Moscow and St Petersburg
As one of the main hosting city of the World Cup the capital was filled with people. Most of the main sites were visited with a lot of very cool buildings on show. What stood out was the metro but a lot of the stations are quite lavish and each one is unique. A lot of time was therefore spent underground, simply going from one station to another.
After Moscow it was time for the last train trip, marking the end of the epic journey from Beijing to St Petersburg.
The city known for its beauty and culture stood up to its name and proved a great end to the trip.
The last few days were spent wandering the city, visiting museums and sailing on the Neva.
Now its time to head back home and join reality again.
Irkutsk to Ekaterinburg to Moscow
First stop in Russia was Lake Baikal just outside of Irkutsk. There I went on a boat ride on the lake as well as trying a typical Russian sauna, birch leaves and all.
The omul had to be tasted as it can only be found in this one lake.
After Irkutsk the biggest test of the trip was next, a 56 hour train journey to Ekaterinburg. The train was fortunately nice as the longest stop was only 1 hour, just enough to stretch your legs and get some fresh air before heading off again. Even though the Siberian landscape proved interesting it was good to arrive in Ekaterinburg and trade the train cabin for a proper room with a shower.
Ekaterinburg is a really cool city where a lot of new buildings meet old and different style come together. There are a lot of random statues around as well as cool murals and graffiti.
Being one of the city hosting World Cup games the city was bursting with activity and everything looked very clean and organized.
After Ekaterinburg it was time to jump back on the train for a 25 hour trip to Moscow.
China to Mongolia to Russia
The journey to St Petersburg started with a 30 hour overnighter from Beijing to Ullaanbaatar. The train was quite comfy with plenty of room for me and the three others that shared the cabin with me. On the train there wasn't much else to do but to relax and take in the views.
The stay in Mongolia was short but eventful. After seeing a cultural show, some temples and more it was time to head to the country side where I stayed in a traditional Ger (Mongolian Tent).
Hiking provided some pretty cool views over the camp.
After a few nights in Mongolia it was time to jump on the train again and head over to Russia. The trip was only 24 hours this time and the train similar, although the cabin was noticeably narrower. The views changed quite drastically along the way as I went to bed surrounded by desert and woke up seeing nothing but green after crossing the border during the night.
It was good stepping of the plane in Beijing as the flight marked my 9th in the last three weeks and 11th of the year. Even though flying is a necessary evil traveling from Iceland its good to know I won't have to deal with any airports until the end of my trip, when I fly home from Russia.
The stop in China was a short one though with only two full days exploring. There were clearly two big highlights, the first being the Forbidden City and the second The Great Wall.
Next up is a long train trip over to Mongolia.
A nice surprise waited for me in Sydney but at the moment they are holding a festival called Vivid Sydney. The coolest thing, in addition to a variety of music and art, is the harbour light show. They light up all the buildings, put on laser shows as well as light shows on the Opera house itself. Luckily I had booked a hostel right next to the harbour so I got an amazing view of the show (will share a shitty pic of the view from the hostel's roof-top as all the cool shots will have to wait until the trip is over).
Since you don't find yourself in Sydney every day I decided to go to a show in the Opera house in order to fully experience the unique building. Only thing on was a Snow White ballet which proved to be a decent way to spent the night.
I also decided to head out of the city to visit the Blue Mountains which offered some beautiful views.
Last chance visit to a small wildlife park gave me a little more time with the Australian animals, including the weird Cassowary.
Last thing on the agenda was climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The climb took around 2 hours + a 90 minute of safety prep and instructions. The views from up on the bridge were quiet epic.
Now its time to say goodbye to Australia as I'm flying to China tonight!
Devils, devils, devils. Being one of the main attractions of Tasmania, the Tasmanian devil got a fair bit of my attentions during my stay in Hobart.
The devil is a funny animal. Being rather stupid you see it running around quite aimlessly a lot of the time. Throw some food its way however and it becomes all business, fighting carelessly with others.
Since I don't have a photo ready of the devil I'll let a landcape shot from the Tasmanian coastline follow instead.
Tasmania has a lot to offer aside from the devil though. A visit to Port Arthur reveals the islands significance in the history of Australia, being a major hub for convict relocation from the UK.
Also visited Mt Field national park for a few short hikes. Beautiful place with trees that can reach up to 100 meters.
A visit to Mt Wellington (just under 1300 meters high) offered an epic view over Hobart.
Then there were of course more animals on show in addition to the devils.
Lastly I have to mention some street art in Hobart has it has some graffiti that rivals that of Melbourne.
Now its time for my last stop in Australia, Sidney.
Spent the last two days in Melbourne. This meant trading long drives and landscapes with long walks and graffiti.
My stay in the most livable city in the world was pretty quiet with the highlight being a visit to the Eureka sky deck which offered an awesome 360 degree view of the city from the 88th floor (285 meters high).
Next up is a short flight over to Tasmania.
Adelaide to Melbourne
The road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne got off to a good start with a fun drive through the Grampians. This included a hike to a beautiful waterfall and stops at nice scenic lookouts.
Day two of started with a visit to a dormant volcano, Tower Hill. Can't say the trip to the bottom of the crater gave us a challenge as you can drive down. In the crater there were plenty of kangaroos, koalas (that usually look as dormant as the volcano), emus and too many birds to count.
After Tower Hill we started down the Great Ocean Road. There we saw big hitters like the 12 apostles and the London Bridge along with other beautiful scenery.
To conclude a long day I had to stop by Dooley's in Apollo Bay to try out some of Australia's best ice cream. Their chocolate ice cream has been voted Australia's best three years running.
Now I'm sitting in Melbourne, where I'll spend a few days before heading to Tasmania.
Well, it's finally here. This year's "big" adventure. Only a handful of countries on the list for this trip but they sure are big ones, with Australia being first in line.
To keep up with tradition the trip started on the wrong foot. Icelandair decided to drop my first flight and moving me to an earlier one. This caused the trip down under to take over 40 hours. Add another 10 hours for the time difference and I arrived in Adelaide a good 50 hours after take off in Keflavik.
The first few days were spent in Adelaide. Activities were on the relaxing side for an easier fight against the jet lag. Cleland wildlife park provided my first contact with the famous animals of Australia. There I got to pat a koala and feed kangaroos.
Walks around the beach, botanic garden and other interesting parts of Adelaide were also on the agenda.
After a quiet weekend Kangaroo Island was next. A short ferry ride from the mainland was all that was needed to reach the island. A ton of nature and wildlife exploring was crammed into two long days before heading back to Adelaide.
Next up a road trip down to Melbourne.
The last hurrah
An amazing month traveling through Africa is now at an end. I'm sitting in my hotel in Nairobi, waiting for the taxi taking me to the airport, Iceland awaits.
After Zanzibar we made our way up to the Serengeti. Our whole stay there was one big safari. The highlight has to have been the cheetah as it was the only animal on my list that had not been checked off.
The Serengeti of course delivered more than that with a bunch of lion sightings, including an unsuccessful hunt.
Ngorongoro crater was next, where even more wildlife was on display as well as epic landscape.
All in all Africa has treated me well with tons of animals, great scenery and a mountain of memories.