St. Patrick’s Day 2017 is going to be hard to beat. We were in Oxford, England on a walking tour of the city and we were bored out of our minds. Our guide was a very sweet, elderly English woman who had lived in Japan for many years. As we walked along she gave us lots of information about what we were seeing, and then would repeat the whole thing in Japanese. It was quite time consuming to hear the spiel in two languages and we felt our precious time in Oxford slipping away, especially because we knew we would probably never remember any of this information anyway.
Drastic measures needed to be taken. I’m not sure which of the four of us suggested ditching the tour, but agreement was unanimous. In reality, this act of rebellion wasn’t a big deal. The tour walked one way and we walked the other, but in our minds we were undertaking a secret mission and we high fived as we gave the tour the slip. Sometimes being naughty can be so fun! Read More
Reading classic books is something I really enjoy. I love the thought that I’m reading a story millions of people over generations and sometimes hundreds of years have read. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, it makes me feel connected to something much bigger.
The time had come to tackle Moby Dick, the story of a whaling ship captain seeking revenge on a giant sperm whale that had bitten off his leg in a previous whaling expedition. Things were going swimmingly 🙂 and I was about three quarters through, when Chapter 95 stopped me cold. Wtf did I just read? Read More
Waterfall #2: Skogafoss
The path to Skogafoss was dry as a bone
With a staircase that went to the top
We climbed all 370 steps
And the view almost made our hearts stop
The day was so clear, the sun shone off the sea
And gratitude filled our hearts
We took it all in, then headed back down
Glacier hiking was going to start Read More
Stefán and the Land Rover
In Reykjavík there lives a man
Who shows visitors all that he can
His Land Rover’s a beast
With no cares in the least
About snow or ice or black sand
The Land Rover held three
Brett, Stefán and me
The things we saw did amaze
Volcano, glacier and waterfalls
We’ll remember for all of our days
Sunrise from the crater of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It wreaked havoc on air traffic when it erupted in 2010, but on this day you'd never guess it could be anything other than serene and stunningly beautiful. #iceland * * * #exploringtheglobe #explore #travelmore #travel #worldtraveler #seetheworld #goexplore #travellife #traveling #nature #naturephotography #natureaddict #ice #traveltheworld #travelgram #openmyworld #letsgosomewhere #passionpassport #wonderfulplaces #bestvacations #adventureculture #worldcaptures #travelawesome #followme #welivetoexplore #welltraveled #emptynestadventures
Our dead of winter Iceland trip was kind of a spur of the moment decision. Travelzoo had a smokin’ deal that included non-stop flights from Denver, five nights’ hotel, and an excursion to Laugarvatn Fontana, a geothermal bath with a buffet dinner and northern lights hunt.
Normally big group tours aren’t our thing. We prefer small or private tours where we aren’t bound to a tight schedule, so we didn’t know how we’d feel about the group excursion that came with our trip.
Packing for the evening was interesting. We needed bathing suits and toiletries for the hot springs and our warmest gear for (hopefully!!) seeing the aurora borealis.
We had had a lovely day attending service at Hallgrímskirkja and exploring the town, and this would cap off Brett’s birthday.
A gigantic deluxe coach picked us up at our hotel and it was filled with people. We had a darling guide who told us stories of Iceland while we drove out to Laugarvatn Fontana. The only trouble was that so many people on the bus were talking while she was talking, which was very frustrating. I wanted to hear every word she said, but it was difficult. And unfortunately, we were sitting in front of an especially active, loud talker, who also happened to be neurotic. He was a Brit who was afraid of everything (except of boring strangers to death) and had settled on Iceland because his wife really to take a trip and after extensive research he agreed to Iceland because terrorism was unknown there. The poor Japanese man next to him was trapped. It was quite telling that Mr. Neurotic’s wife was sitting elsewhere on the bus. I wished we were with her. Read More
The second tallest building in Iceland is the Lutheran church, Hallgrimskirkja. It sits in the center of Reykjavík and has become one of the city’s best known symbols. Brett’s birthday happened to fall on a Sunday and he was raised Lutheran, so what better way to end his 47th year, than attending service there.
The church is a tourist magnet. Going to the top of the bell tower and looking over the colorful roofs of downtown Reykjavík is quite a special experience. The narthex was crammed with people waiting to ascend the tower, which I found out, is very annoying to some of the church’s local members on a Sunday morning. As we were trying to enter the sanctuary, we were blocked by multitudes. Suddenly, I was firmly pushed from behind, and turned to see a tiny woman, easily in her 70s, making her way through the crowd in a very forceful way. I found it amusing, although it was clear that she did not. Read More
Winter in Iceland might seem like a really bad idea. And when I planned a trip to Reykjavik in January, I was a little concerned I was making a huge mistake. But we got a smokin’ deal through Travel Zoo and being winter people, we figured we’d have a good attitude no matter what happened. The only thing I really had my heart set on was seeing the Aurora Borealis. I knew I was setting myself up for disappointment, but I couldn’t help it.
A week before our trip we got an email from Icelandair saying we could make an offer on upgraded seats and they would let us know if our offer was accepted. I put in a pretty low amount for the next class up not expecting that it would be accepted, so I was ecstatic when it was! When we got our boarding passes, I noticed that we were in Row 2. What??? The First Class seats hadn’t sold, so they bumped us from Economy Comfort (which I had won in the bid) to First Class. Icelandair is awesome! Brett traveled First Class as a kid, but it was the first time I had ever turned left in the plane and not right. I felt like an impostor. Read More
The Liebster Award is a blogging award which is peer given and a way to promote new blogs and connect people.
Thank you very much to Aixa (Mucho Spanish) for the nomination! Be sure to check out her amazing blog. She writes about travel experiences, adventures in her adopted hometown of NYC (she’s a Venezuelan native) and much more.
Being a relative newbie, I have been blown away by how supportive and encouraging the blogging community is.
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”- Buddha Read More
My goal each year is to read at least 24 books. Sometimes I do it and sometimes I don’t, but that’s okay. I am a sucker for classics. Reading something that millions of people have read over generations and sometimes centuries, makes me feel connected and part of something bigger. I get the same feeling singing old hymns.
I have always loved Charles Dickens. I have read many of his books, we see the performance of A Christmas Carol each year, and I dragged my family to see the only statue of him in the world in Philadelphia. When I found out how horrible he was to his wife, declaring her unfit for her duties as a wife and mother after she found out about his affair with a 19 year old actress, and threatening to have her admitted to an asylum, I actually felt betrayed. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. I had put him on a pedestal and he came crashing down.
It was a quiet, clear Sunday morning. We were up early and enjoying our coffee when a very strange sound broke the silence. We looked at each other. What in the world was that? A few seconds later we heard it again, a loud whooshing, then silence. It was coming from the backyard and as we went outside to investigate, a very surprising sight greeted us.
There about 100 feet up, a hot air balloon was floating above our yard headed towards the field behind our neighborhood. (Yes, the same field where we searched for our infamous neighbor Balloon Boy in 2009, but that’s another story.) We waved to the people in the basket and they waved back. The pilot used the burner to finesse his way onto the field, and it was the most peaceful, serene scene; the colors of the envelope bright in the morning sun, the whoosh and then silence, the smiling, waving people in the basket. Read More
Hucking myself from a plane at 18,000 feet was never something that interested me. On the few occasions over the years that I had thought about what it would be like, I knew I could never do it. I imagined myself overcome with paralyzing terror and wondered how anyone could subject themselves to that. Then something happened…my mindset changed.
My family had gone indoor skydiving and it was a blast. Our instructor was a skydiver and we regaled him with questions. I had never met someone who was a solo skydiver with thousands of dives under his belt, and I found him intriguing. He didn’t seem to be someone with a death-wish and in fact, was just a really nice guy who happens to freefall from thousands of feet several times a week.
One of two things will happen when you indoor skydive; 1) you will want to do the real thing, or 2) you won’t. Brett and Holden were in the second category; Gray and I were in the first. My change in mindset had snuck up on me with no warning. It wasn’t even that I wanted to throw myself out of a plane, it was that I wanted to prove to myself that I could. Just like persevering after my first 14er debacle (see an earlier blog post about that here), I didn’t want fear to control me. I knew it was something I had to do or I would regret it, and regret is something I cannot live with. Read More