Posts Categorized: travel

Europe + Iceland + Life + travel / Thursday, 24 May 2012

Iceland: off the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle consists of a three major tourist sites: the waterfall Gullfoss, the geothermal geysers including Geysir, and the national park and site of the first parliament, Pingvellir. These are all awesome, but you know what’s even more awesome? Going off the beaten track. Well, most things in Iceland are of the beaten track so that’s not very hard. Paul had remembered a crater he had visited the last time he was there so we went on a crater hunt. First, we ran into this red rock mine, which was located next to a mountain. After climbing the mountain we found out that the it was in fact a crater.
THEN, we drove to another site where Bjork had what I think must be the best music venue of all time. She performed on a raft on the water of this crater: 
Darn that automatic timer.

Are you getting the sense that Iceland is just amazing? (As if I haven’t talked about it enough) I do have to thank a few people for giving me some really awesome travel tips. Jenna was an absolute sweetheart for giving a huge itinerary including a Google map that we used. She wrote about her adventures in several parts starting here. MichelleMarlouLinda, Kurt, Brenda, Gnomie and Anne also gave me some really awesome advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know!

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Iceland + Life + Scandinavia + travel / Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Reykjavik

So far I’ve covered our Iceland trip without mentioning the capital, Reykjavik, once. For shame! It’s the largest city in Iceland though it feels like a town compared with other cities. I was struck by its mountainous yet Scandinavian feel. A lot of homes are built out of corrugated iron so it feels like temporary housing, but I’ve been told it’s very sturdy–did you know the country lies on a huge fault?! Doesn’t scare me much being from California, but add volcanoes to their list of natural disasters you realize they really must love where they live in order to stay. Yikes. The Hallgrimskirkja, above, is awesome. You must go up the tower to see the view of the city with all the colorful roofs. That’s one thing about Icelanders, they love color. Like this wall, below, and the roofs.
There are several of these waterfall installations throughout the city. I can’t seem to find the name of the artist…anyone?

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Home + House + Life + Scandinavia + travel / Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tucked away

Still working through these Iceland photos. What do you think so far? Nuts, right? Paul and I rented a car for a few days and drove across the island. We stopped periodically to capture the houses built into mountains*. I’m guessing this technique came to be because it’s so (so so so so so so so) windy and the rock is at least one solid fortification. 
*kind of reminded me of that rock house in Laguna Beach. You know what I’m talking about OCers? 
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Europe + Iceland + Life + Scandinavia + travel / Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Iceland Part 2: Look Pa, I’m outdoorsy!

Sadly, words like “an hour and a half hike to hot springs” aren’t super tempting. Had they never said it would take only 35 minutes I probably wouldn’t have gone. BUT, I’m SO glad we went. Really, this was one of the most terrific things I’ve ever done. Let me tell you how it all started. You’re going to want to read it all, I promise, so click at the bottom for the rest of the story and an overabundance of pictures. I’ll be putting the rest of the pics on Facebook soon. 

Our plan for the day was to go to the Vestmannaeyjar Islands (after seeing this picture, we just HAD to go, you know?) So we drove to the ferry only to find out that we could get there, but we probably couldn’t get a ferry ride back due to the weather. Rats! So, we drove around a bit and then our host thought we might like to visit the hot springs. Hmmm, sure. I’m not an enthused swimwear user in the freezing cold, you see. Well, we drove out only to find that the road was blocked by ice and rocks like this:
Not good. So, the Icelanders explain the infamous 35 min. hike and we get going. We set off with these adorable little one. (Notice the use of Icelandic sweaters–they really do wear them!)
We pass scenes like this, which keeps me a happy camper.
Then I feel like we’re going through that scene in Elf when he explains his magical trip Candy Cane forest. We keep going and going and going when and hour and half later…
…we land on THIS. Wha?!?! Are you kidding me? 
I shed my coat because we’d worked up some heat and it was surprisingly mild outside and reveal that I, too, had become Icelandic and was sporting a newly purchased sweater. Surprise!
We see a whole valley of steaming hot water, much too hot to actually touch so we keep on traveling down the valley to hopefully tamer temperatures when…
…when we spot this…you know, a sheep’s skeleton. Cuz that’s what happens in Iceland.
Oh, hey Paul!
We traverse the waters. Everyone does it with ease, but I’m a little frightened at the thought that this could potentially be boiling water and I could die. But, I do it without a hitch and I feel like I could conquer the world.
We finally find a moderate temperature and take a dip and soak for a bit. It was heavenly.
Afterwards we must document our moment with the waters. We get out the automatic timer because the only thing around here are us the sheep’s skeletons.
Now we must decide to go back up the way we came or head down the valley to the nearby village and call someone they know to take us back up to our car. We opt for the later. But we have a very tired boy on our hands who’s missed his nap time so people take turns carrying him. Minus me, I guess my only duty was taking pictures. Muhahaha.
Heading down the valley 
We finally make it down to the base of the mountain a couple of hours later and have some friends save us. Was it worth it? You better believe it. It was nuts! So surreal. 

Now, if this doesn’t make you want to schedule a trip, I don’t know what else will. 

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Europe + Iceland + Life + Scandinavia + travel / Thursday, 26 Apr 2012

Iceland Part 1: Glacier Lagoon

Remember learning about glaciers in 4th grade and thinking, “cool” but you never really gave a second thought that you could actually see one because they ACTUALLY EXIST? Glacier Lagoon, or as the Icelanders call it, Jökulsárlón, is such glacier and the lagoon is oh so furreal. Yes, there are seals swimming around. Sometimes the icebergs turn upside down and then you can see the smooth ice patterns like the second pic from the bottom. The patterns Mother Earth creates are really out of this world. Ha. Punny. The boat rental handed us some really sexy onesy jumpsuits to wear, which really made my day because it made me a cozy happy camper.

You liking Iceland so far? Yeah, this is only the first of my batch of pictures so you’ve got to to bear with me.

I’ll be posting more to Facebook so I don’t overwhelm you with 300+ pics of each stop. You’re welcome.

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