your luck. Sometimes they put a few tickets for sale, the last minute. You need to refresh the page quite a few times daily and hope that some tickets will pop up. But I wouldn’t count on that too much, not for the men’s semifinals at least.
  2. Viagogo – is the only trusted resale site that I know of. They sell unwanted tickets; people that for some reason are not able to attend the event put their tickets up for sale at face value, and Viagogo adds an administration fee, which makes the tickets a bit more expensive but still affordable. They also offer a buyer protection, meaning that in case you can’t get into the venue, you would get your money back.

IMPORTANT TIP: I would STRONGLY advise against any attempt to purchase tickets from any site other that the FFT official site or the official resale site Viagogo, or you risk being refused entry. Each ticket must bear your name and info and will be scanned before you enter the grounds. Your ID must match the name printed on the ticket. The Roland-Garros official website and Viagogo are the only  ones that can issue a valid ticket.

Now, you have to follow the schedule of play on-line and see who’s playing where so you can decide on which court you want to buy tickets for.

There are people selling tickets on Viagogo the day before the match or even on the same day. It would be best if you manage to get the tickets a few days before the event, but if not, do what we did.

Go to a nearby café early morning; get a coffee together with the Wi-Fi password, and with your Viagogo account up and running, start hitting that refresh button. It is really important to refresh the page at least every minute. Tickets come and go pretty fast, so make sure you are the first person to hit the “Buy” button.

Hint: Here is a little secret. Tickets for Suzanne Lenglen are easier to get than the ones on Phillipe Chatrier, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good game. Buy the tickets for Suzanne Lenglen and once in front of the court, before the main game starts, you will see people trying to swap their tickets for the Phillipe Chatrier Court with yours. This is how we got to see Nadal since a French couple wanted to see Gasquet, and he was playing on our Court.

 

Which tickets to buy for Roland-Garros:

There are three categories to choose from, Cat.1 being the most expensive. We had Cat.2 tickets for both Roland-Garros and for the Australian Open and I think they are the best value.

Obviously, the cheapest option is to get tickets for the grounds only, which for about 30$ they offer access to all exterior courts and you can also watch the main event on the big screen. If you’re lucky , you can spot some players.

Where to stay in Paris:

Line 10 metro will take you to Roland Garros. It starts at Gare D’Austerlitz and it goes through the 6th and the 15th arrondissements to Port d’Auteuil is the closest metro station to the main entrance. So it will probably be a good idea to find a hotel (or an AirBNB)near to this metro line.

Africa, Morocco

Colors of Essaouira – Morocco

May 14, 2016
essaouira morocco colors

Once, the most important port in West Africa, Essaouira or the Windy City is still a thriving fishing port today, and probably the nicest and the most laid back seaside resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast.

The vibrant and charming port is the perfect combination of Portuguese, French and Berber culture.

The market and the stores here have a more authentic, local feel with fewer tourists. Take a stroll through the Old Town and enjoy the sounds, sights, and smells. You can also do your shopping here, rather than Marrakesh. The atmosphere is more relaxed, people are friendlier and you don’t feel that pressure to buy something. In some of the shops, you can see the artisans crafting their wares, especially wood marquetry. Continue Reading…

Africa, Morocco

Morocco itinerary:10 days to get an unforgettable experience

May 8, 2016
sahara camel ride, morocco itinerary

Stretching from the Saharan dunes in the East to the Atlantic coastline in the West, Morocco is full of surprises. It’s a small country, geographically speaking, but full of culture, colors and unique experiences.

If you only have a week or 10 days to spend in Morocco (like we did) you will have to choose an area to explore, usually either the North or the South. It is virtually impossible to fit all the major destinations in a trip that short.

We chose the most popular part, the South, maybe because we wanted to include a new experience for us: the Saharan desert. That meant we had to divide our trip into two separate sections. One that we could easily do ourselves with the help of a rented car, and the desert part, that can be more enjoyable and stress-free if we embarked on a desert trip with one of the tour companies. Continue Reading…

Asia, Myanmar

Photo essay: People of Myanmar in pictures

April 24, 2016
people of myanmar

Myanmar (Burma) is a country that attracts the visitors in many unique ways. From the incredible number of temples and stupas to the unique rowing technique on Inle Lake or from the lush mountain forests to the pristine beaches. Unique are also the people of Myanmar:  women put a thick layer of yellow paint on their faces, men dressed in skirts are throwing red spit everywhere (from chewing a combination of betel nut and tobacco). Where else have you seen that in the world? Continue Reading…

Asia, Indonesia

The incredible Mount Ijen blue fire, Java

April 18, 2016

First time I heard about the Mount Ijen blue fire was when I was doing research for our trip to Indonesia. When I saw the pictures there was no doubt in my mind that our itinerary should include this breathtaking, surreal place. Yes, it can be very dangerous but this is why it’s so fascinating.

We were planning to cross the Island of Java traveling from Jakarta to Bali, but how to do it in order to include Mount Ijen and Mount Bromo, it was still a challenge.

Of course, the time was limited and there are so many things to do and see in Java. So the most obvious solution, one that would save us at least 3 days of traveling and a lot of hassle, was to book a tour. While we are typically not big supporters of tours, this one seemed really convenient, taking us from Malang (East Java) to Banyuwangi, in order to catch the ferry from Ketapang to Gilimanuk in Bali. So we got to see and hike both Bromo and Ijen with only one overnight. Our detailed Java itinerary will probably be described in a different article soon. Continue Reading…