Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Iceland over Easter, or Hot Sprinnnnnngs!

It's almost hard to complement Iceland on its natural beauty because it is just there, at every turn, without any effort.

I mean, c'mon, Iceland. Stop showing off.
This is the view from a road, people. Ridiculous.
Ok, Iceland. We get it.
What Icelanders should get the shout-out for is their brilliance in channeling the abundant, clear hot water that flows from their mountains into pools - and then making those pools open to the public. Hallelujah.

This is a free hot tub. On the ocean. With heated changing rooms across the way. This is how to unwind after a red-eye flight and several hours in the car.
Soaking in Iceland's outdoor hot tubs is how I spent much of my short trip to the Westfjords over Easter this year. It helped to take the edge off the white-knuckle winter driving conditions and the stress that was life back home.

My sister said to make sure we got a car with studded tires. What for? I wondered - until we nearly got blown off the road several times. This shot, by the way, is after visibility improved enough that my navigator was no longer using every ounce of her attention to help keep us on the road.
When you see a sign like this in Iceland in winter, you don't mess around. These aren't the NPS trail ratings. They are legit.

So we drove, and soaked, and ate fish soup....

"I hope you like fish soup," Kristin said, "because it's the only decent meal at the only restaurant in town."
(It was genuinely delicious, thankfully.)
On the way to dinner.
... and hiked up a fjord, and soaked, and drove ...

... and strolled up a river valley, and soaked in that river too.

Oh, and did I tell you that they serve unlimited coffee to you, poolside, while the snow falls and the mountains are just beyond?

Or that they have hot water waterslides?

Or that they hold music festivals in shrimp warehouses in winter?

You didn't see that coming, did you?

Singers wearing the traditional Icelandic uniform. Or at least that's my only explanation for why they all wear the same sweaters. 
Clue in, North America. Clue in.

I'll conclude with some photos from Isafjordur, where we spent two nights. Good thing we had planned to spend two nights there, since the roads out were all closed for most of our time there. Fortunately they re-opened in time and we didn't get stuck in any snow drifts on our way out. We almost did, but not quite. It was just fine.

The drive out, before the white out. Sigh.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The awesome, cloudy, rainy, gorgeous Ptarmigan Traverse

I could put off this post because I haven't yet written about the manatees of January and the Icelandic fjords of March, but the delays are getting quite ridiculous.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Canadian Rockies Part 2: Not quite what I expected in Jasper National Park

Five months is a reasonable amount of time to pass before finishing up a two-part blog series about our fall trip to the Rockies, right?

I thought so.

Ever since Mike suggested we move to Canada, Jasper had been my white whale - the place that, in my daydreams, would be my nirvana. So you can understand how I was let down. Looking back at the photos, though, it seems I was being just a tad bit unreasonable.

Pretty sure I took this photo from the road...

Friday, February 19, 2016

Canadian Rockies: Banff and Lake Louise

Our big trip this year did not happen. So we turned to plan B. That didn't work. And then plan C - Canadian Rockies in shoulder season. Success. Summer in the Rockies may be lovely but I cannot imagine having to deal with the crowds. There were more than enough people for my tastes as it was - in mid-October! Maybe I'm just becoming a curmudgeon.

There's a grizzly in this picture. 
No backpacking this trip, but plenty of excellent day hikes. I was itching to sleep in a tent but it'll have to wait. The weather was too iffy, and at the same time it was too late in the season for glacial travel.

Summer: a love story

It hasn't been the soul-crushing winter of yesteryear, but it's still good to remember the summer. When I think back all I see is that orange haze of evening, when everything is warm and calm and I am surrounded by my dearest friends.

The view from Katherine's bridal shower weekend

Lunch after a ride through Niagara wine country

Fourth of July in Ohio!!

More bike riding...

Watching the Pan Am games literally cycle through the city.

And seeing the Blue Jays at the beginning of their incredible run, from the comfort of my aunt and uncle's hotel room.

Climbed a mountain on my bike

And we climbed one on our feet (near Lake Placid)

Right back atcha... at Katherine's wedding

Always time for a dip!
And ending the season in style in Norfolk with more good times with Ohio folk.

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