A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: gaddingabout

Epilogue

sunny 36 °C

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Some thoughts.

Everyone speaks fantastic English with hardly any accent all throughout Iceland and Scandanavia. Very easy for English speaking travellers.

The tap water is the sweetest, freshest water we have ever had the pleasure of drinking. It is even better than Canberra water and that's saying something! It was actually sent to New York for testing and they requested a second sample because there were no impurities in the first sample. And that was exactly right. There are no impurities in Icelandic water. It is so pure and sweet due to filtering through the lava layers.

It was fascinating to see how these people survive in winter with daybreak at about 11 am and dark at 4.30 pm. A huge part of their lives is spent in the dark, but on the other hand, I suppose the sun doesn't set for very long either in the middle of summer. It is a country of extremes. They also have their fair share of depression and suicides.

The Icelanders have a special drink at Christmas. It is a mix of malt and citrus and is non alcholic and tastes like slightly sweet beer. Lovely.

Reykjavik was the only European capital city that had a white Christmas and we were there.

Whale, horse, reindeer and puffin were on the menu!

There is no Santa Claus in Iceland. Instead there are 13 Yule Lads. They live in a cave in the mountains with their troll mother Gryla. A fortnight before Christmas, they take it in turns to come down to the town and visit the children. The children leave a shoe in the window and if they have been good, a small gift will be left in their shoe. If they have been naughty, a rotten potato will be left. We received a little gift every morning prior to Christmas, left hanging on our hotel door.

The names of the Yule Lads are just so funny - Sheep Worrier, Gully Gawk, Stubby, Spoon Licker, Pot Licker, Bowl Licker, Door Slammer, Skyr Glutton, Sausage Stealer, Window Peeper, Door Sniffer, Meat Hook, and Candle Beggar.

All Icelanders receive a new set of clothes for Christmas, plus a new book and chocolate. At midday on Christmas Eve, all the shops close and the families gather for their Christmas Eve dinner and present opening. On Christmas Day, they snuggle up inside their warm homes, reading their new books and eating chocolate. Sounds good to me!

We experienced minus 14 degrees with a minus 25 degrees wind chill factor on Christmas Day while we were sight seeing. But we had the right clothes for the sub zero temperatures. Thank goodness for our Antarctic jackets.

Wifi was fantastic all through Iceland and Scandanavia. It was free everywhere - in hotels, cafes, restaurants, on buses, in airports, on the train and no passwords needed. Just connect and you were on. So easy and fast too. It should be like this all over the world.

Copenhagen has a lovely feel to it and fantastic looking buildings but when we returned a week later, the wind from Siberia had arrived and it was unbearably cold. Even the locals were complaining.

Our overnight ferry ride to Oslo was wonderful. So smooth, you could hardly tell the ferry was moving.

Stockholm was snowing and it was so pretty.

The train rides from Oslo to Stockholm and Stockholm to Copenhagen were relaxing and very picturesque - travelling through a snow covered landscape.

Our three weeks in Iceland and Scandanavia was an experience not to be missed. I would thoroughly recommend it.

However, because it was so cold and not many daylight hours, we became quite slow and lethargic (and a lot of things were closed due to the holidays) so we spent a lot of time indoors. We really do need to go back in the summer and explore this amazing part of the world.

Posted by gaddingabout 23:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney to Canberra - Friday, 8 January 2016

The Final Leg

sunny 25 °C

We both had a pretty good night's sleep. We woke up once at about 3 am and then went straight back to sleep.

Set the alarm for 7 am, showered, dressed and on our way to breakfast, took our big bags down to the car. We left Sydney at 9.05 am and had an uneventful trip home. Arrived home at 11.45 am. What a beautiful city we live in. It is the best kept secret in Australia. It is such a shame that international visitors bypass Canberra. They don't know what they're missing. And it is still our quest to teach the whole world what the capital of Australia is. No one knows!

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Unpacked, washed and washed and washed until it was all done. The beauty of travelling to winter Europe is coming back to summer Australia and the washing of the heavy winter clothes dries so quickly. I've even done the ironing!

Our new neighbour offered to water the plants on our back verandah while we were away, so we left the screen door unlocked so she could get in. She also collected the mail for us and when she came over today, she told us that we had left the sliding door to our family room open and for her to be able to lock it, she had to come in, lock it from the inside and then go out the laundry door. We just can't imagine how we did that! How dopey! Also, when we came home, we noticed the light was on in the dining room. Surely we didn't leave that on too! I think we are losing it!

Took the hire car back, bought some groceries and now everything is back to normal. It's like we've never been away.

It was 27 degrees in Canberra today and we are really hot. I am actually perspiring and I never do that. I hope it doesn't take too long for us to become acclimatised to our Australian summer.

Posted by gaddingabout 04:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Hong Kong to Sydney - Thursday, 7 January 2016

We're almost home!

semi-overcast 18 °C

Arrived in Hong Kong at 6.30 am at Gate 60 something, and then had a massive walk to Gate 4 for our flight to Sydney, leaving at 8.40am. My tablet's battery is now on 10% as I was reading a book on it during the whole flight. I didn't realise you could plug your ipads/tablets into the seat to charge them! Duh! I charged it a bit at Hong Kong airport and charged it all the way to Sydney, which then meant I could continue reading.

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Leaving Hong Kong.

Phil slept quite a bit on this leg too but not me and now after a shower and 11 pm, I'm still not tired.

Cathay Pacific served us another breakfast at 11 am and then a lovely steak at 4 pm. Weird.

This flight was a bit bumpy in stages but all good - 9 hours. We landed in Sydney at 8.30 pm, called into Duty Free and Phil bought some grog and I bought some Daisy Dream, a lovely perfume by Marc Jacobs. And what a nice surprise at the check out - a further 20% off. Nice! Picked up our hire car and checked into Rydges Airport Hotel for the night. They gave us a couple of free drink vouchers and after changing into Sydney summer clothes, we raced down to the bar for a beer and a shandy. In our rush to get out of the room, we left the key inside and had to ask the reception desk for another one!

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What a magnificent sight this is. You never get tired of seeing it. As much as I enjoy the "going", the sight of this always gives me goose bumps!

I still don't feel tired but once I get into a comfortable bed, hopefully I will drift into dreamland.

Posted by gaddingabout 03:27 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Hong Kong to Sydney - Thursday, 7 January 2016

We're almost home!

semi-overcast 18 °C

Arrived in Hong Kong at 6.30 am at Gate 60 something, and then had a massive walk to Gate 4 for our flight to Sydney, leaving at 8.40am. My tablet's battery is now on 10% as I was reading a book on it during the whole flight. I didn't realise you could plug your ipads/tablets into the seat to charge them! Duh! I charged it a bit at Hong Kong airport and charged it all the way to Sydney, which then meant I could continue reading.

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Leaving Hong Kong.

Phil slept quite a bit on this leg too but not me and now after a shower and 11 pm, I'm still not tired.

Cathay Pacific served us another breakfast at 11 am and then a lovely steak at 4 pm. Weird.

This flight was a bit bumpy in stages but all good - 9 hours. We landed in Sydney at 8.30 pm, picked up our hire car and checked into Rydges Airport Hotel for the night. They gave us a couple of free drink vouchers and after changing into Sydney summer clothes, we headed down to the bar for a beer and a shandy. In our rush to get out of the room, we left the key inside and had to ask the reception desk for another one!

large_20150920_120206.jpg

What a magnificent sight this is. You never get tired of seeing it. As much as I enjoy the "going", the sight of this always gives me goose bumps!

I still don't feel tired but once I get into a comfortable bed, hopefully I will drift into dreamland.

Posted by gaddingabout 13:44 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Amsterdam to Hong Kong - Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Bye bye Europe

overcast 1 °C

Phil went to bed early with his cold. We have woken up to a very overcast and grey day but at least it's not windy. Our Cathay Pacific flight leaves for Hong Kong at 12.45 pm and arrives at 6 am tomorrow morning.

Walked the short walk to the airport, found the check in desk and checked in. It's good being Premium Economy because you don't have to wait to check in. We always like to sit on the left hand side of the plane but somehow our seats didn't get booked and as there was no room left on the left, we are now on the right hand side of the plane. It's okay. If Phil is worried about bumping arms, he can sit near the window and that will fix that! Security and passport control went well though Phil had to open his carry on and show them his umbrella.

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Good flight - 10 hours 45 minutes. Phil slept most of the way, which is unusual for him. I read a couple of books on my tablet and didn't sleep a wink.

Wouldn't rave about the food served by Cathay Pacific.

Landed in Hong Kong at 6.30 am.

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Posted by gaddingabout 13:43 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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