If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I used to write monthly recaps. I think the last one I wrote was for August 2017, so there’s been a long pause (mostly because nothing exciting happened after that). I’m hoping to continue writing them this year to keep you updated on my travels.
I spent September, October, and November in Ireland and didn’t leave the country even once. I had plans to travel to other countries as well, but the reality hit me hard when I got to Dublin. I had a great idea to base myself in Ireland for a few months as I was quite exhausted after spending the whole year crossing Africa. I regretted my choice though as soon as I landed in Dublin. If you don’t know, there’s an accommodation crisis in Dublin, and it’s nearly impossible to find a place for a few months. Rents are also sky high, and the quality of apartments is poor. I ended up staying at four different places, and after a few months, I was just ready to move on.
In December, I left Ireland and traveled to Iceland, Finland, and Belarus before flying to Bangkok, Thailand.
Countries Visited: Ireland, UK, Finland, Belarus, Iceland, Thailand = 6
Cities / Towns visited: Ireland: Dublin; UK: Belfast, Giant’s Causeway; Finland: Helsinki; Iceland: The whole Ring Road; Belarus: Minsk; Thailand: Bangkok
New Countries: Iceland, Belarus = 2
Country Count: 93/197
Getting to See The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
I had been waiting to visit Northern Ireland and especially The Giant’s Causeway the whole time I had been in Ireland. I only went there a week before I was flying out of Ireland and I really had a great time there. The landscape is spectacular!
Road Tripping in Iceland
In mid-December, I flew to Iceland where I spent 1,5 weeks driving the whole Ring Road around the country. My timing wasn’t the best because it was the darkest time of the year and there was only a couple of hours of sunlight. However, I still had a great time, and I’m sure some of the sights looked even more impressive in the winter!
Finally Visiting Belarus
I can’t even count the times anymore I had planned to visit Belarus but every time something else came up, and I decided to save it for later. Belarus offers a visa-free 5-day stay for many nationalities, and I was keen to spend this five days in the capital city, Minsk. After Iceland, I made a quick 3-day stop in Finland before flying to Belarus.
Extreme Driving Conditions in Iceland
Driving in Iceland during winter can be a challenge if you’re not used to winter conditions. I’m used to driving in the winter, but I still experienced extreme weather and had one especially horrible day when I drove from the east side of Iceland to north. I really wanted to visit Mývatn Nature Baths and some other cool places in northern Iceland. Not so many tourists visit this area and I don’t wonder why because getting there was almost impossible on the day I was driving. There was a blizzard, and the visibility was ZERO. The only way I knew where the road was, was to drive between sticks they had on the roadside. The extreme wind and snowing continued all day, and they actually closed the road just after I had passed because the weather was too dangerous. I was lucky to make it to Mývatn alive, and in total the drive took almost 12 hours that day.
Wisdom Tooth Problems
I spent a whole month in Bangkok just because I had to get a complicated wisdom tooth extraction done. The tooth had a chronic infection and was very painful. I couldn’t spend rest of my life eating antibiotics, so I needed to get it surgically removed as soon as possible. The dentist took an X-ray and told that the removal will be complicated because of the hooked roots which were close to the nerve. It definitely was an uncomfortable procedure, and I was still in pain a couple of weeks after that but at least now I’m feeling better!
Iceland is full of beautiful waterfalls, but Skógafoss was my favorite one!
Mývatn Nature Baths:
While the Blue Lagoon is the most famous one in Iceland, I enjoyed Mývatn Nature Baths a lot more. The Blue Lagoon is overpriced and packed with tourists whereases Mývatn is more quiet, smaller, cheaper and overall just more beautiful – especially when visiting in the winter. It’s situated in northern Iceland where not so many people travel to (and even less if the weather is like what I had when driving there).
I’ve been to Bangkok twice before, and I was excited to be back. This time around, I was kind of stuck in Bangkok because of my wisdom tooth problem, and I actually ended up using my whole visa just staying in Bangkok. But I don’t complain – I really enjoyed my time there!
A beautiful sunset in Dublin, Ireland
Coming Up in February 2018
I’m spending February exploring Myanmar, and at the end of the month my plan is to fly to Malaysia.