Europe 2018

Brianna & I left for Iceland on Friday, September 28!  If you’d like to catch-up on our adventure, this is the site for you.  We posted blog updates on the daily(ish).

If you’re interested in seeing some pretty pictures, there’s a direct Instagram link at the bottom of this page (you don’t need an Instagram account to see our pictures). We did our best to capture all of the fantastic moments of Brianna and I’s first trip to Europe together.

We visited: Iceland, Bob & Rachel, Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart, Switzerland, Bruges, and Amsterdam.

Leaving Day

If you think it’s impossible to sell a house, move into a new place, and take a trip to Europe, all in the same month… you are sorely mistaken!

The hardest part of our month starts today 😉

The Day We Landed in Iceland

If we’ve learned anything about traveling, it’s to expect the unexpected and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Eventually, shit goes sideways.  That’s why it didn’t really shock me when the TSA agent in Detroit said that the body X-ray found something unusual hidden in the general region of my crotch.  I was even able to laugh as they vigorously patted down and grabbed me. They’d eventually go on to tell me that something in my pants had tested positive for explosive residue.  Thankfully, a retest cleared me and they were able to send me on my way; such is the traveling way.

The planning we did and didn’t do played heavily into the general success of our first day in Iceland here.  Our original plans were to hit the Blue Lagoon hot spring immediately after landing, to give us something to do before our hotel room could be checked into.  We changed that plan a bunch of times and put it off until the point where only evening reservations were still available.  In practice, our indecision was rewarded with a blue lagoon sunset and dinner that we wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of.

The Blue Lagoon gets a bad rap for two main reasons:  the cement pool is man made and it’s super popular.  Both of these things are true.  If private hot springs are your thing, there are many natural options with fewer people.  For us, two introverts, the Blue Lagoon was still a good time.  There is enough space to get away from everyone else and the smooth cement bottom makes it easy to float around and explore.  It was super crowded though, and I did accidentally hold the hand of am elderly Japanese man under the water while Brianna and I were waiting in line for a beer.  It’s all good, accidental hand holding happens. All three of us has a good laugh.

What is there to say about Reykjavík so far?  

-It’s is a modern city, not medieval. Don’t come here expecting a Paris or London like experience.

-The locals are the nicest RBFs you’ll ever meet.  Almost all Icelanders have resting bitch face syndrome, but will bend over backwards to help when help is needed. 

-There are miles and miles of jaggedly unforgiving volcanic rocks.  (Incoming game of thrones reference) one part of the island looks like Dragonstone, while another part of the island is literally where north of the wall scenes were filmed.

We’re going to try and climb a mountain tomorrow if the weather holds up.

The Day We Hiked to the Steinn

We only hiked up to the Esja Steinn!? Yep. Like everything else in life, time and weather make fools of us all. The original plan of doing our hiking on Monday had to change because of 100% rainy forecast. One unfortunate difference between a Monday and a Sunday in Iceland is that Sundays run fewer buses and our plan pretty much relied upon the use of public transportation.  We made it to the mountain range without any problems, just didn’t have enough time to do the entire 4-5 hour loop hike.

Esja trails were unsurprisingly busy, littered with all sorts of tourist and locals alike.  There were hikers with fully energized schnauzers, hikers with exhausted Rottweilers, and even a few hikers with kids who’d hang their heads upside down and drink straight from the rivers teat.

The hike itself was both challenging and beautiful.  Climbing higher unlocked an amazing view of the countryside in one direction and a continuously clearer awe striking picture of the layered mountains and peaks from the other directions. Hiking has become a sort of home for us in and of itself. Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, we want to hike and we want to hike more. We enjoy the challenge of a steep climb but are also just as happy if it’s a flat walk. We like to push a fast pace but don’t have any problems taking a little time to smell… the volcanic rock.

The by and far best part of the day was that we didn’t get lost.  Wandering mindfully doesn’t always mean we know where the hell we are, were, or are going. 

Dinner for the night happened at a “sushi train” restaurant.  Instead of having to order big sushi rolls, smaller sushi plates spin by on a conveyor belt in the middle of the table as you hang out.  Grab what you want to eat and ignore everything else.  Pretty fucking genius.

Having spent last night at the English pub, we had to try out the Drunken Rabbit tonight (Irish pub).  It might seem silly to spend time at these kind of pubs while in Iceland, it’s really not though.  The Drunken Rabbit has a 2-for-1 Sunday night Strongbow special – original Strongbow.  Process that shit!