Currently browsing Travel

Travel

Iceland in a Day

Here we go… Iceland in one day!  Hang onto your seats kids because it’s going to go by fast!

We got up had breakfast so that Dan could go get the rental car.

We got on the road at 9am and it was dark out!  Our plan was to do the golden circle. That is the main touristy thing to do. The night before we looked online for any insight on how long it would take and we couldn’t find much.  So we went into it not knowing how long it would take.  Our flight was at 5pm so we needed to be back at the Airport by 3pm… totally possible from what we had found.

Get ready because here is what we did!

On the road by 9am

Way too excited to be doing this in our rain coats!

Got to Thingvellir (a national park) by 10:30am and the sun was just starting to come up

We were at the top of the lake 

So happy that I brought my hat!
Epic belly pic!  I’m standing between two tectonic plates (North America and Europe)!

Got to the Geysir at 11:15 and the sun was out, cold but out (-13c)

The Geysir went off as we were taking this picture… it was showing off!
Icelandic Horse!  Too cute to not stop and…
pet them!

Got to Gullfoss by noon and it was also cold but awesome

We had to start heading back by 1 and we were right on target!  We didn’t stop on the way back but it worked.  We got to the car lot at 3:20 a little later then we (I) wanted but it was ok.  Note: the sun was already starting to go down.

I’m a GoT fan and this totally reminded me of  the Wall!  Probably is the Wall since they do film in Iceland.

So there you have it. Golden circle in 6.5 hours with stops and a quick lunch stop. I think if it wasn’t so cold it would have taken longer.  Since the circle is the thing to do, each place had a little shop that Dan let me walk around.  I was also able to go to the washroom each time we stopped.  With this whole trip, if there was a WC around I was using it!  Even at 16 weeks pregers I had to pee all the time!

We were the last ones to check in to our flight and ended up with upgraded seats!  CRAZY awesome!  Iceland Air totally rocked this extra day for us!

Upgraded seats luxury!
Such an awesome way to end a trip!!  Couldn’t have asked for a better finial trip together before the babe came!!!

One last amazing thing, this was my view for three hours on the way home.  I may never again get to see the sun set for that long and I’m so lucky to have done it with my better half!

I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as I did! 

Travel

Spain – Day 8/9

The last day :(

Well day 9 was travel day so it doesn’t really count but either way… our last day.

We went to the Seville parliament buildings and walked around and took pictures.

My little belly!

Dan was felling left out of the belly pictures!

 When Dan was here in 2007 he took a picture so we tried to re-create it.  It wasn’t as hot this time!

2007 (sorry for the poor picture)
2013

We went back to the hostel, got our stuff and headed to the train station.  We realized quickly that it was pretty far away and were every happy we got off the train by mistake earlier in the week.  The walk probably took about an hour.

We had done our research the night before and knew that the high speed train left for Madrid every hour.  The next one was leaving in about 25 minutes!  We got our tickets and they were half the cost of what we thought.  Double bonus!

I knew it was a high speed train, it was crazy fast!

That’s 247 Km per Hour kids!

When we got the Madrid and Dan tells me it has a high pick pocket rate.  Now, I don’t know if this is true or not but needless to say I was a little freaked out and wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible.  It took a little time to figure out just how we’ll do that… 2 transfers on the subway and then a walk.  An hour later we get to the hotel and it was nice!  Lesson learned from trip adviser… it does well with accommodations not so much with food.

There wasn’t much in the area so we just got dinner in the hotel and called it an early night.  We had to get up at 4:30 am so it was going to be a very early.

Sadly our trip was coming to an end.

We made it to the airport with no problems.  This was going to be our last cheap flight of the trip.  So far we hadn’t run into any problems with multiple bags so naturally guess what happened on this one…  Dan had get his carry-on into the roller suite case (which was already full).   I was surprised this hadn’t happen to us yet and just our luck it happened on our last cheap flight!

This wasn’t the end to our not so good luck…


We got to London and found out that our connection had been delayed by an hour.  That would give us about 1.5 hours to get our third connection in Iceland.  Dan reassured me that the Iceland airport was really small and this wouldn’t be a problem (he has been to Iceland twice already).  Then our flight got delayed again and again.  We ended up missing our connection.  This was starting to worry me for many reasons. One, I had to work the next day. Two, we were assuming at this point that there would be another flight out of Iceland to Toronto each day.  Three, I unpacked Dan’s carry-on and left his laptop charger in the suite case which we decided to check since we were getting onto our last flights. This day was starting to not be in our favour. The airline gave us a vendor for food at the airport, we knew then we were in it for a long hall.

I finally got the guts to email work and let them know I wasn’t going to be coming into work the next day.  We talked to someone from the airline and found out that in fact they only have one flight out a day to Toronto.  It was at 5 pm so we decided to make the most of our extra day in Iceland and rent a car.  We weren’t going to miss out on this opportunity!!  Dan had also been two Iceland twice before and wanted to bring me on holidays one day.  This wasn’t in the plans so we were pretty excited!

Then we finally board our connection, sat on the plane for another hour and made friends with the girl sitting with us.  We had eaten before hand and got an extra sandwich which was smart of us.  The airline did what they could to keep everyone happy.  They tried to severed what food they had and it stopped right before us.  I was starting to get hungry, not knowing how long we would be sitting for I pulled the pregers card and got some food.  The flight attendants were awesome!

We were expecting craziness once we got to Iceland but nope!!  The airline had it all taken care of for us – hotel, food and bus between the hotel and airport.  We got to the hotel and they had a hot dinner buffet waiting for us!  It was really a great experience!

It was a very long day but we got an extra day out of it and who doesn’t love that!!  Well, maybe my bosses!  Haha!

Travel

Spain – day 7

Today we just took it easy.  Dan needed to work and I was up for a day of relaxing and just enjoying being on holidays.  So we just sat on the roof top of our hostel – Dan working away and me reading.

Once Dan was done we headed out for some lunch and it actually started to rain a little.  This was a little surprising to us since we sat on the roof for so long enjoying the sun!  It didn’t last and we were thankful.  We headed back to the place from last night but the kitchen wasn’t opened for lunch yet… but it would be at 1:30!  It was 1:05 so we waited it out.  We had more tapas, this time actually ordering off the menu.

Then we headed out to get tickets for a flamenco dancing show.  We got our tickets and on our way back past by a fabric store.  Dan’s the best and waited nicely for me to look at everything.  He even helped me figure out how to buy some fabric because I was struggling with the pricing.

Our plan for the evening was for Dan to work more and me to rest, go to the show and hit up one more recommended restaurant for a late dinner.  This was our last night in Seville and we hadn’t done much walking around at night in the area where the dancing was.

The show was awesome!  I highly recommend seeing a show.. the music was great and the dancing was something else!  Dan commented about how passionate the woman was and someone wouldn’t want to mess with her.  It’s true tho!  She looks like she could take you out with on stump.

After the show we headed out to find the restaurant for dinner.  Earlier in the day, I couldn’t find the place on google maps and was a little worried it was no longer in business but Dan wanted to try.  On our way, we walked through what must be the Time Square of Seville.  It was really lively and took us by surprise!  We didn’t stick around too long because we were hungry so we continued on.

One side of the street

and just one bar on the other
We came to the area where the restaurant should have been and nothing by the name we were giving was to be found.  We walked in circles for an hour.  We decided to go back to the first place that we ate at in Seville because we liked it so much.  However, not before stopping for crochets for the road.  

The place was packed but we got a seat…somehow. People were everywhere, inside and out. Everyone seems to smoke in Spain but not indoors so lots of people hanging outside with food and drinks.  It seemed like everyone in the place was local.  It was so lively and such an awesome experience!  I was so happy that we came back and were able to get a table.

My date!  I’m such a lucky lady!

We finished up and headed back called it a night. It was 11pm.

Travel

Spain – day 6

In reality yesterday wasn’t all that bad.  It just had crappy monuments. 

Today’s plan – go to the Seville Cathedral and the Alcazar. 

Lucky for us both were very close to our hostel (we planned this when booking).  We were so close to the Cathedral that we could see it from our hostel.  

The Cathedral is huge!  23,000 square feet and it was beautiful!  I’m no history major but it’s my understanding that Seville was a major shipping port from the Americas so it saw a lot of gold. Clearly it went into this church. It was built in the 1500s. This church wasn’t as pained or tilted like some of the other ones we’ve seen around but still very lovely.  The main alter was under contraction which has been a trend that we have seen throughout our visits to places.  Our best guess for this is because of it being off season and the temperature would be much more pleasant for the works.

This was our view from our hostels roof top!

Clothing check – all these old buildings are freezing so bring an extra layer. 

We headed out for lunch to another place our hostel recommended. It wasn’t opened yet. We have learned that you really have to alter your eating habits here. For dinner, kitchens open at 8:30 pm so getting lunch at 3 is perfectly normal.  We just hit up a cafe and got sandwiches.  
The Alcazar didn’t have maps and at first we couldn’t understand why but soon after we did. The place is so big that having a map would probably be impossible. This place must be seen by all. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a beautiful mix of Muslim and Christian art and architecture. It’s really something to see – the mix of the two cultures and how one didn’t ruin the other.   
Side Note: The teams from Amazing Race had to come to this spot and get a clue last season!  I was so pumped about that because I had been there!

We spent all of the afternoon here. Looked at the main building and walking around the gardens. Dan even pick an orange!  I think the picture explains how good they were. He did this twice and both time it was nasty.

We came back to the hostel for our nap/work combo. I’m not feeling jet leg probably because of these naps. I’m going to get my butt kick when we get back home.  For dinner headed to the place we had tried earlier for lunch. I’m so happy we did!  It was so good and there menu was in English so we knew what we were kind of getting this time.  However, we did still ask the server to pick our food.

After dinner we headed out to do some exploring.  It’s hard to remember that Christmas is just two weeks away.  It was really cool to get to see how other countries decorate for it.

We got back to our room around 11 and called it a night!  We were pooped!  Lots of walking today. 

Travel

Spain – day 5

Travel to Seville day!
Got up and decided to just go to the train station and eat once we were there. They had a cafe in the small station so this would work for us. The train ride was lovely and through some rolling mountains. 
This mountain so looks like a face!
Got off on what I thought was our stop but we actually wanted the next one. Sounds scary but this city had 4 stops so we were fine. I was more annoyed at myself for messing it up. Which for the day this wasn’t the end of that. 
Dan with his data plan found our way to our hostel. Which I thought was a b&b. Wrong again.  This day was shaping up to be not one of my best. 
Note to all travellers, don’t let the locals just hand you something.  Where we were they were giving “away” ferns which looked like rosemary.  We know this from when Dan was here before and our experience in Lisbon. They will just hand it to you and want money in return. They are very aggressive so watch out!
We got to the hostel and oh we should have checked in the day before. I was wrong again!  Third times a charm.  Today was not my day. So we didn’t need to stay the extra night in Granada and ended double booking ourselves. I guess these things can happen!
We took the hostess recommendation for lunch and headed out. I was starving!  So we went looking. This is my pet peeve while travelling. Looking for somewhere that someone recommended. We did this in London twice and looked for upwards to 2 hours one night. I like food but not that much and being pergers it was even worse. However, I was already in a bad mood from all the thing I did wrong that I was just trying not to kill Dan for trying to find this place.  So happy to have had Dan’s phone,we got lost very shortly but found shortly there after. 
The only information we had about the name is that it was called Bodega. Well that means wine bar. So there are bodegas everywhere!  So be careful. The place was packed and no English which was prefect for us in a way. Dan has allergies so we always have to be careful. We were trying to figure out the menu when I said why not see if the bar tender (you order the food at the bar too) can just pick stuff for us. Dan was able to communicate with the bar tender and placed our order!  I actually had a good idea today!  I recommend doing this. The food was awesome!
Did some more walking around and came back for our afternoon nap/work session. 
It was time for dinner and I found two places really close to us that rated high on tripadvisor so we headed out. One didn’t have many people in it (it was well after 10 – aka dinner time in Spain) and the other had no one in it. This should have been a sign. For some reason we still went in. The guy didn’t speak a word of English and I have no idea what we ate, it wasn’t that great either. I just wanted to leave. So tripadvisor isn’t our friend with food recommendation currently.  We walked around for a little after dinner and then headed back to the hostel.
We watched an American movie but in Spanish. The movie was pretty lame so this made it so much better at guessing what was going on!  
I was happy this day was over, it wasn’t a very good one.  However, it’s what you get out of it that is important!  Today we learned: Tripadvisor is not always right and we are pretty good at travelling without nothing the language!  Bring on tomorrow!