We are enjoying our time with the family in Germany, but took a break this weekend to go on a cruise from Hamburg to Heligoland. We walked around the island this afternoon, looked at the famous rock “Lange Anna”, which now houses a colony of Eurasian gannets. The evening there was a “Pappboot” regatta, youngsters in boats built of paper and glue only. Some even made it all the way around the course of about 200m.
I played tourist today and drove the Golden Circle. First I visited, and walked around the site of the Parliament Assembly in the Thingvellir National Park. This is a stunning site and was used as assembly fields from 930 AD on, shortly after the settlement of Iceland. It was also used for judicial proceedings including executions. Today it is a park with beautiful vistas and many walkways.
The next stop was a famous waterfall, quite impressive but also rather crowded.
Geysers are called geysers because there is a fountain called The Great Geysir in Iceland. Unfortunately, it is not active right now, but close to it is a smaller one that regularly blows.
I stopped for a recovery session in the hot pool at Secret Lagoon, which is not all that secret anymore, but was not too terribly crowded.
I flew through the night to Reykjavik and walked through town today (in sunshine and so hot that the locals complained, 18 degrees Celsius). Tonight I am staying close to the rift valley of the two tectonic plates that form Iceland. A geothermal plant is close by, not much else. The hotel has a hot pool and cold beer, just what I needed.
We had a great time in St John with our friends from the Blue Water Rally. Teri and Lee organized a great program, including a sail with snorkeling and a tour of the island, which has many wonderful beaches.
Now we are on our way back to Vancouver and are stopping in Atlanta for two nights. We are staying in an old house that serves as a B&B, and visited a few sites today.
We flew from Miami to St Thomas yesterday, in the US Virgin Islands. The island group was named by Columbus on his second voyage and they have a checkered history. From 1671 on the Danish ruled this area, but sold it to the Americans in 1917. We took the ferry to St John, which boasts one of the safest and oldest harbors in the Caribbean. The island was settled by Taino Indians a couple of thousand years ago and I visited one of their sacred sites today, a waterfall with a pool and some petroglyphs. It was a wonderful hike, about 4km from the road, down to a nice beach. Coming back in the heat (28 deg C) was rather more strenuous. I met a deer and a few tourists on the way. We are staying above Cruz Bay in a lovely place. Tomorrow the Blue Water Rally Reunion begins here and we look forward to meeting our friends again from the time we sailed from Gibraltar to the South Pacific (2007-2009).
Like many other tourists, we spent a few days in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast. This is very hot, great beaches and the smallest park in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. On the way there we passed huge palm oil plantations, and then enjoyed a few quiet days on the beach. During the visit to the rather crowded park we saw squirrel monkeys, but they were too fast for me to get a picture. The white faced Capuchin monkeys check up on people (and their packs) , and are much easier to photograph. On a kayak trip, we saw a horde of them taking a bath in the mangroves. Today we came back to San Jose to fly to Miami tomorrow.
We have spent the last couple of days in Monteverde, exploring the cloud forest here. The roads in are all dirt roads with huge potholes, but there are quite a few tourists around. We are staying in a tree top house, and have done a number of wonderful excursions. Pictures of our trip to the cloud forest, a zip line run (14 cables!) and a night excursion can be found by clicking on the links.