France: Our Parisian Apartment

We dropped off our Sadcar and dove into the total chaos of the Reykjavik airport at 6am. The airport LOOKS new but is total mayhem and I could write an entire post about it… that you would NOT want to read. Instead, I’ll show you the RAD aurora borealis effect on our plane.

We touchdown in Paris and make our way to the 6th arrondissement (neighborhood). Our place is on the left of the map and we’re only a 12-minute walk to Notre Dame (on the right).screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-5-51-18-pm

The closest Metro stop was Sainte Michel (which I appreciated because St. Michael’s Episcopal is my family’s church.) And it has this formidable  fountain of Michael the Archangel, vanquishing Satan.
honeymoon-5This is my handsome husband, strutting down our ‘rue’. The door on the left goes into our courtyard.honeymoon-3And here’s our courtyard! The door to my left is an office and the 2 steps on the right lead to a hallway that goes behind the office and to another, courtyard for our 2nd story apartment.honeymoon-4And here is a video of the place we called ‘ours’ in Paris.

This adorable apartment was our home base for 10-days while we explored the French capital.

 

 

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Iceland: Sunshine and my Love

Oct. 15th

We couldn’t even believe our luck! Our last day in Iceland was planned to be a drive along the south coast and when we woke up the weather was SUNNY and mild! Just look at our adorable little school-house hostel!LaugHostel

It was like Christmas morning and I couldn’t WAIT to get on the road. Our first stop was a quick hike around the rim of a collapsed volcano in Keroid. Richard was enjoying the small things in life- like the way the volcanic rock crunched underfoot. I was enjoying the sunshine!susiesbday-2

Then we hit the coast and drove west towards Vik along Route 1. We bypassed Seljalandsfoss; the parking lot was FULL of tour buses and since the sun wouldn’t hit the falls until the afternoon, and moved on to Skogafoss. (Here’s R by our rented, manual, bi-color Toyota Corolla. This SADcar was the only inexpensive thing we paid for in Iceland!  And she worked just fine.) iceland-8

We hiked the stairs to the top of the waterfall to enjoy the view and then continued east toward Vik. (Do you see the tiny people in the bottom, right corner?)iceland-31 Along the way, the Atlantic was on our right and mountain views were on our left. We stopped a lot to take photos because we just couldn’t help ourselves!  On Route 1, we spotted a GLACIER in the distance. I frantically took photos out the window until Richard saw a road to the glacier parking lot! Off we went for a hike!

We drove past the unpronounceable volcano Eyjafjallajokull that blew in 2010 and kept all those European flights grounded. It doesn’t look very dangerous, with a farm in its foothills.

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Our final destination was the little seaside village of Vik. The only thing of note in the town was this black sand beach. In the afternoon sun, the beach has a monochrome look.

p1190730The view of these same cliffs from the opposite was surprisingly different. Basalt rock formations and a blue, blue sea. The black sand was the same.
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Vik was the end of the road for us and it was time to turn back and head for Reykjavik. We had one more stop. Luckily, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall was much less crowded and drenched in evening sunlight.iceland-11

We ended our Route 1 trip by hiking behind the waterfall to watch the sun descend for the evening.
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Good-bye, Iceland! The next morning, we’ll be flying off to Paris!

Iceland: Water, water everywhere!

Oct. 14th

In Iceland, the water shoots up from the ground, falls from the sky, and warms your chilly bones. We woke up in our adorable hostel and it was still raining. We had a cold breakfast buffet ($20/each!) and headed out see the geyser that gave all geysers their name. It’s a quick but fun stop.

Geyser is on the way to Gullfoss (foss=falls) which is an impressive double waterfall, with extra volume due to all the Hurricane Matthew rains. What is a double waterfall? Look at this! The first fall is back to the left and it cascades down and the second fall goes down the ravine near the bottom of the photo. It was HUGE!

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It was chilly and damp out on the moors and Richard was appropriately dressed like Lord Grantham out on the hunt.

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We needed a bit of Vitamin D, so we decided to have lunch in a GEOTHERMAL greenhouse! Off we go to the Fridheimar farm for some tomatoey-deliciousness! Behold! A bowl of $20 soup!

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In all fairness, this place was AWESOME. The soup was all-u-can-eat with 8 different kinds of bread and basil on the table. Plus, you got to eat in a greenhouse and watch fat Dutch-imported bees (with no stingers) pollinate the tomato plants. It was the experience, not the soup that was worth $20.p1190609

To round out our day: we head to Fontana Hot Springs– two blocks from our hostel! They had 3 unique lagoons with varying temperatures, saunas AND you could jump in the lake! Brrr!

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We had a relaxing evening in the hostel, wrote some postcards and woke up to SUNSHINE!

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Iceland: Land of $20 soup and hurricane rains

We landed in Iceland 7am on Tuesday and it rained for the next 3 days. Luckily, we were on our honeymoon and nothing was going to dampen our spirits! Here’s Richard, (in a raincoat!) driving us through the rain.

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Our first day was spent in the capital, Reykjavik. After we found our AirBnb (with a rooftop hot tub!) we headed out to find some food and walked up to the famous church (Hallgrímskirkja) to get our bearings. A few blocks downhill, we found Salka Valka (aka. Fish and More) and stopped in for an Icelandic delight, Plokkfiskur! (It’s the mashed-potato-looking pile, left of the beer and it was full of fish-DELICIOUSNESS!)Plokkfiskur

This is our first time seeing $20 soup on the menu. Food was very expensive in Iceland but for some reason, we never saw soup for less than $14! We thought it was an anomaly at Salka Valka and since we were SO pleased with our Plokkfiskur, we didn’t think much about it. That night I was still recovered from a bit of jet lag so we headed back to relax in the hot tub.

vikingbeerThe next morning we walked through town, admiring the graffiti and trying to keep our umbrella from blowing inside out. We ended up at Café Loki, right across from Hallgrímskirkja where we discovered that no one really eats eggs for breakfast in Iceland. Mostly they eat fish on toast or muesli with yogurt. Here you can see Richard enjoying his breakfast fish in front of a calming mural of Norse mythology. (FYI: The food you see on the table cost $34.)

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On the walk home, we found the Einar Jonssan sculpture park and museum and I was enamored by Enar’s the Art Nouveau sculptures. This one is called, Protection.

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To escape the rain, we decided to pay ($10) to go inside the museum. Turns out that Einar studied art in Europe and after he made it big, he told Iceland that he’d give them all his art if they’d build him a museum where he could have a studio and apartment. The kitchen was installed along one of the walls in this room below.  You should go, it was very interesting.p1190544

We packed up and headed out of town, taking the Golden Circle road towards Laugavartn. We drove through Pingvellir and admired the dramatic volcanic cliffs and waterfalls.

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Soggy and tired (of being soggy) we arrived at our darling old-school hotel, Héraðsskólinn. We checked in and asked to borrow a hairdryer to dry our shoes. This is when we learned that the weather was caused by the tail of hurricane Matthew, slapping Iceland with unrelenting rains as it spun past. screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-17-29-pm

Tomorrow, geysers, more waterfalls and lunch in a greenhouse! (Spoiler alert… we bought the $20 soup!)