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Thursday, 23 August 2018

Geocaching Adventures - The Golden Circle

Here's the behind the scenes info on Geocaching Adventures - The Golden Circle. It's episode two of season one, and our second full day in Iceland.

If you haven't caught this episode yet, here it is so you can get caught up.



Where  Did We Go?

In this episode we spent the day on the Golden Circle Tour. This is likely the most popular tour you take take in Iceland as it hits all the major well known attractions in one day. 

The route involves "circling" the southern part of the island nation on the major highway system, taking you from Reykjavik to Gullfoss, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park. There are plenty other stops of interest along the way, and the highway route "circles" you back to Reykjavik. 

This does take a full day in order to maximize the enjoyment of the stops, so plan for that.

Here's some more info on where we stopped:
 An interesting point is that we did the tour "backwards" to what many tour organizers do, but it worked out best that way; Gullfoss and Geysir can get very crowded in the later afternoons.

A pano shot of Thingvellir National Park from the upper parkade and observation deck.
 

What Geocaches Did We Find?



There were some other caches, including a WhereIGo that requires you to visit multiple parks in the Golden Circle to complete it and find the cache.

What Else Did We See?

 
We made a couple other interesting stops, including one to visit with some Icelandic horses. These creatures are pretty fascinating not only because extremely strict breeding and import/export laws allow them to be the only breed of horse bred here, but also because they have a unique "pace" they travel at that other horses cannot. 

There was a stop in the morning at a small market with a fantastic deli along Highway 1 before we made the long stretch out to Gullfoss.

Want to Know More?


If you have questions, please post them in the comments section below, or use Twitter @LANMonkeyGC and I'm happy to do my best to answer them.

Are you interested in planning this trip yourself? Well you can rent a car and drive it - all roads are quite passable. Or, Google "Golden Circle Iceland" and you'll get tons of options.


If there is something else that would be helpful or interesting to you, please make sure to leave a comment. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it on social media and use @LANMonkeyGC so I can thank you.




LANMonkey's Geocaching Adventures are written by Jay Kennedy, outdoor adventurer and photo-journalist. All content is affiliated with the Wander Network. Experience his adventures on Twitter and Instagram by following @LANMonkeyGC, and subscribing to LANMonkey on YouTube. He is also a regular co-host of the Caching in the Northwest geocaching podcast. 

 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Geocaching Adventures Iceland - The Blue Lagoon

This is the second article to accompany S1E1 of Geocaching Adventures; "Iceland, Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon."

Haven't seen the video yet? Oh no! Here's your chance right now!
 

Here's some great news; I heard that you wanted to know more about the Blue Lagoon Spa so I'm providing some personal insights on that visit.

Where Is It?

First off, where is it? The Blue Lagoon Spa is located a short drive from Keflavik, or just under an hour from Reykjavik, on the Southern Peninsula.

How Do I Get In?


There are two types of "standard" entry, and then the more luxurious "Retreat Spa" option.  You should really book ahead via their website; they have a schedule/ticket system that's quite easy to use.
The two types of standard entry are called comfort or premium.  Staff in the pool know which entry you've paid for by the coloured RFID wristband you'll be wearing. 

Once through the front doors, there will be two lineups - one for tour groups, and the other for non-tour guests. The staff is highly efficient at getting you signed in, giving you your wristband and towel, and directing you to the change rooms.

What Should I Expect When I Get There?


Both entries get you access to the lagoon, a silica mud mask, use of a towel, locker for your stuff, and one free drink. The premium upgrade gets you use of a bathrobe and slippers, a second mud mask, and reservations to their on-site restaurant. 


Honestly, you get the full experience with the comfort entry which costs about 79EU, and the upgrade to premium is around 102EU. We didn't even consider the 280EU "retreat spa" option. We really enjoyed the comfort entry for the 3 or so hours we were there.

Off you get to the change rooms. You must shower before lagoon entry, and the free lockers work off of the RFID wristbands. A very cool system and all instructions are in English and several other languages. It's really hard to mess up!

Once you're showered and ready for the lagoon you make your way out and into the WARM water. It looks murky/cloudy, and the temperature ranges from spot to spot - as you get closer or nearer to the water inflows. 

Generally the bottom is flat and a bit gritty, and the water is super-buoyant. Most of the pool is at an average depth of just over a metre, but it does range slightly.

What Do I Do There?

Now that you are enjoying the warm waters, explore around and head to the mud-mask bar! They will ladel out (literally) a big handful of warm silica mud to apply to your face, and give you instructions such as "not in your eyes, nose or mouth" which is maybe obvious but important. 

The mud really feels like wet drywall mudding, and once applied to your face beings to dry quickly. You are expected to wear it for no more than 10 minutes, then you dip underwater to wash it off. Now you see one of the reasons the water is so cloudy!

After rejuvenating your face, head over to the opposite side of the lagoon and queue up for the in-water bar. They have a wide selection of pop and juice, you can also get red or white "house" wine, or a local beer. They even have a couple flavours of the Icelandic equivalent of a slurpee/slushie style iced drink. 

Amusingly, it's called Krap.


You can enjoy your drink anywhere in the pool, but they prefer you don't roam too far with it, and that you use the provided receptacles for your empty plastic cup.

You are expected to keep your visit in the Lagoon to about 2 hours, after which you head back to the change room for another shower.

The change rooms are very well appointed with hair-dryers, mirrors, and all the basic amenities so you can dry off and clean up nicely for the rest of your day.


I hope this info has been interesting, and maybe even helpful! 

If there is something else that would be helpful or interesting to you, please make sure to leave a comment. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it on social media and use @LANMonkeyGC so I can thank you.




LANMonkey's Geocaching Adventures are written by Jay Kennedy, outdoor adventurer and photo-journalist. All content is affiliated with the Wander Network. Experience his adventures on Twitter and Instagram by following @LANMonkeyGC, and subscribing to LANMonkey on YouTube. He is also a regular co-host of the Caching in the Northwest geocaching podcast. 





Thursday, 9 August 2018

Geocaching Adventures Iceland - Behind the Scenes Day 1

Accompanying each episode of Geocaching Adventures we'll provide a "behind the scenes" blog article to give you details on the cool adventures you saw in the video.  

What should you expect here? Things like: 

  • GC codes for the caches we found
  • Maps of where we traveled
  • Photos and video that didn't make the cut but were still cool
  • Some of the fun stories we just couldn't squeeze into the videos


This is the first of these articles and it accompanies S1E1 of Geocaching Adventures; "Iceland, Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon."

Haven't seen the video yet? Oh no! Here's your chance right now!

How Did We Get There?

First things first, right? So our trip planning was largely (almost entirely!) done via the fact that we signed up for a Landsharkz Geocaching Adventure. We've previously joined them for their Alaskan Adventure and had so much fun we signed up for this Baltic one also.

As for the nitty gritty of our travel, we flew IcelandAir from YVR in Vancouver, BC to KEF in Keflavik, Iceland


Pro Tips - unless you can get by for six hours on a bag of pretzels, bring food on the plane with you. Standard fares do not include meals. Also, check your carry-on baggage size, as IcelandAir may have slightly smaller carry-on restrictions than you may be accustomed to.

There is another airport right at Reykjavik, but the primary airport for travel in and out of Iceland is KEF.

Once we landed, we did not need taxis or rental cars as we were part of an organized tour group picked up directly by bus from the airport.

There is however the opportunity for car rentals, taxis, and a shuttle bus that can take you from KEF to Reykjavik, which is about 45 minutes away.


Where Did We Go?

Before we went into Reykjavik, our group did a tour of the Southern peninsula where the KEF airport is, an area called Reykjanes. This is a drive  that I would highly recommend as it takes you to some extraordinary sights that really aren't that far from the airport. 

Key stops of note in this area include:
  • Midlina - the bridge across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
  • Gunnuhver - mudpools and steam vents


  • Reykjanesta - spectacular cliffs and basalt formations dropping into the Atlantic



After our drive-about tour we headed to Reykjavik and some folks did an organized city tour, but as the city was quite walkable for us Monkeys, we chose to opt out and walked around a fairly sizable loop (a few km's). 

Reykjavik - Capital city of Iceland


The Blue Lagoon - World-famous geothermal spa


What Caches Did We Find?

Here's a list of some of the geocaches we found and would recommend. There were more, but these are at least some highlights to get you started!

Naissance d'acier - GC6CVP8

Midlina - GC2DK2E
Gunnuhver - GC3112E
The Unknown Bureaucrat - GC7B6YN

In a crevice among some large rocks ... - GC5ARP6

Bláa lónið - Blue lagoon - Blaue Lagune - GC25643






I hope this info has been interesting, and maybe even helpful! 

If there is something else that would be helpful or interesting to you, please make sure to leave a comment. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it on social media and use @LANMonkeyGC so I can thank you.




LANMonkey's Geocaching Adventures are written by Jay Kennedy, outdoor adventurer and photo-journalist. All content is affiliated with the Wander Network. Experience his adventures on Twitter and Instagram by following @LANMonkeyGC, and subscribing to LANMonkey on YouTube. He is also a regular co-host of the Caching in the Northwest geocaching podcast.