Trip to Iceland

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 –

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Hiking in Chile – The W trail

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!

Kuntala Falls

Went to Kuntala Falls on New Year’s Eve. They are the highest falls in Andhra Pradesh, around 45 mts high. Apparently, it is the Kadem river, which drops off as the Kuntala falls finally (Hindu article that talks about this a little more). It is possible to cross the waterfall at the base, climb to the top, and even get into the waterfall. I myself didn’t do any of these though 😀

The drive is pretty good, mostly lying along NH7. This is a great highway, broad 4-laned, with plenty of “truck lay bays” and diversions to get on/off the highway along the way. There is a stretch in between though, when it’s again a single-laned road. The drive is about 250 kms (4.5 hrs one way in the morning).

Posting some pics I took –

Sunflower fields along the way

Drive along NH7

More NH-7

View while going down the 400 steps to the base of the fall

Steps leading to the base of the fall

Falls closeup

Kuntala Falls