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Welcome – Wilkommen – Bienvenido – Bienvenue – Benvenuto – Bainvegni

Once in awhile it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley

Welcome to our travel site:  More 2 Explore.

We hope this site inspires individuals to live the lives they were meant to live; to get out into this vast, beautiful world and explore more. To realize there is more to this life than the traditional 9 to 5.  We also plan to share our travel, cultural and educational experiences with our followers.

Keep checking, the header image changes randomly, now 61!
Our Followers have asked for it, now the headers include where the image was taken…

Serving Up Gratitude

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Sometimes when life gets crazy as it often does, I take a moment and realize what a beautiful life it truly is and once again I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

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For this life, this family and these opportunities are what make up the days and spin them into one wild, crazy, and awesome adventure!

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So, today I breathe in all that surrounds me, I count my lucky stars and dance with all and everyone that surrounds me.  Thank you to my family for making this life so very meaningful!  You are all deeply loved.

 

 

Keflavik – We Have A Problem

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I can only imagine what the crew of seven servicemen endured as they realized their declination into the ground at Sólheimasandur Beach. On November 21st, 1973*, overburdened with icy conditions, the volcanic ice-covered beach and turbulent sea must have blended with the sky, forcing the crew to fly by instinct. The deicing system on their C-117 was failing to prevent ice from building up; it was failing to keep them in the air.

On a return flight from Höfn, after dropping off supplies, the ice added considerable weight and instability. Perhaps blinded by the ice building up, they had to land by force, uncontrollably coming to a halt on a frozen estuary. The weight of the airplane penetrated the frozen river but it managed to stay above the ice.

Their initial radio distress call targeted the landing at sea west of Vik. I believe that the crew was preparing a ditching scenario at sea, but in the final moments before bailing out, they spotted the beach and stayed with the airplane. Soon after, they were found and rescued by a helicopter on the Sólheimasandur Beach almost one kilometer from the surf and four kilometers from the Ring Road.

I’m not an aviation disaster expert, nor do I specialize in aircraft forensics, although while visiting the crash site I had initially thought that, when cresting the lip of the gully (if it was there forty years prior), the plane tipped onto the nose crumpling it, perhaps explaining the expedited deterioration of the front of the aircraft.   The tail section appeared to be mechanically removed (i.e. with a rotary saw) noticeable from the uniform striations in the metal ribbing, and I had envisioned this took place in order to remove the contents.

I found out later, after discovering the news article, blog posts, and photos, that I was completely wrong. The cargo was already delivered, the nose was mostly intact in the 1980’s, and the tail was used to complete a DC-3 converted to a summer cottage in 1984. But what happened to the wings and engines? I’m not sure. The Naval Star and text “United States Navy” remains visible in the base coat of white paint due to the additional layer prolonging the deterioration.  Nonetheless, it was interesting to see what remains after over forty years of extreme weather, vandalism, and tourism.

Note about this post: The initial text (first three paragraphs) is my synopsis of the crash based on the original newspaper article. I only discovered the news article after looking into the history of this airplane when we returned from Iceland. The plane is a McDonnell Douglas R4D-8 (Super DC-3) which was redesignated as a C-117D; the DC-3 is often called a “Dakota” by the RAF. * The date of November 24th and that it ran out of fuel is often misreported, however, in the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, the correct date is November 21st and it was forced to land due to severe icing. Below is a (rough) translation from the original newspaper article.

Additionally, here are some images of this airplane before the crash. Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, and Image 4

Photographer’s Tip: Shooing on an overcast day with an ND Grad will help balance the light and yield a dramatic sky.  Shooting on a clear day (even with an ND Grad) will be a challenge, except during early morning or evening.

Morgunblaðið (Morning Paper)

Thursday 22. November 1973

Dakota-engine Emergency Landing at Sólheimasandur Beach Yesterday

DOUGLAS Dakota-engine of the type C-117 made an emergency landing shortly after noon yesterday at Sólheimasandur Beach. Sailors with the airplane, from the Navy, all escaped safely. The airplane was coming from Höfn, where it had flown supplies to radar stations in Stokksnes.

Mr. Sigurðsson, reporter with the Morning Paper (Morgunblaðsins) in Litla-Hvammi, said it had been approx. 14h00, the plane emergency landed in the lower estuary at Sólheimasandur Beach. Ice was over the estuary and it broke under the plane. However, she hung in place on the ice. The Rescue and Accident Prevention Team in Vík and men from farms west of Vik immediately began to look for the airplane. At around the time they came to it, a helicopter from the Navy arrived and took the men who were in the airplane.

As mentioned earlier, the aircraft was coming from Höfn. She flew quite high, and when she was over Mýrdalssandur she hit very heavy icing and the motors became unstable. She began to lose altitude and sent out a distress which other Navy could hear. Once received, three Phantom-jets and two helicopters were sent for the airplane, but it was thought, it made an emergency landing at sea. The Dakota-engine persisted to the western Sólheimasandur Beach but remained no longer aloft and made a forced landing in a smaller estuary.

Hannes Hafstein from Accident Prevention Iceland said that air traffic control had immediate contact of the reporting requirements. It was thought the airplane would make the emergency landing in the sea rather than east of Vik. They had contact with Vestmannaeyja Radio to all boats from Vik. The whole area was laid out where the airplane could be in the sea from Vik to the Þjórsárósum River. They had contacted boats in Stokkseyri and in Eyrarbakka and they asked to go, but they could not get out of the harbor because of the surf. The search had been sought from Þorlákshöfn and when the first boats arrived, the news came that the airplane had emergency landed on land.

Hannes said that people from The Rescue and Accident Prevention Team in Vik were currently on duty with the airplane along with two Americans. A group of repairman from the Navy headed east and planned to guide them down the sand to the airplane. Distressing trips were made up and down the sand by rescue servicemen in jeeps and cars.

Photo of the Week – September 12th

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Copenhagen is a quick flight from many European cities.  It makes it a good location even for a weekend.  It offers good food (and pastries!), green space, and quaint walks throughout.  If you have kids, a stop at the Tivoli Gardens should not disappoint, except when you have to leave.

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The “Photo of the Week” on More 2 Explore is taken from our collection of travel photos throughout the past 7 years and is typically from the same month for which it is posted. Be sure to click “follow” to see more photos each week! (usually posts on Friday… oops.)

Photo of the Week – September 7th

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In the southern part of Switzerland, in the Canton Ticino lies an unassuming city of Bellinzona.   It is often by-passed while heading south to Italy, but from what we saw, it is worth a stop.  The old town is charming with plenty of outdoor cafes, and if you only have a few hours, as we had, we would recommend the three castle hike.  We only had time to see two of the three, but the views are fantastic, and the castles well-preserved and part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The “Photo of the Week” on More 2 Explore is taken from our collection of travel photos throughout the past 7 years and is typically from the same month for which it is posted. Be sure to click “follow” to see more photos each week! (usually posts on Friday… oops.)

Reykjavik – Hard to Spell – Easy To Enjoy

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Reykjavík, the most densely populated location in all of Iceland, offers up an urban flair with beautiful light-haired people taking to the streets, wonderful museums, waterfront landscapes and delicious food. We enjoyed our time in the city, but to be honest, we came to connect with nature and after a while, the city felt claustrophobic and flooded our ears with urban noise. Our next post will divulge how we enjoyed a perfect mix of city life and country landscapes. Stay tuned! 2014-08-01 - Iceland 002e

For the few days we did spend in the city, we certainly indulged in some sweet cafés, fabulous museum exhibits, lovely fish and chips, and enjoyed people watching at the local skate park.

Eats

C is For Cookie – A sweet little café that serves up a killer Swiss Mocha and a beautiful cappuccino, with friendly service, a cozy atmosphere, crayons with awesome Icelandic names and a quirky playground of sorts that entertained our children for a while in the warmth of the sun.

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Laundromat Café – A funky, eclectic joint that serves up smoothies, muesli, burgers and a slew of other mealtime treats. A great place to sit outside and people watch, or move inside to browse their rainbow display of books. Friendly service, decent food at a reasonable price and a very pleasant atmosphere, plus if you do have a load of laundry, throw it in downstairs while you enjoy a nice cup of coffee or a meal.

 

Reykjavík Fish and Chips – Our entire family truly enjoyed our early dinner of sweet potato and classic fries served in small little pots, along with some fresh fish. With a variety of homemade sauces for dipping, the whole family was happy.

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Uno – A random dinner choice in the middle of town with a delicious result, though the prices were rather steep. Overall, a nice place to dine, but careful with your wallet! Yikes!

Museums/Attraction

We visited the Reykjavík Museum of Photography to see the work of RAX or (Ragnar Axelsson) and were thrilled with its free entry, captivated by the magnificently huge photographs that jumped off the canvas and a movie that profiled the life and work of this truly talented photographer. This museum was certainly worth the visit and left us longing to make some sizable purchases. To learn more about Ragnar and his life work, we found this short film.  If you came to Iceland to take some photos, his work is sure to inspire.

Volcano House – Is essentially a movie house with a small display of various volcanic rocks and ash. The two short films shown profiled the devastating 1973 volcano eruption on the Westman Islands and the second film included details of the 2010 explosion of Eyjafjallajökull. Both films showed how destructive volcanoes on the island can be for those who reside in close contact and how determined the Icelandic people are to restore their land.

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Hallgrimskirkja – The Lutheran church in Reykjavík, which opened its doors in 1986. Is a striking structure (that our son lovingly called the “rocket ship”) which offers a beautiful view of Reykjavík for six euros, those interested can take the lift to the top of the building, climb a set of stairs and enjoy an aerial view of the city.

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Athena Guesthouse – Located on a weathered street, the Athena Guesthouse is a modest accommodation, which shares four rooms with random guests. We had the privilege of meeting an aunt and niece from Israel and Europe and a sweet, well-traveled couple from Canada. The owner/manager is as chill and laid-back as humanly possible and restored our faith in humanity. The house worked for us, with a communal kitchen, a well – stocked fridge for making your own breakfasts, and within walking distance from the city center.

Laxnes Hotel – The reviews were quite favorable, but our impression was just ordinary. Our room was certainly spacious for our family of four and we appreciated the fact that it was indeed clean, but the breakfast could have been skipped all together, (there is however, a lovely bakery not far up the road that we can highly recommend) and the location of the hotel was essentially a bit out-of-the-way. Would we stay there again, probably not, but overall it met our rooming needs.

The Blue Lagoon

Yes, it certainly is expensive and a tourist destination, but to visit Iceland and not make a trip to the Blue Lagoon, feels like visiting Florida and not going to the beach. You have to go! The atmosphere is essentially like nothing we have ever experienced and our children enjoyed the warm soak with pretty cool views. It was the perfect way to get into the flow of Iceland, as this was our first destination to visit once our plane landed. 2014-07-31 - Iceland 144eA travel tip that saved us the frustration of waiting in a long line and paying a touch extra was to buy our tickets online in advance. We simply printed the receipt, showed the woman at the front door and moved forward to get our wristbands and proceed with our afternoon of relaxation. We also elected to bring our own towels and slippers to save some additional cash.

2014-07-31 - Iceland 057Oh, and for all those prude Americans, you will need to shower naked (oh the audacity) yep, that means without your bathing suit before entering the lagoon. No worries, you can slip back into your suit before enjoying the warmth.

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Reykjavík might be hard to spell, but is certainly easy to enjoy.  Our overall impression of Reykjavík was quite favorable, but again, Iceland is for the love of the land, so don’t stay too long in the city, get out and explore this remarkable country.

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