This was my first trip to the USA, mostly to attend a conference in Austin, Texas. And then I took a week to go around and explore the place. I managed to visit Houston and San Antonio as well.
Iceland is a nature lover’s paradise. Same goes for a landscape photographer. The nature in Iceland is just out of this world. It’s just remarkable how diverse the topography is, for a relatively small island. It’s also a great location if you want to get away from people. You could be driving for hours without meeting a single car. In this post I want to talk about some of the experience and some of the practicalities of travelling in Iceland.
I took a short vacation to Kerala, India to visit my family and to rejuvenate myself.
It was mostly visiting relatives, excessive eating and dealing with heat, humidity and traffic. On the bright side, the ayurvedic massages can be quite relaxing. This also presents opportunities to enjoy some local cuisine. I do enjoy Indian food, but South Indian food tend to be quite spicy and it can be challenging to find food that agrees with my taste buds. I usually eat a lot of non-veg, but here in Kerala, there is so much diversity in vegetarian food that I would happily become a vegetarian.
The mountainous regions of Kerala, such as Idukki district is one my favourite destinations to escape the heat and pollution of cities. The route is scenic and if you are lucky, you might even get to see some wildlife as a lot of Idukki is part of the Western ghats nature reserve and national parks. This is also an ideal location for stargazing as there is minimal light pollution. As a plus, there tends to be less mosquitoes in the mountains.
Autumn in Fulufjällets National park in western Sweden.
Fulufjällets national park on the border with Norway is a great location for a weekend away in nature. The place is charming with vast meadows, forests, lakes, streams, mountains and idyllic houses. Fulufjället is known for its well preserved primeval forests, wildlife and unique geology. Fulufjället is also home to Sweden’s highest waterfall; Njupeskär falls and oldest tree; Old Tjikko. The location is also popular for winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling and ice climbing on the Njupeskär falls. The park has an attractive and informative visitor centre (naturum) with user information including maps and guides. The park has wind shelters and camping sites. Part of the national park is located in Norway.
This spring, I decided to explore Scotland in a one-week trip. April-May is still a bit too early in the season, but I was able to experience all sorts of weather from sun to rain to snow and wind before the tourist season.
Here is a route map:
Scotland is just stunningly beautiful. It has possibly some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Skye is just so dramatic in landscapes and weather patterns. I experienced snow and warm sunny weather on the same day in different parts of the island. We were able to visit the Talisker distillery, Fairy pools and Kilt rock, but missed Old man of Storr and many other attractions. I had limited time on Skye, but Skye has so much to offer. One could spend an entire holiday just exploring Skye.
Driving is a pleasure in Scotland due to the much reduced traffic at least compared to England. On mainland Scotland, major roads and highways are large and wide and well maintained. Smaller roads may be narrow with two-way traffic and not so well maintained. On Skye, all roads are narrow. Driving on Skye really tests your ability to keep the vehicle perfectly in a lane that is just as wide as the vehicle while driving 50-60 mph (80-90 kph). If driving from Skye towards Inverness and you have extra time, I can recommend the Church Road route offering some stunning views.
As far as wildlife goes, we spotted occasional deers along the road and seals along the harbour in Inverness. We were not lucky enough to spot eagles, whales or puffins. There is a lot more to be discovered in Scotland and I hope to return at some point.