Ecuador to Australia via America, Iceland, and UK

Today’s travel starts from Ecuador with an overnighter in America, a red-eye flight to Iceland, stopping in the United Kingdom for a few days, followed by the long-haul flight to Australia.

Sadly, the incredible and challenging South American adventure is coming to a close. Check out my wrap-up post South America Top 19 Highlights for some inspiration.

Leaving South America on a classy note

If you think I’m not embarrassed enough from succumbing to yesterday’s disgusting poo scam in the main centre of Quito, today is the final icing on the South American cake.

After a night of too much drinking whilst saying goodbye to our good travel buddies that always lead us astray, it’s with a throbbing head and dodgy stomach we head to the airport in a taxi this morning.

Dropped off at one of the busiest airports in South America – Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport – my reluctant timing couldn’t be more impeccable…

Picture a bustle of well-dressed passengers milling in and out of Departures, followed by several handsome-looking airline pilots impeccably dressed walking past, whilst I violently throw-up emptying the complete contents of my stomach into the airport’s gutter…

All class!

Fixing myself up and wiping my smelly mouth acting as if nothing happened, we lug our gear into Departures for the start of the very long journey home.

Quito to New York, America

Quito, Ecuador, Souther America, New York, AmericaFeeling much better and settling in for the Iceland Air flight to New York’s bustling JFK airport, around 7 hours of travel later and we land in New York.

With only a brief overnight stay in one of JFK’s hotels, it’s quite late and the restaurant is closed, with only snacks from the vending machine to stave off hunger.

You might be thinking, why take such an indirect flight from Quito to Heathrow. The is cost. Direct flights are very expensive 10 days before Christmas. This flight involves 2 stops and you arrive at your destinations at ungodly hours.

New York to Reykjavík, Iceland

It’s such a shame that we only spend a fleeting few hours at the hotel – today’s red-eye flight from New York to Reykjavík beckons. At least it’s a chance to stretch out horizontally.

New York, America, Reykjavík, Iceland

The connecting Iceland Air flight travels for around 6 hours before landing in Reykjavík’s Keflavík International Airport under a blanket of snow.

It’s in the early hours of the morning, still very dark – looks extremely cold and uninviting.

Sleepy passengers are offloaded. Everyone heads for the restaurant and the few open shops.

Ogling at the delicious mouth-watering but very expensive smoked salmon delicacies, we succumb and indulge in sharing the cheapest choice on the menu.

One slice of freshly-baked seeded bread topped with the most delicious Icelandic smoked salmon, dressed with a couple of capers. All for the bargain-basement price of €14 – nothing else to do but eat whilst waiting for the connecting flight to Heathrow.

Reykjavík to Heathrow, United Kingdom

Reykjavík, Iceland, Heathrow, United KingdomBack in Iceland Air’s plane, 3 burly Icelandic women are sitting next to and across from our seats.

One lady changes seats to sit next to my partner.

Pulling out from her bag a rather large can of cold Boli (Icelandic) beer, thirstily ripping off the ring pull then starts downing the beer like there’s no tomorrow, finishing the can in one gulp – it’s 6:30 am!

The friendly lady makes brief chit-chat with my partner, then crashes and sleeps solidly until reaching Heathrow some 3 hours later.


Landing in Heathrow, immigration takes a while before collecting bags and onto the hire car for the 4-hour drive to Street, Somerset.

Lush undulating fluorescent-green hills and ominous black clouds drift by whilst travelling on the highway.

If you ever travel to Somerset in England’s southwest, it’s not long before you’re thrown back in time with surrounding stunning medieval history, the legendary King Arthur, and the mythical Excalibur sword.

Glastonbury Abbey is said to be the final resting place of Kind Arthur.

Somerset: Wells

Always time for a little sight-seeing and a wander through history even on a rushed trip – love Europe’s smallest city: magnificent Wells.

The imposing stone Gateway to the Vicar’s Close is fabulous as a rest-stop and to listen to medieval sounds from local buskers.

Gates, Vicar's Close, Wells Somerset, United Kingdom, Europe

Famous Vicar’s Close is an example of a “planned street” and dates back to the mid-14th century.

Vicar's Close, Wells Somerset, United Kingdom, Europe

Take a stroll through the meticulously manicured grounds surrounding the impressive Bishop’s Palace. Dating back some 800 years, this striking piece of history captivates with its commanding presence.

Bishop's Palace, Wells Somerset, United Kingdom, Europe

Not sure of the age of this majestic tree dwarfing remnants of the Great Hall…

Bishop's Palace, Wells Somerset, United Kingdom, Europe

A recent post with more detail for visiting Wells: Medieval Bath and Wells – Somerset, England.

Dorset: Lyme Regis

Dubbed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’ for its breath-taking scenery, this fishing port is also a seaside resort town.

Lyme Regis, Dorset, United Kingdom, Europe

Just a quick taste…

Lyme Regis, Dorset, United Kingdom, Europe

Driving back through Dorset, the sun dips presenting a gorgeous vista of the English coastline.

Dorset, United Kingdom, Europe

Everything clears to boast an incredible sky.

Dorset, United Kingdom, Europe

A recent post with travel tips on England’s Southwest: Thomas Hardy’s Beautiful Dorset.

The United Kingdom to Sydney

Time to head to Heathrow for the long-haul travel to The Land of Oz.

Heathrow, United Kingdom, Europe, Sydney, Australia, OceaniaA stop for several hours in Dubai is always a welcomed respite from sitting in a confined seat for 7 hours.

During the inevitable stop when travelling to Australia, keep walking – a habit of mine as I don’t want to succumb to DVT.

The plethora of shops at this airport is enough to keep any bored traveller interested – you’re bound to spend money.

The next travel leg is from Dubai to Sydney, which takes around 14 long hours.

Take music, reading material, Sudoku (if it’s your thing), and whatever else you need as depending on the airline, you may not find a movie of your choice or tire of watching movies altogether.

Landing in Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is a great relief that finally ends travel on flights.


Crashing at my sister’s place overnight in one of Sydney’s northern suburbs, decide to click some shots from the apartment’s small balcony, as need to stay awake for a few hours to combat the dreaded jet-lag.

Sydney, NSW, Australia, Oceania

Quite a lot of haze around and bad weather looming in the distance but what a view!

Sydney, NSW, Australia, Oceania

Not a great hand-held shot of this brilliant vista although this view is mesmerising.

Sydney, NSW, Australia, Oceania

A drive north-west of Sydney for more catch-ups with family and mainly my mother is almost the end of this very long journey.

Sydney to Brisbane

Windsor, Brisbane, Australia, OceaniaAfter traversing thousands of miles across oceans, a brief stay in the UK and Sydney, spending Christmas with family – sure it’s my mother’s last and the reason I was called back to Australia – it’s time to head home to Brisbane.

Ladened with our travel gear, my small Ford Festiva takes us on the flat inland highway through NSW with ease. Lucky that my car lived in Sydney during the South American and Morocco trip.

Following the uneventful 1,000-kilometre-drive and finally reaching Brisbane, the realisation that long-term travel is over for a while sets in…

Hanging up the backpack

Reluctantly, it’s time to hang up the backpack and look for a job. Need money to set off on another long trip perhaps in a year or two.

Strangely enough, after travelling in South America for months, it takes a while to get out of the habit of looking over my shoulder when in public places…

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on South America, United Kingdom, and Australia at Image Earth Travel.

37 responses to “Ecuador to Australia via America, Iceland, and UK”

  1. James B Avatar

    This is a great post! Thank you for taking the time to write this!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the great feedback and stopping by…

  2. Gillian Morris Avatar
    Gillian Morris

    Another fab post Nilla. What a journey..the longest I’ve done is 32 hours or so door to door from UK to thailand before I lived in bangkok and it included a flight and a bus lol. I think you have done more sightseeing in the uk than I have. love your photos..I’ll have to get down to Dorset and that way soon it looks lovely xx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks Gill for your great feedback. That was a long journey and one I don’t care to do again. Think I mentioned the last couple of times flying back to Australia have been fraught with long flights (52 hours) and cancelled flights. It seems as if airlines are never on time these days.

      Ha, ha I don’t believe that for a moment but do know that the UK has some stunning areas, especially when it’s not raining – Cornwall is my favourite UK spot. 😉 x

  3. Nina | Lemons and Luggage Avatar

    Loving the black and white photography!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Nina for this great feedback!

      I take my photos in B&W and don’t convert in post-production, actually I don’t believe in doing a lot of PP as apart from being lazy and finding PP tedious, I’m old school and like to ‘take’ a photo not ‘make’ a photo. 😉

  4. Frank J Peter Avatar

    Go, girl, go!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! 😉
      This was a while back as I was finishing off writing about the South America trip.
      Not a great way to return to Oz but a cheap way – don’t think I’ll be doing that again as prefer to get there in the shorted time these days.
      Left you a comment on your FFRF post a few weeks’ ago although not sure it went through.

  5. Dave Ply Avatar

    Wow, you’re dang near an astronaut, covering that much turf. I’m tired just reading about it.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha Dave this was a long way around the globe and not in any hurry do to this again.
      Much prefer direct flights these days with the one obligatory stop for a couple of hours in an airport before the next flight.

  6. Suellen Tomkins - Wild Heart Gypsy Spirit Avatar

    Welcome home – finally. 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey Suellen, this was the final post from a trip in 2011. Spent a couple of years in Oz then took off again.
      Still away as left Australia in 2014 – think I’m meant to roam this earth forever. 😉

  7. equinoxio21 Avatar

    You are quite the courageous type. Practically a round the world trip. I might have kipped the Iceland-UK part and gone the other way round. Our trip to Singapore in 2017 was “mere” 30 hours. 🙂
    Glad you could make it to Oz on Xmas. I take it your mother is not well?
    Be good.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Nah, just love to have fun and explore.
      It was a bit of a long-way around but got there in the end. This was my last post for the 2011 trip. Sadly, it was my mother’s last Christmas as she passed away 9 months after my return and another reason why I didn’t leave Australia for a couple of years.
      Am always good Brian 😉

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Oh. That was a long while ago. But still they are missed. At least you could spend some time with her.
        Never “bad”? 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yeah, it is now, time has a habit of melting into the past. I was glad I was called back.
        Ha, ha you picked up on that, of course not… 😉

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Ha, ha. Of course.

  8. David & Laura Speer Avatar

    WOW, that is a lot of travel. You must be exhausted – we always get so wonky after a flight, and it gets worse with age it seems. 6:30am in Iceland is 5:00pm somewhere! Might as well sleep the flight away I say!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Agree, It definitely does get worse with age.
      The last couple of times returning to Australia, my legs swelled up loads but maybe it was because one trip took 52 hours and on the second trip, my flight was grounded in Dubai so arrived in Australia a day late.

      1. David & Laura Speer Avatar

        Ugh. We can see that at 52 hours, we thought 20 was a lot. Now were gonna have to wear compression stockings. I’m going to make note, 12hrs will be our longest, take 2days in between to rest at a stop.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Well, I didn’t book a 52-hour trip, I was bumped off my original flight, which was a good flight and had to travel 2 days earlier but this one took 52 hours – awful.
        I think resting between flights is a great idea but I get too impatient and just want to get to my destination when travelling on long-haul flights. 😉

      3. David & Laura Speer Avatar

        That is worse, bumped to awful.. Honestly, we would have done a two day layover for sure, at each site. But your traveling for work, were traveling for fun. When its work we both will do whatever it takes to get the job done, so we get it. Glad your at your destination and hopefully rested up now.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        This was a trip I did a while back and not for work.
        I’m currently in Italy. 🙂

      5. David & Laura Speer Avatar

        Oh good, have some gelato for us!

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        That I certainly will do – best Gelato in the world so far! 😉

  9. the eternal traveller Avatar

    Phew, just reading this makes me feel tired. It’s a sad fact that if we want to travel it takes a long time, but I’m happy to do it. We like to break it up if we can, like you did.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was tiring.
      I don’t usually like breaking a long-haul trip up apart from the one stop in an airport somewhere – prefer to just get there…

      1. the eternal traveller Avatar

        We tend to have a stopover on the way to Europe, but do the whole journey on the way back.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I find the journey to Australia worse for jet-lag and my legs swelling up than my journey from Australia – it’s weird. Maybe I need to stopover a night somewhere from now on.

  10. Suzanne Avatar

    Looking over your shoulder no matter where you are Nilla, is always a good idea. Loved the Black & White photos.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Good point Suzanne but this time it was too much. 😉
      Thank you.

  11. aliterarybent Avatar

    Well, what an awesome journey you’ve had. No doubt at all that once the money has been saved you’ll be back out there again. Thoroughly enjoyed the articles and photos. Nice one!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for stopping by and your comment. It was an awesome journey!

  12. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

    I really like the way you write articles about other countries and regions
    I really hope you enjoyed reading my new post

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Mohamad, thank you for the great feedback – much appreciated!
      I stopped by your blog earlier. Enjoyed reading your new post and left you a comment.

      1. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

        Thank you Nilla
        You really are a great supporter to my blog
        That is why I’ll always check out your posts and make sure to read them

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        No problem at all and thank you for also supporting my blog. 🙂

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