Best of the Best

The Adventure in Akureyri

The Adventure in Akureyri

During this contract, I was able to do and see some truly incredible things.  Since coming home, I’ve frequently been asked about my favorite places, and I’ve had trouble answering!  There were so many wonderful places, but I liked different ports for different things.  Looking back through my photos, I tried to break down some of the highlights of the past few months.  This is what I came up with…  The Best of the Adventure.

Best Hike

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

Best Beaches

Paradise

Paradise

Photo doesn't do it justice!

Photo doesn’t do it justice!

Just look at that water

Just look at that water

Best tours

Tuk tuk tour

Tuk tuk tour

Camels at the base

Camels at the base

Magic at the top

Magic at the top

Best Place for Beer

  • Beer Wall in Bruges
    • I made a special category for Bruges, because I had such a great day there!  The beer is fantastic, but the whole city is worth visiting!
Beer Wall

Beer Wall

Favorite Landmarks

Amazing to see

Amazing to see

I could visit every day!

I could visit every day!

Best Museum

  • The Guggenheim Bilbao
    • The architect, Frank Gehry, also designed the Guggenheim Museum that will soon be built in Abu Dhabi.  There was an interesting article in the New York Times about the new museum.
Beautiful Gehry building

Beautiful Gehry building

Favorite City

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Favorite Country

Sunset in Reykjavik

Sunset in Reykjavik

Northern Lights.  Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

Northern Lights. Photo by: Daffodaleia Williams

I knew the quality of the places I was visiting was pretty astounding, but I just recently added up the quantity!  I’ve now been to 39 countries.  I can’t wait to add more to the list in the New Year!

Casey’s Travel Map

Casey has been to: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Curacao, Denmark, Fiji, France, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, Vietnam.

Get your own travel map from Matador Network.

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Living It Up in Lanzarote

Camels in Lanzarote

Camels in Lanzarote

The week before we went to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, the HR team started advertising a crew tour to ride camels at Fire Mountain. Intrigued by both camels and Fire Mountain, I signed up.

So excited

So excited

The tour actually included much more! We started with a 20 minute camel ride in a national park. The whole island of Lanzarote was formed by volcanic activity, and many of the mountains we were riding beneath are still active volcanoes. The views were stunning, with shades of red, black, and green coloring the landscape.

Loved the view

Loved the view

The camel ride was bumpy, but fun. The animals had a lot of character. Some followed directions better than others, but all managed to stay in line and follow the leader. The men guiding them used an interesting series of commands and noises, and though they had sticks, never struck the animals. Some people felt bad for the camels for carrying heavy loads of people, but we learned before tourism came to the island, they used camels for much more demanding labor.

Strange animals!

Strange animals!

After the ride, we went to a restaurant and viewpoint at a higher altitude. We saw demonstrations of how hot the volcano was at different depths. At 20-30 meters, a bush caught fire in seconds. At another station, an employee dug up some red sand for us to feel. Just a few meters beneath our feet, the sand and rocks were hot to the touch, maintaining their heat for minutes. Deeper, if cold water was poured down a hole, it shot up in 2 seconds like a geyser.

Fire from the heat

Fire from the heat

Geysers from pouring water

Geysers from pouring water

The restaurant cooked meat and potatoes on a geothermal grill. They built a hole, covered the top with metal rods, and used the natural heat for food. It was really interesting! Before getting back in the bus, we had 10 minutes to wander around, grab a bite if necessary, and take photos.

Geothermal grill

Geothermal grill

Symbol of the island on the restaurant window

Symbol of the island on the restaurant window

Once back on the bus, we drove around Fire Mountain. There was an audio tour informing us about the craters, old volcano eruptions, and still active volcanoes. We also learned about the animals and organisms that live in the national park.

Incredible mountains

Incredible mountains

Volcanoes aren't always scary

Volcanoes aren’t always scary

Our next stop was along the water. There were cliffs of black volcanic rock against which waves crashed. The blue water was stunning against the black rock. We had just a few minutes to enjoy the ocean air before setting off again.

Waves crashing against volcanic black rock

Waves crashing against volcanic black rock

Our final stop was a vineyard. Someone discovered that digging holes for each grapevine and protecting it from the wind with rocks created a great environment in which the grapes could grow. I’ve been to many vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, but have never seen any like this! I was pleased to find that the resulting wine was actually very good! I only tried one red wine and a moscato, but would’ve loved to sample more.

Enjoying my wine

Enjoying my wine

Interesting vines!

Interesting vines!

The whole day was full of new and interesting experiences. Although we don’t return to Lanzarote, I feel like I was able to take advantage of all the island has to offer.

Mountains and grapevines

Mountains and grapevines