Craving Iceland

Photo courtesy of http://www.freefoto.com
Photo courtesy of http://www.freefoto.com

We’re going to Iceland!!!!!!!!! On May 20th we’re hoping on a plane and heading to the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik. Ash and I thought we should start our around the world trip with a country that neither of us have been to and what a country and a city to start with! I grew up camping, hiking and just enjoying nature and Iceland’s wilderness has inspired generations of people to explore and write about the world. As lovers of travel and writing, how could we miss such a country that reinvigorates one’s soul?

We will be renting a car for seven days and road tripping around this beautiful landscape. We want to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Hike volcanoes, camp in the forest, eat hot dogs on the side of the road, and relax in geothermal spas. I personally cannot wait to eat and gorge myself with the hardy food of this land. A huge part of their diet is game and fish and has kept the people fueled to battle the harsh elements.  Preservation techniques like pickling in fermented whey or brine and drying or smoking has allowed the Icelanders to survive over time. The traditional methods have died out over the generations but I know I can still find and enjoy the flavors of fermented fish or meat. The smells and taste are funky but hey, that is part of the fun. I also know lamb is a huge part of their diet and I love lamb. I am sure this will be mostly what I consume.

It is a little difficult to explain why we crave Iceland. A couple episodes of Anthony Bourdain is what sparked our initial interest and then a few searches on google is what really got us hooked. The breathtaking landscape is hard to pass up and if I had to choose the reason we are craving Iceland that landscape has to be it.  Ash and I are determine to experience things that we normally would not and go out there and push our boundaries as people, travelers, photographers and writers. Who knows, we might even make some friends along the way.

We are craving Iceland. We think this northern territory is the perfect jumping off point to push us even further in our upcoming adventures!

 

Have you been to Iceland?  What was your favorite part of this crazy beautiful country?

 

Craving Travel: The Top 11 Reasons We Miss Travel

Craving TravelIt seems the more little trips we go on the more we are missing travel as a whole.  It has been awhile since we have been able to just take off and explore and right now we are craving travel.  In the end travel means everything to us and here are 11 reasons we miss and are craving travel (regardless how silly some of them are)

 

 

1- Morning beer

Having a morning beer while watching the sun rise over Rome
Having a morning beer while watching the sun rise over Rome

Seems a little strange to start out with us missing morning beer, really I could have a morning beer right now if I wanted to but that’s not really what we miss.  What we miss is the freedom of being able to wake up in the morning, have nothing planned and sit and have a beer as you watch the world go by.  The freedom of knowing your time is your own and you don’t have to answer to anyone.  The freedom of knowing that we have chosen a life of travel and we will never regret that.

 

2- Nerding out on history

Did you know that Castel Sant'Angelo was not only a prison for the Vatican but it also was Hadrian's tomb and also linked to the Vatican through a secret passageway so that the Pope could escape if the Vatican ever became under attack?
Did you know that Castel Sant’Angelo was not only a prison for the Vatican but it also was Hadrian’s tomb and also linked to the Vatican through a secret passageway so that the Pope could escape if the Vatican ever became under attack?

I love history, a lot.  We are talking about someone who purchased an academic book on the Library of Alexandria years out of college, for fun.  I am weird but I love it.  I miss being able to go to a site and learning about it.  I buy guidebooks just so I can read about the history of the country I am visiting and to be able to understand the country we are visiting.  I also just love going to a historical site or museum and actually know what I am looking at.  And yes I can do that here in California but when you start your studies off by learning about the ancient Minoan societies from 2000BCE suddenly San Francisco doesn’t seem so old.  Plus no one seems to care when I get all nerdy about history or art but when we travel it is suddenly fascinating.  I was a tour guide for a reason after all.  I love sharing the knowledge I have and learning from others as well.

 

3- I miss not understanding anybody.

Friendly warning sign.  Almost wish I didn't understand this one!
Friendly warning sign. Almost wish I didn’t understand this one!

There is something wonderful about going somewhere new and realizing that you cannot understand anybody.  Yes it can be as equally frustrating but is there any better sign that you have gone somewhere completely different from what you know than walking around and realizing you don’t have a clue what is going on?  Its the first true sign that you have traveled somewhere new, somewhere different, somewhere outside of your comfort zone when this happens.  Yes it can be difficult but travel is about new experiences and pushing yourself.  It wouldn’t be worth it if it was easy or convenient.  When you realize you cannot understand anyone it is a sign to learn something new and connect with different people even if you only begin to understand hello and thank you.

 

4- Waking up and deciding to go somewhere new.

Let's just take off and go to Thessaloniki
Let’s just take off and go to Thessaloniki

There is a freedom with being able to wake up and decide to go somewhere new, maybe its just a train trip out of town, a day trip somewhere new or packing up and heading to a new country but there is a freedom in travel that doesn’t really exist anywhere else.  We can go where ever a whim takes us.  Alex and I ended up planning a trip to Vienna and Prague one Fall when our other plans abruptly fell through.  We will never forget that trip and had such an amazing time.  Its amazing what can happen when you spontaneously change your plans or randomly book tickets to Greece.  We would never have discovered Thessaloniki otherwise.

 

5- Miss collecting foreign currency

I know that it sounds super nerdy but we love foreign currency. I find it fascinating to see how each country depicts themselves through their currency. You can see the character of a country through their money. It is hard to explain but when I get a new currency I spend a good amount of time examining it and of course trying to figure all the different bills out.  It is always nice to bring foreign currency home as well.  It is a easy and wonderful reminder of your trip.

 

6- Miss the feeling of getting off a plane somewhere new.

Getting off the plane in Macedonia
Getting off the plane in Macedonia

There is something about the first breath in a new country. The unfamiliarity of the smells in the air excites me as my eyes dart back and forth trying to take everything in. Getting off a plane is one of the greatest feelings in the world. It is freeing to know that everything you are about to do is going to be a new experience. I love and am addicted to stepping into the unknown. Crossing that threshold into adventure is just thrilling. Once you have stepped off that plane there is no looking back, you have let yourself be open to new experiences. Why not just embrace and keep on traveling and take the first steps off a plane in a new place more often?  It just makes life much better.

 

7- Miss the expat community

We love our Expats!
We love our Expats!

I love the expat community.  I love sitting with a beer and having a conversation with a person who has decided to leave the comforts of his home country and starting a new life in another. A lot can be learned from them, they have picked this place for a reason and it is most likely a reason that I don’t want to miss out on. They can tell you about all the local places and the touristy place you should avoid. We spent a lot of our time with the expat community in Rome. It was a great community of people who knew Rome and loved Rome. They appreciate certain nuances of a culture that a local might take for granted. Everybody has there own opinions on expat communities but I love them because they will always have the inside scoop.

DSCN3917 DSCN3924 DSCN3947 DSCN3973

 

 

8- Miss discovering a new city and having it mapped out in my head.

Maps? Who needs them?
Maps? Who needs them?

I am very good at directions and very good at mapping a city.  It is something that just clicks for me (except Brussels, I always get lost there for some reason!) and I love it.  I love coming back to a city that I haven’t been to in years and instantly be able to find my way.  I love walking around and getting lost in a city only to take a correct turn and be back at our hostel.  I love that I can stumble around Paris, recognize some monuments and streets and arrive back at a restaurant I thought I would never be able to find again (especially since I couldn’t remember the name of it).  There is something about being in a city for long enough to be able to walk around without a map and really explore the streets and all the city has to offer.

Always get lost in Brussels
Except Brussels, I always get lost here

 

9- Miss talking to travelers

Just like talking to expats, talking to travelers is a good way to get the inside scoop about a new place right away. Also they are travelers and you already have something in common. It is nice to meet people who love doing what you love as well. Ash and I have gotten along with other travelers better than any other people. They typically have the same mindset and it is nice making friends on the road and swapping travel story and tips over a few morning beers.  Knowing that there will always be other travelers like you out there is comforting in a way. To talk to a person about how you are taking 6 years to travel and they don’t look at you like you are crazy is always a nice feeling. They understand the drive to do something like that. They are not shocked or impressed by it, they just understand it and that’s a comforting thought.

 

10- Miss drinking wine around the world

Drinking wine on the train to Bucharest
Drinking wine on the train to Bucharest

Wine has become a huge part of our life, especially now that we live in wine country. Yet Ashley and I over the past few years and been really getting into exploring the wines around the world. It is a fun experience to go to a new a culture. Wine is a big commodity in the world and a place’s wine can tell you a lot about them and the land. Wine is a constant evolving industry and when one is out traveling the world it is fun to try all the local wine, whether it is drinking Romanian wine at two in the morning on a train with a local or going to the wine caves in Budapest and having food paired with it.  I can’t wait till I’m back on the road and drinking all the local wines.

My Favorite Wine Bar in Budapest: Faust Wine Cellar
My Favorite Wine Bar in Budapest

 

 

11- Miss trying a new cuisine

Alex is over joyed to have Kabob man right outside our hostel in Istanbul!
Alex is over joyed to have Kabob man right outside our hostel in Istanbul!

Now this is why I travel! I love to eat and I love to try everything, no matter what the food is in front of me I will at least try it. I have had a rule in my life that you must try everything at least once when it comes to food. Also if you do not like it the first time you keep trying it until you like it. I am definitely the more adventurous one when it comes to eating food while Ashley is a little more conservative. We both though, have a love for food and love exploring local cuisine; it not all bugs and guts for me, even though I do dive into those a few times, but its all about what a place is known for. Like when you go to Rome you have to try the carbonara, calcio e pepe, coda alla vaccinara(oxtail), and tripe. These are just some of the classics that one needs to try. Every culture has their own cuisine and how else are you going to understand another person’s culture without learning about their food and what they eat.

Who wants some squid eggs?  We found this lovely meal at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok
Who wants some squid eggs? We found this lovely meal at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok


So now we are missing travel even more!  Let’s go on adventure and satisfy our travel cravings!

Craving a Beer at Archi

Being a Hipster at Archi
Being a Hipster at Archi

Ash and I have both been missing Rome quite a lot lately and one of the many things that I have been wanting to do is to sit down at the Archi Bar which sits across from the American University of Rome. It is the local hangout for the students at the school. At the end class we would go and sit outside the Archi and drink beers, smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and just hang out.  At any time of day one could go out and find somebody at the Archi to hang out with. I have to say that I miss having a place like that. It was fun sitting outside not caring how many cigarettes you were smoking or how many beers you were drinking because you were enjoying the sun and enjoying the company of close friends. I think one of the first places I will be going back to when we touch down in Rome again is the Archi. There was a lot good times spent at this local hangout. We could relax and just forget about school for a bit. So if you are ever in Rome and you stumble upon the American University of Rome look out for the Archi bar because I am sure you will see students hanging out and drinking a cold one.

After a few too many cold ones at Archi
After a few too many cold ones at Archi

Craving a Caffe Shakerato

Caffe Shakerato  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Caffe Shakerato
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s been getting warmer, summertime is on it’s way and all I can think about is having a caffe shakerato, craving it may be more like it. One summer I spent a lot of time over by the Vatican and was introduced to an addicting coffee drink called caffe shakerato. It’s espresso shaken in a martini shaker with sugar until it becomes frothy and then poured into a fancy glass. You can either enjoy it as is or you can find bars that make it fancy, think chocolate swirl, vanilla gelato or even some liquor like baileys or frangelico.  It’s a great way to beat the summer heat in Rome which can be overwhelming. You can find it at most of the bars in Rome but I noticed it’s very popular especially by the Vatican, maybe it’s all the waiting in line for the museum. I may not miss those lines but I could totally go for a caffe shakerato right now!