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My final full day in Iceland appeared out of nowhere. There I was, thinking I had a few more days. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Spent the night before trying to capture the northern lights. That ended up in a failure. Didn’t have the right equipment on me to take a quality photo. As seen in the picture below, the only lights my camera captured were lights made by humans.

Trying to take photo of the Northern lights photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

The morning afterwards was a little difficult to get up. I started to pack and get ready for the flight back home. Once done, I left my luggage in my rented locker and I was off to explore Iceland for a final time.

On another note, the awesome thing about Iceland is it’s features for tourists. One of those features are that most tours are at a reasonable price. Also, if you miss the Northern Lights, you have up to three years to go on the tour again. It is free and you can keep doing this until you see the natural phenomenon. Just remember the email to show the email receipt.

A small river photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Booked a last minute tour to see a few more sights around Iceland. Honestly, don’t remember what exact part of Iceland this was. Just knew it was somewhere in Southeast Iceland. Looking at the simple life of the Icelandic people, I noticed that fishing is a major part of their economy. I later learned that Iceland almost did not join the European Union. They had a fear of over-fishing from the other European members. That would cause their native fishes to go extinct. Of course, they made a deal and this freezing cold Island is now in the E.U.

Waterfalls photos courtesy of Hugo Morel

We ended up seeing more waterfalls. It’s hard to believe how many waterfalls are in Iceland. Still Iceland a has different charm to it. Most countries have big cities or human made tourist attraction. Iceland is very unlike other countries, all the tourist attractions are naturally made.

Ocean view photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

About 3 hours later, I went back to my hostel. Started exploring the surrounding areas again. Iceland is breathtaking, both with the bitter wind trying to freeze your lungs and the country’s beauty. It’s a shame that I will be leaving this behind but, this bitter cold is no joke! I will always be amazed to what this country has to offer.

Modern art of a viking ship photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

It’s hard to believe, how the Vikings used to travel around in this cold. Especially, traveling long distanced in the ocean. Iceland, I must visit you again. Next time when I come, it will definitely be during the summer time.

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

To start your own adventures, check out the link below.

You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/

Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw

Ever wanted to travel internationally with your family but thought it was impossible?

Check out the latest ebook “MVP Airport Hacks” by Madelin Vasquez Polanco

This ebook reveals all the travel hacks from getting through airport security stress-free to secret in flight hacks that you were never told.

https://www.amazon.com/Airport-Hacks-Madelin-Vasquez-Polanco-ebook/dp/B07SLT2R59/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=mvp+airport+hacks&qid=1559491184&s=gateway&sr=8-1&fbclid=IwAR1f_PtgzLp1N3-aOE176n3iN1lQTa7o5yhNVBk5IgdKdoH3s7oY8NYO7DU

Check out our e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0

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We started the morning very early before there was even sun out. It was 5 am and the cuban streets were silent with no sign of life. We prepared to check out of the first casa particular and gathered  ours bags and luggage. We caught what seemed to be the only taxi available in Central Havana and headed to Old Havana.

Our bus was set to arrive at 6 am so we wanted to make sure we arrived early. We arrived at Hotel Parque Central were the Transtur bus line would pick us up at. We were ready to embark on a 14-hour bus ride to Santiago de Cuba which is on the eastern side of the island. Little did we know, that we would  become a victim to CPT (Cuban People Time) yet once again. Our friend Andi waited with us to make sure we didn’t have any problems. It was at least an hour before the bus would arrive so my wife, the kids, and Andi slept on some very comfortable couches at the hotel. We were early so I decided to explore the hotel. There was a lot of cool artifacts and literature about Cuban history. It was an extremely fancy hotel with all kind of foreigners and tourists. I made sure to check for the bus so I wouldn’t miss it.

Hotel Parque Central. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

6 am arrived and still no bus. To my surprise I wasn’t upset (I am usually uptight about punctuality while traveling) and continued to explore the beautiful Havana Vieja. The gas exhaust slapped me in the face as I watched the cars pass by. I watched a taxi driver pick up a couple for a classic car tour. Old Havana is the common scenery you see when you see documentaries and videos about Havana. It had a majestic and royal charm to it. I was engulfed into its uniqueness that I barely noticed as another hour flew by.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco

It was 10 am and still no bus! I was now getting anxious and upset. I was not alone as the line of Cubans became frustrated. One Afro-Cuban women commented on how slow Cuban transportation is. Another yelled how we were robbed because we purchased the earliest bus and watched as later buses left before we did. Even Andi was getting mad (he is was always calm and cool). I kept going to the corner to check if the bus was coming. Every time I saw a Transtur bus, it turned out to be for another destination. I was beyond frustrated at this point. We were sleepy and hungry as we patiently waited.

Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Finally, at 10:30 am, the bus arrived. People swarmed the bus like bees to a beehive. Before I could blink an eye, the bus was packed with impatient passengers scrambling to find whatever seats were available. Things became worst when the bus driver announced that the bus was full and couldn’t take all the passengers. My wife and I was so pissed off when we noticed that there was only one seat left between the both of us. This made Andi go into beast mode. Andi went off on the bus driver and explained how early in advanced we purchased the ticket (2 and half weeks to be exact). The bus driver escorted us and had another person give up their seat for us. I don’t know what Andi said but it worked and that is all I cared about.

It was almost 11 am and we were finally heading out. When you come to Cuba, don’t expect the buses to be on time. This lesson taught me that sometimes you have to go with the flow as there are just some things you have no control over. We were just beginning our long journey so I went to sleep after an eventful morning.

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

To start your own adventures, check out the link below.

You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/

Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw

Ever wanted to travel internationally with your family but thought it was impossible?

Check out the latest ebook “MVP Airport Hacks” by Madelin Vasquez Polanco

This ebook reveals all the travel hacks from getting through airport security stress-free to secret in flight hacks that you were never told.

https://www.amazon.com/Airport-Hacks-Madelin-Vasquez-Polanco-ebook/dp/B07SLT2R59/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=mvp+airport+hacks&qid=1559491184&s=gateway&sr=8-1&fbclid=IwAR1f_PtgzLp1N3-aOE176n3iN1lQTa7o5yhNVBk5IgdKdoH3s7oY8NYO7DU

Check out our e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0

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I don’t usually go into depth with the local folklore of the countries I visit. However, after exploring the lava caves and learning about the elves got me interested. Especially, with the local mythology having to do with the new Marvel movies. Yes, Thor is related to this Island way up North.

Lava cave tour guide telling us about the elves photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Mythology has never been my strong point. I was always been interested in the mythological adventures and thier characters. Sadly, at a young age I was discouraged to stop reading “fairy tales.” Coming from a Christian household, anything with multiple gods was against the house rules. So, it wasn’t until I was older that I got back into reading folklore.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics

The awesome thing about Iceland is that it’s a Nordic country. Meaning that it’s culture is similar to Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Yes, Iceland is home to the Vikings. All Nordic cultures share the same gods before christanity arrived. Having the Marvel movies being such a dominant force in Hollywood, the god Thor came to mind.

Being the god of lighting, Thor is claimed to be the protector of humanity. There are many gods like Odin and Loki. So many movies have been made out these gods from the Pre-Christian times. I could write 100’s of posts just on this topic. However to not get off topic, I will focus more on the elves of Iceland.

Icelandic elf photo courtesy of https://www.re.is/blog/the-hidden-people-of-iceland

From what are tour guide told us, Icelanders are obsessed with elves. It’s really engraved in their culture. When something goes missing, they blame it on huldufólk or the hidden people. That’s what the people of iceland call elves.

Hidden people Photo courtesy of https://icelandictimes.com/elves-in-iceland-the-hidden-people/

According to the local folklore, elves live among humans in a parallel universe. Icelanders are told to not throw rocks in fear of hitting one of the hidden people. Some of the Icelandic people truly believe that if you anger the elves/huldufólk, they will get thier revenge on you. By casting spells, damaging your car or causing you to get into a car crash. Not the elves we probably grew up to know and love. These ones are not as kind.

Elf running away Photo courtesy of https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulduf%C3%B3lk

Of course, not all Icelanders believe in this folklore. Actually, the mass majority believe the hidden people are just stories to scare children. Most believe these fairytales are used to keep children in good behavior. Looks like the locals are not fooled by the fairy dust. Our tour guide seemed to think otherwise. To me, it’s just another interesting part of the local culture.

Ps. Sorry for that random post that was untitled. Not sure why it was published. Must had a been a glitch with the wordpress application. Thank you all for the continued support!

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

To start your own adventures, check out the link below.

You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/

Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw

Ever wanted to travel internationally with your family but thought it was impossible?

Check out the latest ebook “MVP Airport Hacks” by Madelin Vasquez Polanco

This ebook reveals all the travel hacks from getting through airport security stress-free to secret in flight hacks that you were never told.

https://www.amazon.com/Airport-Hacks-Madelin-Vasquez-Polanco-ebook/dp/B07SLT2R59/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=mvp+airport+hacks&qid=1559491184&s=gateway&sr=8-1&fbclid=IwAR1f_PtgzLp1N3-aOE176n3iN1lQTa7o5yhNVBk5IgdKdoH3s7oY8NYO7DU

Check out our e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0

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The day after exploring the lava cave, I decided to take a tour of southern Iceland. Alot of people were telling me how beautiful the southern part of the island was. Everybody at my hostel was over selling me on it. Was a little suspicious about it at first. Yet, looking back, it was all worth it.

Screenshot of southern iceland in google map courtesy of Hugo Morel

A tour bus picked me up from my hostel in Reykjavík. And the two and a half hour long ride started. After a butt-numbing sit down, we got to the southern part of iceland. Our first stop was seeing an ice glacier. Like a kid about to go to the candy store, I was eagered to see this Arctic beauty.

Landscape of southern Iceland photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

When we got there, I was in complete awe. I never seen ice naturally in the color blue. Still trying to understand it. Coming for a place where it never snowed, this was something I will keep forever in my memories. As a kid, I remember we used to drive 6 hours just to see snowfall. Seeing this glacier pulled my heart strings.

Ice glacier photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Freezing, I had to take a photo. While doing this, our tour guide gave us the history of this ice beauty. According to him, this glacier is about 20,000 years old. Sadly, climate change has been melting this majestic formation of ice. He told us that it has about 4 more years before it’s completely melted. Seeing the impact we human have towards our environment in person, really changes you. It made me want to go green and recycle as much as possible. Make sure to visit Iceland and see these ice beauties in person.

More landscape photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

We started to walk away from the glacier. Our group was walking slowly. When I wasn’t taking photos, I was talking to people on our tour. Met people from The United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Most were friendly and others were too focused in the beautiful nature. Me, I was wondering about the person in the photo above. That right leg looks awkwardly bent. Also, that was badly executed sarcasm.

Skógafoss waterfalls photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

We later went to the waterfall called Skógafoss. I tried not to get too close. There was a lot water vaper from the falls. Had to watch it from far. Still it was very beautiful. The fact that the water has not been frozen over, still dumbfounds me. Iceland, one day I will understand your majestic nature.

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

To start your own adventures, check out the link below.

You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/

Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw

Check out our latest e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0

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When I told Cubans about my decision to stay in central Havana, they were shocked. They thought I would rather enjoy some beach resort in Varadero away from the Cuban hustle and bustle. However, I have always been immensely fascinated with the rich culture of everyday Cuban lifestyle. I knew I made the right decision when I booked the casa particular just blocks away from the Malecón located in Havana’s northern coast.

The Malecón roadway is a five-mile avenue seawall where Havana and the ocean separates. Originally called Avenida de Golfo, this charming avenue was designed by Cuban engineer Don Francisco de Albear. Malecón translates to breakwater which is evident as the oceans’ water clashes with the seawall. Initially constructed in 1901, it was built to protect the city from the strong sea waters and potential enemy attacks from pirates and colonists. The historic avenue stretches from Havana Harbor in Old Havana to the modern downtown El Vedado. This iconic and popular scene is featured on many films shot in Havana. As the old school cars passed by and the locals Cubans fished, my soul was so inspired.

Six-lane road on Malecón Avenue. Photo Courtesy of Madelin Vasquez Polanco.

The Malecón has spectacular views of many historical monuments. One of my favorite landmarks is Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro. Also known as Morro Castle, this Havana symbol was built by slaves and was meant to protect the town of San Cristobal de Havana. Prisoners were actually held in this castle and were fed to sharks through holes in the wall. I nervously watched as the locals dived in and out of the ocean water (I’ll pass. All I kept thinking about were those sharks). In 1844, a lighthouse called the Faro del Morro was built to add more defense. The evening view of the castle and lighthouse is one of the most beautiful and scenic locations I’ve ever seen. The sun’s reflection bouncing off of the ocean’s waves was captivating.

View of Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro. Photo Courtesy of Madelin Vasquez Polanco.

The Havana Malecón is a spot that you have to see in person. It is like going into a Cuban history book. We realized that this avenue had so many landmarks and things to see. We ran into the fortress of San Salvador de la Punta. This historical landmark was completed in 1603 and served as a lookout for the harbor. One of the best views of the fortress is between the intersection of Prado street and El Malecón. On the side of the fortress, there is still a cannonball stuck between the rocks as evidence of battle. I couldn’t help but to wonder how many battles took place here.

The fortress of San Salvador de la Punta. Photo Courtesy of Madelin Vasquez Polanco.

As my wife bought me back to the present day, the illuminating rays from the sun was very healing to my soul. We decided to take a break from walking. I was craving more adventure but the Havana evening was so beautiful that I became stuck in the present moment as I looked across the Havana Harbor.

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

To start your own adventures, check out the link below.

You can find flight deals, tours, insurance, and even book hotels through our travel agency website: https://the1itinerarycom.agentstudio.com/

Also, check out our Youtube Channel. If you like our adventures, please feel free to subscribe today and hit the notification https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk34tY115zWy-T6TDFjrauw

Check out our latest e-book “How to Travel for Dirt Cheap” by Hugo Morel for ways to make your dreams of traveling come without breaking the bank: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M848M47?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420&fbclid=IwAR0_mRF-eE9tODIshljVr7CQ8h6vKT6hHn_8gZfJ94DySY1ylPO2Itu2Qe0

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