Guernsey, country #218

Though Guernsey is closer to France than England, but not in the EU. Its also not technically part of Great Britain or the UK, but they use the pound with their own coins and different pictures on the bills. If I pass thru border control and can add pieces to my worldwide money collection, then hey, it’s a new country for me.

The south coast of Guernsey

The roads on Guernsey were built or horse carriages, and never really widened after the car was introduced. This made renting a new car and driving it on the wrong side of the ride extra difficult, since oncoming traffic was literally head on. The shores were rocky, the weather windy, and the skies a dramatic mix of clouds, sunshine and rain, so being outside never got boring. Once in a while there was a sandy stretch of beach and you were sure to find a dozen joggers and dog owners enjoying the space. We drove around counter clockwise, starting at the airport near St. Martin, to Pleinmont, then Vazon and Grandes Rocques and Bordeaux harbour before reaching the capital, St. Peter Port.

St. Peter Port

The pubs were in great supply, and even a handful of good restaurants, and the main attractions were a few lighthouses, port towns and an aquarium. Tourism is dead here in the winter, since many hotels shut down until the summer season and the ones that were open were only partly open. The island of Lihou was my favourite stop, and we arrived there during the only 1.5hr window when the ride was low enough to walk over. A handful of guests were doing the same to check into the only hotel (and only building) on the island, but a tractor carried their luggage in a rickety hay trailer since the rolley suitcases would have killed a few too many limpets and barnacles.

the underwater road to Lihou

The best hotel on the island was Ziggurat; it was a boutique hotel with cutely decorated rooms, a bar with views of the city to the sea, and a stone staircase leading straight into the center of downtown St. Peter Port. Breakfast was included, a hot meal with the feeling of being home cooked and served by a long lost aunty, and the eggs and sausage breakfast was a refreshing change from the seafood we’d been gorging on every other meal.

Photo Highlight: Winter in Vestmannaeyjar

My father was from a tiny island on the south coast of Iceland where men proudly call themselves the first and most original Icelanders, since Iceland is their biggest colony. My father was born January 7th 1952 and both my grandparents were born January 11th, so January seemed like the best time to go and visit their communal grave. The cemetery in Heimaey is always lit up with festive lights until January 23rd, the anniversary of the 1973 volcanic eruption start date. If only everyone could Rest In Peace in such a paradise as this.

Backroads´ Active Adventures in 2019

Backroads, the worlds #1 active travel company, has recently expanded its activity horizons by adding yoga to their trips! There is still biking and/or hiking and the multi-sport type trips haven´t been dropped or changed, but Backroads has simply added yoga as an extra option. In fact, Backroads has always been a yoga friendly company, with free yoga classes at lunch time for their head office staff and dozens of existing leaders already being certified yoga teachers. But now, you have the opportunity to book an active-packed adventure in one of the many countries Backroads is working on incorporating yoga into.

the yoga space at Hotel Húsafell, Iceland

The yoga classes will usually be offered in the early morning or late afternoon, getting in hour of yoga after big meals, and somehow connected to sunrise and sunset times, theoretically (hard to do in Iceland with only 4 hours of daylight). The yoga is Hatha style, a slow flow intended to stretch and strengthen the body. The yoga is not just seen as its own activity, but an exercise to help increase and improve the experience of the other activities offered on trip, since a little bit of yoga never hurt a cyclist or hiker! After the yoga classes, guests (and teacher) felt relaxed and better prepared for the next days activities, and I even noticed I was sleeping better.

Dark and wintery Iceland offers lots of time for cosy indoor yoga

The first ever yoga trips started just this year in Costa Rica and Iceland, and I was grateful to be the yoga teacher leader on Iceland´s two yoga departures this January. The first Iceland trip was a shining success, and more yoga-enthused guests means more yoga options with Backroads in the future. So far, we have California, Florida, Hawaii, Utah and Arizona in the US, plus Costa Rica, Iceland, India, Italy, Mexico, Bali, Indonesia and Mallorca, Spain. If those segments go well, who knows where the yoga will stop – perhaps it will slowly creep into trips in all of the 60+ countries Backroads operates at!

your Backroads yoga teacher leaders have all gone through YTTC training

Check out your active adventure dreams at backroads.com, especially if you´re thinking of traveling with a bit of yoga in your future. Or if you´re a yoga certified teacher and have ever thought about teaching yoga as a Backroads leader, why don´t you try applying for the 2019 season?