Thursday, March 15, 2012

6 Reasons Why Today is Not My Day

Today is not my day. Let me give you a list of evidence to prove my point:
1. While driving through downtown (which is really never wise) a man, who I am just assuming has a substance abuse problem, 100% walked in front of my car. While I was moving. I had a green light and we were nowhere near a crosswalk. Unlike other bossy pedestrians, this man truly did not even turn his head a little to see if cars were coming or stopping or any other verbing. He just looked straight ahead and plunged into traffic like a man on a mission.
2. I guess I should backtrack and say that the day started out bad based on the fact that I had to wake up far too early for a dr's appt. It wouldn't be as bad if I wasn't still suffering from the impact of daylight savings stealing an hour of my beloved sleep. So early feels even worse this week. Accordingly, I had morning meetings every day.
3. I had an 8:15 appt with an ear, nose and throat specialist. I got there a little before 8:10 and avoided a creepy guy on the downstairs level of the medical building only to find the office dark and the door locked. So I found a chair and played some Words With Friends because I am adaptable. Around 8:23, I had no more opponents to face so I looked up the number for the doctor's office to see if there was an outgoing message about a death in the family causing all appts to be canceled or something else valid like that. I got an answering service who told me they don't answer the phones until 9. Hmmmm. Then why schedule an appt 45 minutes prior to that? In the midst of that conversation, an employee arrived at work and unlocked the door. I trailed her and poked my head in the office but she must have been turning on the lights in the whole suite so I just stood there doing a virtual hokey pokey with my body in the hall and my melon in the office, not wanting to scare her and having a mental battle with myself as I tried to figure out how to not take my aggression out on this woman but also not apologize for something that they should be apologizing for. She finally appeared and had me sit down while she called the cell phone of the girl who was supposed run some test on me. No answer. Then I heard her talking to a person I later found out was an office manager and overheard "she shouldn't make appointments in the morning if she can't get to them". When they finally got the girl on the phone, I was told she would arrive in another half hour. Really? I didn't make a 9am appt. I would have liked to have slept that additional 45 minutes, too. But I have my own job that they like me to show up for so I left.
4. I'm wearing my skinny jeans but feeling anything but.
5. And then I look at Pinterest for some workout motivation and all I find are dessert recipes that made me start wanting lunch at like 11:11.
6. My office scissors are missing and I really want to trim a split end.

So the moral of the story is that waking up early is bad and I am cranky.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My shoes are awesome

Odd angle but how great are these shoes?? When all else fails, wear amazing shoes and you will feel better about the world.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blue Lagoon

Since I started posting about Iceland I'm on a roll! So let me back track and say that even before heading to Reykjavik, we went to the magical land of the Blue Lagoon. In general, the Blue Lagoon is a not to be missed stop on any Iceland visitor's itinerary. There are even shuttles to and from the airport! We had taken a red eye flight so when we arrived at the airport in Keflavik in the early morning hours, we were struggling to stay alert let alone appreciate our surroundings. Thankfully, we planned to head straight to the Blue Lagoon to kill some time before checking in to the hotel and as a means of getting to Reykjavik.

If I didn't think hubby would kill me for posting a picture of him, I would show you a great picture of what happened next. We lounged in the thermal waters, arms on the smooth rocks, with just our heads above the water and took cat naps. It was, perhaps, the most relaxing day of my entire life.

How does that all happen? You get off the bus at the Blue Lagoon and Spa, walk up a long walkway and into a building where you check in and get a locker key. I found the front desk staff lacking in information and charm. If I remember correctly, I tried to pick a fight with one of the guys there. But, as I mentioned, it had been a long night. You change in a very nice locker room and figure out what to bring with you to negotiate the getting into and out of the water. You must remember that the air temperature is not what you want to be in a bathing suit in. Brrrr. So devise your plan and meet your travel partner and sprint to the warm water.

As you can see, it's a good size so you can spend some time exploring different areas. Water temps change slightly in spots. Sometimes there's a bar set up in the same area as this picture but we were there in the morning so it wasn't set up. There's also a waterfall, a steam room and a spot for water massages (which I really wish I had done now, despite the expense...imagine floating in jacuzzi temps, weightless, while someone massages you!).

Isn't the milky blue color just enchanting?? This is just next to the body of water you can go in but the color is the same.

One of the most fun parts is that there are tubs of silica goo stuff on the sides of the water, filled with minerals from the water (and you can actually even scrape some off of the rocks). You go over, scoop some up, and apply it to your face. Your skin feels like fairies resurfaced it afterwards!

Bottom line: Do Not Miss This Attraction if you go to Iceland. I would probably go back to the country just for this experience alone!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reykjavik, Iceland

It's hard to start posting about my experience in Iceland because, honestly, I can't spell like any of the places I saw. But I can tell you that I 100% recommend a trip to this hospitable country. It is one of the most unique places you may ever see.
This first photo is just a sample of what homes look like in Reykjavik. I loved this red roof. Architecturally, the homes are relatively simple. The remind me of Puritanical homes in early Salem. Hey, we all have a frame of reference!

So this is the statue of Leif Eriksson. The statue was a gift from the United
States in 1930, as Eriksson was an Icelandic/Norwegian explorer who set foot in America before Columbus but gets less glory. Behind him is Hallgrimskirkja, a beautiful church and the tallest building in Iceland. You can ride an elevator to the top and get a glimpse of the whole (small) city. We couldn't figure out how to get in so we were happy to just take pictures outside.
Does this really need a caption? Where's Waldo? Apparently he is visiting Iceland.
One of the activities I enjoy most wherever I travel, near or far, is to visit a local market. On weekends, Reykjavik has an indor flea market so, of course, I had to check it out. This picture shows bags of dried fish. Being an island, the seafood industry is huge here. One of the local delicasies is petrified shark, which they chase down with an alcohol dubbed "black death". I assure you I tried neither, thank you very much. I didn't go home with any dried fish, either but I did score some yummy cinnamon chip rolls at the market. They really came in handy, too, since food prices are kind of nuts there. There was legit no way to have a meal for less than $20 per person so I was happy to have the sweet rolls to tide me over. That and skyr, which I came to love. It's an Icelandic "yogurt". It's actually a soft cheese but it has the consitancy and flavor of a creamy yogurt. It's a nutrional powerhouse, too. Luckily, I can get it here in the States at Whole Foods!

A remarkably clean city, Reykjavik has these free, self sanitizing public toilets. They really amused me.

One of the places I was most eager to see was the "Ice Bar" as one of my life list items is to visit an ice building. I was picturing something more like the Montreal hotel that is built entirely out of ice and melts each Spring. Iceland's version was not that. First, it was pretty hard to find. Even when we asked people, they didn't know what we were talking about. That's hard to believe in such a small city. It turns out it's in a restaurant, actually. And it's only one freezer of a room. You pay a fee, something about $15 to go into the room and get one free drink. I was disappointed that even the room had regular furniture in it and just had blocks of ice stacked up to add ambiance. However, it was still a unique experience, as we slid across the floors trying to navigate and it was a good opportunity to talk to other tourists.

Overall, Reykjavik was a quaint, adorable city. It's super walkable and I always felt safe. The food is pricey, the nightlife starts really late, like midnight late. There are lots of tours you can take out of the city to see more of the country, which you should definitely take advantage of because 1. the landscape is diverse and gorgeous and 2. the city doesn't have so much going on that you need to spend more than a couple days on it, alone.

Locals are very friendly. We made friends all over the place! One guy even gave us his phone number in case we needed to call for directions or tourist tips. Thanks to some inside connections, we even had some local friends and friends of friends become greeters and tour guides. I will share more of the off the beaten path photos and experiences that yielded but suffice it to say that everyone from the hotel staff to strangers were gracious, helpful and welcoming. I really can't say enough good things about this fabulous city and it's people!