May 072014

If you want to feel like you’re walking through an alien landscape this place has to be top of the list. The thermal vents in the Ayuni Desert really are surreal. When we were there, other than our group, there wasn’t a sign of another soul anywhere.

mud pool at the thermal vents in the ayuni desert, Bolivia.

Apr 302014

The most amazing thing about these thermal vents was the total lack of barrier. Ten years on, I wonder if they’re still left completely open for people to wander between with no safety barriers whatsoever. I expect, and hope, they probably are.

If you look to the left, you’ll see a Welshman doing his best fall into boiling water.

people walking though steaming red thermal mud vents in ayuni bolivia

Nov 212012

This picture is the result of intense sleep deprivation and hunger. The sleep deprivation was the cumulative results of night after night out shooting followed by a few hours before moving to a new location. The hunger was due to a lack of planning.

Earlier, we’d enjoyed the incredible experience of swimming in the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates. The water was a crisp 2 degrees centigrade and tasted delicious. I spent most of the snorkel drinking the glacial melt water, which enters the rift via a spring after being purified by trickling through volcanic rock for years. This did result in my near drowning on a few occasions when I confused breathing through the snorkel, and drinking the water, however.

After this experience a good, hot, filling meal is, naturally, on the cards. However, we made a near fatal mistake. Rather than just getting crappy food at the visitors center we asked for directions to another restaurant. It was our last night in Iceland and we wanted to have a proper dinner. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the restaurant, 45 minutes later, it was closed. At this point, the visitors center would also be closed.

This is when it happened.  My travel partner went from a happy-go-lucky, cheerful soul to a grumpy, sarcastic hunger machine. We bounced from one restaurant to the next, desperate for a scrap of food.  Unfortunately there was none to be had. Fortunately, for me, I found the grumpy, sarcastic hunger machine hilarious.

My spirits buoyed, by the hilarity of the melt-down occurring next to me, we pushed on with just a small supply of 2 day old gummy candies we found under the seat to hold us over. We visited what are probably the two most popular tourist sites in Iceland. For the first time in our trip, we actually saw people in these locations after midnight. We were used to being totally alone.

Today’s photo is from a seismically active area called Geysir. The name gives it away, but the area is pockmarked by geysers, large and small. Today’s photo is one of the smaller ones that just perpetually churned away, spitting out hot steam.

After our visit here we made a visit to Godafoss, an incredible waterfall, before making the 2 hour drive back to Reykjavik where the leftovers of our Thai dinner the night before were waiting. I passed out immediately, without eating. My travel mate finally got to feed.

Small thermal geyser at Geysir, Iceland surrounded by purple flowers