guilin (桂林市), china

guilin, china
PLACE: Guilin/Yangshuo
NOTORIOUS: fable-making mountains
NEAREST AIRPORT: KWL, Guilin Liangjiang International Airport
COORDINATES: 25.2667° N, 110.2833° E
CURRENCY: Chinese Yuan (¥)

You guys. This is Guilin. It is not a fairy tale – I’ve been. Had to share it with you all. This is a well-known Chinese destination – so much so that a scene from the Lijiang River is featured on the 20¥ note. Introduced to me by my friend Charlie Wu, I visited in 2011 with my dad’s friend from Shanghai. Together we toured Guilin and Yangshuo for four days and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes.

I knew it was famous but… I have never seen such a landscape again in my life. Highlights: Take a river tour on bamboo rafts and meet the local fisherman and their families. Visit the vast, beautiful Reed Flute caves – they are completely lit up and magical.

guilin, chinaguilin, china

white pocket, vermilion cliffs , arizona

White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona

PLACE: White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
NOTORIOUS: rock formations
NEAREST AIRPORT: PHX, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
COORDINATES: 36° 48′ 23″ N, 111° 44′ 28″ W

Come on! Look at that red! These cliffs are located right below the Utah state line North East of the Grand Canyon. I love that there’s more to this area than most of us get to see in the Vegas brochures. So, apparently the White Pocket is a notoriously hard-to-reach area of sandstone hidden within the desert expanse of the Vermilion Cliffs. It was made famous when National Geographic ran a spread on it attracting hikers everywhere, and I don’t blame ’em.

The rock formations are primarily made of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and shale. They rise as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) above their bases and are millions of years old. Bring your binoculars, apparently this area is a serious hawk- and eagle-spotting zone. Be sure to see all three of these while you’re there: Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon.

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Hiked it? Any tips? We need ’em!

gaztelugatxe, spain

gastelugatxe spain
PLACE: Gastelugatxe, Coast of Biscany
LOCATION: Basque Country, Spain
NOTORIOUS: man-made bridge
COORDINATES: 43° 26′ 49.2″ N, 2° 47′ 6″ W

Dude. Upon discovering the incredible landscape work of Alex Stohl (some of his photos featured here), I stumbled upon this magical little island off the coast of Spain. Gastelugatxe holds a church built in the 10th century called Gaztelugatxeko Doniene (in Basque) or San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (in Spanish).

Everyone seems to be talking about the church but when I saw this bridge I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is completely man made and takes 231 steps to get over to the island – so come hydrated. Seems like a romantic little getaway to Basque country. I’ve always wanted to visit that Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as well.

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Been? Tell us about it!

lake sørvágsvatn, faroe islands

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PLACE: Lake Sørvágsvatn
LOCATION: Vágar, Faroe Islands, Denmark
NOTORIOUS: lake above the ocean
COORDINATES: 62° 3′ 0″ N, 7° 14′ 0″ W
CURRENCY: Danish Krone

You’ll be pretty upset to find out that this image is a slight optical illusion. It seems like the lake is way higher than the ocean but it’s actually only 30 meter above the sea level. The cliff the photographer is standing on is about 100 meters high. This means, the position of the camera and the angle of the shot makes it seem like the lake is about the same level as the cliff. Trippy and awesome.

However, it did make me discover this crazy little collection of islands between the coast of Norway and Iceland.I highly suggest you watch this video to learn more about them.

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gimmelwald, swiss alps

Gimmelwald, Swiss Alps
PLACE: Gimmelwald
LOCATION: Swiss Alps, Switzerland
NOTORIOUS: Mountain Village
NEAREST AIRPORT: GVA, Geneva International Airport (5 hour train)
COORDINATES: 46.533333 N, 7.883333 E
CURRENCY: Swiss Franc

Ahhh, the Swiss Alps. Still never managed to get out this way but these pictures remind me why that is a massive mistake. This little town of Gimmelwald seems like the quaintest little village in the Swiss Bernese Highlands. The nearest chain grocery store, sports, and souvenir shops are in Murren, so pack wisely.

Apparently, all you’ll need once you arrive is your legs. The huge, sheer cliff face across the valley from Gimmelwald is known as the Schwarzmönch (Black Monk) so be sure to pack your hiking shoes. Pass by Esther’s Guesthouse for a guide to the many trails in the area.

Gimmelwald, Swiss Alps
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You been? Let us know! We need all the tips we can get.

landmannalaugar, iceland

Landmannalaugar, Iceland2

PLACE: Landmannalaugar
NOTORIOUS: Rocky Landscape
NEAREST AIRPORT: Reykjavík Airport (3.5 hrs drive)
COORDINATES: 63.983, -19.067
CURRENCY: Icelandic Króna

The sweeping shades of rocky hillside in Iceland’s Landmannalaugar region (near the infamous Hekla volcano) are so hauntingly beautiful I knew it was time to post about the country for the third time. The best part about this place is that it’s possible to do a short day hike or a long, overnight hike and both are spectacular (according to the blogs).

Apparently if you’re on a short trip you should skip the hot springs and hike for the base of Mount Brennisteinsalda which is an absolutely beautiful sight with it’s rainbow coloured rhyolite. Trip advisors are saying that the best way to really enjoy this area is a 2-3 day hiking in July or August sleeping in a tent or very basic accommodations. The paths are well marked.

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fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland

PLACE: Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
NOTORIOUS: Mossy Canyon
NEAREST AIRPORT: KEF, Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport (3.5 hour drive)
COORDINATES:  63.771250°N 18.17194°W
CURRENCY: Icelandic Króna

I feel like this is where fairies are born. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling. This canyon was carved out by the Fjaðrá River over millennia as the water from the glacier eroded the rock and palagonite. This canyon is located in the south east of Iceland and is only about 2 kilometres long.

This stretch is not far from the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where Irish monks were thought to have first settled long before the Norse (weird I got the fairy vibe, eh?). This town has two hotels (Hótel Geirland and Icelandair Hotel Klaustur), a gas station, a bank, a post office and a supermarket – sounds like a romantic little getaway!

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland
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Climbed up to this incredibly green place? We want to hear your insight. Comment below.