Iceland to Italy

 

There's a place I've never been that I've wanted to see for the longest time. There's another place that changed my life eight years ago, but I haven't been back since.

The first is Iceland. Every picture I've seen, every Icelandic artist I've listened to, every book about it's quirks piqued my curiosity. The other place is Siena, Italy. It's the ancient city where I spent a semester in college, and in exchange gained so much independence and growth.

 
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In 2018, I finally had the chance to go. Not only to those two spots, but also Tonbridge, England to catch the wedding of a dear friend, and to Cinque Terre- the Italian wonder I missed out on during my last visit to the country. I captured the whole journey, travel vlog style.

 

REYKJAVIK

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 When we got to Seljalandsfoss, I was impressed by how out of the midst of so much open space, a forceful waterfall suddenly emerged and turned back into a steady stream.  We walked towards it. We climbed behind it. It was impossible to do so without getting wet. I managed to keep the amount of times I slipped on ice and ate it down to just a couple. There were other visitors, but a pretty small crowd all things considered.  This was the sort of thing that had been luring me to Iceland for years, and the sort of thing that made me so glad the trip finally came true.

When we got to Seljalandsfoss, I was impressed by how out of the midst of so much open space, a forceful waterfall suddenly emerged and turned back into a steady stream.

We walked towards it. We climbed behind it. It was impossible to do so without getting wet. I managed to keep the amount of times I slipped on ice and ate it down to just a couple. There were other visitors, but a pretty small crowd all things considered.

This was the sort of thing that had been luring me to Iceland for years, and the sort of thing that made me so glad the trip finally came true.

 Iceland has such a mysterious and extraordinary personality that it was suddenly a surprise to discover that one of its best eats is the hot dog.   The classic Icelandic dog includes brown mustard and remoulade, along with French onions (those were my favorite addition, since they added a little crisp.).   Part of the joy of Icelandic hot dog comes from the fact that they’re made from some much higher quality meat than people usually bother to throw into a hot dog.   The other thing that makes these hot dogs so great? They’re one of the cheapest things you can get to eat in Iceland, and in a country where food isn’t cheap, the gas stations that almost always have them become a welcome sight.

Iceland has such a mysterious and extraordinary personality that it was suddenly a surprise to discover that one of its best eats is the hot dog.
 
The classic Icelandic dog includes brown mustard and remoulade, along with French onions (those were my favorite addition, since they added a little crisp.).
 
Part of the joy of Icelandic hot dog comes from the fact that they’re made from some much higher quality meat than people usually bother to throw into a hot dog.
 
The other thing that makes these hot dogs so great? They’re one of the cheapest things you can get to eat in Iceland, and in a country where food isn’t cheap, the gas stations that almost always have them become a welcome sight.

 The Blue Lagoon gets all the attention, but just 40 minutes south of Reykjavik is the Hot River Trail. You’ll find a random coffee stand next to a creek that is emitting crazy amounts of steam. You don’t want to swim in there. That hot spring is hot enough to cook eggs in. You’ll also find that it runs right next to an ice cold stream, fed by glacier melt.  A trail goes in between these two streams and you can follow it for an hour or an hour and a half. Towards the top of the mountain, you’ll find the spot where these two water streams converge and create the perfect temperature for a dip.  Just make sure you give plenty of time for the return hike before it gets too dark, unlike us, and it should be a real good time.

The Blue Lagoon gets all the attention, but just 40 minutes south of Reykjavik is the Hot River Trail. You’ll find a random coffee stand next to a creek that is emitting crazy amounts of steam. You don’t want to swim in there. That hot spring is hot enough to cook eggs in. You’ll also find that it runs right next to an ice cold stream, fed by glacier melt.

A trail goes in between these two streams and you can follow it for an hour or an hour and a half. Towards the top of the mountain, you’ll find the spot where these two water streams converge and create the perfect temperature for a dip.

Just make sure you give plenty of time for the return hike before it gets too dark, unlike us, and it should be a real good time.

FROM THE BLOG:

TONBRIDGE

I met Tim in college. He was spending a year on exchange from England. I had just spent a semester in Argentina and wanted to hang with international students all the time. We grabbed coffee and hit it off. That was seven years ago.
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I met Sarah a year and a half later when Tim was back in England and I was visiting London. They just started dating. Though we kept in touch, that was the last time I saw Tim in person until this weekend.
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This is one of my favorite things about life. The simple coffee and conversation can turn into a wedding abroad seven years later. It really makes me wonder what seeds I’m planting in my life right now and what they’ll be in seven years.

Oh- and it was one of the most fun weddings I've ever attended. Some of the highlights?

🐽 Hog Roast
🏝 Sitting at the Santa Barbara table
🍺 Homebrew

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ROME

 In just a couple hours we managed to grab ourselves a Roman breakfast, and blitz through to the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon.

In just a couple hours we managed to grab ourselves a Roman breakfast, and blitz through to the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon.

 I know rushing is the least Italian thing ever, but we didn’t really intend to see Rome. I’d been to all these places and was thinking it would be more of a hub to get to Siena. Deanna had never been to Italy, though, and I wanted her to see some of the exciting spots.We made a quest out of it, then managed to grab our bags and train with just enough time to spare. Now it’s on to my old home base- Siena!

I know rushing is the least Italian thing ever, but we didn’t really intend to see Rome. I’d been to all these places and was thinking it would be more of a hub to get to Siena. Deanna had never been to Italy, though, and I wanted her to see some of the exciting spots.We made a quest out of it, then managed to grab our bags and train with just enough time to spare. Now it’s on to my old home base- Siena!

SIENA

 

When I left Siena after studying there for a summer, I said what I imagine a good majority of study abroad students say- I’ll be coming back!
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It’s a weird and amazing thing when you actually make good on that declaration. It took me eight years and I now have a wife to come with me. Most things in my life have since changed but this place hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years.

FROM THE BLOG:

Dee in Italy [1].jpg
Contrade del Bruco [1].jpg
 When I left Siena after studying there for a summer, I said what I imagine a good majority of study abroad students say- I’ll be coming back!  It’s a weird and amazing thing when you actually make good on that declaration. It took me eight years and I now have a wife to come with me. Most things in my life have since changed but this place hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years.  Anyways, it’s a thrill to be back even if it did take a good bit of time. Enjoying every second I’m here.

When I left Siena after studying there for a summer, I said what I imagine a good majority of study abroad students say- I’ll be coming back!

It’s a weird and amazing thing when you actually make good on that declaration. It took me eight years and I now have a wife to come with me. Most things in my life have since changed but this place hasn’t changed much for hundreds of years.

Anyways, it’s a thrill to be back even if it did take a good bit of time. Enjoying every second I’m here.

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CINQUE TERRE

 It was Easter Sunday and it was gorgeous.  Cinque Terre came as beautiful as advertised. It was a gorgeous day outside, so the park was pretty full of visitors especially in the center alleyways if each village.  Still, it wasn’t hard to pull back from the crowds and the hiking trails just outside of each one had incredible views and lots to stop and take in along the way.  It’s been a long winter. It’s time to lose the jackets and the feeling like I’m not doing enough.

It was Easter Sunday and it was gorgeous.

Cinque Terre came as beautiful as advertised. It was a gorgeous day outside, so the park was pretty full of visitors especially in the center alleyways if each village.

Still, it wasn’t hard to pull back from the crowds and the hiking trails just outside of each one had incredible views and lots to stop and take in along the way.

It’s been a long winter. It’s time to lose the jackets and the feeling like I’m not doing enough.

 I’ve taken so many different kinds of trips in the past few years– work trips and fun trips and ones that blur the lines. Iconic cities and warm villages. Service trips and food adventures. Weekend camping trips and living abroad for months. There’s one thing that ties together all the best kinds of trips. Connection.  Sometimes that means traveling overseas to reunite with friends. Other times it means asking for help and getting welcomed in by locals. Other times it’s a spiritual connection that gets stronger. Or a bond between you and your travel partner. This can look so many different ways, but all the best trips equal connection.

I’ve taken so many different kinds of trips in the past few years– work trips and fun trips and ones that blur the lines. Iconic cities and warm villages. Service trips and food adventures. Weekend camping trips and living abroad for months. There’s one thing that ties together all the best kinds of trips. Connection.

Sometimes that means traveling overseas to reunite with friends. Other times it means asking for help and getting welcomed in by locals. Other times it’s a spiritual connection that gets stronger. Or a bond between you and your travel partner. This can look so many different ways, but all the best trips equal connection.

 Getting to see some of my favorite places with my favorite person. I think even after a bit of time has gone by I’ll still be digesting how thankful I am for these past few weeks.

Getting to see some of my favorite places with my favorite person. I think even after a bit of time has gone by I’ll still be digesting how thankful I am for these past few weeks.

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FROM THE BLOG:

Philippe Lazaro