In Reykjavik: Food and Where to Eat (Part II)

So in my three days in Iceland I didn’t actually eat that much, I ate Coco Pops a lot. I did try two new places I wanted to tell you about. In complete contrast to last time I visited Iceland I actually found these two places reasonably priced when compared to Ireland.

Reykjavik Chips

PhoebeGill150813054I was walking down the street and I suddenly thought I really want some chips right now and there it was. Reykjavik Chips! It was a beacon of light in the pouring of rain. PhoebeGill150813082

You can get small, large or family size chips with a sauce of your choosing. You can also get your chips with a fizzy drink/soda for 950kr (€6.50) or with a beer for 1490kr (€10) Here is their website.

Lebowski Bar

PhoebeGill150814012Lebowski bar is a fun place for a drink and a burger. They have an entire menu of The Dude’s favourite drink, The White Russian and a menu of burgers names after the iconic characters. You can get a burger on it’s own or you can get fries and a drink. I got the Donny burger and fries and it was delicious! Really quick service and a great vibe. Check out the full menu here.

Dunkin Donuts

PhoebeGill150815053Now I didn’t venture into this newly opened establishment because the line was so long every day I passed it. There was even a bouncer on the door to stop the madness. I don’t this you can get how long the line was in this photo but it was all the way down to The Viking gift shop. It’s only a donut lads!

I really like the caramel donut filled with custard in the Kornid bakery on Lækjargata street. They also do nice bread rolls. It’s a lot quieter and still as donuty.

Food Shopping

So this trip I ventured into more supermarket shops! I do love a good supermarket! So the shop I went to most was the 10/11. This shop is like a Centra (if you are in Ireland), it’s more expensive then say Tesco, it’s good for picking up the odd thing but probably not good to do the full shop there. 10/11s are everywhere and are open late so it’s really easy to go in and busy snacks.

Bónus is your best bet for cheaper food and a good selection of fresh food. I can’t wait to do my shop for my camper trip very soon!

One thing I really should have tried was coffee but I was too warm to drink hot drinks! Is there any more places that I should eat in? 

Happy Travels!

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In Iceland: The Golden Circle in Summer

While in Reykjavik I decided I want to go on the Golden Circle tour again. I already went on this tour in January but I didn’t want to go to the church or the geothermal plant. I found that the last two were just unnecessary. I went into the Grey Line sales offices located at Hafnarstræti and asked if there were any tours that just offer the main attractions of the Golden Circle. This tour only goes to the main three locations and lasts about 5 and a half hours. First stop…

Þingvellir National Park

PhoebeGill150814218I once again feel like I didn’t spend enough time here. We only got half an hour and it’s just not enough time! It’s not all doom and gloom though. I loved seeing Þingvellir in colour. Seeing a vast open landscape covered in snow is beautiful but there was no definition in the vista making it hard to really get a sense of it.  PhoebeGill150814261I loved seeing the definition in the rocks and the fissures. I will one day walk through and find that waterfall that I keep seeing images of but for now I am happy I got to see this amazing National Park in all it’s green glory. PhoebeGill150814574

Strokkur

PhoebeGill150818001I could stand at this location for days. I find this natural wonder fantastic. I don’t think it matters if this location is covered in snow or none at all, it is just amazing. What I did find is that you could get more definition in your photographs because the background isn’t blending with the sky. Regardless of season it is a wonderful location! PhoebeGill150814675

Gullfoss

PhoebeGill150814162Last time I was at Gullfoss was just incredible I didn’t really think it could get any better but oh wait it’s Iceland, it can always get better! The water in January was colder and frozen. The only way I can describe how I saw it in January was that it was elegant and composed because of this. This time it was roaring.PhoebeGill150814378In January the walk down to the look out was closed so I was very very happy to go down and look down the crevice. Since the water was in full force, the spray coming off the waterfall was just epic. It is such a beautiful area and is amazing in any weather but seeing it’s power up close is just incredible!
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The Drive

PhoebeGill150814529Driving this in January it was amazing but very difficult to see any definition in the landscape. The sky and the earth blended together but it was still beautiful. I didn’t even think that the surrounding area when I chose to do this tour again but it is just amazing! These mountains are so so beautiful! There is gorgeous scenery along this entire drive. PhoebeGill150814615It costs €57 and because it was a late afternoon tour we were on a small bus and we had the whole back row to ourselves. We also got brought to our apartment when the tour was over.  This tour doesn’t feel like five hours long because there is so much to see and your tour guide is talking the entire time. We got to spend 30 minutes in Þingvellir, 30 minutes at Strokkur and an hour at Gullfoss. Not a lot of time but I definitely think it is worth it. It’s really informative and such an amazing route. I am so happy that I got to do the Golden Circle again.

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Reykjavik in August

Last time I was in Reykjavik I didn’t walk around much, there was ice on the paths and it was freezing, I also had a car so I was driving everywhere like a lazy person but this time I walked most places. I stayed in this apartment just outside the city centre right next to Hlemmur station. I definitely recommend this apartment if you want to use the bus system a lot.

The Sun Voyager

PhoebeGill150814015The Sun Voyager statue was really close to the apartment and because the first day of my trip was gloomy and low clouds I couldn’t see Mt. Esja so when the cloud lifted it was the first thing to go and see. I love Mt. Esja and I will one day hike up it.

Harpa

PhoebeGill150814076Harpa is a really cool building, the glass panels shimmer blue and purple. It was nice to walk closer to it this time.

Hallgrímskirkja

PhoebeGill150814439Going to this church is always nice to get a view of the city. Looking down one of the main streets, seeing all the colourful houses, last time I was here the snow was covering most of the city it was great to see it in full colour.

PhoebeGill150814543Grótta Lighthouse

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I took the bus to Seltjarnarnes to see Grótta Lighthouse. Strætó buses are really really easy to understand and use. All the information you need can be found here. I definitely recommend you download the app. Although you can’t buy tickets you can plan your journey and figure out when a bus is coming. It’s such a nice area for a walk and to see a more residential side of Reykjavik. Definitely recommend you go!  PhoebeGill150815087Reykjavik in August is still quite touristy but around the end of august is the time when a lot of the tourists go home for school or college. The weather is cooler at 11-14 degrees but I was walking around with a hoodie on. In January everyone was bundled up and you couldn’t get a sense of what Icelandic people even looked like. It was nice to see their style and faces this time.

Although seeing Reykjavik in snow is amazing and magical, travelling in August gives you a better sense of the city. So if that is important to you August is great but I recommend both times of year!

Happy Travels!

In Reykjavik: Puffin Watching with Special Tours

Before I left for Iceland I wanted to do a tour of some kind that wasn’t too long but also was a great experience. Now I have written before how I love boats! So I instantly wanted to see what kind of boat tours I could do. There are loads of tour companies that offer similar tours and experiences so it can be tough to choose just one. I decided to go Puffin Watching with Special Tours.  PhoebeGill150814225I have wanted to see puffins for years and years! They are such lovely birds. The boat docks at Reykjavik Old Harbour which is where you will find the Special Tours booth where you check in. The tour takes about an hour and costs 5700kr (€48). Take Note: This tour runs from the 1st of May to the 20th of August.PhoebeGill150814116The species that are on the island are Atlantic Puffin. Puffins come to land for the breeding season. During the summer months Iceland has around 60% of the population of puffins on it’s coasts.  PhoebeGill150814424Puffins are very fast, they beat their wings up to 400 times a minute. Capturing these speedy birds is quite a challenge. Along with the waves getting pictures of these birds is pretty hard to do.   PhoebeGill150814462These waters can get a little choppy so definitely take a look at the weather and the sea the day of your tour. Our trip was really good on the way out but it started to rain and because we were going against the current the waves crash over the boat so you will get soaked.

Tips: 

  1. Bring waterproof clothing. It can get very wet, I wore jeans and they were drenched.
  2. Don’t eat right before you go. It can get choppy, although the boat ride isn’t long its never nice to feel sick on a boat. Also look at the horizon if you are feeling sick.
  3. Bring a long lens. I used an 80-400 mm lens and I feel like I was still too far away. Puffins fly away from the boat very quickly so it can be tricky with a standard lens.

I definitely recommend this tour. It’s amazing watching these birds, learning about their behaviour and habits. So if you have a spare hour and €34 euro I definitely suggest you go puffin watching!

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Won A Competition!!

So I won the most amazing opportunity to go see Kings Of Leon in Iceland! WOW Air posted the giveaway on their Facebook and I commented not thinking anything of it. When they posted that I won I was ecstatic! Not only go I get to see a band I was obsessed with in secondary school, I get free flights to see them in one of my favourite places!

I collected the tickets in the WOW Air offices and noticed that there was just an A+ on the tickets and didn’t know what that meant but was happy anyway. Turns out they are tickets into the A+ section of the hall, right at the top. So I got to stand at the barrier a stones throw away from them.

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Supporting The Kings were Kaleo, an Icelandic band who I had never heard of but I really enjoyed their music, every song sounded slightly different and were all full of energy and Jökull, the vocalist’s voice is beautiful!

PhoebeGill150813002-1The venue was pretty small but that made the experience really quite nice, the noise level was no different than that of a bigger gig. PhoebeGill150813008-1I only have these shots from the video I took. I find video is way better for depicting a concert so I will be uploading the footage onto youtube soon!  PhoebeGill150813008-2Many many moons ago I would have stood on Jared’s side of the stage but I am happy I stood at Matts. He is so wonderfully smiley and is a fantastic guitarist.
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I loved this concert. After so many years of loving their music and seeing them back in 2008, they are still so fun to go and see. I am so thankful to WOW Air for the chance to go see them again.

I got two full days in Reykjavik so there will be more blog posts coming very very soon!

Happy Travels!

In Ireland: Dublin Horse Show 2015

The RDS building is best know for concerts, convention days, exams and talks but there is another feature to this location which I love. There is a load of stables at the back of the building. These stables house magnificent creatures during five days of equestrian madness. I have been going to the Dublin Horse Show since I was about 4 years of age. We as a family have never been ones for horse riding or any equestrian sport but there is something about this day out that is just so much fun! PhoebeGill150807024

There are large paddocks which show horses and riders in junior competitions and just the general showing of how magnificent the breeding of Irish horses really is. There is also a band stand where live music is played all day as well as lots of food trucks and stalls that sell every bit of equestrian gear you can think of.
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One of the things that my family love is the RDS Craft and Student Art Awards Exhibition. My house has currently 10 pieces of art from going to this show every year. There are some amazing pieces and is definitely worth a look around. I always love the wood work, some of the pieces are just so wonderfully made it is incredible! PhoebeGill150807077The Nations Cup has always been our day, always on a Friday. In my opinion it is the best value for money as tickets for the main arena and general entrance is not cheap. It is 8 teams of four riders who jump 14 jumps. There are two rounds and whoever knocks down the least amount of fences, wins. The excitement of this is amazing.PhoebeGill150807078Generally everyone is behind every team but mostly for Ireland obviously. It is a shame when any fence goes down but we do love it when Ireland doesn’t knock any. This year was quite exciting because Ireland needed to do well in order to make it to the top 8 in the final in Barcelona so we needed to win! PhoebeGill150807091The course seemed quite challenging this year with last years winners, USA, finishing on 32 faults! That is quite the difference from last year! The faults for most teams were quite high.PhoebeGill150807101There were even a good few refusals on the water jump, maybe it was the lighting but it was all very exciting! There is something amazing happens when Ireland gets a clear round. The stands go mental! There is nothing like the noise we can make when Ireland clears a round and, even better, when we win! Which we did! PhoebeGill150807061The presenting of the cup is fantastic and I recommend you stay around for it. The first three teams come out and circle the ring. We all cheer and clap and all is well. One of my most favourite things is the pipe band that plays. They are fantastic. I love the drums and the noise. I love the last lap where they get back on their horses and gallop with the cup. It’s amazing!
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Tips:

  1. Get a score sheet. It is a lot of fun tracking the progress.
  2. Bring a good jacket, it can go on till about 7pm so it can get cold.
  3. Bring a picnic and your own beverages, queues are long!
  4. DO NOT smoke in the stands.
  5. Turn off your phone! I know this is a shock but the riders can probably hear a phone going off. It’s an arena.
  6. Don’t talk for the entirety of the jumps, in the breaks that fine but as the riders are jumping, shut it and be respectful of others around you.
  7. Don’t put your feet on the backs of people seats…is this not obvious to you?
  8. Don’t be crap. There are a lot of people who are, don’t be one of them. PhoebeGill150807128

I had all of these things happen around me this year. To Mary, Ann Marie and Michelle behind me, you were all awful people. I know their names because they didn’t stop talking for the entire three hours of the event. You had zero respect for others and were just generally horrible. Hope you fall down a hole.

I love this day! I think it is fantastic and well worth it! You can get just general admission tickets but bring a camping chair and a rain poncho. It is a really great day out and I 100% recommend it! Have you been to the horse show? Is there anything like this where you are?

Happy Travels!