This summer, I finally get to take a real vacation, not just a couple of days of here or there. Actually, I get to take TWO real vacations! The two vacations came about differently and it was certainly hard to plan them as I did not control when one of them took place and the other had to be coordinated with other people’s schedule.
The great cold and outworldly: Iceland
The first vacation will be to Iceland, my first time visiting this unique land sitting astride an incredibly active piece of Earth (who remembers the volcano-whose-name-cannot-be-said-because-it-is-too-hard?). Friends of mine were planning to go and invited me to come along with them and their two young daughters. One of the parents has an Icelandic ancestor and has been doing research so part of the trip will be to visit the rural areas of her ancestors. This is likely unlike what the normal tourist goes to do in Iceland and that is precisely what I think makes it a great opportunity for me to travel. Of course, we will try to hit the major unique features of the island that make a visit there so neat (waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, fjords).
Upon landing, we plan to hit the Blue Lagoon hoping it will help some with jetlag (we have a 6-hr layover in JFK… remember, with two young girls aged 4 and 7…). We will then spend some days anchored in Reykjavik but hopefully doing the Golden Circle and perhaps a day trip to the south part of the island.
After those three days we will drive clockwise on the ring road to the town of Akureyri. We have rented a house across the “bay” from it with spectacular views. We already see ourselves in the hot tub with a bottle of wine soaking in the late Icelandic summer day… We will use this as a base to explore the northern part of the island and the area where my friend’s ancestors lived in.
Trekking with a purpose: the Camino de Santiago and Morocco
Right after returning from Iceland, I will go on the second vacation of my summer. This one is a special one as I will be doing 7 days of the Camino de Santiago with Trekking for Kids in order to help street and at-risk children in Morocco (I went with this organization to hike in Romania and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro).
The trip will begin by going to Morocco and spending a few days at the center that we will fundraise for (each trekker raises money that will go 100% to the projects we will fund at the center). I have never been to Morocco and though I will not be officially “touristing,” I like that I will experience some of Morocco in such a unique way. We will then fly to Madrid and train it to León from which we will begin our trek in the Camino. I have wanted to do the Camino ever since a friend did it many years ago (though I am not sure I would want to do the route starting at the Pyrenees). So this trek is perfect as it will be about 7 days’ worth of walking. A good bit of that walking will be in the area of Galicia where some of my ancestors come from so walking through it will be special in that way for me.
I have been to Santiago de Compostela before but look forward to the experience of arriving there by foot, as many have done since the Middle Ages, and getting my “Compostela.”
I am very much looking forward to my vacations, long overdue. One thing I will say before I conclude here is to urge you to consider doing a trek with Trekking for Kids – it will be a unique experience as the fact that many trekkers (like me) keep returning for other treks! Check out the upcoming treks to Kilimanjaro, Jordan, and Patagonia here.