Volcanoes National Park

IMG_0668

The biggest reason I wanted to go to East Africa, Gorillas. There are two choices to see Gorillas, Rwanda or Uganda. I chose Rwanda.

Heading out to Volcanoes National Park I was really excited, months of anticipation and soon I would be hiking to see the Gorillas. I was going to see them in person. When you get to the park you are briefed on how to act around the Gorillas, how close you can get and are then put into a group of eight to head out to see your chosen group.

You have input on the length of walk but not much on which group you will see. My group was for a medium length walk to go see the Ntambara group. Then you get assigned a porter to help you on the hike. The porter is well worth the ten American dollars. My porter pulled me up some steep, slippery inclines, helped me avoid the stinging nettles and also reminded me to look at the beautiful views. He also carried my backpack, he was awesome.

porter

The hike is part of the journey and take it all in, Volcanoes National Park is a stunningly beautiful place.

IMG_0659

Seeing the gorillas for the first time, I actually squealed. After hiking for just over an hour and a half there was a clearing and there they were. It is hard to believe how close you can get to them, you can hear them chewing the bamboo.

The guys who over saw the gorillas and kept us at a safe distance:

Gorilla Group

My first view of the gorillas:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Rwanda

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just got back from a trip to East Africa. It was incredible, it exceeded every expectation.

When choosing a tour my main focus was Gorillas first and Rwanda second. I really wanted to go to Rwanda. Land of a thousand hills. It is, while travelling in Rwanda you find yourself constantly going up and down hills, getting a new view at the top of each rise. I had also heard that Rwanda was beautiful and it did not disappoint.

With the lush green and the red clay it is often breathtaking. It is hard to imagine what happened here and now seems to be doing very well. Kigali is the cleanest city I have ever been to and the people were warm and welcoming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Luther Burbank Park

Luther Burbank Park - Beach

The weather in Seattle was beautiful and we spent one afternoon at Luther Burbank Park. It’s on Mercer Island and it’s worth the trip. As you can see above there are beaches and lovely walking trails.

Luther Burbank Park

There is a large fenced in off leash dog area and a beach the seemed to be just for dogs. Many swimming and splashing around having the time of their life. It’s a great park to spend a sunny afternoon.

When we were leaving we came across a sculpture called “The Source”.

Luther Burbank Park - Sculpture

I don’t know, it was weird. It looks like something used for sacrifices. Really. It has the rock as you can see and there is a drain in the rock that then allows the liquid to flow in a circle away from the stone. Very strange and kinda creepy. Also the long shadows are me and my friends staring at it going….. WTF?

The Eggs of Merry Bay

Eggs of Merry Bay 1

These are 34 eggs created by Icelandic sculptor Sigurður Guðmundsson in Djupivogur village at Gleðivík otherwise known as Merry Bay. The eggs are each from a species found in the area, 34 in all and each just a little different.

They line the perimeter of the bay.
Eggs of Merry Bay 4

The whole effect is quite beautiful and they are also wonderful to touch.
Eggs of Merry Bay 6 Eggs of Merry Bay 5 Eggs of Merry Bay 2 Eggs of Merry Bay 3

The Comfort Of Moss

Moss Iceland 1

Moss covers so much of Iceland. It makes for a beautiful landscape, incredibly surreal.
Moss Iceland 2

I took photo after photo because I just loved it.
Moss Iceland 3 Moss Iceland 4

Then I laid down on it. It is so comfortable! It’s like memory foam, I almost didn’t get back up. If you are looking for a place to put your weary head and have a lovely nap (probably with the sound of a waterfall in the background) Iceland is the place to go.
Moss Iceland 5

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Sólheimajökull Glacier 10
Sólheimajökull Glacier 7

That is the snout or tongue of the Sólheimajökull Glacier. The actual glacier is massive and from this point of view you can only see a small tip of it. You can do hikes with guides out onto the glacier and next time I go to Iceland I’m totally going to do one. It’s a crazy landscape and it’s hard to get the perspective of how big it is.

Here is a picture with people that give you some idea:
Sólheimajökull Glacier 11

There are crevices that look blue and that’s volcanic ash and not dirt making the glacier look dirty.
Sólheimajökull Glacier 1 Sólheimajökull Glacier 2 Sólheimajökull Glacier 5 Sólheimajökull Glacier 6

Also big rocks left behind as it melted:
Sólheimajökull Glacier 3 Sólheimajökull Glacier 9
Sólheimajökull Glacier 4

Countryside Iceland

Scenery Iceland 3

Today it’s just some beautiful photos of the countryside in Iceland.
Scenery Iceland 1 Scenery Iceland 2

Here is Eyjafjallajökull volcano the one that caused all the problems in 2010. Yes it created havoc with air travel but it also creates havoc by causing lots of flooding. The eruption causes the glacier to melt and the run off creates all sorts of problems.
 Eyjafjallajökull Iceland

A Turkey!
Turkey Iceland

Ducks!
Ducks Iceland

Horseback Riding In Iceland

Horse Riding Iceland 1

Iceland horses are so adorable. On the small side with their long manes and friendly ways it was love at first site.

They also seem to love each other:
Horse Riding Iceland 2

We went for an hour long trail ride where the scenery was unbelievable. Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced “Ay-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl-uh”) in the distance, it’s the volcano the caused all those problems with air traffic in 2010. Now it looks beautiful and you can also see a bit of the glacier. 
Horse Riding Iceland 3 Eyjafjallajökull Iceland

I got to ride Sausalito, she was lovely! A little head strong and stubborn, so a bit like the rider.
Horse Riding Iceland 4

We went through lush fields:
Horse Riding Iceland 5

Along a well worn path:
Horse Riding Iceland 7

Through a river:
Horse Riding Iceland 6

Here I am on her (very long shadows in Iceland):
Shadow Iceland

Definitely want to return and do it all again!