We were only in Iceland for three full days but we packed in as much of the island as possible. There’s so much you can do from Reykjavik, it was hard to decide what to choose but easy to fill our time. The main filter for everything on offer was probably the budget, money quickly adds up there and not wanting to go overboard I tried to find a balance. We had so much fun I think I did a pretty good job on our itenary, if I do say so myself.

Here’s what else we squeezed into our trip.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon seems to get mixed reviews but I decided to ignore it all and make my own mind up. It was so close to the airport I thought it would be a great start to our trip, so after we picked our rental car we made our way straight there.

There’s a huge car park on site but at about 5pm I was relieved to find it wasn’t that full. Everyone knows that the lagoon is one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions and given its proximity to the airport, it’s popular with stop over trips to America and elsewhere.

If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee, you can just explore some of the geothermal area so we did that first.

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The rich mineral content of the water (silica and sulfur) is provided by the underground geological layers which are pushed to the surface by the hot water. The silicate gives the water its milky blue appearance.

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Once we’d got through the gates, I was directed to a large changing room a little bit like the ones you’d find in a nice swimming pool. I took the required shower and ran from the sides into the warm milky water as quickly as possible.

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It was just like easing into a hot bath and I loved it. I could feel my muscles loosening by the minute and couldn’t stop myself from going “aaahh” whenever a hot rush of water went past.

The silica provides the free mask you can pick up by the handful. I’d paid a bit extra for some added algae and once I’d washed it off my skin did feel pretty good.

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I couldn’t tell you how long we were in there as the time just seemed to melt away.

The Blue Lagoon has always been a commercial site, being brought to life by the water output of the nearby geothermal plant. It’s completely man-made, although the content of the water is all natural. I think if you take it for what it is, and don’t expect an authentic natural experience, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. We went at an off peak time so it wasn’t too busy.

 Lava caving

All of the activities in Iceland are naturally centred around its beautiful landscape and its surprising just how much you can do. Since our activity day was James’ actual 30th birthday, I narrowed down the options to three and let him choose. Luckily he went for the option I was hoping for – lava caving and snorkelling Silfra.

The tour takes you to Leiðarendi, which just a 30 minute drive from Reykjavik but, like other parts of Iceland, it looks like you’re on another planet.

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There are over 500 lava caves in Iceland and there are two ways they can form from volcanic lava. Leiðarendi was a result of super hot magma running underneath cooling lava creating a cave it its path.

I’m fairly good with small spaces but given the seismic activity in Iceland I was a little apprehensive.

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We crawled through tight spaces and squinted under the light of our head torches at stalactites and stalagmites. Then we turned off our headlights and took in the pitch darkness and utter silence. It was both relaxing and eery.

With the lights on we made the most of the photo opportunities.

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We were probably underground for about 40 minutes. I really enjoyed it but I was quite happy to be back above ground and moving on to our next activity.

Snorkelling Silfra

You may remember Silfra from our drive around the Golden Circle. Silfra is the frissure between the North American and European tectonic plates. I’d first heard about snorkelling between the two continents from Kaelene via her blog Unlocking Kiki. I knew it was something James would love to do so it had to be an option. I actually really wanted to scuba dive Silfra but between the cost and the challenge of managing the buoyancy of a dry suit for the first time meant I had to take it off the list.

We pulled up to Þingvellir National Park and got into our kit.

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I waddled into the water in my flippers and manovered myself into a sort of floating starfish position. At just 2°C my exposed lips went a little numb but the rest of me was pretty warm and dry. I was quickly distracted by the views and all else just floated away.

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The glacial water that runs through Silfra offers some of the clearest water in the world. It’s so clear it feels like you’re looking deep deep down into the depths of the earth.

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As the sunlight flickered through the water I couldn’t get over the views and of course ended up being at the back of the pack completely mesmerised. We only had a disposable camera but the pictures we took are some of my favourite from the whole trip.

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One thing I think everyone should try to fit into their intinerary.

Hallgrimskirkja

Despite it being one of Reykjavik’s best-known landmarks, I have to admit I hadn’t actually heard of Hallgrimskirkja until I started trying to find where the iconic view of the capital came from. But once you’re in town it’s impossible to miss.

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The church was commisioned in 1937 but wasn’t finished until 1986. The design is said to resemble basalt lava flows. I was expecting a tall climb but since it’s quite a modern building there’s a lift right up to the top.

At 73 metres high the church offers some of the best views of the city and beyond.

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Little attention is often paid to the views out to the mountains but I loved seeing how the city thinned out.

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Of course I was still keen to get that iconic snap and patiently waited my turn.

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Between the painted buildings and the sight from up high, Reykjavik looked liked a little cute toy town.

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It was about 8 Euros to enter the church, which I felt was comparative to the price of other things in the city.

Northern Lights

I was so convinced that we wouldn’t see the Northern Lights I decided not to book a tour and rely on having a car to see them if they turned up. But we were so so lucky and saw them for three nights in a row!

The first night was just a ribbon of green in the sky, enough to get me dancing on the spot though. On the second night we went out to Grótta but I failed to take any pictures and the strongest point was whilst we were tucked up in bed.  So when I saw the sky come to life after dinner on our third night I was pretty determined to get out there with my tripod and sat on Reykjavik’s harbour with a few others for well over an hour. It was worth it to watch the sky come to life and take away these snaps.

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I had no idea what I was doing but using a tripod, choosing a slow shutter speed, turning auto-focus off and experimenting with the ISO settings seemed to do the trick.

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A little part of me regretted not doing a tour but that’s life I guess. I still felt so lucky and enjoyed getting to watch my own little show from the convenience of a short walk from our hotel.

Sadly, that brings us to the end of our trip. Although Iceland felt like a once in a lifetime trip (partly due to how expensive it is) I would absolutely love to return. We saw a few campervans on our drives out there and I think it would be a fun way to explore the island in summer.

Have you been to Iceland? Do you have any trips planned?

If you’re planning a trip and have some questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them so leave a comment or get in touch.

As I peeked behind the blinds of our hotel in my PJs on the second morning of our trip, I couldn’t have been happier to see cloudless skies and the promise of a sunny day ahead. When you’re in a country like Iceland getting up early is easy. From what I’d seen in the first 36 hours I was sure that our next adventure along the South Coast would be just as stunning.

Since we were up so early I suggested we grabbed a quick coffee and a pastry for later. James is generally quite obliging about my pursuit of the perfect coffee and before he knew it we were on our way to Reykjavik Roasters.

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We stopped by Sandholt for pastries (which were naturally devoured at the first stop on our journey.)

Although we’d taken the exact same route out of Reykjavik the day before, I still couldn’t believe the beauty of it all.

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Our first stop was about 45 minutes from the city. We quickly discovered that the best thing about the South Coast is that there’s little chance of getting lost and you don’t need to worry about accidentally driving past Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It’s pretty hard to miss.

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The natural power of waterfalls is mesmerising.

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Whilst there was already a decent crowd of tourists I was pleased to find that it didn’t feel overcrowded and so far Iceland has avoided adding those barriers which can all so often spoil the view.

Although, I couldn’t quite believe we could walk right behind it and get *THAT* close.

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Just five minutes away we found our second waterfall of the day, tucked behind a crack in the mountains. Although smaller than the first, as Gljúfrabúi is enclosed the space and the noise really adds to its power. I gingerly climbed up to take a closer look but I was quite happy stepping back to take the pictures.

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(Luckily, James didn’t actually lose his foot in the process!)

We weren’t really clock-watching but we must have been there about an hour. Time just drifted by in Iceland.

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After taking a turning too early, almost driving right into someone’s private land, we found our way to Skogafoss. Our third waterfall of the day.

It’s hard to get bored with waterfalls when they look like this.

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There are far too many photo opportunities to be had.

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We ate lunch at the main restaurant and although it’s expensive it was probably one of the best views I’ve ever had with a grilled sandwich.

With more to see we didn’t really hang around before getting back on the road.

I was pretty excited about our next stop as it promised something different to what we’d seen so far. Solheimajokull would be our only glacier of the trip and it didn’t disappoint.

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It’s hard to put Iceland into words because the landscape just makes your jaw drop in awe.

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(Fancy a dip? 😉 )

You can do your best outdoor gear catalogue look here.

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(Or perhaps just the classic – “I was there”.)

We hardly spent anytime at Solheimajokull and caught up quite a sweat clambering there and back to the car park so that we made it to the end of our journey before sun down. The problem with drifting time is that it’ll catch up with you eventually.

Dyrhólaey was a little trickier to navigate largely since there was a fork in the road and we took the left rather than the right and ended up behind the arch instead of in front of it. All the same, the views were stunning and I felt so excited to be by the coast again.

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The volcanic sand certainly adds a dramatic contrast.

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Our final stop of the journey was Reynisdrangar. Famed for its basalt sea stacks I was sure it would be the perfect end to our day.

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It’s hard to resist climbing up.

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But the sun glistening off the rocks was something else.

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With a drive of over two hours back to Reykjavik, we eventually had to pull ourselves away from the view and get back on the road.

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But the best thing about road trips is chatting all the way back and watching the sun drop behind the horizon.

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In case you’re planning your own road trip here’s a map of the places we visited, plus an extra swimming spot we didn’t make it to in the end.

Have you visited any countries where the nature has blown you away?

I’m SO excited to finally share our trip to Iceland with you, partly because I get to relive the memories but also because (as I’m sure you’re already aware) it’s a beautiful country.

I’d organised the trip for James’ 30th birthday at the end of September and was impressed that I’d managed to keep it secret to the day we actually flew (almost 9 months!) It was pretty strange getting excited about somewhere when the other person can’t join in, but the control freak in me did enjoy all the planning sessions. With Iceland being so popular these days there’s plenty of information out there but Two Feet One World, Unlocking Kiki and Pinterest were my go-to sources.

I’m going to skip our first afternoon there and go straight to our first full day driving around the Golden Circle, a popular route of some of Iceland’s best natural attractions. We set out quite early in the hope that we’d possibly get ahead of some of the tour buses. The problem was wanting to stop to take photos enroute.

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I restrained myself to just the one stop as I was pretty keen to get to our first destination –  Þingvellir National Park. Just a 45 minute or so drive from Reyjavik.

Þingvellir not only offers spectacular views across a rift valley marking the boundary between North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, it also has historical and cultural significance for the country. The national parliament of Iceland was established there back in 930 and operated on this site until 1798.

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It was unbelievable just how much history lay before us and how stunning it was as the seasons were beginning to change.

It’s not surprising why Þingvellir is such a popular place to visit as it’s a great place to understand a little more about Iceland’s culture, which I could have wandered around for hours.

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It’s easy to see why the producers chose to film scenes for Game of Thrones around here.

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As we were stood between the tectonic borders of two continents, I couldn’t quite believe we were actually in Iceland. (But I was surprisingly pretty excited about heading back in a couple of days to delve into its crystal clear glacial water.)

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Iceland quickly makes you realise just how much nature dwarfs humanity and it’s pretty humbling.

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I can’t remember how long we were there for, maybe an hour or so in the end as there was plenty to see. But with so much still to see we were quite conscious of time so we hopped back into the car.

The drive itself is pretty much as spectacular as each stop.

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It reminded me of some of the perks of driving (and being a passenger.)

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Naturally, I was keen to make the most of having a car and added some extra stops on to our trip. The first extra (our second stop of the day), was Kerið.

Kerið is a volcanic crater lake, unusually made of red rather than black volcanic rock. You pay a small entrance fee (about £4 I think) and simply walk in a circle around the crater. This picture doesn’t quite seem to do its sheer size justice. 560ft wide and 180ft deep, it’s hard to imagine until you see it.

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It was quite a blustery day and with no barriers around the edges I honestly pictured either dropping my phone right into it or tripping and tumbling down. So we decided to walk about a quarter of the way round to the highest point above the crater and walk back to the car to make our way to the next stop.

We saw the Geysir Thermal Area before we got up close, both the jets of steam shooting into the air but it is one of the more built up natural attractions of the trip offering a place to eat (and warm up).

Little Geysir may not look impressive on first sight but it gives you a good idea of what’s bubbling under the surface.

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Its big brother Strokkur Geysir is certainly the centre of attention. The fountain geyser erupts once every six to 10 minutes. This means you’re likely to stand there in anticipation of an eruption for about 20 minutes (because once is never enough).

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It’s fascinating to watch it bubbling and it always caught me by surprise.

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The rest of the area gives you this strange sense of other-worldliness I can’t quite explain.

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But like every where in Iceland it offers a pretty epic backdrop.

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Almost proof that you’ve visited somewhere that could be an alien planet.

I had added Bruarfoss and Faxi waterfall to our trip but not having a 4X4 or being brave enough to take a rental car on unknown gravel roads (which we might not have been allowed down anyway) meant we had to cut them out of our journey.

But our final sight-seeing spot made up for anything we might have missed. Gulfoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Europe.

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With Iceland being one of the most popular destinations to visit right now I was a bit worried that the Golden Circle would be crowded. But overall it wasn’t too bad and everyone appeared to respect their surroundings. I quite enjoyed how other visitors looked tiny against this epic waterfall.

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The power of that rushing water was unforgettable.

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After being mesmerised by nature for a good while, we hopped back into the car again for just one more stop.

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As you can imagine there’s a lot of thermal activity in Iceland, which means that you’ll find a few thermal pools you can actually swim in. I decided the Secret Lagoon would be the perfect end to our day and I was quite right.

It is thought to be the earliest swimming pool in Iceland dating back to 1891. What we found there was a simple rectangular pool, beautifully hot from the steaming springs right beside it.

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It’s possibly one of the worst kept secrets in Iceland. But like everywhere else it wasn’t overcrowded and it was much less commerical than the Blue Lagoon.

We made our way home feeling wearily satisfied at having had such an epic day. I chose just one more stop, purely swap driving seats 😉

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In case you’re planning to do the drive yourself, here’s a little map of all the places I’d bookmarked for it.

The drive itself took four hours in total (not including time at each site) and all of the roads we took were in good condition. You’ll need a 4X4 if you plan to go off road, but a normal car should be OK in good weather. I would take advice if you plan to travel in winter.

Have you been or are you planning a trip to Iceland?

Over the last few years I’ve been enjoying day trips out of London more and more. After getting my city fix Monday to Friday for almost 7 years now, hopping on a short train somewhere adds a breath of fresh air to the weekend and forces me to take a slower steps and unwind. I’ve had Cambridge on my list for years, it’s only an hour away from London by train so I can’t believe it took until my 31st birthday to get it in the diary. Let’s just say life and other destinations got in my way.

The plans were simple; coffee to fuel the day’s activities, views to snap to my heart’s content, punting for fun and plenty of instagram-worthy scenes to share. We set off at a leisurely pace, eating breakfast at home and hopping on a train from Liverpool Street at about 11am (we were actually meant to go to Kings Cross for the express train but I somehow got the stations mixed up, oops!). We pulled into Cambridge station an hour or so later, ready to explore.

As a coffee lover, I’d done my research on where to head first. I love finding great independent cafes in other cities and when I know there’s somewhere good to go I just can’t settle for convenient chains. I chose Espresso Library out of a small selection of cafes, partly because it was just outside the town centre so more likely to be quiet, mainly because I liked the bright light that streamed in through the floor to ceiling windows I’d seen on pictures I managed to find online.

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(I’ve just noticed those tiny chandelier-style light bulbs ^^ So cool.)

As you probably know cycling in Cambridge is huge so the bicycle theme was a pretty apt one to follow through to its interior design.
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It welcomes a mix of enthusiastic cyclists, locals and the city’s student population (some 24,000 or so!). It was pretty busy for a Saturday afternoon, a happy reminder that London isn’t the only place in the country where people enjoy speciality coffee and that the trend continues to grow beyond the capital bubble.

The coffees were ordered and leisurely enjoyed.

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But once both cups were drained, I was itching to get outside again and reach the heart of the city. I love exploring overseas cities to experience new cultures, but there’s something that’s both exciting and satistfying about visiting a great place in your home country.

I had two things on my must do list, see the view from Great St Mary’s Church and enjoy a spot of punting. The rest we could discover by chance.

Of course I was distracted by the infamous colleges as soon as I passed them.

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We didn’t pay to explore but the price is quite reasonable if you fancied it and had the time. I just hovered at the gate with my camera. I was keen to get to Great St Mary’s Church after seeing Jessi’s pictures and before the threatening rain rumbled through, so we attempted to weave our way around the small streets until we were perched up high in the church tower. Jessi was right, it’s a great place to see the city.

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From the market.

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Right round to Cambridge’s biggest tourist attraction. Did you know that King’s College was founded by Henry VI in 1441? I just love the grandeur and intricate detail that you only seem to get from eras gone by, but I can’t help but be reminded of Hogwarts!

Once we were back on the ground, I quickly started to understand how big cycling is there. There are countless racks of wheels all over the city.

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As a university town on flat land with narrow busy streets, most residents choose a bike over a car. So much so that the Department for Transport chose Cambridge as a Cycling Town in 2008, which means it receives funds from the government for additional facilities. It definitely adds a little quaintness to every corner. Don’t you think?

We carried on exploring narrow streets, hunting out college courtyards to peer in to.

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Before eventually committing to an attempt at punting.

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We hired a lady punt from Cambridge Chauffeur Punts. It looked simple enough but out on a busy river and battling winds, we struggled. After it started to rain, we had to give in and return the boat in favour of a chauffeured tour.

It was possibly the best decision we made all day as by the time we were out on the water again the sun was shining and it was much more relaxing letting someone else do the hard work.

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It also meant we had more time to absorb the ‘Backs’, where the colleges back on to the river, and take in some of the history from our guide.

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One Bridge of Sighs ticked of the list, I just need to get to Venice now!

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Punting dates back to Edwardian times and has always been seen as a pleasurable activity rather than a sport. The boats are flat and made for shallow rivers, they sail along by the punter pushing against the river bed with a pole.

After leaving the river, we had just an hour left of our day trip so we did a whistlestop tour of some more of Cambridge’s famous sandy-stoned streets.

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Fitzbillies is famed for its sticky cinnamon buns but it does a good coffee too.

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One more bicycle snap.

 

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And just one more college.

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I couldn’t resist racing over the closest bridge to get another shot of the punts in action.

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OK, maybe a few more bicycle snaps were needed before we hopped on the train back to London.

Such a lovely relaxing day trip. We didn’t manage to do everything or visit the places I’d been recommended on Twitter (lots of them were closed for a summer holiday 🙁 ). But we were at least left with a few good excuses to go back again. I was convinced by my final photo that it would be perfect in autumn.

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Have you been to Cambridge? Are there any other day trips I should try?

After an action-packed first week in Costa Rica, James and I sleepily clambered into our shuttle bus from Monteverde, ready for slower days by the sea. The temperatures rose as we climbed down the mountain and I couldn’t believe the change in climate when we reached our first rest stop. I also couldn’t believe these beautiful birds were casually flying around a tree with a tiny monkey sleeping within it either.

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It’s safe to say that I spent the rest of the journey to the beach feeling alert and excited, looking out for that first glimpse of shimmering sea.

Costa Rica has a beautiful coast line on both the Carribbean and the Pacific, which made settling on a place to spend the week pretty difficult. We chose the Pacific Coast because it worked with our plan to explore the rainforest and the mountains and I elimintated trying to fit the Carribbean Coast from our trip after having already been to the Cayman Islands. We narrowed it down again to Guanacaste as I’d read somewhere that it has more sunshine during the rainy season than the popular Manuel Antonio. I chose the small beach town of Playa Flamingo because it was said to be more relaxed than Tamarindo.

Most of the coast line is hidden behind lush vegetation and there are few roads that take you alongside it, making the anticipation heighten as we were told we were just 20 minutes away. After what seemed like a very long 20 minutes, we finally arrived at our hotel.

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Right next to the beautiful beach, with a crisp cool pool and a balcony to enjoy the sunsets. It couldn’t have looked any better. I’ll admit it didn’t look this perfect on the first day as a few afternoon clouds had gathered, but I saw this view almost every morning when the sky was usually clear from clouds.

As the rest of our holiday blurred into mornings on the beach, afternoons at the pool and evenings drinking cocktails out of coconuts. I thought I’d just share the highlights of our stay.

P L A Y A  F L A M I N G O

The area we were staying in was tiny and the restaurants were pretty limited. As we didn’t plan to hire a car for the whole week I felt a bit concerned about this at first (I am just so used to the endless choices in London!), but after a while it really didn’t matter as I was much more interested in my stunning surroundings.

The beach itself was just the right length to go for a morning walk from one end to the other without getting too tired or hot and there were plenty of places to grab some shade (my favourite being sat under the palm trees.)

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Butterflies fluttered along the stretch of white sand, teasing me into attempts to take their picture.

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(You can imagine how long I hovered around to get this one 😉 )

The waves crashed loudly but there was just enough surf to go in for a paddle.

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Let’s not talk about the moment I got swept up in one of those waves as I turned to my back on the sea to reach the shore. Ouch.

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On top of the glistening sand and the cool blue sea, the sunsets were amazing and I made sure I was there every night at 6pm to see it.

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It’s hard to describe the love of a stunning sunset, I guess it’s the humbling awe of nature’s creations and the marbling of colours right before our eyes.

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James was paddled in the waters, after being brought up in Guernsey and Sark he’s always drawn into the sea, but standing on the shore was enough for me.

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I really wish you could bottle up these calming moments, where nothing seems wrong with the world. But the photos will at least bring back the memories for years to come.

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P L A Y A  C O N C H A L

Playa Conchal is known as one of Guanacaste’s best beaches, famed for it’s stone-white sand and crystal clear waters. As it’s only 20 minutes from Playa Flamingo, there was no way that I was going to miss out on this stunning sight.

It wasn’t the most straightforward beach to get to as we had to park up our hire car in nearby Brasilito (you can drive closer to the beach if you have a 4X4 or you’re a particularly confindent driver on sand!) But it was so worth the effort.

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One of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.

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And really peaceful. There were so few people around, you could walk right towards the end of the beach and be the only person there.

The sea was perfectly calm and irresistable as the day got hotter.

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We spent the majority of the day there, reading books, swimming, chatting, playing cards. We left shortly after my favourite time of day.

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That point where the sun is lowering in the sky, the temperature is perfect and you’re in a total relaxed state. Isn’t that feeling one of the best reasons to go on holiday?

P L A Y A  T A M A R I N D O

Playa Tamarindo is known for its surf and attracts the cool crowd.

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It’s much bigger and busier than the other beach towns we went to but I enjoyed a different pace and being somewhere with more of a buzz.

I tried surfing when I was travelling around Australia and my poor upper body strength stopped me from being all that good at it.

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But I was more than happy to sit on a lounger and watch James take a lesson and discover that it’s so much harder than the pros make it look.

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The weather was a little mixed that day but it was nice to relax on a lounger, eat ice cream (which is strangely harder to come by in Costa Rica!), and paddle in the sea.

T H E R E ‘ S  M O R E

There’s always more to do in Costa Rica and you can find the same sort of things we’d done in the mountains on offer from resorts by the beach.

I really wanted to do more of a wildlife tour as it didn’t feel like we’d seen many animals, so we took a boat ride around to Palo Verde National Park. The main aim was to see monkeys in the wild and (as the tour guide told us) we were pretty lucky that day.

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These monkeys are called ‘cappuncino monkeys’ in Costa Rica (I have a feeling there’s an official name for them) and they’re said to be the most friendly.

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We also saw howler monkeys, who were a little scary and made so much noise for something so small. We passed crocodiles, bats and lots of birds too.

James wanted to do scuba diving and I was keen for it too. Luckily our hotel had a dive centre so we had a quick refresher before setting out to sea.

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It was AMAZING. I forgot how exciting scuba diving was and we were treated to turtles, puffer fish, all sorts of star fish, and swam alongside schools of fish too. I wished I’d brought a Go Pro throughout most of the trip but I was desperate for one at that point, just to be able to re-live watching that turtle swim out into the infinite ocean.

The journey there and back was pretty lovely too.

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And that, my lovely readers, is the end of our trip to Costa Rica. (Although, I’m still thinking about that coffee farm post!) I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse into such a beautiful country.

Here are a few of the last few links, in case you’re planning a trip there one day.

How we got there: Interbus – another good journey, which took about 3 – 4 hours.  We also flew from Tamarindo’s tiny airport back to San Jose for our international flight using Sansa.

Where we stayed: Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa.  A nice, clean hotel, right next to the beach. The breakfast was pretty good and you could get OK snacks for lunch. I have a feeling it was the height of luxury when it was opened, and it’s certainly worthy of a 3.5 star but I wouldn’t go beyond that knowing what you can get in London for 4 stars. The only thing that annoyed me was having to wear a wrist band the whole time we were there because they offer full board.

Where we ate: Coco Loco was my favourite restaurant. It was right on the beach, had some good and fairly cheap food, and offered tasty cocktails. There are only three other restaurants in the area which were pretty good but nothing to shout about. 

Activities: Palo Verde National Park – We booked this from a random guy on the beach, he was much cheaper than the hotel tours but we probably got a cheaper service. That said we probably got the same boat tour. Aqua Center Dive Center – was linked to our hotel and offered us one of the easier scuba dives. You can do snorkelling with them two and the other couple that did it saw some great things too.

Where are you travelling to this summer? Do you have any plans for the rest of the year?

There’s nothing quite like a British seaside town. The sound of the arcade machines ringing, the sea breeze ruffling through my hair, the promise of ice cream and salty fish and chips by the sea for lunch or dinner. It still creates the same sense of excitement in my thirties as it did in my childhood. But instead of burning off my excitement running back and forth to the sea and making sandcastles, afternoons are spent stretching legs along the shoreline.

A few weeks ago, before I went to Costa Rica, I was feeling particularly desperate for the endless sight of the ocean and the refreshing sea breeze so I persuaded my sister to take me to Broadstairs on the Kent Coast. It’s about an hour and a half by car from Crayford, where my sister currently lives, and just a little bit longer by train from Central London.

We’d both had a leisurely lie in so we departed late morning and arrived just in time for lunch. Isn’t the first sight of the sea front from the car one of the best feelings? I was sitting straight up as if I could get a better view as soon as it caught my eye. I was surprised at how quickly we found a great car park that had a clean toilet and a path straight down to the coast.

As soon as we got to the seafront it felt like we’d gone back in time to so many different eras. One minute I could picture the town in Charles Dickens’ time, with its old fashioned gas lamps and simple yellow and blue beach huts.

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Another minute and I was back in the 90s and the days of my childhood as we walked past arcades rattling with pennies and shops selling all sort of beach ‘neccessities’.

Then I was picturing how many beach huts it would be acceptable to Instagram in one day.

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It was a little cloudy to begin with so we went in search of some fish and chips to enjoy on a bench with a sea view. It didn’t take long before we were hot-footing it from the chip shop to a bench, eager to satisfy our starvation hunger.

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It was such a nice change of pace after a busy week at work and we sat for a while enjoying the view before eventually deciding we should go for a wander. There didn’t seem to be a lot to see in town, so we returned to the entrance of Viking Bay and carried on going, leaving the sounds of a British seaside town behind for the simple echo of crashing waves.

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The only other visitors being a small crowd scavenging for lunch.

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Or the odd group quietly enjoying the views.

Whilst the British seaside doesn’t always offer the most tropical sandy views, it does have its very own charm.

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Its beach huts are also like no other.

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I could have made our walk a much lengthier one if I’d have photographed all of my favourites, instead I just stuck to the ones I really liked.

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As the beach huts came to end the cliff top climbed higher into quite a spectacular sight.

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Another one of those moments where human life seems so small in the face of nature.

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With hardly anyone else around we reverted to childhood sibling silliness, using Boomerang to support our silly mood.

As we arrived later in the afternoon we decided not to walk too far and after a few star jumps and cartwheels we made our way back to town for ice cream.

Of course I was repeatedly distracted by pretty streets and corners of loveliness.

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I’d read in the car on the way down that Morelli’s Gelato was the best ice cream in town and even if it was the other side of the bay, there was no chance I was missing out.

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I love the story behind this family run business, starting out selling ice cream from a bicycle in 1902, to opening its first parlour in Broadstairs in 1932, and now running ice cream parlours around the world.

I also love how the original parlour has managed to keep its Art Deco look over the years, transporting me back to yet another era.

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There were some delicious flavours on offer. I eventually chose a scoop of white chocolate and millionaire shortbread.

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Both flavours were delicious but I particularly loved the huge chunks of millionaire shortbread in sweet vanilla ice cream. I’ll definitely be checking out the London branch in Harrod’s sometime.

We agreed that we still hadn’t filled our lungs with enough sea air so with sticky fingers (funny how that is still inevitable as an adult!) we went for a little wander along the promenade.

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Settling on a bench for a while until it was about time we made our way back to the city.

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A beautiful breezy, easy afternoon by the sea. I’m definitely keen to return to Broadstairs one day and go for a much longer walk by the sea.

For now, a trip to Brighton this weekend will be giving me my next seaside fix!

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Have you visited Broadstairs? Do you have a favourite British seaside town?