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Entries about geothermal

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)

The Geothermal Interior

Iceland - Geysir

overcast 12 °C
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The final day in Iceland was to cover the most interior we would go. Passing back through Þingvellir we made our way to Geysir, the town that gave it's name to the geyser, where geothermality is in action.

Upon arrival the smell of sulphur was evident, with several hot pools and geysers simmering away. Although Geysir is named after the Geysir geyser, it is actually the Strokkur geyser that is featured on all the pictures. Whilst Geysir is the largest, it erupts just a few times per day, meanwhile the smaller Strokkur, still over 20m tall, erupts every few minutes.

Strokkur at Geysir

Strokkur at Geysir

Waiting around we quickly saw the full strength of the geyser before making our way back the gift shop and onwards to our next stop, the final iconic Icelandic destination - Gullfoss.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss is a humongous three stage waterfall which dwarfs the hundreds of tourists that come to visit. As with most things in Iceland, it is easy to get up close and so the rocky headland around which the waterfall circles is a perfect place to witness the power of the falls.

Inside the Kerið volcanic crater

Inside the Kerið volcanic crater

Enjoying the beautiful view we then made our way south towards Kerið, a large former volcano with its crater now filled by a lake, with both a path around the top as well as around the lake.

Hellisheiðarvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant

Hellisheiðarvirkjun Geothermal Power Plant

After seeing everything we had planned, we then stopped en route back to the apartment at Hveragerði, a geothermal town, as well as the Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal power plant before heading back to the apartment for the final evening of the holiday. Having been told all week the smelly sulphuric water was clean enough to drink I was beginning to wonder if maybe it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Whilst taking a shower, I forgot to take off my silver ring, however after less than ten minutes it had turned to gold! Maybe I was right after all...

Bit of light driving

Bit of light driving

The following morning we got up nice and early to finally drop of the car after almost 800 miles in the last four days, and after no problems made our way to the airport for the flight home after four amazing days in the stunning country. Despite the high costs of the place - hotels, drinks, food (breakfast and lunch for two for three days = £40) etc, it was definitely worth it.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged waterfall geothermal geysir Comments (0)

The Bridge Between Continents

Icy Iceland - Grindavik

overcast 12 °C
View Icy Iceland on kmmk17's travel map.


Despite having first attempted to visit Iceland back in 2008, it had taken me eight years and 60 countries later to finally make it there. And wasn't it worth it!

After many failed attempts, I eventually made the way to the north with my friend John, and after heavy planning we had decided to base ourselves in Reykjavik for four nights, hiring a car to drive around to see the beautiful country.

After avoiding the horrific traffic up to the airport to make our early flight, we took the three hour flight to Keflavik Airport in Iceland. Upon arrival and after a bit of confusion we finally got transferred to our hire car company's office and eventually got given our car.

With a bit of anticipation in the lead up to the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to find that driving on the opposite side of the road was relatively easy and straight forward - just a little confusing when you need to change gears after a while, with the stick on the opposite side!

Miðlina

Miðlina

With the time now being around 11am, with check in not until 4pm, we headed towards out first sight, the Miðlina continent bridge.

The Bridge to North America

The Bridge to North America

The bridge is symbolic of Iceland's place as the bridge between Europe and North America, and on one of the rifts between the plate boundaries, a bridge has been built where you can cross between the continents themselves with signs welcoming you on each side.

Welcome to North America

Welcome to North America

After a quick visit we then moved on to the day's main attraction - the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon was originally an outlet of waste water from the local power plant but has been transformed into a relaxing spa retreat with water around 38˚C. After prebooking our tickets we turned up to spend a few hours relaxing in the silica and sulphuric water amongst a backdrop of the black rocky Icelandic landscape.

On our way to the hotel to check in, we also stopped by Perlan, six former water storage tanks renovated with a viewing deck on top with views over the city.

Views of Reykjavik

Views of Reykjavik

We then finally, after a long day, made our way to the hotel to check in, before dropping our things and grabbing some dinner and food for the next few days.

With a long day planned tomorrow, it was finally time for some rest!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Iceland Tagged bridge city island continent geothermal Comments (0)

"You have ze smallest room in Rotorua"

RTW - New Zealand, North Island

sunny 23 °C
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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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