Today will be the last full day we spend in our condo home in Tustin. It is bittersweet. I am so excited to move into a bigger home with a nursery, a large backyard, and soon to be a big studio, but I will also miss this place. We have had so many wonderful memories here and it was a good home to us for 4 years. We never took a photo out front when we moved in – whoops! – but here is us today, on our last day. Tomorrow we move out.
Last night Jenn and I finished our packing and planning. We are trying not to take as much stuff as we did in Paris this year, and even less than the previous Paris 2010 trip. Flights begin in the morning with a stop off in Washington DC, then on to Dublin. We will spend a few nights in downtown Dublin before getting our rental car and zipping (HA! more like leasurly stroling) through the countryside. We have several B&Bs lined up for that country house feeling of the Irish farm. All in all two and a half weeks around the whole country from Northern Ireland to the southern most tip. From politically divided towns to devine crystal carings from Waterford it will be a trip to remember. Join us by following Jenn or myself on Facebook to get daily updates on the photos and the blog posts.
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon natural geothermal hot springs
The Blue Lagoon geothermal hot springs in Iceland are one of the most popular hot springs in the world. Rated by National Geographic as one of their bucket-list places to visit. The hot springs are fed by a near by geothermal power plant which takes super heated water from 6000 ft within the earth to create steam to power the turbine. The pools are the excess water pumped up from within the earth and are at a consistent 102°F. Your average spa is set to 103°F. In Iceland the summer months have mild day time temperatures to allow slowly dip into thw warm water, however in the winter the outside air temp can be hovering around 32°F… you will see just how fast can you jump into the water.
Recent films or shows shot in Iceland were Prometheus, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, James Bond: Die Another Day, Amazing Race, America’s Top Model & the Bachelorette.
We are going to the I-lands, Ireland and Iceland! We just booked our flight to Reykjavik this afternoon and are extremely excited about it. I am sure you are wondering why we want to go to a frozen land during the coldest month of the year? Two words… aurora borealis. In the longer days of winter, in the higher latitudes you get the best conditions for the auroras. Jenn and I are going to pack our warm clothes, grab our camera gear and hop a plane to Iceland. When we land there will be only 4 hours of “daylight” when the sun is in the sky, the remainder of the time will be twilight or night as the earth spins away from the sun.
From Wikipedia, the universal source for all known knowledge:
An aurora (plural: aurorae or auroras) is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth’s magnetic field into the atmosphere. Aurora is classified as diffuse or discrete aurora. Most aurorae occur in a band known as the auroral zone,which is typically 3° to 6° in latitudinal extent and at all local times or longitudes. The auroral zone is typically 10° to 20° from the magnetic pole defined by the axis of the Earth’s magnetic dipole. During a geomagnetic storm, the auroral zone will expand to lower latitudes. The diffuse aurora is a featureless glow in the sky which may not be visible to the naked eye even on a dark night and defines the extent of the auroral zone. The discrete aurora are sharply defined features within the diffuse aurora which vary in brightness from just barely visible to the naked eye to bright enough to read a newspaper at night. Discrete aurorae are usually observed only in the night sky because they are as bright as the sunlit sky. Aurorae occasionally occur poleward of the auroral zone as diffuse patches or arcs (polar cap arcs), which are generally invisible to the naked eye.
In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from farther away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction. Discrete aurorae often display magnetic field lines or curtain-like structures, and can change within seconds or glow unchanging for hours, most often in fluorescent green.
Photos from our most recent trip:
We had a blast eating and drinking our way through the city. We never ate the same kind of food twice since there is so much to choose from! Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, English, American, Italian, etc! We even went to see how they make fortune cookies. On our last day we took a hike down to Marshall Beach for some spectacular views of the Golden Gate right before it got completely socked in by fog. Lots of cable car rides completed this fun filled weekend.
Royal Caribbean in Alaska
Our Alaska cruise is just over 3 weeks away and I am getting excited. We have made most of our plans with our friends Denise & Spank and Elise & Bruce for our excursions and outings while on the cruise. Our four friends will be doing a 4-5 day land tour of Denali and Anchorage sights before the cruise while Jenn and I are arriving just before the cruise departs. It will be a trip of a life time for them, and a very fun and exciting cruise for us.
The cruise is a 7 day southward bound journey along the inside passage. We will be stopping at the Hubbard Glacier, Seward, Skagway and many other luscious green towns along the Alaskan coast. Some of our adventure activities include ziplines, mountain train rides, and an up close and personal whale watching trip with only the 6 of us on the boat (plus a captian). The trip has been in the works since September 2010 and it is only 3 weeks away… yay!