Last week I wrote about the unique food of Iceland and shared how we experienced quite a wide spectrum of tastes. Whether we embraced every dish or not, we LOVED the entire adventure. What’s the point of visiting a new country and spending your time looking for American food? There is more to life than hamburgers and french fries don’t you agree? Did you know that many tourists insist on keeping their diet exactly the same as when they are at home?
Unless a person has dietary restrictions, it is incumbent upon every traveler to embrace a new country and this includes the local culinary traditions! Hello? Isn’t this part of the reason we travel? Check out our delicious adventure…
For me, the food of Iceland takes second place behind the breathtaking abundance of nature.The beauty of the vast flat lands, numerous snow capped volcanoes, enormous waterfalls, and pale blue icebergs continue to keep me dreaming of our Northern Lights Tour. Reykjavík is the capital of a country with only 350,000 people and is the culinary barometer for this fascinating destination.
The culinary scene in Iceland is different. Not different in a negative way, just different. We were able to sample their unique fish focused cuisine and also discovered the most popular hot dog in the world, an organic tomato farm and the freshest farm to table dairy products. What a combination!
In early days it was necessary for Icelanders to utilize what they had access to like the ocean fish, including arctic char and herring and the lamb they found on land. In present day, they still eat a great deal of fish and lamb served many different ways. Additionally they do serve horse as well Minke whale. Yes, they do. Although I would not eat these dishes myself, many locals and tourists do.
I will focus on the food we enjoyed and I want to emphasize that a city like Reykjavík caters to tourists with an international palette, so rest assured, if you explore enough, you can find what you want to eat. Craig and I found several super cool, hip, foodie-type restaurants where we enjoyed friendly service and the dishes were eye-catching and delicious. Next week I will share our time at Grillmarket, an extraordinary establishment in Reykjavík. It blew us away.
Please welcome back Angela, my long time friend, world traveler and frequent contributor to the blog. After reading her description of the magical island of Madeira, I am ready to make my reservations and I know you will be too.
The Magical Island of Madeira
Island hopping—the perfect way to round out an amazing trip through the mainland of Portugal. The Azores or Madeira? The Azores, often described as Eden, is a nine-island archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic known for stunning landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures and somewhat rustic surroundings. Madeira Island is the largest of the Madeira archipelago and closer to the African continent than Europe. It’s a volcanic island with a perimeter of spectacular ocean cliffs and few beaches. It’s small; 35 by 13 miles and includes a vibrant capital city, Funchal. I’m certain the Azores are amazing, but we chose Madeira. Since our visit, it was named one of “The Fifty Best Places to Travel in 2019” by Travel + Leisure. We made a wonderful choice!
Don’t you just love an Icelandic horse! Craig and I had just arrived in Iceland at 6:00am, a day before our Magical Northern Lights Tour with Collette began. With no time to waste, we met up with the Collette video production team at the hotel. After packing the Land Cruiser to the ceiling with camera equipment, we went looking for adventure in a phenomenal Icelandic landscape. The great news was that we didn’t have to travel more than an hour outside Reykjavik when we came across this glorious sight! A truly pinch me moment!
The Unique Icelandic Horse
The beautiful and sure-footed Icelandic horse can be seen all over Iceland. I have read that there are some 80,000 horses in the country and there are only about 350,000 people! These are treasured animals. As we drove the primary highway called the Golden Circle in Southern Iceland, we pulled over a couple of times when we had a chance to see these beauties up close.
Where do I begin? Iceland is so unique and so insanely interesting that I have had a challenging time trying to organize how I am going to share this with you! This post is a long one but filled with interesting facts and engaging photos. You can always bookmark it for later or better yet start a new travel adventure file for a future trip! Here we go!
Iceland is called the land of fire and ice, but it should be considered the land of water as well. It is a watery wilderness with waterfalls so tall it is difficult to see the very top and others so enormous they would dwarf Niagara Falls. Around every bend in the road there is a new natural wonder to enjoy!
The fire description is attributed to the fact that the island is covered in volcanic rock and volcanoes. There are 130 volcanoes and 30 active ones! As you drive along the primary touring highway, the Golden Circle, the landscape changes from rocky mountains and meadows, to snow covered land, to a rocky volcanic surface which looks like you just landed on the moon.
The Northern Lights Tour by Collette manages to pack a great deal in to just seven days. Everyday another fascinating aspect of nature was ours to enjoy and photograph. In addition to traveling with the tour group, my husband Craig and I traveled with Dan and Drew, the professional photographers whose goal was to capture on film what it was really like on this extraordinary tour. I will describe this bonus experience in another upcoming post.
A trip to Iceland to see the northern lights has been at the top of my travel bucket list for as long as I have had a list. It is actually happening! Can I get a woohoo? Craig and I are headed over to the land of fire and ice next week. Our friends at Collette have invited us to experience a country which has been described to me by fellow travelers as “other worldly”. We will experience nature on such a grand scale on Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights Tour.
Hopefully the night sky will be clear enough to see the heavenly northern lights! Our tour will certainly qualify as a once-in-a-lifetime type of journey and it is part of the Explorations group of tours. This size tour allows us to develop a deeper, even more meaningful connection, an opportunity to get closer and to discover a slice of everyday life. We cannot wait!
Today I will take you to Mallorca, Spain where the Mediterranean Sea is so magical and so deeply blue, the sun is bright in the sky and the air is sweet with vacation vibes. A relaxing time for two was spent with my favorite person in the world, my husband.
My Most Romantic Dinner … Ever!
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and some of us may be in the beginning stages of making some romantic dinner plans? What really qualifies a meal as “the most romantic dinner ever”? This is certainly a very personal opinion and preference. Some couples enjoy snow-capped mountains and a picnic by the fire sipping champagne or some love watching the sunset at the beach, while others may enjoy a private dinner at their favorite restaurant.
Now that we are experiencing more rain, grey skies and in some areas of the country, harsh winter months, does warm sun on your face, eating tapas by the beach, watching cliff divers and gazing out at the spectacular turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea sound good? Yes, it does to me too.
For the second year in a row we visited an island off the coast of Spain that is spelled two ways (Mallorca and Majorca)and actually most people have not heard of it. Just a 45 min plane ride from Barcelona, sits an unspoiled, quiet vacation for two. The stuff that dreams are made of.
We discovered this magical place last year and we could not wait to return. This past summer Craig and I traveled with our family to Italy and the trip to Mallorca from Florence, Italy is an easy one. We needed a vacation from our vacation. Not really, but we had such a special time that we wanted to try to replicate it. And it was such a quick flight.
Side note: If I am stressed and need to imagine a quiet place that could transport me the calmness I hope for, I think of Mallorca.
Can everyone fly off to a tiny Spanish island to “get away”? No probably not. I do believe that this is the kind of place I would spend my vacation fund however. It is so amazing, so special, so unique that I want my friends like you to know. If for nothing else than a 5 minute escape from whatever you were doing before you sat down to read this. We saved airline miles and hotel points and created this perfect vacation for two.
A Springtime Adventure! Venture to Veneto with me!
Come discover the sights, smells and tastes of the region of Veneto in Northern Italy on a culinary tour with Oldways. See the production of Prosecco (and taste yes please!) first hand and meet the artisans that make delicious cheese and local olive oil.
What better way to get to know a new region than to be introduced through culinary travel? I am joining a tour of travelers who share the same passion for food that I do. Another added bonus… Chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi of the acclaimed SRV restaurant in Boston will be traveling with us sharing their knowledge and expertise as well. Oldways culinary tours takes small groups of travelers off the beaten path. Each tour is led in partnership with a culinary expert or chef, planned with a ﬁrm belief that the heart of any culture can be illuminated by exploring its food, wine, and culinary traditions.
Welcome to Part Two from our newest Guest Adventurer! Debbee is a lifestyle blogger and Etsy shop owner who uses themes when decorating, entertaining and crafting. During the past year Debbee and her husband traveled throughout Spain, spent a magical holiday season in Quebec City, went on a 10-day adventure around Iceland, and just returned from two weeks sailing and touring Greece.
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