What to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik – one of the coldest cities but one of the most enjoyable cities I have visited.  It all started with a discussion with a friend about the Northern Lights.  Everyone has seen them, whether it be on TV or in pictures.  I always have the “wow” factor and am mesmerized by them.  To see them has always been a dream.  Unfortunately, like my experience with the Pyramids, I am yet to be amazed.  You will feel my frustration more below.  For now, I would like to tell you about the other two activities that were fun and adrenaline filled and something I would definitely recommend.

1. The Golden Circle Tour with Snowmobiling

With excursions to the best and biggest Icelandic Natural attractions this tour took me to the Geysir Geothermal Area, Thingvellir Nation Park and the Gullfoss Waterfall.  We then ended with a fun-fuelled snowmobile tour on top of Iceland’s largest glacier.

I had an early start for an all day tour but it was great! In the Geothermal area I saw hot pools and hot springs.  Although the Geysir does not erupt anymore, the Srokkur was sprouting as high as 40m every few minutes.  The heat was great, the smell not so much!

The waterfall was amazing.  Standing close to the edge I could feel the spray on my face and the earth shake.  Don’t expect to talk to anyone near this, the sound of the thundering water is extremely loud – you can’t even hear your inner voice!

My favourite part of the tour was the snowmobiling activity.  I still speak to my friends about this a year later.  Travelling through a glacier and imagining myself in an Ice Age movie, this was not only beautiful and mesmerising but I was most definitely appealed to my inner competitor mode as sped through the snow trying to beat my other tour members!  By the way, wearing the jump suit and feeling like an astronaut on the moon was not a bad feeling either

2. The Blue Lagoon

Imagine a massive spa, and then throw that out of your mind.  Now image a spa in Heaven.  The Blue Lagoon is the most amazing spa in the world (according to me).  An outdoor heated ocean with in-water massages was pure bliss after an activity filled holiday.  Book your massages in advance to avoid disappointment and enjoy a great spot of lunch or dinner in the lovely indoor restaurant.  There are also natural exfoliating products that are on the rocks on the side of the ocean.  Enjoy seeing everyone swim with their heads above the water in white exfoliating masks – fun sight!  On a serious note, this is one of the greatest places for relaxation and I most defiantly recommend anyone to visit even if it means getting a cheap plane ticket, just to go there and come back a day later!

3. Northern Lights

As I stated earlier, this was a dream to see.  But unfortunately I was disappointed.  Of course if someone said to me is it worth going to Iceland to see the lights I would say yes BUT you are lucky if you actually see them.  It was frustrating not being able to experience what you see in the pictures, but I guess sometimes it is just pot luck.  We had landed in the evening and found a tour that night.  It was extremely cold and I was not used to such extreme temperatures, plus I was tired.  The tour started at 12am and lasted for 2 hours.  We drove to the outskirts and then had to disembark the coach and look up in to the sky which was pitch black.  I guess if I had seen what I had dreamed I would see, I would be writing a different account, but unfortunately you do need to be prepared to see nothing and just settle for the pictures! The Northern Lights did not shine for me that night.

In conclusion, Iceland is amazing.  The food and drink is lovely, the hotels are accommodating and the nightlight is party central! I had a great time and would recommend the destination to anyone.  I would most definitely go back just for the snowmobiling and blue lagoon, and maybe next time I will get lucky and see the Northern Lights!

About the author:  This article was written by Nishma Shah for FHR Airport Hotels and Parking

Is Central America That Dangerous?

Due to its climate, interesting culture and the varied activities available, Central America is a popular tourist destination. Central America consists of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama. As this is a popular destination there are many airlines providing discount fairs. However, one concern that people have about travelling to this area of the world is their safety and this is something that many tourists enquire about before booking their holiday. Yet are their concerns founded? Here is an overview of the safety of the countries in Central America.

Belize

As a developing nation there is still a lot of crime in Belize including violent crime and muggings, especially in Belize City. However, this is not necessarily aimed at tourists. By using a little common sense they can take measures to avoid being a victim of crime in this country. For example, it is suggested that travellers should store their money safely and that they should not use taxis unless the green license plates are clearly displayed.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is considered one of the safest country in Central America although there are issues with car crime and a disregard for traffic laws. Advice for visitors to this country are not to park their cars in urban streets and to avoid areas with a busy night-life, such as Limon, San Jose, Jaco and Puntarenas.

Guatemala

This is a reasonably safe country to visit with very few visitors having any problems. However, some crimes, such as rape and armed robbery, have increased in recent years. An area that is best avoided is Zone 1 in Guatemala City because this is notoriously the most dangerous area. Antigua is also another area where crime is on the rise and caution should be taken by tourists. In both of these areas of Guatemala it is recommended that you do not travel at night.

Bando Beach, Utila, Islas de la Bahía, Honduras.

Honduras

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is possibly the most dangerous of the Central American countries to visit. Travellers are encouraged by the US State Department to be responsible for their own safety by not travelling at night, locking their car doors and not carrying large sums of money around with them.

Le volcan Momotombo (Nicaragua)

Nicaragua

Overall, this is probably the safest Central American country. However, as with all countries, there are still some areas where crime is more likely. Reports suggest that violent crime has risen in Managua and this area is best avoid after nightfall. Advice that is specific to safety in this country is to avoid violent political demonstrations, but most travellers to Central America will be going to enjoy their holiday rather than involving themselves in foreign politics!

Panama

Although Panama is known as a country that is involved with drugs due to its proximity to Columbia, it is a relatively safe destination for tourists. Petty theft and credit card fraud are two of the major concerns in Panama so travellers are warned to take care when withdrawing from cash machines and to avoid using credit cards unless it is absolutely necessary.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to visiting Central America including the culture and climate. However, many travellers are concerned about the safety of these countries because of crime. As with most countries some areas have a greater problem with crime and others that are peaceful areas to visit. By avoiding the notorious areas and taking some basic safety precautions, visitors to Central America can have a wonderful and memorable holiday.

Movies that Inspire People to Travel

People love watching movies especially when they are shot at some exotic cities. How many of us have watched movies about travel and yearned to see such places in our lifetime? Very often, we get tempted to visit these beautiful places that we see on screen and experience adventures of our own. Listed below are the best travel movies that will definitely release the wanderlust in you!

under-the-tuscan-sun1

Under the Tuscan Sun

Diana Lane, the actress acts a Frances, a young woman who decides to take a vacation to Italy. She falls in love with the place and buys a Villa, in Tuscany, where she hopes to enjoy a better life. The movie is shot in Tuscany and you see beautiful towns which are built on the hill sides with majestic mountains in the background. You can easily get carried away with these amazing views and probably want to head to Tuscany and buy yourself a villa there!

Somethings’ Gotta Give

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson act as a young couple, Erica Barry and Harry Sanborn, in this romantic comedy. They are brought together by circumstances and end up living together in her beach house in the Hamptons. Erica acts as a playwright who yearns to live in Paris. The beach scenes, the sands and the lovely surroundings makes you wish you were there digging your toes in the sand and enjoying just relaxing on the beach with a bathing suit on! Many scenes are also shot in Paris with fabulous backdrops that make you wish you could head there and enjoy Paris in summer or in winter.

kill bill poster

Kill Bill

Uma Thurman acts in this movie as a bride who travels around the world to find her attackers and seek revenge. She was attacked and loses her unborn child in the mishap. Some of the scenes are shot in Tokyo, Japan where she is able to track down O-Ren Ishii, acted by Lucy Lui. Some of the night life is seen as lived in Tokyo and the last battle is shot in a Japanese garden that is covered in snow. This will certainly set your pulses racing as you see Japan from different angles. Yes, you will certainly wish to travel to Japan and see the place in person.

Ratatouille

This movie is all about a rat, Remy who lives in the countryside of France. He yearns to become as great a chef as Gusteau who firmly believes that cooking is an art everyone can learn. Remy travels to Paris in search of Gusteau’s restaurant and finds a human friend, Linguini. Linguini lives in a tiny studio apartment but the scenes that are shot lets you glimpse some fantastic views of Paris, the Eifel tower and many streets in Paris. If you watch this movie, you will also wish to go to Paris and sample the delicious French cuisine. Imagine the bliss of walking around in Paris with your loved one and dining in one of the fancy French restaurants!

High Road to China

This film starring Tom Selleck has been highly underrated and not everyone has heard of the same. It has been shot in the Himalayas and Central Asia where the views are simply “mind-boggling” You can see biplanes here that are sure to make you want to go there and fly in one!

The Lover

This film is shot in Vietnam during the French colonial era 1929. You see old crumbling ruins and ceiling fans in dark rooms where the afternoon light filters in through slatted wooden blinds. Many exotic scenes have been shot in the streets and the movie has been cleverly shot to let your imagination run riot about the illicit pleasures that are concealed behind those blinds. You feel the pulse of old Hanoi and can almost feel the humidity and heat that has been captured through the lens. This is another place you probably wish you could visit.

 

Veggie Food in Leeds

You might well imagine dining t’up north is all about legs of lamb and hearty, meaty roasts. Well, fear not, Vegetarian visitors—you’ll not go hungry in Leeds! If you’re on the hunt for excellent animal-friendly fare, this city boasts some of the finest dining in Britain. Here are our Top 5 Favourites for the meat-free foodie in and around Leeds:

1. Roots and Fruits Café—10 Grand Arcade, Leeds.

The clue is in the name here, and Roots and Fruits is all about beautiful meat-free sandwiches, gourmet vegan treats and delicious hot dishes. Dig into their generous all day breakfast menu, or stop by for a light bite before a show at the nearby Grand Theatre.

 

2. Cheerful Chilli Restaurant & Tea Rooms—Yorkgate Farm East Chevin Road, Otley.

The Cheerful Chilli prides itself on its eclectic menu and use of locally produced food, homegrown produce and fair trade products. The main dining area is in a converted farmhouse with a lovely courtyard perfect for outdoor dining on a sunny day. The Tea Rooms are open on the weekends and certainly cater to the vegetarian with a sweet-tooth! Enjoy your tea with the mouthwatering Pistachio and Rosewater Cake.

 

3. Hansa’s—72-74 North Street, Leeds.

Lovers of Indian cuisine will go crazy for a curry at Hansa’s. This family owned restaurant has been producing award winning Gujrati fare for over 25 years. The vast menu including several vegan friendly options make it the ideal choice for the ethical eater seeking to spice up their diet.

 

4. South Square Vegetarian Café— South Square Thornton Road Thornton, Bradford.

Known for its inventive salads and savoury veggie crumbles, the South Square Vegetarian Café is an excellent lunchtime pit stop for the hungry traveller. After your meal be sure to take a wander around the charming craft shop and art gallery.

 

5. Dandelion & Burdock

Though a bit further afield, Dandelion & Burdock is definitely worth the trip. Owner and chef David Wilson is dedicated to providing visitors a memorable and tasty vegan dining experience, with his creative dishes known to appeal to even the most dedicated of meat-eaters. Take a table overlooking the river to watch the ducks paddling by whilst you enjoy your entirely animal-free meal.

 

Along with chowing down on some of the UK’s best cruelty-free eats, Leeds-bound animal lovers should pencil in a visit the beautiful woodland grounds of Temple Newsam. There you’ll find the Home Farm, the largest rare breeds farm in Europe, and only one of 16 nationally approved by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Animal enthusiasts have the chance to pat some Portland sheep, Golden Guernsey goats and other specially protected breeds.

Are you heading to Leeds and looking for somewhere to stay? Consider the Holiday Inn Leeds Wakefield hotel for a great value accommodation option.