Friday, June 26, 2015

Seljalandsfoss & Seljavallalaug, Iceland: Day 5

seljalandfoss seljalandfoss seljalandfoss
Africa, right?
seljalandfoss seljalandfoss farm goat
lil' goat
vern trek
2 women, finding themselves in the Icelandic wilderness...a book is bound to be written
hike hike
I was in Iceland on my 26th birthday, which wasn't intentional, but the dates and flights just worked out that way. It was wonderful. Woke up and ate my favorite Scandinavian open faced sandwich breakfast, Vern made me hold the Icelandic flag while doing so (it's a Danish thing...).
We head down to Seljalandsfoss (btw "foss" = waterfall) to admire the grandeur of it all. Not that I have seen a waterfall in Africa, but I did feel like I was looking at waterfall in Africa. It's a very humbling experience (all the waterfalls in Iceland are). After exploring the falls, we got hot dogs for lunch. Truly, that never got old - (waterfalls &) hot dogs.
We heard of this hot spring that you can hike to that was near by, Seljavallalaug. The trek there felt like being in a Peter Jackson movie. Stunning. Quiet. Desolate. Like the books said, there is no sign that you are anywhere near the pool until you literally see the pool, which appears out of thin air.
We changed into our swimsuits and quickly got in the pool. We were there for probably 3 hours till we were good and prune-y. People came and went. Swimming in a hot spring surrounded by majestic mountains in Iceland has made it into my top 5 LIFE experiences thus far. I only wish we were sipping on gin and tonics. 
We made our way back to the car and headed to this cowshed restaurant, Gamla Fjósið, for dinner. Burgers again. They were delish. As were the gin and tonics. As were the 3 different desserts we ordered.

You only turn 26 in Iceland once.
I feel fortunate and grateful to say I did so. 
hot spring
Vern for scale. Only 3 of the sides are finished, the other is just mountain. 
me hot spring
Strike a pose, but this is how glamourous it felt.
Basalt columns
hot spring seljalandfoss
26 has already been a memorable year
carrot cake, chocolate cake, various ice creams and spiked coffee

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spanish Chickpeas & Rice

Spanish Chickpeas & Rice Spanish Chickpeas & Rice
Dreaming of traveling to Spain? Me too. 
Sipping sangria and watching VickyChristinaBarcelona until the time comes (years from now).

I love paella, but only when it's made by one of my best friend's mom who is from Venezuela/Spain. I know I would just screw it up if I attempted to make it and I am always suspicious when ordering it at restaurants, so when this recipe came along, I knew it would be a no-fail. I think of it more as a budget-friendly vegan version of paella.  
I made mine with a brown rice medley and served it with steamed kale for some extra healthy-ness. 

Spanish Chickpeas & Rice

Sunday, June 21, 2015

drive to Highlands, Iceland: Day 4

The colors are UNREAL
I love how the white mountain almost fades into the sky. 
aqua aqua aqua aqua
river YEAAAA
Iceland wind > Chicago wind
vern river
Day 4 in Iceland we wake up to no breakfast situation. We go to a little B&B down the road for a delicious, traditional Icelandic breakfast - the kind lady even made us waffles. In this tiny-ass town there were still so many Americans.
Our drive to the highlands was a gorgeous one - without stops it's probably 4 hours. Since we knew we couldn't drive on the F roads, we took our time getting there, taking pictures of the golden, snow capped mountains and aqua fresh water along the way.
We climbed this huge cliff and at the top have never experienced wind like that. Coming from Chicago, I thought I knew all about wind. But Iceland's wind is something else. It could knock you down, which is probably why there aren't any trees (could you tell?).
The closer we get to our hotel, Hrauneyjar Guesthouse, the snowier and icier it gets till we are basically in the tundra - the edge of civilization, where the roads can no longer be passed. The snow was taller than the hotel's windows (kind of like my winters in Chicago). There was a couple with a cute little toddler staying there too and we ended up bumping into them throughout the trip. After deciding how to reroute for the day, we split a ham cheese & pineapple sandwich and fries.
We drive down to Hella, a town featured in a few of our books, get some gas and snacks. There wasn't a whole lot to see there but some farms with horses, which never got old.
For dinner we eat at Arhus and get a settler's cheese pizza which is basically a 4 cheese pizza (all made with Icelandic dairy) served with jam. Ugh. SO GOOD.
The great thing about the sun never setting is that our 2 hour drive back to the hotel was fairly lit, even though it was after 10pm.
We got out periodically and photographed horses with the sun setting behind them.
white bluess
WIDE ice blue
Iceland being stereotypical.
ice blue ice blue vern ice blue vern snow ice blue rocks aqua YEAH
mapsss mapsss
 a map the size of our car
sunset horses sunset horses sunset horses sunset horses
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