Erik the Red’s Icelandic Home

IMG_1037-1Who hasn’t heard of the famous Viking, Erik the Red, right? So you can imagine it was a special moment when, during a visit to Iceland in 2011, I got to visit the site of his actual home, in the north-west part of the country.

In truth, all that’s left of Erik’s farm, Eiríksstaðir in Haukadal, is a an outline of his house in the turf of the hillside.

The outline of Erik the Red's house is still visible in the turf on a hillside above Haukadal, north-west Iceland

The outline of Erik the Red’s house is still visible in the turf on a hillside above Haukadal, north-west Iceland

But close by is an impressive reconstruction of the infamous Viking’s home, made from earth sods.

The reconstruction of Erik the Red's House, made from earth sods

The reconstruction of Erik the Red’s House, made from earth sods

On the hillside above the remains of Erik the Red's house (on the left side of the photo) and its reconstruction (in the distance). Incidentally, this photo was taken from the location of my most northerly geocache find to date.

On the hillside above the remains of Erik the Red’s house (on the left side of the photo) and its reconstruction (in the distance). Incidentally, this photo was taken from the location of my most northerly geocache find to date.

Erik's son, Leif, who 'discovered' North America half a century before Columbus

Erik’s son, Leif, who ‘discovered’ North America half a century before Columbus

This post was inspired by the theme Earth/Harvest from Cee of Cee’s Photography) and Red (from Sue of A Word in Your Ear)

While you’re daydreaming about Vikings and Iceland, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my brand new websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Hungarian Summer Gatherings

This week, when I first saw Ailsa’s (from Where’s My Backpack?) Photo Travel Theme of Meeting Places and Krista’s (from the Daily Post) Photo Theme of Summer Lovin’, I immediately thought of me and all my fellow Formula 1 crazy friends at the Hungaroring racetrack outside Budapest this weekend.

Me on the hallowed start-finish straight during the Hungaroring race track Formula 1 Pit Lane Walk on Thursday (July 24th, 2014)

Me on the hallowed start-finish straight during the Hungaroring race track Formula 1 Pit Lane Walk on Thursday (July 24th, 2014)

Then we went for a walk around the centre of Budapest yesterday evening and saw this amazing sight over the Hungarian Parliament, which is a marvellous sight in itself…

IMG_1619IMG_1624IMG_1620IMG_1591IMG_1586IMG_1582IMG_1587IMG_1581If you haven’t worked it out, the wiggly lines aren’t moving stars. They’re actually flocking birds spiralling in the hot summer air above the building’s floodlights. If you still don’t believe me, check out the videos below:

http://youtu.be/Xi0DxXq1ssc

http://youtu.be/HyKLHsgvFbA

While you’re still marvelling at the wonders of Mother Nature, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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The Grand Canyon on Fire!

IMG_0254In the autumn of 2012, we headed off for another extended US road trip. Our ultimate goal was Austin, Texas, for the inaugural Formula 1 US Grand Prix, so naturally we flew into… Wichita, Kansas. And headed west!

Two weeks, 5500 miles (yes, that really does say five thousand five hundred miles), and seven states later, we finally arrived in Austin. Along the way we’d encountered some pretty amazing things (you can follow the whole trip starting here).

But perhaps the most amazing of all was seeing the Grand Canyon full of smoke, from rim to rim, thanks to some controlled burns taking place in the National Park.

You have been warned!

You have been warned!

Not convinced the photo on the sign was really taken here!

Not convinced the photo on the sign was really taken here!

Looking south from Bright Angel Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Looking south from Bright Angel Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Early morning at Bright Angel Point

Early morning at Bright Angel Point

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With some friends at Roaring Springs Canyon

With some friends at Roaring Springs Canyon

The same spot above Roaring Springs Canyon an hour and a half later

The same spot above Roaring Springs Canyon an hour and a half later

Smoke dissipating over Roaring Springs Canyon

Smoke dissipating over Roaring Springs Canyon

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Source of the smoke: one of the prescribed fires still smouldering

Source of the smoke: one of the prescribed fires still smouldering

Job done: the controlled fires clear away the litter layer, partly to prevent a worse, unplanned fire, and partly to feed nutrients back into the soil

Job done: the controlled fires clear away the litter layer, partly to prevent a worse, unplanned fire, and partly to feed nutrients back into the soil

The combination of the lingering smoke and the setting sun as we left the National Park that evening was particularly beautiful

The combination of the lingering smoke and the setting sun as we left the National Park that evening was particularly beautiful

IMG_0271IMG_0274This post was inspired by the theme Fire/Summer, from Cee of Cee’s Photography.

While you’re marvelling at a smoke-filled Grand Canyon, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my brand new websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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South Pacific Geocaches, with Leis

At the risk of repeating myself, back in March I wrote a blog called Hawaiian Paradise, about Lumaha’i Beach on the island of Kauai. In my original post, I mentioned that this pristine stretch of virtually deserted beach once featured in the old movie, South Pacific. What I didn’t reveal at that time was how we found out about Lumaha’i Beach. Or why we were there in the first place.

We’d arrived on Kauai the previous evening, and in so doing had set foot in all 50 US states. To celebrate, Sue had arranged for us to be greeted at the airport in the traditional Hawaiian manner, with leis made of the most beautiful purple and white orchids.

With Sue and Phyllis at Lihue Airport, Kauai

With Sue and Phyllis at Lihue Airport, Kauai

To be honest, though, after an extremely long day’s travelling, none of us were feeling at our best that evening. So, the next morning we set out with the mission of finding the ideal spot to take some photos with our purple floral finery.

But how to chose the perfect location on such a fairytale island? With the help of some local knowledge, of course. And a geocache!

Geocaching is one of my favourite things to do while on vacation. In its most basic form, someone hides a container, records the latitude and longitude with a handheld GPS device or smartphone, and then posts this information online. Someone else then downloads these coordinates and heads out in an attempt to find the hidden container, or geocache.

IMG_6369For me, the beauty of geocaching while travelling, is that locals often hide caches in all sorts of interesting locations. Places that unaware visitors might otherwise pass by. That was certainly the case with Lumaha’i Beach.

IMG_6370As you can see, we found our geocache. And the perfect place for a few photos of us wearing our leis!

Rich and Sue on Lumaha’i Beach

Rich and Sue on Lumaha’i Beach

Purple Pacific Princess

Purple Pacific Princess

Sue gets taken unawares on Lumaha’i Beach

Sue gets taken unawares on Lumaha’i Beach

We Ses had to get in on the act, too!

We Ses had to get in on the act, too!

Visit the dedicated section on my website to learn more about geocaching.

This post was inspired by the themes Containers (from Ben of the Daily Post) and Purple (from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?).

While you’re still breathless at the beauty of Lumaha’i Beach, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Wooden Covered Bridges, a North American Tradition

I just love covered bridges. They’re so traditional and iconically North American. Here are a few examples I’ve come across on my Journeys on this great continent.

Tradition squared - a Mennonite wagon crosses a covered bridge (West Montrose, ON)

Tradition squared – a Mennonite wagon crosses a covered bridge (West Montrose, ON)

Me at Swartz covered bridge (Wyandot, OH)

Me at Swartz Covered Bridge (Wyandot, OH)

A newer-looking covered bridge in Redwood State Park (near Crescent City, CA)

A newer-looking covered bridge in Redwood State Park (near Crescent City, CA)

Sachs covered bridge reflected in the mirror-smooth waters of Marsh Creek (Gettysburg, PA)

Sachs Covered Bridge reflected in the mirror-smooth waters of Marsh Creek (Gettysburg, PA)

Baltimore covered bridge is tiny (Springfield, VT)

Baltimore Covered Bridge is tiny (Springfield, VT)

Blenheim Covered Bridge (North Blenheim, NY). This was the longest single span covered wooden bridge in the world, until it was sadly destroyed by Hurricane Irene on August 28th, 2011.

Blenheim Covered Bridge (North Blenheim, NY). This was the longest single span covered wooden bridge in the world, until it was sadly destroyed by Hurricane Irene on August 28th, 2011.

This post was inspired by the themes Wood/Spring (from Cee of Cee’s Photography) and Traditional (from Sue of A Word in Your Ear)

While you’re dreaming about crossing a rickety old covered bridge during a spring Sunday drive, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

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The Monuments of Glencolumbkille, Ireland

People have been farming Glencolumbkille (which translates as the Valley of Colm Cille, also known as Saint Columba) on the west coast of County Donegal in Ireland for over 5000 years. Over that time they’ve left their mark on the landscape and the structures they’ve erected.

Cross Pillar in the village Striad is over 6 feet tall and was probably carved between 1200 - 1300 years ago

This Cross Pillar in the village of Striad is over 6 feet tall and was probably carved 1200-1300 years ago

In the foreground is another cross pillar, which has broken in half at some point (the top is on the left)

In the foreground is another decorated cross pillar, which has broken in half at some point (the top is on the left)

Colmcille’s Well, surrounded by a large stone cairn

Colmcille’s Well, surrounded by a large stone cairn

View south across part of Glencolumbkille. A number of enclosures and cairns are visible on the hill in the foreground.

View south across part of Glencolumbkille. A number of enclosures and cairns are visible on the hill in the foreground.

In front of St Columba's church, Sue crouches beside Straid Court Tomb, a burial mound dating to about 3000 BC.

In front of St Columba’s church, Sue crouches beside Straid Court Tomb, a burial mound dating to about 3000 BC.

Cloghanmore Court Tomb at sunset

Cloghanmore Court Tomb at sunset

This post was inspired by the themes Relic (from Donncha of the Daily Post) and Decoration (from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?).

While you’re delving the depths of Irish history, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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The Colosseum, Rome – Bucket List Destination #91

IMG_1972There’s not much I can say about Rome’s iconic Colosseum that hasn’t already been said hundreds of times over. The graceful, curving walls of this atmospheric amphitheatre have been filling visitors with awe for almost two thousand years. Thankfully, a trip to the Colosseum usually comes with less bloodshed and horror these days!

The Roman Forum, with the Colosseum in the background

The Roman Forum, with the Colosseum in the background

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Inside the amphitheatre, where people and animals once fought to the death

Inside the amphitheatre, where people and animals once fought to the death: I think I see some of their ghosts!

Thankfully, the greatest peril I faced was being knocked off the railing by an unsuspecting tourist

Thankfully, the greatest peril I faced was being knocked off the railing by an unsuspecting tourist

Circles and Curves abound inside this architectural marvel

Circles and Curves abound inside this architectural marvel

This post was inspired by the themes Circles and Curves (from Cee of Cee’s Photography) and Fight! Fight! Fight! (from Nancy of Nancy Merrill Photography)

With some friends at the Forum

With some friends at the Forum

While you’re daydreaming about Romans and gladiators, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

Posted in Adventure, Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments