I have entered a new decade of life!
This also means that my 30 Before 30 List is over. And once again, I didn’t complete my entire list. I finished about 50.5% of the things on my list this year. A few favorites include: visiting Iceland, buying my first house, trying standup paddleboarding, biking the San Juan Islands, buying a mixte bike, doing yoga for a month, and going to 200ish new restaurants.
So of course the next logic step is to create a 31 New Things Before 31 list. And then I need to try harder this year! :)
Guess what? I didn’t go kiteboarding! Ever since my windsurfing class in Naxos, Greece, I’ve been wanting to try kiteboarding. I’ve tried all the board sports I can think of [and loved them all!], except kiteboarding and stand up paddle boarding. I figured I would have the opportunity to try out kiteboarding this spring during my “escape from weather hell” vacation. After deciding on Hawaii, I started looking at paddle boarding instead. So after researching Maui stand up paddle boarding (SUP!) options, we ended up renting two at the beach and sharing. So. Much. Fun! Honestly, I thought it would be a little harder — the balancing part, I didn’t go catch waves or anything though. Next time. :)
We started from the beach, put the board in the water, hopped on (kneeling), and paddled out over the tiny waves breaking and then it was fairly smooth sailing from there. Apparently you’re supposed to be “light in your legs” and use your core. Definitely a core workout. My BFF and I paddled around for a good amount of time and then took turns holding paddles to jump into the water, followed up with a bit of downward facing dog. Success! :)
Not sure I’ll be paddling down the Willamette on a paddleboard, but I’d love to try it again somewhere warm and try catching waves on one. That would be brilliant. But it really made me want to go surfing again.
I’m a little sad that I have no photographic evidence that I went paddleboarding, but it was on the above pictured beach. C’est la vie.
Iceland has been on my hypothetical “interesting/someday” travel wish list for a few years now. Although, my obsession with Icelandic culture started with Leif Erikson — original Viking bad ass — in the 3rd grade (Erikson was quickly followed by a brief obsession with Abraham Lincoln… where were we? Ah yes, Iceland…). After finding an Icelandair deal for $438 roundtrip in July, I didn’t do much planning other than grinning at pictures of Icelandic horsies, dreaming of the Blue Lagoon, and listening to Sigur Ros.
One of the perks of working for an independent travel company, is that after chatting about Iceland to a coworker who writes our Iceland travel guide, you might see your very own custom 5-day Iceland itinerary pop up in your RSS reader a week or two later. Thanks Katie! :) So without further ado here are…
Ever since I saw pictures of the uber-adorable Icelandic horses, I knew I would be riding horses while in Iceland. They’re like life-size My Little Pony dolls, and they tölt. If I was a horse, I would totally be one of these little hearty creatures. Yeah, I identify with Icelandic horses… le sigh…
The Blue Lagoon exceeded my expectations. I’d heard more than a few times that the Blue Lagoon was a little over-rated and expensive, but was looking forward to it anyway. Visiting the Blue Lagoon was one of my favorite things in Iceland. With 6 hours of daylight and freezing temperatures, it was fun to bliss out in the lagoon for a few hours. Highly recommended.
Reykjavik looks like a tiny toy town from the Hallgrímskirkja church tower. The downtown area is a walker’s paradise. After a day of wandering, I felt like I pretty much knew my way around, and I had a great time just meandering about town during the 5 days… poking into shops, visiting the Sun Voyager sculpture, getting lattes (my favorite cafe for lattes was a tiny little place called Grái Kötturinn — Grey Kitten? I’m assuming), window shopping at 66 North, popping into a design shop or two…
I hadn’t really thought of doing a brewery tour in Iceland until I heard about it from my coworker. It ended up being a lot of fun to hear about the history of drinking in Iceland, quite a few drinks were included, and we got drink vouchers to use back in town for $5 beers instead of $9 (yes, $9!). And one of my favorite Iceland tips: if you’re going to have at least a few drinks while in Iceland, stop at duty free in the airport and snag your drink of choice. Alcohol and the tax on alcohol is very expensive in Iceland.
I love catching local (or not so local) music while I’m traveling. So after hearing a band playing while walking down the street, we wandered into a pub for the last few songs. I have no idea who it was or what the pub was called. A fun mystery. :)
After considering renting a car and driving the Golden Circle, we decided to take the easier and cheaper route and take a half-day tour. I think we picked the coldest day of our trip too, as apparent by the cold cringe in a few of my pictures. It was fun to get out of Reykjavik again and into the outdoors, and really made me want to return in summer.
We stayed near the pond in Reykjavik, and noticed people ice skating and playing on the ice, so after a few days of walking past the pond, we stopped for some fun. I’m tempted to post a brilliant video of someone falling on the ice, perhaps another time…
Hey remember that time I ate a tarantula in Cambodia? Yep, all bets are off when I travel (Lie. Sometimes true at home as well). Although I consider myself a pescatarian, I’m not dogmatic about it, and I’ll try almost anything once, because life is short — and really it’s more fun to eat strange things while traveling! Back to Iceland… and hotdogs — one of their most popular dishes, Bæjarins beztu pylsur is Reykjavik’s most famous hotdog stand. I got one “with everything” and loved the fried onions, mustard sauce, and remolaði. Tasty. So you probably won’t find me snagging a 99-cent hotdog at IKEA, but it was fun to check out Iceland’s most popular dish. Baaaah!
Although I consider myself a budget traveler, I like to splurge every once in a while on a trip. We decided on Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish Market) and it didn’t disappoint.
Skyr is like Greek yoghurt on crack. It was the first and last thing I ate in Iceland. I’ll probably be hitting up Whole Foods way too often for my Skyr fix.
I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention something else epic that I love about Iceland, but for now this is my <3 list. And I can’t wait to go back in summer! Or maybe go to Iceland Airwaves! 2012, anyone?
After completing #9 on my 30 Before 30 List of going to 52 new restaurants/coffee shops/bars in the first three months of my list, I’ve continued to keep track of places, so here’s round two of 52 new restaurants. Foursquare makes this so easy to keep track of. :)
New Restaurants Visited September – November:
Perhaps #9 should have been visit 200 new restaurants?
Yoga one month, drinking the next. :) The only liquor I have at home is Pastis, and the occasional vodka or gin. So when I decided to do a bit of research for #25 on my 30 Before 30 list, I first of all discovered that I should call it a liquor collection, as alcohol collection is clearly the wrong name. So what belongs in a liquor collection?
According to my dear friend Martha (who likes to hide information in 20 page photo galleries and downloadable pdfs, of which I don’t have the patience for) the following items belong in your liquor collection. Also, after realizing that I know very little about alcohol, other than that gin tastes like juniper trees, I looked up each one on Wikipedia as I went, so it’s kind of like a 4th grade report, only more fun….
Next up: declare a signature drink… other than Pastis mixed with water/ice. Also, I currently have an embarrassing amount of alcohol at my house, thanks to shopping on the Interwebz.