“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Snorkeling Silfra (Iceland)
I love Iceland. A lot. And one of the best things I’ve done this year is snorkel Silfra. Silfra is a rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, and just happens to be within a glacial lake. This obviously means it’s very cold (2 – 4 degrees) so you have to wear a dry suit (and thus get your cheeks squashed by the dry suit hood and look absolutely ridiculous. Surprisingly I’ve deleted all photographic evidence of this.)
Because you’re dressed as a rubbery marshmallow you easily float on top of the water, and look down into what I can only describe as another world. Look at the colours! The water itself is so clean and pure (it’s as pristine as you can get) and the visibility here is over 100m, which is an experience that can rarely be (if ever) duplicated anywhere else.
Because your head is submerged in water, and everyone is slowly floating around, all you can hear is your own breathing. Because you float, you don’t need to try to move. Because your snorkeling you can’t talk about anything. All you have to do is focus on the beauty around you. It was a magical experience.
Discovering Copenhagen (Denmark)
The original reason I picked Copenhagen as a destination was due to cost. Although it’s not a cheap destination once you’re there, you can fly from London to Copenhagen really cheaply – the flights I purchased were £40pp for a return. I honestly had no idea how much I would fall in love with the city.
Normally on city breaks I go at full speed all day, seeing as much as I can, but Copenhagen was so different for us: within being there for about 3 hours, I already knew I wanted to return. So, we took things a lot slower and didn’t actually do much. We just wandered around in a happy little bubble, because we both felt so in sync with Copenhagen. We loved the buildings, the people, the food, the lifestyle. I was a little swayed already by reading The Year of Living Danishly (which details why Denmark is continually considered one of the happiest nations on the planet) but just felt so peaceful and happy there.
It’s now our goal to move to Denmark one day, especially if we want to start a family.
Voutoumi Beach and the Blue Caves (Paxos and Antipaxos, Greece)
So, I love the idea of beaches & the sea. I like to look at them and mentally picture myself sunkissed laying on the sand, or effortlessly gliding through the perfect blue water. In reality though… I get knocked down by pretty much any wave, swim like a disabled albeit happy labrador retrieving a ball, hate sand on wet skin, can’t walk on anything remotely pebbly without squawking and die a little bit inside when seaweed touches me.
So when I went to Corfu this year I didn’t really envision myself spending much time at the actual beach. Admiring them at a comfortable distance, yes, spending more than an hour there, no.
This completely changed when we did a boat trip around Paxos and Antipaxos. These islands are tiny and beautiful. (And I mean tiny… They only have 5 taxi drivers on the entire island, a fact that meant we almost missed our ferry back to Corfu; just as we were mentally preparing to pay out £150+ for one night at a hotel in Paxos, I found some fellow Brits with a car and begged them to take us to the port. I actually cried with relief when they said yes.)
We did several stops on this tour (I think I will write a separate post about Corfu, Paxos & Antipaxos and detail it all there) but two really stood out. The first was the blue caves of Paxos. I can be pretty lazy here and hold back on describing it, because the photos tell you everything you need to know. Here we were allowed to jump off the boat and swim in the pristine water. My boyfriend who never swims in the sea was literally so happy swimming here.
The second stop was Voutoumi beach on Antipaxos. You can only reach this beach by boat, but it is, without a seconds doubt, worth it. It’s absolutely the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. You can see from the above I’m not someone to usually wax lyrical about beaches, but this one is stunning. The water couldn’t be clearer and the sand is so soft, like talcum powder. I didn’t know sand could feel this different.