The most northerly county in England, this sparsely populated swathe of wild moorland, deserted beaches and vast forests sits adjacent to the Scottish border and was once plagued by attacks from Border Rievers – raiders of both nationalities that pillaged their wealth from local homesteads.
But now, protected by the Angel of the North, all is peaceful throughout the landscape.
And believe me…it is SO quiet!
The southernmost region of continental Portugal, the Algarve has been popular with British tourists for years and we are lucky enough to have (through family) the use of a villa there in a small town called Olhos de Agua.
Very close to the resort of Albufeira, this sleepier area is within a few minutes walk of some beautiful beaches which are relatively empty, even in peak season, where you can watch fishermen bring in their catch.
Rooooooxanne! You don’t have to put on the red light…
Nope, hold on. That’s not the Police song I had in mind for this blog post.
You see, on our last day in Iceland you’d be forgiven for thinking we were actually ‘Walking on the Moon‘!
Growing up in Yorkshire, I have been spoilt with scenery and much of Iceland’s landscape could be likened to parts of the Yorkshire Moors and Scottish Highlands. However, the Reykjanes Peninsula Geopark is completely different, and in my opinion, severely under-advertised.
Before our Icelandic adventure, I’d researched and researched and…researched some more! The Golden Circle and Northern Lights tours always came up top, along with attractions such as whale watching or extreme snowmobiling over a glacier.
But we wanted to explore by car and fortunately, thanks to Tom from Old England to New England, I was alerted to the South Coast of Iceland route, down towards Vik.
A little more investigation showed this would be possible within a day and was home to some of the most photographed waterfalls in the country. In fact, it’s widely regarded as one of the most scenic drives out of Reykjavik. Oh, and it passes THAT volcano. So off we went!
Ten days ago, after a five day adventure, we said our goodbyes to a country that captivated, mesmerised and enchanted us: Iceland!
As many of you know, a trip here has been on my bucket list for years. I adore wild, open wilderness, I’ve had a fascination with volcanoes, earthquakes and geology in general since being a child and I hoped to one day witness the Aurora Borealis. Iceland promised all this, along with a land that is steeped in folklore and fantasy. I failed to see how I could be disappointed.
But I still worried.
When you build something up in your mind for so long, you’re bound to be heading for an anti-climax. Yet, as the first sentence suggests, we had nothing to fear. Throw every superlative in the book at Iceland and it still won’t capture how awe inspiring it is.
We experienced four seasons in one day, dipped in hot pools whilst an icy storm whipped around our ears, saw more rainbows than I’ve seen in a year in the UK and looked upon landscapes that seemed more like alien territory. We were hooked!
And despite immense trepidation of ‘driving on the wrong side’, we hired a car and explored at leisure, naturally taking oodles of photos! These here are of the famous Golden Circle tour, approximately a 150 mile round trip from Reykjavik.