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Entries about geography

Lava and Lounging in Lanzarote

Canary Islands - Lanzarote

sunny 27 °C
View Canary Islands on kmmk17's travel map.

After around half an hour of crossing the short channel between the islands we arrived in Lanzarote. The ferry port is on the south side of the island in Playa Blanca, which was luckily where we were staying, and it was only a short walk with our suitcases to the hotel.

Inside the hotel

Inside the hotel

Similar to the last, being built into the hillside, we arrived at the reception on one of the top floors of the hotel. Check in was pretty quick and we walked down the corridor towards our room we noticed ours had an extra sign. As we got closer we couldn't believe our luck as it said "suite".

Our room

Our room

Inside we found that we hadn't just been given an upgrade, but had received the best they had, a suite with a huge bed, sofa, two tvs, double balcony with sun loungers, and a complimentary bottle of wine.

Inside the room

Inside the room

After settling in, and taking a tour around the complex, we made our way down to our first dinner in the new hotel, and found it far better than that in Fuerteventura.

Sunset

Sunset

The rest of the evening to this long day of travelling was spent chilling and enjoying the sunset from the room - at least until the fireworks show later on, which were exploding just metres from our window!

Fireworks

Fireworks

The following day was another relax day. After breakfast we took a walk down the coast to the harbour, before sitting around the pools and taking a dip. The evening had an ABBA tribute act, and so we decided to sit watch the performance.

ABBA Tribute Act

ABBA Tribute Act

The following morning we had booked an excursion to the National Park. We woke up earlier than usual to be ready for the pick up at the hotel. Waiting before the pick up time many coaches showed up, but not the one for us. We waited and waited, as did a few other people who appeared to be on the same tour as us, but nothing. By now it was half an hour late so I made a call to the number of the confirmation form. I was told it would be on it's way, but when i queried that it was already now half an hour late I was told that it had already been here and we weren't there. Absolute rubbish, as we were there 15 minutes prior, but nevertheless no trip for us. I was told there was space on the excursion the following day but I would need to rebook.

I contacted the booking agency and explained and luckily they rebooked us without further charge. However by now I was not only annoyed at being lied to, but also having to get up early to sit around and wait for nothing. Tomorrow would now be another early start and who knows if we would even make it on a bus? Nevertheless we still had the day to relax, so we did the same as yesterday sitting around the pool before dinner and an evening walk.

Evening stroll along the coast

Evening stroll along the coast

The following morning after another early start we were not very hopeful. We showed up even earlier, and tried to be more pushy with each coach that did turn up to make sure we didn't miss the right one. But eventually the correct bus showed up - right on time and right outside the hotel, exactly where it was supposed to. This definitely didn't happen yesterday! As we boarded the bus the lady asked if I was Kevin - yes I said as she apologised for yesterday saying it was her fault!

Well, at least we were on the right bus. The other couple who were on the same tour as us however we not so fortunate, as after a bit of confusion were not allowed on. Who knows what was going on, but we were on a bus at least and headed to the national park.

Lago Verde

Lago Verde

After picking up many others, we finally made it to the tour proper. We began by stopping at the the Lago Verde, a green lagoon in the middle of a half submerged volcanic crater, filled with minerals and microorganisms. We had a nice view from the edge overlooking the lake, black sandy beach and the sea.

Landscape

Landscape

Continuing through the remnants of dried black lava from the last volcanic eruption, the next place on the trip was just down the coast at Los Hervideros. This coastal area has cliffs made from the solidification of the lava and subsequent erosion, causing unusual balconies overlooking the sea smashing into the cliffside.

Los Hervideros

Los Hervideros

After driving past the salt farms we headed further inland to the wine growing areas. Here grapes are grown in holes in the ground, which keep them warm and shielded from the wind. We had a taste of the local wine, which was almost syrup like, before boarding the bus again.

Wine Fields

Wine Fields

We were now headed for the edge of the national park proper, where there are camel rides. Although we weren't interested in taking a ride, we did watch others, including the couple who were refused onto our bus this morning - they must have been on a different tour to us after all!

Camel rides

Camel rides

After a lunch break we finally made it to the national park. Here it looked like Mars, with orange sand, and craters unlike anywhere else I'd ever seen. We stopped at the entrance to the park where a restaurant sits on the top of a steep hill next to geological experiment areas.

Fire

Fire

We were first shown the heat beneath us, with burning gravel just inches beneath our feet, before shown hay burning from just sitting inside a hole, and the most exciting - a geyser experiment with water being poured into a vent.

Geyser

Geyser

We then took a look inside the complex to see that the food served in the restaurant is cooked over a large natural chimney, before boarding the bus again for the last time.

National Park

National Park

We were now headed for a half hour tour around the national park which would take us up, down and through the landscape showing the rocks and craters that make this place so unique.

Looking inside a crater

Looking inside a crater

By now it was already getting late and after arriving back at the hotel we took a short rest before making our way down for dinner.

Our final day was spent enjoying the sun, pools and beach, as well as taking a walk down the coast and popping into the local shops.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca

With our time for collection the following day confirmed, tonight would be our final meal at the restaurant, and after tucking in to the last buffet, we enjoyed what remained of our final evening on the island.

The following morning we checked out and boarded our transfer bus to the airport. After 4 hours of screaming children and views over Central London, we eventually made it home, but again like the journey on the way there, found by the time we got home we were pretty tired and it had taken all day!

Nevertheless it was a great trip, enjoying something different from before, as well as a chance to finally rest after 9 months of working hard on our house.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 10:38 Archived in Spain Tagged sea beach island spain sand sun resort pool geothermal geology geography geysir canaries Comments (0)

Following Finn McCool

Ireland - Causeway Coast

sunny 20 °C
View Ireland on kmmk17's travel map.

With Northern Ireland being the only part of the UK I had yet to visit, it has always been on my list as somewhere to visit. And with Brexit just around the corner causing uncertainty as to how this tense and unique part of the country will look in the not too distant future, we decided to quickly pay a visit and literally walk out of the UK at an unmarked border whilst we still could!

With the weather always being unpredictable, expecting rain constantly, we were pleasantly surprised to arrive to a warm and sunny morning at Belfast Airport.

With the first part of the trip being about seeing the north coast and the Irish border, we hired a car from the airport, being much cheaper than taking our own over on the ferry, and after picking it up we headed out to our first stop, just up the road in Antrim.

We stopped by the shores of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. The legend states that Finn McCool (or Fionn mac Cumhaill), a legend in Irish Mythology, was fighting with a Scottish rival, and scooped a bit of land to throw at him - missed, and this formed the Isle of Man, whilst the missing earth flooded and created the lough. This seems highly unlikely, but nevertheless it was a nice spot to stop after getting used to the car, looking over the lake, which was so big that the other side could not even be seen.

Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh

After getting back in the car, we then stopped by the Tesco in Antrim to stock up on some supplies, before we made the decision to head up to the north coast today.

After an hour or so driving through the Antrim countryside, we made it to the port town of Ballycastle, where surprisingly the beautiful blue skies had disappeared amongst the mist clinging over the town. worrying, as our first site was on 15 minutes down the road, where we had hoped to obtain views over the Straits of Moyle in the North Channel over to Scotland. As we drove around the hilly rural roads towards Torr Head, with the weather clearing, we found a good vantage point, where it was just possible to see the Mull of Kintyre. Guessing that it would likely be no better down the road, we decided to stop here, enjoy the views, and then continue on our way along the Causeway coast.

Straits of Moyle

Straits of Moyle


Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Our next stop was just half an hour up the road - the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The bridge is a modern version of the traditional bridge in use for almost 400 years to connect a rocky island just off the coast to the mainland, at 30 metres above the sea level below. Upon arrival it was quite busy, being a major stop of the tourist trail, and as we walked the twenty minutes down the beautiful coastline we passed many tourists - mostly Germans and Spanish.

Causeway Coast

Causeway Coast

When we got to the bridge itself there was a little wait, as only 8 people can cross at once - however it didn't take too long before we made it to the other side.

Crossing the bridge

Crossing the bridge

After returning back to the car, we headed out for another 20 minute drive along the coast towards the jewel in the crown - the Giant's Causeway. However as we left the car park we were stuck behind a German tourist coach, then then proceeded to take the same roads as us, clearly taking the Germans to the causeway too.

Eventually we arrived at the car park for the causeway, and after taking a look at the visitor's centre, we made our way down the coast to the shore, where we could walk along the causeway itself. The legend of it's creation is that Finn McCool (yes, him again) built a causeway to fight a Scottish giant, destroying it upon his return. In reality it's of volcanic origin (with similar landforms in Iceland amongst others) and these are the last bits to remain above sea level, uneroded.

Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Although busy, the area is big enough to still enjoy it in it's full glory, and with the blocks forming steps it was also super easy to get around.

On the Causeway

On the Causeway

As we started to leave the area, we were stopped by a pushy Russian-American who wanted a photo. Before even answering he has given me his camera and directed how I should take the panoramic photo of his family on the rocks. Cutting out the signpost I swooped around, before stopping to cut out the tourist who had just walked into the area. Handing it back to him he then wanted another one, this time wider, and with less rocks - to which his wife smirked "that's what we're here to see". Next thing I was back taking yet another photo for this rude man. Thankfully he didn't want another perfect photo and we quickly made our mistake back up the hill.

As we got back to the car, it was another relatively short drive to our accommodation for the night - a B&B on the outskirts of Derry, close to the border with the republic. We arrived and checked in, before heading out to get dinner. We did however quickly stop by the village of Muff, just across the border. As we couldn't drive across due to the terms of our rental agreement, we parked up just metres away, and walked across the border, where the only sign of the border was a change in speed (km/h instead of mph) and signs welcoming us to County Donegal.

Muff

Muff

We then made our way to the local McDonald's to grab some food, before we went back to our B&B. We then went for a walk just 15 metres down the road where the rural track crosses the border. Even less noticeable than in Muff - just a solitary speed sign at a stream. As we walked back it occurred to us just how arbitrary this really is, and how deeply affected this part of the word is going to become should Brexit not work out well.

Chris over the border

Chris over the border

After a long day, it was now time to finally sleep, and tomorrow we would explore Derry before making our way back to Belfast.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 09:50 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged hills coast borders lake ireland island border geology geography Comments (0)

"You have ze smallest room in Rotorua"

RTW - New Zealand, North Island

sunny 23 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


After spending some time with my family in the south, I flew up to Auckland to spend a few days exploring Māori and geothermal activity. #GeographyYAY

Mount Eden

Mount Eden

Flying up in the morning I spent the afternoon of the first day on the North Island seeing Auckland - starting with the port area, before making my way over to the Domain, where the Auckland War Memorial Museum was located, and then over to Mount Eden - a dormant volcano that has the highest point in, and gives the best free 360˚ view of Auckland - one thing I really noticed being how much hillier Auckland was compared to Christchurch!

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum


Sky Tower

Sky Tower

The following morning I took a coach over to Rotorua - home to the most geothermal and Māori activity accessible. Arriving in blissful sunshine I checked into my hotel, where I was told by a German that I had "ze smallest room in Rotorua", which was in fact no larger than a walk-in wardrobe...not that it mattered, as I was there just one night and it was perfectly comfortable!

Māori Culture

Māori Culture

After treating myself to another piercing to mark the halfway mark of my trip, I went off to explore the local area and seeing my first open hot springs that were only 212˚C, and getting lovely whiffs of Sulphur, I eventually ended up at the supermarket where I decided to cook my own food - in the end I opted for Schnitzel and pasta, whilst wearing a Berlin T-Shirt and surrounded by Germans...just like old times!

Te Puia Geyser

Te Puia Geyser

The following day I went off to Te Puia - the home of the Māori Geothermal activity in Rotorua, where I got to experience Geysers, Mudpools, Māori culture, and see a Kiwi bird - ticking off nearly all of my checklist for the country, and well worth the entrance fee.

Mud Pools

Mud Pools

I then took an afternoon coach back to Auckland, and spent my last night in the city before flying off to destination number 8 - Fiji!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged culture history city hill geothermal maori rtw geography Comments (0)

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