Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1 Week in Iceland: Day 5

Our fifth day in Iceland was somehow the most uneventful and eventful day of the week. It was uneventful because we basically just had two sites to visit and it was going to be a day of mostly driving. But, it was eventful because we punctured a tire and had to replace it. What an adventure!
Because we knew we'd be on the road for hours and we'd be sustaining ourselves mostly on road trip snacks, we took advantage of our kitchen and made a pretty hearty breakfast of eggs on toast. European eggs have the brightest yolks; it makes me think the chickens are really happy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

1 Week in Iceland: Day 4

True to our pattern, we woke up nice and early on our fourth day in Iceland but for a bit of a different reason than to just hit the road. The farm we were staying on allowed guests to watch them milk the cows in the morning. So, we got dressed and wandered over.
The photos of the cows being milked weren't exactly glamorous so I'm not really sharing any (but I share some footage in my video diary, if you're really interested).

Monday, November 28, 2016

1 Week in Iceland: Day 3

Day 3 started quite early as well. This was going to be a really strenuous day because we had to make it from Hofn all the way to Myvatn and it was our longest driving day at 400+ km (250+ miles). We skipped a few sites (the big one we didn't make it to was Dettifoss) in order to make time for a soak at the Myvatn Nature Baths, which I think was well worth it.
The morning started with a bit of packing and then a delicious complimentary breakfast at Milk Factory; the fresh bread was awesome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

1 Week in Iceland: Day 2

(Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and coincidentally, my 30th birthday. I'll be taking a short break from these posts and resuming on Monday. Enjoy your holiday, time with family, and eat lots of delicious food.)

Our second day in Iceland is what I will forever remember as the best day ever. We accomplished a lot, saw so many amazing things, and I finally got to cross #1 off of my life's bucket list. We didn't have to wake up quite as early as we did on Day 1 because our first destination was just a 15 minute drive from our hotel.
But we did take advantage of the twilit sky and got there before the sun was actually up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

1 Week in Iceland: Day 1

Iceland was beyond what I had imagined it would be. Clearly, I did an embarrassing amount of research prior to going because I wanted to squeeze in as much as possible, so I had seen photo after photo, I had watched dozens of videos, and none of it had prepared me for the beauty of Iceland. I made a pretty intensive itinerary before we left, taking into account the sunrise and sunset times, taking advantage of twilight, and trying to schedule our days efficiently so that we could see all that we wanted to see. And even though we didn't get to everything, we saw all the priority sites on our list so I'm calling this trip a success.

It was difficult to take a bad photo there because it was so beautiful. But, the photos I'm sharing won't do the landscapes justice. This blabbery preface is just to say that you need to go. You will love it. I really want to go back, except the next time I go, I want to visit during the summer so I can see puffins and the midnight sun. But I also want to go back during northern lights season.
We flew in on Sunday night, got picked up by the rental car company, got settled in with our vehicle, and then headed straight to our hotel.

Monday, November 21, 2016

24 Hours in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has been on my bucket list for years, but for a really stupid reason. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite movies (I watched that and Cinderella endlessly as a kid on a bootlegged VHS) and there's a Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen because it's a city greatly associated with Hans Christian Andersen (who wasn't born there but started his career there). Yeah, that's it; that's the sole reason. It wasn't until recently that I realized how ignorant I was. It's a food capital and home to more than a dozen Michelin stars, there are more bikes than people, it's the happiest city in the world, they value hygge, and it's bursting with charm. Learning this made me intensely excited to go.

Because Icelandair was offering discounted flights and they do that special up-to-seven-day layover thing, I immediately took it as an opportunity to explore Copenhagen. This short 24-hour trip was both enough time and not enough time; I got a really good taste of the city but of course, there's definitely much more to see and I want to go back.
We had a five hour flight to Reykjavik, a short layover, and then a three hour flight to Copenhagen. It went by quickly because I slept the entire time. Icelandair was great; we only had to go through passport control at Reykjavik and then nothing at Copenhagen (because of the Schengen agreement). The only downside to this is that I didn't get a CPH stamp in my passport but it's a sacrifice I was willing to make for such a smooth experience.

Monday, November 14, 2016

New York City in Autumn

I'm back from Iceland and I could give you the same spiel about how I'm depressed because holiday is over and how work is dreadful, which it totally is. But instead of being super whiny and forlorn, I'm going to share the awesome day I spent in New York just before my trip.

D and I made plans to meet up for a whole day and enjoy art and food and good company and we followed through on those plans.
The weather was perfect. It was around 50F when I left the house and by the time I met up with D, it was in the 60s.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day

Go vote!
I'm currently abroad and therefore am unable to go to the polls today. But, obviously because this was a pre-planned trip, I did the responsible thing and got my mail-in ballot. I voted about a month ago, and though sliding the envelope into the mailbox didn't have quite the same powerful feeling as punching in the ticket at the polls, it was still really meaningful.



Monday, November 07, 2016

How To: Plan & Pack Winter Clothes in a Carry On

(If all went as planned) I am currently in Iceland, enjoying my 30th birthday gift to myself. We're attempting a v. ambitious Ring Road trip in seven days; I'm confident we can do it. This is the first trip ever that I've taken to a chilly destination where I need legitimate winter clothing. The closest I've ever gotten to a chilly trip was when I went to Europe in January/February after I graduated school but that was pretty mild because we were in the UK, France, and Italy where it really doesn't snow all that much (though we did experience a freak snowstorm in London the day before our departure because that's just how the universe works).

I haven't ever had to pack loads of bulky, chunky knits and at first I was a bit apprehensive. But then, I realized it was kind of great because I realized I didn't have to pack as many pieces. Unlike tropical, humid, sunshiny destinations, I didn't need a new outfit for each day because I wasn't going to instantly dirty up my clothing with copious amounts of sweat and seawater. Visiting cold destinations means wearing coats constantly so you're going to look virtually the same in every photo anyway; does it really matter what you're wearing underneath? (Unless you're one of those fashion bloggers that get comped trips and you like to travel with giant luggage filled with a thousand outfits, in which case, it probably does matter what you're wearing underneath and you'd probably pack twelve coats. But fortunately, I do not fall into that category; carry on only, bitches!)
So, my strategy for this trip was to pack layers and do a bit of mixing and matching to optimize my minimal wardrobe. I wanted to use my tiny new roller (that I am in love with) and I wanted to pack efficiently but accessibly since we're road tripping. Because we're staying in a new town every night, I didn't want to have to mess up my entire bag every evening to get the items I needed. I mean, I can appreciate those crazy packing strategies people come up with - like stuffing socks inside shoes and saving small items for last so you can cram them into nooks and crannies - but those methods just aren't practical for this trip because then repacking my bag would be way too cumbersome. And honestly, I really don't like those strategies in general because they're not elegant; it seems rather haphazard and probably makes it difficult to locate specific items. But at the same time, I had to be v. strategic because I needed to be able to stuff everything I needed into my tiny bag.

This post is all about how I packed for 9 days abroad in a wintry destination with just an underseat carry on.
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