Black Lava Beaches on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland

One of the most interesting things that we’ve seen in our travels are the black lava beaches in Iceland. There are several of them on the island, but we visited the ones that are on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. They are especially interesting when seen during winter when the black of the lava contrasts with the white of the snow. As time goes by, the larger lava rocks slowly erode to an almost sandy appearance, but it is still quite rough. We stood for quite some time just watching the waves pounding against the rocky shore, the power of nature in all of its glory.

IMGP7015
Amazing Black Beach
imgp7012
Lava Rocks on the Shore
IMGP7026
Lava Cliffs

To get to the black beaches on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you go into the Snæfellsjökull National Park and head toward the Malariff Lighthouse. From there you simply continue to the shore where the beaches line the coast. You will also get a chance to see the twin peaks of Lóndrangar, which are huge lava rocks along the shore that have survived years of erosion. As we continued down the coast away from Malariff, we came across even more dramatic lava rocks on the shoreline. The lava has been carved into sheer cliffs with the waves crashing along their base. Even further along the coast, we came across large lava fields along the shore that almost looked like we had been transported to a foreign planet.

IMGP7048
Rocky Lava Coastline
DSC_0107_day3
Waves Rolling Ashore
IMGP7039
Rugged Lava Carved Out by the Ocean

Visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which has been described as Iceland in miniature, is definitely something that should be seen during any trip to Iceland. For many reasons, seeing the black beaches along the coast is something that we found extremely beautiful as well as geologically fascinating.

IMGP7047
Snow, Lava, and the Ocean
IMGP7013
Rock Formations at Lóndrangar
IMGP7046
Alien Landscape Along the Coast

 

Carlsbad Village in California

If you are looking for a relaxing stay along the Pacific coast in California, then visiting Carlsbad might just be the perfect choice for you. Located about 30 miles north of San
Diego, Carlsbad is a resort town with many restaurants, public beaches, and a very walkable downtown area which is called Carlsbad Village. We spent close to a week there and enjoyed walking the beach, watching sunsets, and even went on a wine tasting tour. On Wednesday’s, the heart of the village shuts down to allow for a farmer’s market with a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, art work, and other local items for sale. We also happened to be there the weekend before Halloween and the local shops provide candy and a safe environment for families to go trick-or-treating.

DSC_7962
Beach Style Architecture
DSC_8119
Vineyards in Temecula
DSC_7988
Farmer’s Market
DSC_8030
One of the Sunsets
DSC_7987
European Style Architecture

Carlsbad Village is certainly charming with a variety of architecture from typical beach-style buildings to some old-world type buildings. There are many different shops offering boutique clothing, beach clothes, gift items, as well as unique artwork. There are as many restaurants as there are shops offering a variety of meal choices. Although you can certainly find any type of food that you might want, the majority of restaurants offered seafood, Mexican food, and Italian. We had some wonderful meals during our stay.

DSC_8142
Busy Beach on the Weekend
DSC_8000
Fresh Vegetables at the Farmer’s Market
DSC_8034
Another Sunset on the Beach
DSC_7979
Shopping Area
DSC_7986
Town Sign

Clearly the beach is the highlight of going to Carlsbad and if you are a surfer, you won’t be disappointed. It was a little too cool while we were there to swim in the ocean as the fog rolled in every morning and didn’t always burn completely off keeping the temperatures low. That didn’t keep us from walking along the beach though, watching the surfers, and making sure to catch some beautiful sunsets. Even in the off-season, the town got quite busy on the weekend as people from the surrounding areas come to take advantage of their beach properties.

IMG_0208
Surfers on the Beach
DSC_7972
Walking the Beach
DSC_7966
Not Too Busy During the Week
DSC_7993
Fresh Seafood at the Farmer’s Market
DSC_8139
Tropical Flower

We took a wine tour in Temecula where we visited four different wineries and tasted a wonderful variety of wines. Napa Valley certainly has the best known reputation for producing quality wines, but Temecula certainly has a right to be proud of their growing reputation. Not only do they have a lot of vineyards currently, the hillsides are being covered with new ones as the city has approved additional vineyards to be started. Although you can certainly drive yourself on a wine tour, it is best to let someone else do the driving. We tasted up to six types of wine at each vineyard, which even in small amounts is a lot of wine.

DSC_8041
Temecula has a Tuscan Feel
DSC_8101
Vineyard About a Month After Harvest
DSC_8050
Wine Casks
DSC_8055
Looking Up the Hillside
DSC_8067
New Vineyard in the Distance

Carlsbad Village is definitely an enjoyable destination with a relaxing atmosphere. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and all of the food and shopping make staying their a wonderful experience. There is also a train called the Coaster that will take you into San Diego if you want to spend some time their and go to Sea World, the world famous zoo, and other museums. Legoland is also a highlight of Carlsbad for those with children or just a child at heart.

IMG_0239
People Out for Halloween
IMG_0245
Kids and Candy
DSC_8126
Last Glimpse of the Sun
DSC_7977
More Architecture
DSC_8024
Just Another Day at the Beach

 

Do You Want to Get Away?

Remember that airline slogan? That is definitely the feeling that we’ve been having lately and today we are finally getting that opportunity. We leave later today to start our trip to Carlsbad, California, which is a located about 30 miles north of San Diego. It will be our first time visiting this city on the coast and we are certainly looking forward to some relaxing days exploring what the area has to offer.

IMG_2016
Sitting on the Tarmac During a Previous Flight
IMGP2880
Looking Forward to the Beach

Sunsets on the beach will certainly be on our itinerary and we are looking forward to enjoying some fresh seafood as well. There is a railway system that runs between the coastal towns and San Diego, so getting into the city to see some of the sights there should be easy to do in addition to seeing Carlsbad. We look forward to sharing images from our trip while we are there, but forgive us if we aren’t consistent with our posts.

IMGP6012
Looking Forward to Walking on the Beach
IMGP1854
Looking Forward to a Pacific Ocean Sunset