Jaipur Travel Guide: Best places To Visit Part II

keywords: instagrammable places in Jaipur, exploring Jaipur, places to visit in Jaipur

Hello again guys!

I hope you enjoyed my first post on Jaipur! In this second post, I’ll share with you more instagrammable places in Jaipur…

Panna Meena Ka Kund  

 Situated near Anokhi Museum at Jaipur-Amer road, this beautiful place was constructed during sixteenth century. The place was mainly utilized as a place of social meetings. People from nearby places come here for getting water, swimming or just to hang out with their loved ones. During ancient times, this place was utilized mainly as a water protect pool. This beautiful Kund has a unique architecture and styling. This Kund was designed by a Brahmin and constructed by craftsmen and engineers.

The main fact about this place which is believed by locals is that nobody can use the same stairs to get down and go upstairs here which indicates that the same stairs can’t be utilized by the same person. This is an amazing mystery and all the visitors to this place try to do this. But the local people of this place can do this task without any problem as they are habitual to it. The place has stunning pattern of symmetrical stairs which can keep yous stunned.

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All the stepwells have their own beauty and charm, but this one is different as it is very less populated compared to other ones. The beauty of the place can be best seen during rainy season. Millions of the tourists visit this place to explore its beauty and unique concept of styling. It’s an eight story staircase pool and looks extremely pleasant. The place beautifully reflects the combination of nature and religion.

The main attraction of the plain is its symmetrical stepwalls. Pieces of Octagonal shaped are used in the core of the Kund and terrace on two floors. The stairs are in zigzag geometrical pattern which leave the visitors charmed. Visitors can see the lovely view of the Amber Fort & Palace and mountains from here.

Do take note that it is actually free to visit this site, however if there are locals or a security guard there, you will have to pay to go down the steps.

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Amber Fort (include both mine and other instagrammers’ pics)

Another one of the famous places to visit in Jaipur is Amber Fort, also known as Amer Fort.

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This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. It is possible to visit the fortress on elephant-back, but animal welfare groups have criticised the keeping of elephants at Amber because of reports of abuse, and because carrying passengers can cause lasting injuries to the animals.

Amber Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site, part of a group of six hill forts in Rajasthan.

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The Patrika Gate

Patrika Gate is one of the most instagrammable places in Jaipur, where you can capture the vibrant colours of the walkway. You can’t miss it when exploring Jaipur! The gate is the entrance to Jawahar Circle Garden and it’s the perfect spot to get away from the craziness of the city.

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Patrika Gate gives you a sneak peek into the vibrant culture of Rajasthan as each pillar is dedicated to some or the other part of the state. Hand paintings of temples, forts, palaces, portraits of Jaipur rulers, blue pottery, jewelry, photographs of Amer, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jal Mahal are found here to give a glimpse of the entire history of Jaipur.

The Patrika Gate has no opening hours as it’s open and accessible 24/7 and there is no entrance fee.

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Albert Museum (include both mine and other instagrammers’ pics)

Albert Museum is the oldest museum of the state and functions as the state museum of Rajasthan and was built in 1876 as a concert hall. The museum gets its name from the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, because of the similarity of architecture. The foundation for the building started in 1876, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur. When the building was constructed, the royals and government did not have any idea about usage of the building. It was initially used as Town Hall in 1880. Later, the King of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II suggested to use it as a museum for Industrial Arts. Later, the hall was used for displaying masterpieces of local artisans.

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In 1881, the museum was at its prime beauty and people from across the country visited this museum to buy or enjoy handicrafts, artwork and other masterpieces. However, the building was under construction until 1887. Later, the museum started to showcase artifacts and ancient artworks along with budding artist’s masterpieces.

We didn’t go in to tour the museum as I was feeling under the weather that day. But hey, it makes for a good photo spot!

I hope you enjoyed the second part of my Jaipur travel guide and will convince you to visit this beautiful city of India.

Hope you enjoyed reading the second part of my Jaipur Travel Guide!

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Photo Credits:

  • @gypsea_lust
  • @haylsa
  • @doyoutravel
  • @ambeverly
  • @charlies_wandering

 

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram: @nikkilimx

 

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Jaipur Travel Guide: Best Places To Visit

Jaipur is known as the Pink City and on arrival visitors will immediately understand the reasoning behind the name. Every building within the walled historic centre is painted a terracotta “pink” colour and there are few exceptions to this uniformly colour scheme.

The historical reason for the uniform colour of central Jaipur lies with the absolute power of the Maharaja (Sawai Ram Singh II) over his capital and his extreme strategy to impress Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India.

Prince Albert spent a mammoth 17 weeks conducting royal duties throughout the Indian subcontinent but he grew tired and lonesome of his official engagements as he was without his dear wife, Victoria. For Indian leaders this was an ideal opportunity to strengthen ties to the British aristocracy and gain personal acquaintances with the Royal family. The Maharaja of Jaipur was one of the richest and most powerful men in India and he impressed the British court like no other.

Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II first strategy was to ensure Albert would visit Jaipur and to succeeded in this he constructed a lavish concert hall and named it in honour of the prince. The exquisite Albert Hall stands amid the carefully laid out grounds of the Ram Niwas Public gardens and can be visited by tourist today. With Prince Albert enticed to Jaipur, the Maharaja set about beautifying his city and this included repainting the entire city.

The colour chosen was a terracotta pink as this colour historically represents welcoming and hospitality. The paint was produced from a calcium oxide compound and is extremely durable in the arid conditions of Jaipur.

During my one week of exploring Jaipur, I stayed at Shahpura Hotel, which was formerly a palace. Shahpura hotels belong to chain of luxury heritage hotels, and for over two decades the brand offers world class contemporary luxury and comfort to the modern-day traveler and is a known brand in luxury and heritage travel in India.

Hawa Mahal

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Known as “Palace of Breeze”, Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 as an extension to the Royal City Palace of Jaipur. My driver told us that royal ladies would stay there to watch any festivities or processions taking place on the streets, since they were not allowed to be seen in public.

This is one of the famous and instagrammable places to visit in Jaipur. The best time to visit will be early morning when there isn’t a crowd. I went about 8:30am and there were only three other people there taking pictures.

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I did some research before exploring Jaipur. Apparently, many tourists who have been to Hawa Mahal shared that in order to get the perfect shot of the architecture, you’ll have to go to one of the cafes opposite. Do take note that these cafes will charge a small sum of money for you to enter to take pictures. However, I went to two cafes and to me, the view was not as awesome as the one which I took on a terrace, which I may add, did not cost me a cent at all! And to be honest, a staff at one of the cafes, Tattoo Cafe, was really rude to us, even after we told him that we’re not just taking pictures, but were actually planning to get a meal too.

Do be mindful also of the locals trying to sell you things along the street at Hawa Mahal. My driver shared that once you purchase a product from one of the street sellers, others will start crowding around you and pressure you to buy from them as well.

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City Palace

The palace was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. As most structures in Jaipur this palace also reflects the fusion of Mughal and Rajput architecture.

The City Palace complex is spread over a large area occupying one seventh of the old city of Jaipur. It has a sequence of gardens, buildings and courtyards, temple and museum to give it a grand view that reflects its historical importance and magnificent royal grace. Its outer boundary was built by Raja Jai Singh and other structures by his successors to add charm to it. It also served as a residence for former Maharaja of Jaipur.

The City Palace is open from 9:30 in the morning. The entire palace will take around one and half to two hours to visit. We wanted to visit on our second day exploring Jaipur but my driver told me each person costs about INR 3500 which is a lot of money for a tourist site in India. There were two of us and we didn’t want to spend that amount of money on one place so we decided not to go.

But I’ll be sharing here some photos taken by other instagrammers….

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Dating back to 1835 and formerly the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Rambagh Palace offers a luxurious stay in a soft, relaxing environment away from the bustling city centre of Jaipur. Peacocks strut across the lawns and Indian classical musicians play on the verandas at this wistfully romantic hotel. Over the years, it has played gracious host to several illustrious guests, including Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Charles and Jackie Kennedy.

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This is definitely one of the places to visit in Jaipur!! Even if you’re not staying in the hotel, you can actually make a day trip there to explore the grounds, and even have breakfast at its famous Rajput room!!

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Royal Gaitor Tumbas

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Royal Gaitor Tombs is actually one of the most instagrammable places in Jai[ur, but not as well known amongst tourists.

Did you know that it is actually a tomb for many Maharajas?

There were only like three groups (including my group) when we visited, even though it was in the afternoon. This site felt so different from the other touristy spots that I had visited so far in Jaipur. It was so peaceful and serene that I was there for almost two hours! And I had a personal guide! A cleaner of the place itself, who volunteered to bring us around, without asking for money! Such a refreshing change as wherever we go, the locals who volunteered to be our guide, would ask for money in exchange. But of course, we gave him a good tip after that…

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Exploring and enjoying the marble decor, I am amazed as to why this place is less visited by tourists, compared to the other instagrammable places in Jaipur. If you do plan on exploring Jaipur, don’t forget to add this on your list!! So worth it!

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Packing Essentials

We visited Jaipur during the June/July period which is the hottest period! It was 48 degrees!! Bring lots of sunscreen, hats and sunglasses! Also make sure to bring some outfits that cover your shoulders and knees as some places are quite conservative.

 

Photo Credits:

  • @haylsa
  • @gypsea_lust
  • @lisadanielle_
  • @leonniehanne
  • @taramilktea
  • @doyoutravel
  • @ambeverly
  • @charlies_wandering

 

 

Don’t forget to follow me on my trips on @nikkilimx

 

 

Xx,

Nic

Why Lapland is a winter wonderland that everyone will love

Hello again…

Hope everyone had an awesome week!

During my trip to Finland, I made sure to include a visit to Lapland. I’ll be sharing with you places we visited and the activities you can do in Lapland.

When you visit Lapland, you cannot, and I emphasise, CANNOT miss visiting the Santa Claus Village!

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Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, and the city’s most famous resident can be visited every day of the year in Santa Claus Village right on the Arctic Circle, an attraction that draws more than 500 000 annual visitors from all around the world.

Santa Claus’ original home lies in the mysterious Korvatunturi in Finnish Lapland. Since the exact location is a secret only known to a chosen few, he decided to establish an office in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, in 1985. Rovaniemi received the status of the Official Hometown of Santa Claus in 2010.

Rovaniemi was almost completely destroyed in World War II. In 1950, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, came to visit Rovaniemi to witness the rebuilding process. She wanted to visit the Arctic Circle and Rovaniemi officials rushed to build a cabin eight kilometres north of the city. The cabin marked the birth of Santa Claus Village and still stands today next to Santa Claus Main Post Office.

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Santa Claus Village is one of the places to go when you explore Lapland. It is Lapland’s best-known attraction and a resort in its own right. Husky and reindeer rides, snowmobile tours, design items and souvenirs, ice and snow constructions, shops, an igloo hotel and holiday village accommodation can be found there.

It was pretty surreal meeting Santa Claus on our first day in Lapland. It was like a childhood dream come true! He is pretty much exactly what every child imagines him to be!

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When you’re exploring Santa Claus Village, you also have to try out the famous Santa’s Salmon Place. Santa’s Salmon Place is all about original Lappish cuisine and atmosphere, where they serve fresh and delicious salmon baked at a traditional Lappish teepee with open fire. You’ve got to try every dish on the menu, which consists of a snack, the main dish and dessert!

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For the snack, they serve traditional Lappish cheese served with homemade cloudberry jam. It’s so good that just writing about it, makes me drool! The main dish is of course the restaurant’s famous fresh salmon cooked on open fire , served with Finnish salad and warm bread. Dessert cannot be missed when it’s a chocolate mousse cake!

Since 1985, Santa Claus has received 15 million letters from 198 countries, which makes Santa Claus Main Post Office a must on any visit to Santa Claus Village. The merry postal elves are happy to serve customers all year round in their headquarters, which is a real post and known as Finland’s national postal service. Every letter sent from here gets a special Arctic Circle postmark not available anywhere else, so your greetings home are sure to be unique.

I sent like 15 cards back home to Singapore, for family, friends, and yes, myself! I really wanted to special Arctic Circle postmark!

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A trip to Lapland will be incomplete if you did not experience staying at an igloo! We stayed at Santa’s Igloo Arctic Circle, which is a 5-minute walk (600m) from the Santa Claus Village. How convenient! You can actually catch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your room during winter, where temperature in Lapland can drop to as low as -40 degree Celcius! In summer, you can catch the midnight sun there as well.

When you explore Lapland, make sure to include a trip to the Husky Park near Santa Claus Village, where there are over 100 huskies! You can pet the dogs and enjoy a ride on the husky sled. But please abide to the rules and not feed them as they are running dogs and require a strict diet! I saw one lady sneakily feeding the dogs some bread and was very disappointed that some tourists don’t seem to respect the rules.

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You cannot miss a snowmobile safari when you visit Lapland! While on an exhilarating snowmobile safari, you get to admire the raw beauty of Lapland. Plus, you can combine your snowmobile safari with a trip to the husky farm and reindeer farm. It was pretty wild driving the snowmobile in deep snow so deep it covered my knees! Just be mindful that the mobile is very heavy and can be tough to manoeuvre. We had a small incident where our snowmobile fell sideways and had our feet squashed by it. Luckily, no one was hurt! But otherwise, it was a really fun safari tour!

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Follow in the footsteps of the Sami people as you travel in the age old way; on a reindeer pulled sleigh. The most traditional and peaceful way to move through the silent Lappish nature! Many of the reindeers were actually losing or had just lost their antlers when we visited. I was quite shocked to see blood on the animals but apparently, it’s normal to bleed as the velvet contains blood vessels carrying nutrients to the antlers. Just be careful when approaching the animals as I’ve noticed they get squirmish. We also got to enjoy a hot berry juice while warming ourselves in a traditional Lapland tent. There, we were told the story of how the four winds hat came about., which is a hat pointing four ways that is commonly used by the Sámi.

We managed to catch the Northern Lights two nights in a row! How amazing is that?! You cannot visit Lapland in the winter and not try to catch the Northern Lights! We waited by the lake for about 4 hours before managing to catch a glimpse of it close to midnight. Our guide was telling us that a few days before we arrived in Lapland, the temperature dropped to as low as negative 30 degrees Celcius and tourists still flocked to the lake for a chance to see the Northern Lights. I salute them because I don’t think I can be as brave as them!

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Just a reminder: before you leave Lapland, don’t forget to get your certificate stating you crossed the Arctic Circle, at the Santa Claus Village.

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Hope you enjoyed reading this post and do give me a follow on INSTAGRAM

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Xx,

Nic

 

Best places to visit in Helsinki and Tallinn in two days

Hello there…

I’m sure you guys are so ready to read about a country other than Iceland by now.

To tell you the truth, we were actually going to stay in Helsinki for two days before flying to Lapland, but upon arriving in Finland, our driver told us that we can actually take a cruise to Tallinn, Estonia for less than than 20 Euros. We thought why not? It is a completely new country! Hence, we visited two new countries in two days!

Helsinki, Finland’s southern capital, sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. The city’s urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country’s most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres North of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km East of Stockholm, Sweden and 390 km West of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

(PS, I really wanted to take a cruise to Russia as well, but we didn’t have the time! Perhaps in the near future….)

Helsinki, Finland

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Completed in 1868 in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki, the Uspenski Cathedral is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. With its golden cupolas and redbrick facade, the church is one of the clearest symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history.

The Cathedral, by Carl Ludvig Engel, rising on the northern side of the Senate Square is the stage of national and academic festive services and one of the most popular tourist sights. The church is part of Helsinki’s Empire era centre and a landmark for those arriving by sea. It has become the symbol of the whole of Helsinki. Earlier called St. Nicholas Church and Great Cathedral, the current main church of the Helsinki Diocese was completed in 1852. Sculptures of the twelve apostles guard the city from the roof of the church.

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We had lunch at a local Finnish restaurant called Savotta Restaurant. Savotta offers genuine Finnish food and atmosphere, just off the Senate Square in the heart of Helsinki. The name Savotta means a logging site.Therefore the interior decoration and dishes has got inspiration of the Finnish forests and thousands of lakes, with a dash of Finnish nostalgy from the past decades and logging traditions. Savotta’s kitchen cherishes the Finnish food tradition. We use only Finnish ingredients from the pristine forests and lakes and from carefully selected small suppliers.

In the decor of Savotta, you can see the genuine old artefacts dating back to Finnish homes and logging sites from the old days. Downstairs dining room’s hundred-year-old floor planks, as well as the old chairs and tables, have been found and brought to Savotta from all over Finland. The tableware includes old and new china of the world-renowned Finnish Arabia including of course Moomin mugs.

Tallinn, Estonia

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A two-hour plus cruise from Helsinki, Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. There are so many cruise companies that travel between Helsinki and Tallinn. You can choose between spending the day there and going back to Helsinki in the evening, or a few days there.

We spent the day exploring the old town and city centre. Did you know Tallinn is considered one of the best preserved medieval city of Northern Europe? With all the Gothic spires, winding cobblestone streets and enchanting architecture, I can see why.

Once a home to wealthy merchants settling from Germany, Denmark and beyond, Tallinn Old Town today is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, with restaurants, bars, museums and galleries bringing much life to this historical city centre.

Unlike many other capital cities in Europe, Tallinn has managed to wholly preserve its structure of medieval and Hanseatic origin. Due to its exceptionally intact 13th century city plan, the Old Town was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, joining the ranks of the world’s most recognised landmarks. Here you’ll find original cobblestone streets dotted with medieval churches and grandiose merchant houses, barns and warehouses many of which date back to the Middle Ages.

It just so happened that the day we visited Tallinn, 24th February, it was a public holiday. That’s because the Republic of Estonia was celebrating 101 years of freedom. We saw soldiers and army tanks passing through. It was a grand sight!

With medieval churches nestled between modern highrises, Tallinn’s city centre is a place of fascinating contrasts. The area boasts a number of major landmarks, which are conveniently located a short stroll away from each other.

The quarters filled with glass-walled skyscrapers in the very centre of Tallinn are often playfully called Manhatten, though formally the name was Maakri – the name of one of the streets.

Maakri street is the home of some excellent cafes and it is a well-known area for the best furnishing shops in the city. Otherwise, this street is mainly dominated by banks, media houses and offices.

Hope you guys enjoy this blog post!

In the mean time, you can follow me on Instagram.

Till next time….

 

Xx,

Nic

First Hotel Kopavogur Collab: Golden Circle Adventures

Hello again!

This is my final blog post on my recent Iceland trip. I hope you enjoyed reading my previous posts!

Here are the links to my previous Iceland posts:

  1. Post 1
  2.  Post 2
  3.  Post 3

 

During our last few days in Iceland, we stayed at First Hotel Kópavogur. First Hotel Reykjavik Kópavogur is located in the second largest town in Iceland, Kópavogur, only 7 km distance from Reykjavík city center. The hotel has 24/7 self-check in and is in the middle of a grown neighborhood in walking distance from restaurants and Iceland ‘s largest and most modern shopping mall.

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First Hotel Kópavogur works with tour companies providing a long list of activities, like the Northern Lights tour, Snæfellsnes tour, Golden Circle tour and many more.

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We were able to join both the Northern Lights (9900 ISK) and Golden Circle (10900ISK) tours. For the Northern lights tour, Here is how it works: Every day the company will take a look at the forecast for the evening. First, you need activity of the lights. Second, you need to have a clear sky. And last you need to get out of the city to rid of the light pollution.

If conditions are favorable, they will send guests an email. If they don’t t find any lights, you have the option of going again for free. If the tour never operates due to unfavorable weather conditions, you will get a 100% refund.

However, we were not that lucky to catch any Northern lights during our two-week stay in Iceland.

The Golden Circle tour, the most popular tourist route in the country, is an 8-hour day trip. You will explore the most visited natural nature attractions in the southern part of Iceland, Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Geothermal Area, Þingvellir National Park and the volcanic crater Kerid.  This full-day tour of Iceland’s stunning Southern part is ideal for nature lovers.

Þingvellir National Park

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Þingvellir – which translates directly to ‘the fields of parliament’, became a National Park in 1930. In 2004, it was accepted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The number of tourists visiting Þingvellir National Park increased by 77% in ten years. Located just 45 minutes’ drive from Reykjavík, and the first stop on the Golden Circle, these numbers are only expected to increase with the rate of tourism

Iceland is divided by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; some parts of it, such as the Westfjords and Reyjavík, are on the North American tectonic plate, while others, such as Vatnajökull glacier and the East Fjords, are on the Eurasian plate. Iceland is the only place in the world where this rift is above sea-level, and nowhere can you see the edges of both plates as clearly as in Þingvellir.

As you enter the park from Reykjavík, you descend a steep cliff into a valley. Looking upon the face of this cliff is to literally look at the edge of North America. If you drive through the park, you will ascend on the other side adjacent to another wall; this is Eurasia. The valley in between, in which Þingvellir is contained, is the rift valley.

You are welcome to walk alongside both of these plates. One of the park’s most pleasant walks takes you between the edge of the North-American plate and an old part of the wall that collapsed away; this is called the Almannagjá gorge. This path impresses the geological processes going on here upon you very clearly, and ends with a charming waterfall called Öxaráfoss. This is also one of the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed at.

The tectonic plates move apart at approximately 2.5 centimetres a year and have done for millenniums. The effects of this movement are very clear within the park. Lava fields fill the valley, from magma that welled up as the continents spread, and the whole area is littered with ravines, ripped open by centuries of earthquakes.

Earthquakes continue every day in Þingvellir, although most are far too minor to be felt. No volcano has gone off in the area in 2000 years, but they are not considered extinct. More eruptions are expected; the question is only as to when.

While visiting Þingvellir is a highly sought-after experience and is very rewarding, the number of visitors coming through the park has had a significantly negative effect on the nature. As tourism boomed, infrastructure struggled to keep up.

The moss that covers the lava rock throughout the park is incredibly delicate, and those who have not stuck to the paths during their visits have damaged much of it; it will likely take decades to recover fully. The heavy metals in coins that people have thrown into a ‘wishing well’ have seeped into the lake and are now above appropriate levels. Those staying at the campsite have been known to leave their waste behind. These are just a few of the ways tourism has damaged the park.

Visitors to Þingvellir can greatly help its survival by respecting the basic rules and leaving as little impact as possible. Ideally, Þingvellir can be a beautifully preserved place that will leave you wanting to bring the ideals of natural beauty and cultural protection back home with you.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Iceland is 10300 square kilometres and 11% of the country is covered with glaciers?

Laugarvatn

Laugarvatn is a shallow lake, about 2 km2 in size, and is located in the inlands of Árnessýsla, midway between Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir, 100 km from Reykjavík. Under its floor there are hot springs heating the lake so it is warm and suitable for bathing all year round.

“Laugar” means places of wash. “Vatn” means water. The locals go there to shower, wash their clothes, cook and even bake breads. That’s right, people actually bake their breads in the ground because it is so heated by the hot springs!

Efstidalur Dairy Farm

In Efstidalur you will get a unique and different experience. Right in the middle of the Golden Circle, you get a glance of the farm life in Iceland. This family farm has opened up for tourists and offers a variety of products straight from the farm, such as the famous ice cream, skyr and feta cheese.

The farm is known for its home-made ice cream and it shows by the long queue of customers. Efstidalur  farm produces its own ice cream from the milk of the cows at the farm. You can actually watch the  cows in the barn while enjoying your ice cream since the restaurant is in the same building as the barn.

Geysir

Strokkur is, arguably, the country’s most famous hot spring, shooting vast jets of boiling water from 20 metres (65 feet) up to 40 metres (130 feet) high. Don’t worry about missing this incredible spectacle of nature, as Strokkur erupts every five to ten minutes; just make sure to have your camera ready.  It sprouts hot water as high as 30 meters into the air! I managed to take 3 videos of the beautiful eruption.

Gullfoss Waterfall

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The iconic Gullfoss Waterfall is famed for its scale and beauty. Gullfoss Iceland is one of the country’s signature waterfalls and it is no surprise to see why! In Icelandic, Gull means Golden and Foss means falls/waterfall.

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Gullfoss Waterfall is unique because you view the falls from above and it appears that the Iceland waterfall is actually going underground! It is a very interesting perspective making Gullfoss one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. If this is one of the first waterfalls you see in Iceland, you will certainly remember it because it is one of the only waterfalls in Iceland with such a unique formation.

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Hope you guys enjoyed reading my very last blog post for Iceland!

You can follow me HERE on Instagram!

 

Xx,

Nic

Enjoying the beauty of Hofsos, Iceland

Hello again!

As promised in my previous post, I’ll be sharing with you my week in Hofsós.

I gotta say, during my two weeks of exploring Iceland, this part of t he journey was really a week of relaxing and rewinding. We barely did anything other than going out to shoot during the day and trying to catch the Northern Lights at night. When you’re exploring Iceland, you have to include the chasing of Northern Lights.

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Hofsos is a quiet town, with only about 200 locals. It is one of the oldest trading ports in Northern Iceland dating back to the 16th century. The tiny village Hofsós in the Northern Region in Iceland was a rather busy trading post in the 17th and 18th century, but despite the merchant activities this small village did not develop into a larger village or a town in the 20th century. In summer, this town comes alive with tourists, hikers and locals who have summer homes there.

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Hofsos is so picturesque, with so many amazing areas to shoot amazing photos. Everyday looks different because of the weather. Some days the town has a more gloomy, dramatic look to it, thanks to the snow. Other days, when the sun is out, it is like a winter wonderland.

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We visited a famous thermal bath in Hofsos. The Hofsós swimming pool is quite simply magnificent. It is designed by the same architect responsible for the famous Blue Lagoon. It may not be Olympic size, but because it has been built into the hillside above the sea, the views over to Drangey are breathtaking. Come rain or shine, the vista from the pool is a combination of marvelous different shades of blue; the clear blue color of the swimming pool itself, the green blue sea, the dark blue of the islands and mountains in the distance, and finally the blueness of the sky on a clear day.

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 was a gift to the town by two heiresses who live in the area – of the Hagkaup and BYKO fortunes, respectively. Rather than building private pools at their own residences they decided to finance the construction of a pool in the town, for everyone to enjoy. The Hofsós swimming pool is not strictly an infinity pool, but the impression you get as you swim in the geothermal waters is that you’re right next to the sea’s edge. Definitely worth a visit.

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So, if you’re exploring Iceland, make sure to visit this quaint little town.

Stay tuned for my last Iceland blog post next week…

In the meantime, you can follow me here on Instagram!

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Xx,

Nic

Gimbur Guesthouse Collab: How best to explore North Iceland without a car

The day we were supposed to go to the North, there was a snow storm and we didn’t know that the roads to the North were all closed. We waited at the bus stop for 30 minutes and when the bus finally came, the driver told us that we had to try the next day. We had to make an emergency hotel booking for that night since we didn’t have anywhere to stay.

Luckily, the next day, the storm cleared and we were able to catch the morning bus out to the North!

Gimbur Guesthouse

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Gimbur Guesthouse is operated in a house built in 1992 by a farmer named Johannes Runólfsson or JR. It is located in North Iceland, 23km North of Hofsós. In February 2015 Jon and Sjöfn rented the house and started renovating and preparing the guesthouse. The first booked guests arrived by the end of May the same year.

Gimbur is an Icelandic word for a young, female sheep. The name of the mountain that characterizes the property is Gimbraklettur or “sheep-cliff”. During summertime, many sheep can be seen grazing around the property by the guesthouse. Thus, the owners named this guesthouse after the mountain.

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There are currently 5 rooms and 2 bathrooms in the guesthouse. Jon and Sjöfn are working on adding two additional rooms.

The rooms in the guesthouse are named after small bays that are along the seaside of the property. “Vik” means small bay and hence, the names of the rooms have the word “vik” in them.

Reykjarhóll or “smoke hill” is a regularly-formed hill East of Gimbur. The hill is located within the property, and is farmed by geothermal activity under glaciers during the ice age. Reykjarhóll provides the guesthouse with 70 degree Celsius of clean water, enough to heat the houses and hot tubs on the property.

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Facing the Arctic ocean, the guesthouse experiences the Midnight sun in summer and Northern Lights in winter. In fact, according to a local, a couple of years ago, they faced three consecutive weeks of the sun not setting at all.

At the guesthouse, you’ll be able to hike near the property and enjoy the beauty of nature. The owners’ trusty and adorable dog will be your tour guide. Couldn’t ask for a better guide! You can also enjoy the property’s hot tub. If you’re lucky, you can actually see the Northern Lights while soaking.

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Langhus Horse Farm

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Another activity that might interest you is horse-riding. Langhus horse farm is just a five-minute drive from Gimbur. The family farm has been run by the same family for at least a century.

Horses are the family’s passion. They started out as a milk farm and owned many cows, but decided to sell the animals and convert it to a horse farm, in order to concentrate on the horse training and breeding business.

In Iceland, there is a regulation that horses cannot be imported to the country. The locals take pride in their very own breed of Icelandic horses. What is so special about them? Well, unlike other breeds that only have three gaits (walk, trot and gallop), Icelandic horses have five, with the additional being tölt and skeið.

Tölt is known for its explosive acceleration and speed; it is also comfortable and ground-covering

skeið is used in pacing races, and is fast and smooth with some horses able to reach up to 30 miles per hour. Not all Icelandic horses can perform this gait; animals that perform both the tölt and the flying pace in addition to the traditional gaits are considered the best of the breed. The flying pace is a two-beat lateral gait with a moment of suspension between footfalls; each side has both feet land almost simultaneously.

It is meant to be performed by well-trained and balanced horses with skilled riders. It is not a gait used for long-distance travel.

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At Langhus, there is a variety of trail options for both beginners and advance riders. The riding trails are in a beautiful area with valleys and stunning mountains, by a fresh water lake and the black beaches of the Arctic Ocean.

There are so many types of horse riding tours you can choose from at Langhus. There is “The Beach Ride”,  “The Viking Tour”, “A Little Bit of Everything Tour”, “Horse Round Up Tour”, “The River Ride” and many more….. You can choose the tour according to your needs and level of horse riding experience.

We chose the “A Little Bit of Everything Tour”, which is a 3.5 to 4-hour tour. We passed through moors on a country side road with very little traffic, down to an old little former village by the beach.  We were able to ride on the coast, or directly on a black sand beach on a beautiful reef between the Arctic ocean and a fresh water lake bordering the farm.  We were also able to go up the beautiful and striking Flokadalur valley, and passed some farms on a quiet country road.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for my next post next week!

In the meantime, you can follow me on my Instagram