I went to Iceland over Thanksgiving break. It was a breathtaking trip – the island is still very much geologically active with lava fields and volcano craters everywhere! Snow and ice are a part and parcel of life, and although the scenery was beautiful, I got pretty tired of layering and un-layering as I moved in and out of the heated indoors into the icy outdoors 🙂
We stayed in Reykjavik throughout and took day trips everyday. Here’s what our itinerary looked like –
Day 1 – Golden Circle. This covers the famous geysers, Gulfoss – a chilling frozen waterfall, and a visit to the only place in the world where you can see the American and the European tectonic plates!!
Day 2 – South Shore. Beautiful vistas with visits to beaches with volcanic sand and rocks, and strange cliff formations.
Day 3 – Whale watching. Amazing experience, although I got a fairly seasick towards the end. Saw a bunch of dolphins and whales though!
Day 4 – West Island. AMAZING. The scenery is very different from southern part of the island, with much warmer tones.
Day 5 – Blue Lagoon. A natural geothermal spa where the water is naturally heated due to volcanic activity 🙂
The one thing we missed were the northern lights, even though we tried hunting around on two nights 😦
This trip did make me realize though the importance of a tour that is geared solely towards photography. On a tour such as ours this time, I found it very hard to take good photos. Overall, I am not happy with what I got, even though the country is bursting with photographic moments. A photography tour would have much more hiking and walking, with more time spent at a place. It would have a smaller number of people. Which is why I plan on going to Iceland again on a photography tour 🙂
Sharing some of the shots I took –
I hiked for five days in Chile before leaving for my awesome trip to Antarctica. Chile was a big surprise – for someone who has hiked in the Himalayas before and is not new to scenic beauty, Chile is a very beautiful country. We did the W trail, a W-shaped trail in the Patagonia region that covers the famous “Torres del Paine“. The three granite towers (Cordillera del Paine) are very much a worth-the-effort sight. I absolutely loved this hike. I come back from this trip with a new sense of how much I like traveling and being in the outdoors. I hope I continue to get the opportunity to go on such amazing trips for the rest of my life! 🙂 And I would encourage everyone to visit Chile once in their lifetime – it’s not a very touristy country, which makes all the more beautiful!
I had one of the most memorable winter breaks this time – I was in Antarctica!! Through the Wharton Leadership Ventures, I got an opportunity to spend 6 incredible days in King George Island, Antarctica. It was cold, wet, and beautiful.
This was the first time I was hiking with all my stuff in my backpack, and my first time camping – and I loved every minute of it! Sleeping in a sleeping bag, making our own food, devouring as many as five Snickers bars in a day and still feeling hungry, it was awesome! 😀
My favorite part was the day we had to hike across a glacier to reach our next campsite. It was completely white all around, I’ve never seen so much white! Plus, the snow was knee deep making it not very easy to walk. I got very hot while hiking, but then the body would cool down really fast as we stopped. It was a delicate balance to maintain.
Overall, it was indeed a once in a lifetime experience. It will forever stay etched in my memory as one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had so far.
Sharing photographs in batches. It was not easy to carry an SLR especially with all the other weight I was lugging around. Also, I was always in a team trying to get to a destination so it wasn’t always possible to stop. And most importantly, each time I wanted to take a photograph, I had to remove many layers before I could handle the camera 😀 Even so, sharing what I managed to capture. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂