03 Aug 2018

Heimaey Island, Iceland

Heimaey Island is known as the Pompeii of the North. In January, 1973, with virtually no warning, a new volcano, Eldfell, erupted from underground beneath the small Icelandic island of Heimaey. It was less than a mile from the town of Vestmannaeyjar, which had a population of about 5,000 at the time. Within a day’s time, almost the entire island was safely evacuated.
Eldfell volcano erupted for about six months, covering much of Vestmannaeyjar in ash, destroying several hundred homes, and sending lava flows toward the harbor—at one point raising the water temperature to 111°
A year later most of the people resettled. Archeologists have uncovered many homes exactly as they were at the time, down to the breakfast still being on the table.
Before this trip I purchased Allyn a new Sony Camera RX 100 VI. We are just starting to learn how to use it; so far it seems great. We wanted great photos but didn't want to pay thousands of dollars for camera equipment and lug around 10 pounds. It is tough for a recreational traveler like us to find the right set up in the $1,000 range. This one seems to do it. Can you believe how small it is. That is Allyn's iPhone X next to it.
Full disclosure - We didn't take the top picture. It is from 1973.
The other most popular reason for visiting this island is the Puffins that are so cute. Unlike penguins, even when you walk a long distance you are still way far away from them. The first photo is shows how far away we actually were. Photo 2 is with the attached telephoto lens wide open and photo 3 is just a blow up of a small area of 2. I love this camera.

Iceland is home to between 8 and 10 million Puffins.

Some Puffin facts:
*They change their color during the year. 
*They spend eight months out at sea.
*Each female produces a single puffling every year.
*Each bird has more than a square kilometer to itself, so it is very unlikely that anyone will spot a puffin on the open sea in winter.
*In late spring, thousands of puffins form large colonies on coastal clifftops, coming together for the breeding season.
*Puffins are monogamous. They usually mate for life and a couple can stay together for over 20 years!
*They make burrows (nests), where they lay their single egg. Each year they return to the same burrow.
*The male and female share parental responsibilities, they take it in turns to incubate the egg. It takes 36-45 days for the baby puffling to hatch.
*Atlantic puffins have incredible skills. They can dive to depths of about 60 meters and fly at a speed of 88 km/h (24m/sec) by flapping their wings 400 times per minute. The reason for why they need to flap their wings so fast is because their bones are not hollow so they are heavier than other birds. This is the reason why they can dive down as far as they do.

02 Aug 2018

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although we overnighted in Reykjavik, except for grabbing a burger, and a good sized beer, we did not leave our room due to exhaustion.
 We will catch it at the end of the trip. Even though it is the capital and has largest population by far, the main purpose of this cruise is to get a feel for the area including waterfalls, sea animal watching, lagoons, hot springs, and volcanos.
We will be circumnavigating Iceland for a week on Windstar's Star Pride. Having accommodations for only 212 passengers, they advertise the ship as an "All-Suite Yacht". We have been on a couple Windstar sailings over the years and enjoyed both.
Believe it or not, these are our beautiful accommodations in the very front of the ship. (Not the hot tub).

01 Aug 2018

Iceland, Here We Come

Since poker season is over, it is time to travel.

A year ago Allyn and I came up with the idea of starting our 2018 Summer Europe trip with a cruise around Iceland to try some place new. However it seems like in the last month about 10 different friends have been writing about their Iceland experiences. So, we won't be first, but it sounds like a blast.

Over the last several years we have shied away from United as it seemed their quality deteriorated. We decided to try them again because they had by far the best connection for us and I was able to use miles in exchange for Polaris Class (business).  

What a pleasant surprise. Even their newly renovated terminal in Newark is immaculate and very passenger oriented. They are geared for technology in both the general seating areas as well as the restaurants. I'm surprised humans deliver the food instead of robots. Not surprisingly they still have room to add a tip. I guess the iPad splits it with the automatic checkout terminal.

The Polaris Lounge for Business Class is top rate. Even each restroom is a sign of the times. (They are all individual).

Well there was one issue. We already had over a three hour layover and we were delayed another three hours; ergo all the airport info.

I give solid marks to new business class service. 


PS - Somehow they put me in The New York Times Business Section Sunday.






30 May 2018

2018 Stanley Cup, Game 1

It never occurred to me that I would ever attend a Stanley Cup game, let alone our own Las Vegas team. And its very first year. Indeed the last hockey game I attended was 60 years ago watching the Seattle Americans headed by Guyle Fielder. 


It seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was, indeed. You could feel the electricity in the air and it was greatly enhanced by us having our 10 person extended family all together with great seats. 


For you trivia fans, the Seattle Metropolitans were the first U.S. based team to win the Stanley Cup. That was in 1917. 


Nobody in our group will ever forget this exciting evening. 


22 May 2018

Las Vegas, May 2018


I have not written a blog since coming home because JetSetWay is a travel blog and I am not traveling.
However, home, Las Vegas is a tourist destination and we have patronized some fabulous restaurants recently. 
It's always fun to have dinner with Jessica and her posse. Dinner was at Elia, clearly the best Greek restaurant in town and is extremely affordable.
Allyn always insists on deboning her own fish.
Michael took me out to see Mel Brooks at The Wynn for my birthday. That was a nice treat. But the real treat was dinner at Wing Lei. Suffice it to say it was the first Chinese restaurant in the United States to rate a Michelin Star. They even have chairs for the ladies' purses.
Michael then took Allyn and me out for Sunday brunch at Andiron in Summerlin. We go there often for dinner, but brunch was a new experience. It was an elegant affair. It seems that fried chicken waffles are a big deal these days.
We love avocado toast.
For them to call this breakfast treat a grilled cheese sandwich is for sure downplaying it.
Elisha and Jack Effel joined us at the elegant Michael's Gourmet Room located at South Point Casino. The food, service, and ambiance (as well as prices) are out of this world.
Happy and I had a great lunch at EATT Gourmet Bistro on West Sahara. In their own words "EATT brings a Michelin Star Chef touch to healthy food to offer delicious and beautiful recipes in a relaxing atmosphere."
Finally the entire family had yet another great dinner at Ohlala French Bistro in the Northwest. I'm generally not a great fan of French food, but this food tasted excellent. However, I must say that I think their brie burger may be the best thing on the menu.