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Archive for February, 2018

The Stuff That Make Scotland

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 25, 2018

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Looking at Loch Ness

The time we spent in Scotland Mark and I ran in to a few things over and over again. They were like little themes throughout the country. They made our stay interesting and sparked our curiosity. None of which involved a serpent-like water monster.

1. There are Outlander Fans swarming all over Scotland.

Apparently, half of all the castles in Scotland are featured in the show Outlander. The show is such a hit with the ladies that bus-loads of them have journeyed all the way to the Highlands to swoon at various castles. The tourist industry in Scotland have taken note. They offer Outlander tours, Outlander themed plaques at some castles, and of course they sell the books in each and every gift shop.

The band of ladies who nearly stoned me in my last post were all Americans who traveled to Scotland solely on Outlander related purposes. As one lady put it, “There’s a charity that an actor from the show is very interested in, so we’ve all come here to help.” While they were in town, they did some Outlander sightseeing before the charity event started.

When Mark and I found a crowd at a castle, we just knew that the castle was used on the show. I would over hear women say things like, “This is the room that was used as in inspiration for the room in the scene where that thing happened.” I’m sure I would have been more thrilled had I ever watched the series.

2. One should really learn about the Jacobite Rebellions before coming to Scotland. 

There are more castles involved with the Jacobite Rebellions than ones featured in Outlander. Don’t worry, there are no Jacobite fan tours. But many castles housed Jacobites or were invaded by Jacobites. One was even blown up so those damn Jacobites couldn’t retake it.

There were many battles that broke out because of Jacobites and there were something like, two generations of Jacobites. They centered around a prince named James who the British did not want to be king. They hated the idea of James becoming king so much they begged some Dutchman, who had married one of their princesses, to be the king instead.

They weren’t so happy about James not being king up in Scotland, so that’s where James went for support. Back in the day many Scots were itching for an excuse to fight the British and this one was never wasted. But, not all Scots were keen on seeing James get his crown. There weren’t as many Scots killing Brits as some of them would have liked. They mostly just killed each other.

3. Mary Queen of Scots slept here.

Mary Queen of Scots must have also been a member of the Scottish Heritage because she saw more castles than Mark and I did. Everywhere, from Edinburgh Castle to Inchmahome Priory, boasted that she slept there. She could not have possibly spent the night in so many places. Didn’t she die in her early 40’s after spending years locked up somewhere in England?

4. The place is filled with cairns, brochs, and very old settlements.

If you like neolithic artifacts and sites, then Scotland is the place for you. You can’t throw a stone in the Highlands without hitting some old settlement or realizing that the stone you just threw was part of a cairn. The crazy thing about many of the old buildings is that they tend to be on top of even older buildings.

We’re still not completely sure who all of them were.

5. Scotland makes a lot of whiskey.

Before Outlander tours were so popular, the main theme of Scottish tours was whiskey. There are many distilleries that have shifted there focus from making whiskey to just doing tours. Many distilleries that are still running also do tours. I wonder if there is an Outlander whiskey tour?


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Urquhart Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £9
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 6pm
  • 1 October to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm

Videos:

Notes:

  • The castles date from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
  • If you show your membership card when you get tickets for the Jacobite Cruise tickets the cost of the Urquhart Castle entrance will be subtracted.

Fort George

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £9
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 October to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Video

Notes:

  • Lookout for a bag-pipe playing angel in the chapel.

Dallas Dhu

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £6
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members
    • Admission includes:
      • a shot of whiskey
      • an audio guide

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry 5.00pm)
  • 1 to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Daily except Thursday and Friday, 10am to 4pm

Don’t Miss:

Map:

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Posted in Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom, The | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You’ve NEVER heard of it!?

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 20, 2018

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

This day Mark drove from Glasgow to Inverness. The drive itself was only 3 hours long, but we stopped several times along the way to look at castles and abbeys. We had only two deadlines. One was check-out time at our SYHA in Glasgow, which was at 10:00. That made sure we started off our day in a timely manner. The next was at 17:00, which was when most Historic Scotland sites closed.

Fans

Our first stop was Doune Castle, near the town of Stirling. Mark put a star next to this one in our booklet because one of the Monty Python movies was filmed here. As we stood in line to show our pass and be let in, I asked Mark, “Which movie was filmed here?” Before he could answer me, a lady behind me answered.

“It’s not a movie. It’s a TV series.”

“A very good series based on some very wonderful books,” another lady added. There was a humming of agreement throughout the crowd.

“Wait,” I turned around to ask, “Monty Python started out as a book series and later was made into a TV show?”

“Not Monty Python,” some other lady responded. “Outlander.”

“Highlander was filmed here?” I replied, still not fully understanding the topic. “I thought that was set in New York City…”

“Not Highlander,” the first woman rolled her eyes. I had clearly pissed her off with my ignorance. “Outlander!”

“I’ve never heard of it,” I told her. A loud gasp rippled through the line followed by scornful chattering. “That foolish woman has never seen Outlander,” someone in the back must have said. “Is it good,” I asked the lady behind me who initially butt into my conversation with Mark.

She nearly fainted in the most Victorian way possible. As her friend fumbled through her purse to find some smelling salts, the lady, with what few breaths she could muster told me of the series Outlander. “Do you like romantic stories?” She was clearly expecting an affirmative answer.

Since I was already scandalizing the crowd and had brought on the ire of all these women, I thought I would just go ahead and stab everyone in their hearts so they could really feel some pain. “No, I actually don’t like romantic stories. I hate them.” The crowd hissed at me. Someone may have tried to sprinkle holy water on my head.

But there was one woman in the crowd that would not give up on me. “Do you like time travel,” she asked stepping out from the line and walking towards me. That had my attention. I do love time travel. I couldn’t even hide it, my face gave me away. She continued, “A woman, on a honeymoon with her husband in Scotland is transported back in time and she has all sorts of adventures…” The crowd cooed with delight.

“You should check it out. You can watch the series on Amazon Prime.” The brave woman stepped back to her place in line.

“Amazon Prime,” I said with disgust. “If it’s not on Netflix, I’m not watching it.” After that I narrowly missed a stoning from everyone in the crowd.

On the way to Inchmahome Priory

It turns out Outlander is on Netflix. I have watched the first episode. It’s okay. I’ll have to watch a few more to see if it’s really my thing. But, do you know what else is on Netflix? Highlander!


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • Scottish Heritage Membership Handbook 2017 pdf
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Doune Castle

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • £6
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members
    • Entrance come with a complimantary audio guide narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 October to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Inchmahome Priory

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £7.50
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members
    • The boat ride over is included in admission

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 10am (first outward sailing) to 4.15pm (last outward sailing)
  • 1 October to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am (first outward sailing) to 3.15pm (last outward sailing)
  • 1 November to 31 March: Closed

 

Notes:

  • Mary Queen of Scots, stayed here once, but where has she not stayed?
    • This lady seemed to have wondered around Scotland like a homeless monarch.

Huntingtower Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £5
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Daily except Thursday and Friday, 10am to 4pm

Notes:

  • Enjoy some dressing up in period clothes in the gift shop.
  • There is a legend of a girl who leaped from one of the castle’s tower to the other so her mother wouldn’t find her with her lover.
    • If you she her ghost, misfortune will come to you.
  • St Conval’s Well, which is beside the road below the castle, has water with healing power, according to legend.
    • You must collect the water in complete silence and leave a little token or charm behind.
  • The parking lot is for small cars only.

Stanley Mills

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • Adult £6
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Closed

Video

Map:

Posted in Perth, Scotland, Stirling, United Kingdom, The | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Electric… What?

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 15, 2018

Monday, September 18th, 2017

We flew from Reykjavik back to Edinburgh, where we picked up another rental car. Mark drove from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Mark hates driving a stick-shift in cities. He cursed all through Liverpool. He loathed the streets of Edinburgh. Even some parts of Reykjavik, the ones with roundabouts, would have caused him to roll down the window and shake his fist at Iceland, but he needed both hands to drive.

This day we were supposed to drive around Glasgow but the roads put Mark into a mood. He asked that we leave the city and did our sightseeing where there was significantly less traffic. It didn’t really matter to me, so I pulled out my trusty Scottish Heritage Membership Handbook and found some places for us to visit.

I just have to mention how the Historic Environment Scotland society helped us so much. As I’ve stated many times in the past, the hardest part about traveling the world is all the constant planning that needs to be done. A good portion of our evenings are taken up with figuring out what our next steps will be.

But once we got Scottish Heritage membership we were given a handbook. With the handbook we spent almost no time planning. We had our cities picked out already. We just opened the handbook and drove from sight to sight. I wish more countries had something similar.

We spent the day looking at castles and one church. At the church, Crossragual Abbey, we learned that an abbot who worked there had been roasted by a nobleman. I thought that the notion of a nobleman roasting an abbot was amazing. I imagined there was a feast of duck and pork with lots of wine. All the towns people sat around listening to insulting jokes at the abbot’s expense, which he took in stride. It was all in good fun, as roasts usually are.

Then I read somewhere that the abbot was kidnapped for a few days before the event. The nobleman wanted some land that the abbot had control of. The story went on to tell that the nobleman got his butcher to help him. It ended, telling the reader that the abbot was never able to walk again. “Damn, it was the other type of roasting.”

I asked the caretaker of the abbey about the kidnapping and the aftermath. “Oh, that didn’t happen here. This is just were the man worked. He was tortured at Dunure Castle, just up the road.” The trip had turned macabre and we were going to just let it happen.

We got general directions from the caretaker and he added another thing we should see. “You must look for the Electric Brae,” he advised. I can spell it now because I’ve looked it up online, but at the time I had no idea what he was talking about.

“An electric… what?”

“The Electric Brae,” he repeated. “You know, an electric brae… Oh, what do the kids call it these days?”

I stood there not knowing what to say. In Britain I had been confronted with compound words where I knew the meanings of the individual words just fine. It was when the two were placed next to each other that I got confused. But in Scotland, I was fairly sure that people just made up words to mess with me.

“An electric bray…” I said, rolling the words around and looking up to seem like I was trying to think of the more modern version of the phrase. In my head I was thinking, “An ice box was a refrigerator, but didn’t use electricity…” I didn’t have to pretend for too long because the man explained what an electric brae was.

“You stop your car on the hill. Then you put the car in neutral. The car rolls up hill. Some say it’s magic or ghosts. But, it’s just an optical illusion.”

“Oh, a ‘mysterious road’. I’ve seen a few of those,” I said. They always sound more exciting in their descriptions than in real life. Of the one’s I’ve seen, they have all been huge let downs.

We did not find the electric brae though we did look for it.

We found this labyrinth instead.


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Bothwell Castle

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • £4.50
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September:  Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 October to 31 March: Daily except Thursday and Friday, 10am to 4pm

Crossraguel Abbey

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • £4.50
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Closed

Notes:

  • A gruesome thing happened to an abbot who worked here.

Dunure Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • daylight hours

Notes:

  • On one side of the castles is a conical stone doocot.
  • On the other is a labyrinth.
  • Don’t Miss:

Dundonald Castle

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • £4.50
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm
  • 1 October to 31 March: Closed

Video

Books:

Map:

Posted in Ayr, Bothwell, Maybole, Scotland, United Kingdom, The | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Travel Tips for Iceland

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 10, 2018

2017

You have to bring:

  • Make sure to bring your prescription medication and a doctor’s note.
  • Everything else can be bought here.
    • BUT, it’s expensive, so bring as much as you can.
    • Only buy food here, if you can help it.

Things you can buy here or bring with you:

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack. A Backpack gives you a little more mobility, but it’s not a must-have here.
    • It is easier to pack away a backpack in a camper van than it is to pack away a suit case, no matter how small that suit case is.
  2. Clothes:
    • You can buy anything here, but it’s expensive.
    • They do have nice clothes.
      • I had my eye on some 66°North gear, but it cost more than double what I paid for my Gore-tex jacket (and I got it at LL Bean!)
      • (Freda says she can always spot the Americans when they travel because they always wear something from LL Bean.)
    • You can buy clothes almost anywhere. Most sightseeing spots that you have to pay to enter, restaurants, rest stops, and gas stations sell clothes.
      • And not just random generic clothes either. It’s usually name brand clothes from Iceland and Europe. $$$$ (I mean ISK ISK ISK ISK)
  3. Towel:
    • Bring your towel!
    • Don’t forget to hang it up in the van when you’re driving around.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion:
    • You can buy all of these at Bonus, N1, or any convenience store, but they are pricey.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • You can find this here.
    • Oddly enough, I ran out and had to buy some in Iceland. It was the same price as I would pay for it back home…
  6. Sunscreen:
    • No problem; you can find it here.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • I’m not sure. I brought more than enough with me and never needed to get more.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s always tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • Wool Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flips
    • Smartphone
    • Hiking shoes
    • Rain jacket
    • Rain pants
    • Rain boots
    • Clothes line
  9. If you need to buy groceries:
    • Costco or Bonus
  10. If you need outdoor goods on the ring road:
    • N1, any gas station, or Bonus

General Tips:

Driving:

  • Watch out for sheep.
  • Stay off the F roads.
  • Don’t forget to use the gas card to save money on gas.
    • I think most camper van companies will give you a gas card.
    • It’s on the key ring.
  • There are a lot of hitch-hikers.
    • I hear that if you pick one up, they are obligated to entertain you with a tale of their journeys.
      • Some might even pitch in for gas.
    • We did not pick up any hitch-hikers.
      • I’ve seen too many horror movies to do anything like that, even in Iceland.

Food:

  • Try the meat soup.
  • Try the lobster soup.
  • Eat as much skyr as you can.
    • It’s not yogurt, it’s cheese. But, it tastes like yogurt and you eat it like yogurt.

Get Membership:

  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most other hostels.
    • Reykjavik has two HI hostels.
      • One is across the street from a bar and is more of a party hostel.
      • The other is not.

Money:

  • Most places only take credit or debit cards
    • But, some places will only take cash, so you will need to have some cash on you.

Scams:

  • Not many scams to look out for, just use common sense.

Iceland

How to get there:

You have to fly or get a boat from Scotland or Denmark.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • 1777 for weather information

Website:

Data:

  • Siminn
  • You can easily get one at most convenience stores in Reykjavik.

Videos:

Notes:

  • The weather can change quickly. Make sure to dress in layers.
  • Assume that it will rain.
  • It will also be very, very windy.
  • Everything is very expensive in Iceland.

Posted in Iceland | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What to Pack

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 5, 2018

Monday, September 4th -17th, 2017

The biggest question I had before going to Iceland was, “What should I pack?” Mark and I travel very light so we didn’t want to bring things we didn’t absolutely need. After the trip I have a better understanding of what to bring and I’ll tell you about it. We traveled in September and the weather we experience was all over the place. Sometimes it was so warm during the day we could walk around in t-shirts, but by evening we needed jackets. Other times it was cold and rainy.

Clothes

  • T-Shirts (4)
    • These were the same quick-dry summer t-shirts I’ve been wearing on the trip so far.
    • Mark bought 2 thermal shirts, but I decided not to.
  • Running Tights (2 pairs)
    • These were simple running tights from Uniqlo
    • I prefer running to regular tights because they are thicker and less see-through when you bend over.
    • I would wear these under my jeans during the day and sleep in them as pj’s at night.
    • I wore one while I washed and dried the other.
  • Jeans (1 pair)
    • These hardly ever got washed.
  • Rain pants (1 pair)
    • These could easily be put on over my jeans.
  • Merino Wool Socks (2 Pairs)
    • I wore one while I washed and dried the other.
  • Underwear
    • I have a little less than a week’s worth.
    • I will happily wear an unwashed shirt or socks as long as they don’t smell, but I refuse to wear the same underwear two days in a row.
  • 1 Merino wool cardigan
  • 1 Fleece jacket
  • 1 Down Jacket
  • 1 Gore-tex Jacket
    • Depending on how cold it got I would wear one, two, or three of the above.
  • 1 Wool Hat
  • 1 Pair of waterproof wool gloves
  • 1 Buff (It’s smaller than a scarf and does a scarf’s job.)
  • 1 Swim Suit
  • 1 Pair of flip-flops (which I hardly used)
  • 1 Pair of water-proof hiking boots

Most nights I hand-washed a few clothes and hung them near the van’s heater to dry over night. Some campsites had coin operated laundry machines. On those nights, all four of us would put our washing together and do a load for about 400ISK. We never paid to have someone else do our laundry in Iceland. That would run us up to 1,600 ISK per 3 kg of dirty clothes.

Only one campsite had a machine dryer. Mostly, they had drying rooms instead, if they had anything at all. We would place our wet clothes in a closet that was kept warm either by a heater or by running the hot water pipes through it. When we hung our clothes in a drying closet, it would always be dry by morning. Shoes can also be place in a drying closet to be dried by morning.

Electronics

  • Smartphone
    • You can get a SIM card as any convenience store in Reykjavik.
    • Download google maps (The van came with a Garmin, I just liked google maps better.)
    • Download some podcasts and books
  • All the Smartphone accouterments
    • Car charger
    • Regular charger
    • Audio Auxiliary cord
    • Selfie stick (If you’re into that sort of thing)
  • Camera (If you need more than your smartphone)
  • Make sure you have a big enough memory card
    • You can, of course, buy a new one in Iceland, but it will cost you.

Other things to bring

  • A travel clothes line
  • A good dry bag (I mean the really thick ones, not the light weight things.)
    • Put wet clothes in it
    • Keep electronics dry when it rains
    • Wash laundry in it
  • Lotion
    • Your skin will be dry after soaking in the spa

One more thing

  • Rain boots

We were lucky in that it didn’t really rain that much until the last full day we were in Iceland. For most of the trip, it would rain for only a few hours during a hike and then it would just be cloudy for the rest of the day. Many days, we had nothing but sunshine.

On the last full day however, it rained ALL DAY. My water-proof hiking shoes were soaked. The problem was that my hiking boots are water-proof with one serious vulnerability; the part where my feet go. My rain jacket and pants kept a steady stream of water pouring from my back, down my leg, and into my shoes. When I put on the rain pants, I made sure the pant legs hang lower the top of my shoes. But with movement and time, the cuffs would tuck themselves into the shoes and let water flow right in.

It would be too difficult to bring rain boots with me. I would have to buy a pair there and then leave them behind after the trip.


Iceland

How to get there:

You have to fly or get a boat from Scotland or Denmark.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • 1777 for weather information

Downloads:

Website:

Data:

  • Siminn
  • You can easily get one at most convenience stores in Reykjavik.

Videos:

Notes:

  • The weather can change quickly. Make sure to dress in layers.
  • Assume that it will rain.
  • It will also be very, very windy.
  • Everything is very expensive in Iceland.

Sundlaugin á Hofsósi

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 700ISK

Hours:

  • M – F ~ 7:00 – 13:00 & 17:00 – 20:00
  • Sa – Su ~ 11:00 – 15:00

Notes:

  • Many tourists come by and take photos, from the outside, of the spa.
  • There are complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby.

Mývatn Nature Baths

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 3800 ISK (01/01 – 14/05 ’17)
  • 4300 ISK (15/05 – 30/09 ’17)
  • 3800 ISK (01/10 – 31/12 ’17)

Hours:

  • 12:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • This spa has a restaurant.
  • You can order drinks to be brought to you in the pool.

Don’t Miss:

Campsites:

Map:

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