Istanbul, Turkey – New World/Old World & Europe/Asia

Istanbul is one of a few cities in the world that spans two continents (Europe and Asia). It is also a city where you can see the juxtaposition of the old historical side and the thriving new and modern side. Having both of these sides adds to the allure of visiting Istanbul. You can visit the historical sites in the morning, Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque, and cross the Galata Bridge in the afternoon or evening to indulge in the modern cuisine and shopping on the modern side. Istanbul is not only a city to see sites it is a city where you can have experiences you wouldn’t get in other places like visiting a Hamman (Turkish Bath) or smoking shisha and playing backgammon with a Turk.

View of the old town from the Bosphorus cruise.

Even though Istanbul is more famously known for the Blue Mosque its older sister Hagia Sophia is really the must see in Istanbul. This church was built in the 500’s and is enormous, the Statue of Liberty could do jumping jacks inside. What is more impressive is that mankind was able to construct such a structure over 1500 years ago. Hagia Sophia was built as a Byzantine Catholic church but was converted to a mosque after Ottoman rule so you can see both Islamic and Catholic architecture and artwork throughout the building. I don’t think pictures will be able to do it justice.

Hagia Sophia.
Inside main hall of Hagia Sophia.
View of Islamic calligraphy in Hagia Sophia. Those circles are 25 feet in diameter to give you idea of the size of Hagia Sophia.

Across the square from the Hagia Sophia is the Blue Mosque that was built in response to Hagia Sophia. After exiting Hagia Sophia we were able to hear the call to prayer from both the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. You could definitely tell that there was some sort of rivalry between the prayer callers in each building and an epic “rap” prayer battle ensued. Since both men and women need to cover their knees and shoulders and women need to cover their heads we had to stop by the Grand Bazaar before our visit so I could pick up a scarf. The Grand Bazaar is huge with over 4,000 shops so it’s a little overwhelming but we were able to barter and get me a scarf that I liked for $4.

View of Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia.
Sweet Grand Bazaar head scarf inside Blue Mosque.

Once equipped with scarf for covering my head we headed to the Blue Mosque. It is named the Blue Mosque because of the blue tile work all over the inside. Before entering the tourist entry you are required to cover up and the covering will be provided if you are not currently dressed appropriately. You then remove your shoes and step inside. The inside is beautiful and you get a chance to see the tilework and designs up close.

Blue Mosque.
Inside the Blue Mosque.

Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus straight which is one of the busiest waterways in the world and connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. From Istanbul you can take a local ferry for $10/person up the Bosphorus to a small fishing village on the Asian side of Turkey. The ride takes about 1.5 hours each way and you get to spend 2 hours in the fishing village. If you have at least 3 days in Turkey we would definitely recommend. It is a good way to see more of Istanbul from the water and set foot in Asia.

Fortress on Bosphorus Cruise.

There are a ton of sights in Istanbul but our favorite parts of the trip were the experiences. One of the things you cannot miss if going to Istanbul is visiting a Hamam or traditional Turkish bath. There are a bunch in town but we chose to go to the Cemberlitas Hamam because it is said to be the most beautiful (Its also listed in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die).  We had a great time. The baths are segregated so Dan and I went our separate ways once we checked in. You then go into the segregated sections, change for the bath, and get escorted to the bath where you get to sit in a sauna or bowl hot water over yourself and relax for about 30 minutes before your masseuse comes to get you for your scrub and massage. Then then proceed to lay you on a giant marble slab/table in the center of the room and give your body a thorough scrub down which is followed by a soapy massage. After this you can either hang out in the bath and relax for a little longer or head to the changing room and have a cup of apple tea. It was awesome, refreshing and relaxing. I’m ready to bring these to Denver!

Cemberlitas Hamam.

One of the other great experiences that we had was hanging out at night at one of the Shisa (flavored mild tobacco) joints, smoking hookah, drinking tea or Turkish coffee, and playing backgammon. We ended up going to the same place two nights in a row because the first night Dan bet the owner that he could be beat him playing Backgammon (or Tavlac as the Turkish say) and if Dan lost we had to come back the next night. Dan put up a valiant effort but ended losing 3-1. The next night Dan faced off against a Syrian from Dubai who was up 3-0 when Dan came back to tie the game 3-3. The Syrian ended up winning 5-3 but you could tell he was definitely sweating it and was not going to be happy if he lost to Dan.


And you all are probably surprised because I haven’t even mentioned food yet! So in case you were wondering the food in Turkey was pretty delicious. We had a lot of grilled or rotisserie lamb, meses (small vegetable plates), kafta, turkish bagels, and baklava. We also got to eat some really good modern Turkish fare in the new town. There is not much to sight see in the new town besides how new world and modern it is but there are a ton of restaurants, shops, and people. It was especially fun to visit at night to see the street performers and the mobs of people streaming down Istiklal street.



We also ended up visiting the Tokapi Palace which was the palace for the Ottoman Empire since the 1600’s. This is a sight to visit if you have done everything else and are looking for something to do. There were a lot of lines but the tile work is outstanding, you get a great view of the Bosphorus, and you get to see a 74 Carat Diamond and other neat jewels owned by the throne. There is also an interesting “historic relics” room where you can see Moses’ staff and Muhammed’s footprint, pieces of his beard, etc. You can come up with your own conclusions but I’m not so sure that these historic relics are the real deal.

Overall Istanbul was a great city to visit. Not sure I will need to go back but definitely worth the trip and a must see city!

Top 5 Things to do in Istanbul-

  1. Visit Hagia Sophia/Blue Mosque
  2. Get scrubbed at a Hamman
  3. Gorge yourself on spit roasted local lamb
  4. Smoke shisha and play backgammon with a local
  5. Eat Baklava while drinking Turkish coffee

Korcula and Mali Ston, Croatia – Tiny Towns, Big Personality

Croatia has islands for days, 1,500 to give you an idea and only 50 of these are inhabited. We wanted to make sure to experience island life while traveling in Croatia so we decided to visit Korcula which is an island off of the mainland of Croatia and about 2 hours from Dubrovnik. Korcula is one of the smaller islands but known for its wineries, olive oil, and some of the only sandy beaches in Croatia (most of the beaches are small smooth pebble beaches). Korcula looks similar to Dubrovnik with a stone wall surrounding the city and windy medieval streets filled with shops and restaurants. We only had a few days in Korcula and those were spent swimming in the crystal clear water, enjoying the al fresco dining, and visiting the local wineries.

View of rows of houses on crystal clear water. Our apartment was just a few steps from the water.
View of Old Town Korcula.

The water here is unreal! You can see to the bottom and it is an amazing teal color that changes how deep the water gets. We spent two days while in Korcula at the rocky beach near the city snorkeling and enjoying the water.

Palm tree with multi colored water. So clear!

The main town of Korcula is really small so we decided to rent a scooter and explore the nearby towns. We went to a sandy beach and then went to a winery. There are two types of grapes grown on Korcula GRK and Plavic Mali. Apparently the GRK grape can only grow with other grapes nearby so that is why you will normally see GRK and Plavic Mali grown together. The GRK was really good and tasted like a more fruity chardonnay and the Plavic Mali was a little too dry for our taste. We also rented a scooter so we could have a ride to a restaurant about 3km from town on top of the island, Konobo Belin, that had great reviews on trip advisor. This restaurant was totally worth it! Wine by the liter, home made pasta, grilled fish, and grilled lamb. It was bomb.

GRK winery.
View from GRK winery in Lombarda, Korcula Island.

There is a ton of al fresco dining in Korcula along the wall that wraps around the city. There is also a really cool bar on top of one the towers where we saw the sunset. Getting to the bar is an experience because you have to climb up a 20 foot ladder and through a hatch door to get to the roof but the views were definitely worth it.

Kristin climbing up ladder to the rooftop castle bar. Ladies remember probably not the best place to wear skirts or heels.
View from rooftop of old town Korcula.
Rooftop sunset. Also notice the enormous yacht! Guess what. Its for rent just $415K/week!!

After Korcula we took kept heading south to Mali Ston. Mali Ston is on the mainland of Croatia and is known for its oyster and mussel cultivation. The larger town about a 20 minute walk is Ston which is known for its salt fields and the 2nd longest wall in the world (after the great wall of China). We took it pretty easy in Mali Ston since there wasn’t too much to do. We did end up walking the wall, seeing the salt flats, and gorging ourselves on mussels and oysters.

Ston wall. View of Mali Ston.
Ston Wall. View of Ston with salt fields in background.

The Ston wall runs from Ston to Mali ston and is 4.3 miles long. A fun fact is there is a marathon in Ston every year up and over the wall. Walking the wall was a serious workout and left Dan and me sweating pretty hard by the end of the stairclimb from hell. We couldn’t believe that people run a marathon on this wall with it being so narrow and sketchy.

Since we wanted to make sure we experienced the two sites in Ston and Mali Ston we took the tour of the salt flats. This was the worst tour we have ever had and by tour I mean it is really just entrance into the salt flats that you can see through the fence on the road. The only of the tour that you can’t experience from outside the walls is a really well done (I’m being sarcastic) slideshow of pictures of the flats with music set to it. If for some reason you are even in Ston skip the tour and just buy some of the salt.

Salt fields tour! (This is the tour..)

Now to the reason we decided to head to Mali Ston in the first place. The oysters and mussels! We ate so many that we were sick of them by the time we left. There was a shack near the water where we sat basically every day, ordered oysters, drank their homemade white wine, and chatted with the locals. These will be the freshest oysters we will ever have. They literally grab them out of the water and serve them to you. They also have different sizes of oysters available and the sizes are based on how old they are. The smallest are 4 years old and the largest are 10. We had no idea that oysters were so old when you ate them. No wonder they are so pricey. We also ended up buying 1.5 kilos of mussels from this stand and making our own steamed white wine, garlic, and onion mussels. Yummy!

Oysters and cheap homemade wine at the oyster shack! See the crates of oysters in the background.

Now off to the last stop in our tour of Croatia, Dubrovnik!

Parma, Italy – Parmesan, Prosciutto, Balsamic Vinegar – Where all good things come from

Parma, Italy where so many delicious things come from! Because Dan and I are fatties this is the place in Italy we chose so we could really immerse ourselves in the Italian culture away from the tourists and gorge ourselves on delicious Italian pasta, pizza, parmesan, and prosciutto. Parma is a really small sleepy town and was even quieter because a lot of the businesses were closed for summer vacation. During our stay here our only goals were to visit producers of Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Balsamic Vinegar (in Modena) and eat delicious Italian food.

Cathedral of Parma. We stayed right down the street from here.
Frescoe in cathedral painted by Antonio da Correggio titled Assumption of the Virgin.
Parma Citadel. Inside is a nice park.

Instead of opting for a Parma food tour through one of the tour companies we decided to rent a car and arrange our own tours. We ended up getting in touch with a small prosciutto producer – Rosa Dell’Angelo who not only produces prosciutto they raise black pigs (similar to the Spanish Iberico hams) and make prosciutto with those also along with the traditional prosciutto di parma. In order to be called prosciutto di parma the pigs have to be fed a certain percentage of whey and grain, be a specific type of pig, and then once they are slaughtered and you have the thigh they have to be aged for a certain number of months and can only be rubbed with salt. After all of this they will be certified and stamped with the Parma crown. During our tour we really got to see from farm to table how prosciutto di parma is made.

Prosciutto di Parma. Making sure we are keeping with the food safety codes in these sweet outfits.
The parma crown stamp means it has been certified prosciutto di parma.

We also arranged a tour and got to see how Parmigiano Reggiano is made at Giansanti. We were so surprised at how simple the process is compared to how amazing the cheese tastes. Here is the process simplified: 1)take milk from cow, 2)cook and had rennin to milk, 3)remove curd and place into plastic cylinder,4)leave for a day, 5)press pamigiano reggiano label into sides of cheese, 6)let dry for a few more days, 7)place into salt water for 25 days turning daily, 8)remove to room and allow dry for at least a year and up to 5 years. That is it! Such a simple process for a great product. Parmigiano Reggiano follows a similar type of rules on how the cheese needs to be made in order for it to be certified Parmigiano Reggiano. We were able to taste 12 month, 24 month, and 48 month and you can definitely taste the difference the sweetness of the cheese leaves and the saltiness appears. Apparently after 36 months the lactose has crystallized and is no longer a problem for people who are lactards (yea me!!)

Stacks and stacks of cheese.
Cheese from August 2011. So this one has been aging for 4 years. Yummy,

Because we couldn’t get enough of tours and learning how delicious things are made we arranged a tour at a balsamic vinegar producer, Leonardi, in Modena. This producer made the balsamic vinegar that Kate and Prince William had at their wedding so you know that they are legit. We also learned on this tour that balsamic vinegar is also easy to make you just need 10-30 years of patience. In case you were wondering or wanted to get educated here is how it works (again in simple person tours) 1)juice grapes from harvest, 2)cook grape juice), 3)add grape juice to really old barrels with a hole open to the atmosphere, 4) wait one year, 5)take out top half of aged juice and move to different old barrel, and 6)continue for 10-100 years. So the secret to making balsamic is the wood of the barrels that you use and which barrel you use each year that you are aging. You can use juniper, oak, cherry, ash, and other types of oak to create your flavor/recipe of balsamic. We were able to taste different balsamic vinegars made from just oak barrels, cherry barrels, or juniper barrels. It was amazing how different the taste was depending on the oak. We ended up buying a few to ship home since finding awesome balsamic for a decent price is so hard in the states.

Balsamic barrels. Note the cloth over the open tops so the balsamic can aged being exposed to the air.
Oldest barrel at Leonardi. Yea the date says its from 1620. Thats one old barrel.


Other things that come from Modena that we didn’t realize before we go there are Ferrari’s! The Ferrari factory is in Maranello which is 30 minutes outside of Modena. We ended up going to the Enzo Ferrari museum which was super cool. They had a ton of sweet Ferrari’s and you got to get up close and personal with them. They also had a fun movie that they should that paired Ferrari’s with opera sung by Luciano Pavarotti, who is also from Modena.

Look at all of the Ferraris!
Kristin pin up posing with the F-50.
Artsy Ferrari shot with the La Ferrari. Sexy.

The last goal of being in Parma was eating delicious Italian food and we definitely succeeded at that. We got a recommendation to eat at Sorelle Picchi and it was amazing we ended up going back again. Some highlights were the Truffle Pasta and Truffle Guinea Fowl not just because they were extremely delicious but because when the waiter brought you your dish he also brought over a fresh black truffle and then proceeded to shave it over your plate like it was parmesan. So tasty. We also had this amazing prosciutto, asparagus, mushroom risotto which was unreal. We also went to another delish restaurant called Panino d’artista and Dan ending up getting a horse sandwich. Yup you heard me horse meat. It actually tasted like a roast beef so not bad.

We had a really good time chillaxing in Parma but now off to Croatia for some fun in the sun (and maybe less food and more exercise)!

Marrakech, Morocco – The Red City

Oh my Marrakech. This city is craziness especially compared to the developed major cities in Europe that we had been traveling to. Coming to Marrakech was a good change and so much different than where we had been that it definitely made for an adventure. To get a real Moroccan experience we decided to stay at a Riad which is basically like staying at someone’s home except fancier. Staying at Riad Tammarakech was great, the owners were so helpful in giving directions (which you need because there are no street signs and the Medina, the old city, is full of windy streets so you have no idea where they lead to), giving tips on how to not get hassled or ripped off, booking tours, and they made a great breakfast. You also got to stay in a really cool Moroccan decorated room.

Room at Riad. Check out the awesome painted ceiling. Very arabian.
Most riad’s have a pool in the center to keep the building cool. The fountain also runs most of the day so you have a nice relaxing water sound.

We got into Marrakech in the afternoon and getting off the airplane we got the immediate shock of seeing a fully loaded 747 from Saudi Arabia unloading it’s passengers onto the runway. You immediately knew you were in a new place because you saw women wearing the traditional burka and hijabs and men wearing long tunics and turbans. They were all coming from Saudi Arabia because it was the end of Ramadan and they were most likely spending the holiday in Mecca. I was worried about how I was supposed to dress as a women in a Muslim country and opted to make sure I wore shirts that covered my shoulders and pants or dresses to cover me knees. You do see a wide variety of dress in Marrakech and the tourists will wear whatever they want but I decided to try and be respectful of their traditions and I didn’t want to be stared at by the men so I took the more conservative route. Once we got to the Riad our host recommended that we try to find the main square, Jemma-el Fnaa, in the daylight because it will look totally different at night and people will try and get you to go the wrong way or take you to the tannery and get suckered into buying something else or paying them for being a guide. Once we made it to the square without getting run over by one of the many motor bikes, scooters, or donkey carts flying past us you run into tons of stores, restaurants, orange juice vendors, snake charmers, and monkey wranglers. Yea you heard me there are cobra snake charmers in the square and a bunch of guys that have monkeys on leashes.

Spices and pelts at the souks.
Camel! We finally saw one our last night walking the streets.

That night we decided to venture back to the main square, Jemma-el Fnaa, and it had completely changed. There were a ton a new stands that had been set up with street food and it was packed with locals and tourists.  The stalls aren’t named they are only numbered and from some of our research we knew a few numbered stalls we wanted to try. Dan the adventurous eater that he is decided to try a bowl of snails in broth which he said were pretty tasty (also he didn’t end of getting sick so I guess they were good). This was one of the few stands where locals were eating. Apparently Moroccan’s don’t eat out very often so this is one of the few times you will find them out to dinner. So most stalls here are catering to tourists with kebabs, tagine, etc. and really try to hassle you to come into their stall. We didn’t really want to be at a stall that only had a bunch of tourists eating at it so we settled for number 31 that had a ton of Moroccan’s eating and a line. Everyone here was eating a plate of lamb sausages about 3 inches long that was served with a plate of basically blended tomato and a pita. These weiners were delish! I would definitely recommend eating at stall 31.  After weiners I wanted some mint tea. Which is awesome is Morocco! It is only mint steeped in water and sugar is added. This stuff is my favorite. Once we were stuffed with street food we ventured into the center of the square where there were a ton of street performers, games, and henna artists. I got conned into a henna tattoo by a women who grabbed my hand, told me I had nice hands and then proceeded to give me a hand henna tat. I tried to resist but she kept saying “it is for free, for good luck” (we all know this was not for free).  Once she finished and we tried to walk away we were of course guilted into paying her. I wanted a henna while in Morocco so I guess it all worked out.

Dan eating street snails.
Kristni with arabian coke at the lamb weiner stand. Yea 31!!


The next day we set out to see the northern part of the old city which included the Ben Youssef Medersa and the Photography Museum. The Ben Youssef Medersa (10 diram/person) was one of the first schools in Marrakech and is a place where you can see some traditional Moorish architecture. If you have extra time in Marrakech then I would recommend seeing this but leave it off your list because there are better places to see Moorish architecture in Marrakech like the Palace Bahia. After the Ben Youssef Medersa we headed to the Photography Museum (40 diram/person) which was really great. It had photos of Marrakech from the 1920’s and then a lot of photos and a documentary of the Berber people. This museum was a good mix of interesting photography and the history of Morocco. Also the photography museum has a great terrace where you can have some mint tea and look over the medina.


That night we were on the hunt for some good food because we had gotten some mediocre touristy food while in Marrakech. We came across a modern Moroccan restaurant called Nomad and we were so glad we did we ended up coming back a second night. The restaurant has outdoor seating on the terrace and excellent service. They even sell alcohol which his rare in Marrakech. (We didn’t partake because we wanted to do as the locals do and also needed a break from the booze from being in Spain and Portugal) Some standout dishes from both of our visits were the feta croquettes, hummus platter, nomad lamb burger, and saffron and argan oil ice cream. Another good restaurant shout out is the Souk Café which had great Moroccan food including an amazing appetizer that included 8 or so small dishes like peppers, tapenade, and eggplant.

View from Nomad.

The second day in Marrakech was to see the southern part of the old city and Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle in the new city. The Jardin Majorelle was pretty pricey for what you got ($7) but was neat to see. They have some beautiful buildings painting an amazing blue color called Majorelle which I’m definitely bringing back to the states. It’s a quiet and clean place to escape the craziness of the medina. We also went to see the Tombs Saadian (10 diram) and Palace Bahia (10 diram). I would recommend seeing the Palace Bahia over the Ben Youssef Medersa because it is bigger and is a better example of the gorgeous Moorish architecture and amazing painting ceilings.

Le Jardin Majorelle.
YSL made postcards every year and sent to his friends and family. Here is the one from 1986!
The walls are the awesome blue colored called Majorelle. My shirt almost matches (I didn’t plan that.)


Tombs Saadian
Mosaic Ceiling Palace Bahia

During our adventure Dan decided he was going to get his hair cut while in Marrakech and as we were walking through one of the streets an older man asked Dan if he needed a haircut and Dan thought it was fate. As we were walking into the “salon” another guy who just got his haircut was leaving and told us that “the guy was a little crazy but it was alright” although we were a little skeptical with this interesting warning Dan went for it any way. As Dan sat down in the barber chair and the man started cutting his hair we realized that the older gentlemen was a little more than crazy. He started cutting Dan’s hair but his hands were shaking so bad that the clipper guards kept falling off and Dan just ended up getting an uneven buzz cut. After this ordeal the barber ended up asking Dan if he wanted a straight razor shave which he declined immediately.  The whole encounter was quite interesting and I only had to fix a few places from the uneven cut.

Entrance to Dan’s hair “salon”
Dan’s fancy haircut

The last day in Marrakech was supposed to be a scorcher, like 110 F, so we opted to go on an excursion to these big waterfalls, Ouzoud Cascades, in the Atlas mountains about 2.5 hours outside of Marrakech. This excursion was really fun and there were a ton of local Moroccan’s there who come to camp and escape the heat. We got to swim in the river and then took a hilarious paddle boat to right under the falls which was refreshing from the heat. We even got to take a selfie with some monkies!

Jumping into the swimming hole
Ouzoud Cascades from above
Paddle boat to under the falls
Monkey selfie

Overall we are really glad to see Marrakech and get to Africa. Dan and my biggest complaint about Marrakech was feeling like the locals were trying to scam you. From them telling us outrageous prices for things (you have to barter for everything and they start with more than double what you should pay), trying to tell us we were going the wrong the direction (they are constantly telling you that the tannery is the other direction and it’s the last day the Berber’s are there), and getting harassed to eat at their restaurant, buy their goods, or go on a tour you had the overall feeling of getting hassled constantly. Other than that if you are near Marrakech its worth a couple days to see a different kind of place!

Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech:

  1. Stay at a Riad
  2. Eat dinner in the stands at the Night Market, Jemma-el Fnaa
  3. Visit the Palace de Bahia and Photography Museum
  4. Go shopping in the Souks
  5. Take a day trip away from the city. Ouzoud Cascades or Essaouira.

Lisbon, Portugal – The San Francisco of Europe: Port, Palaces, and Pastel de Nata’s

Lisbon is the city of 7 hills and you definitely know that by the time you leave. There are hills and steps everywhere. Lisbon even has put in public elevators so you don’t have to schlep yourself up 4-10 flights of stairs when you need to get somewhere. Let’s just say I got a max glute workout while we were here. One benefit of being a city of 7 hills is that there are amazing views of the city all over so there are a lot of opportunities to sit on a terrace and take in the scenery. So lots of hills and tiny windy streets is one reason why this city reminds me of San Fran other reasons include it is on the water, has a giant red suspension bridge, there are trolleys, you can eat killer seafood, and it is surrounded by port/wine country (Yummy Vinho Verde!). So basically it is awesome and we are so sad that we only got to spend 3 days in the city. This city and country is definitely on the return to sometime soon travel list.  I’m not sure how this compares to San Fran but Portugal is famous for its pastry called a Pastel de Nata which is an egg custard tart and is so bomb. Dan’s plan was to eat 10 during our time in Lisbon.

Sweet Views and sweet sequin pineapple shirt.
Windy streets to our apartment in the castle.

The first day we spent in Lisbon was filled with wandering the streets of the neighborhood Alfama, finding a great view of the city, venturing to Cascais, and gorging ourselves on seafood. We got to see the Gypsy Market, Feira da Ladra, (held on Tuesdays and Saturdays) and I had a real life gypsy (not really it was just an artist) paint me a postcard for my collection. Cascais is a little fishing town west of Lisbon on the beach. You can take the train from Lisbon to this city and there are multiple stops on the way where you can see other beaches. We didn’t have the time to swim but there were a ton of tourists and locals enjoying the water. P.S the water is cold. This isn’t your nice luke warm Mediterranean water so be prepared.

Postcard making gypsy or artist..
Pastel de Nata!

That night we went to the most amazing seafood place ever, Cervejeria Romiro. This place has over 2,500 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor, was featured on Anthony Bourdain, and it totally worth the hype. You knew the seafood was fresh and the restaurant was great because we waited in a 45 minute line at 10pm just to get in. The line wasn’t bad at all because we got some beers from the little market next store and ended up chatting with a couple traveling from Sweden during the wait. This restaurant doesn’t have any sides so Dan was happy because there wasn’t any “filler” only buttered bread to accompany your seafood.  This restaurant is unique also because you order and pay by the kilogram for your seafood and you can see what you are about to eat because the animals are just hanging out in tanks next to your table. They even bring the live lobsters over to show you what you are going to get before they serve them to you. So we ordered oysters, barnacles, garlic shrimp, edible crab, and giant tiger prawn. Barnacles were a new seafood experience for both Dan and I and they were pretty good. They taste like an oyster but have the texture of a shrimp. We didn’t know how to eat these so we had to have our hilarious old man waiter show us the ropes.  Then after you have eaten all this delicious seafood, drank a bottle of wine (the wine is like $13), you need to have dessert right? Well dessert here is the most delicious garlic steak sandwich you have ever had. The table next to us liked it so much they ordered 2. We would definitely recommend getting the sandwich at the end.  Total Pastel de Nata for Dan: 3

A man and his seafood. Also notice the crab claw in Dan’s shirt. He was saving it from me.

The next day in Lisbon we decided to venture to a town near Lisbon called Sintra. This little city is gorgeous and most of the homes/castles/palaces here are UNESCO world heritage sites. Apparently rich people, princes, kings etc. over the years have been coming to this place and building huge homes. The most famous is the Pena Palace which is a huge multi colored palace that resembles Disneyland. This palace also has a large garden which is really like a forest that surrounds it where you are able to explore. We ended up taking the hop on hop off bus tour in Sintra and were able to see a winery, the most western point in Europe, and Pena Palace. The winery was adorable. We were literally the only people there so we had the place to ourselves. The wine was pretty good and unique since the grapes are grown in sandy soils and close to the ocean so the wine gets a unique mineral salty taste. We bought a bottle and proceeded to consume it during the rest of our Sintra adventure (yea we are classy like that). As part of the tour you are taken to the western most portion of Europe which is giant cliff with a light house that is super windy and from here you could potentially see America. After that windy ride we stopped at the Pena Palace which is 7 euros to enter the garden and another 7 euros to enter the palace. We opted to just see the gardens which give you amazing views of the Palace if you take the hike to the highest point. We got some great pictures here. Once we got back to the main town we saw a really cute bar and did a port tasting! Yea we finally got some port in our lives. (Thanks Aunt Becky & Uncle Jason for the wedding gift!) Sintra is a definitely must see when in Lisbon. It is only a one hour train ride from the city (I think the cost was about 2 Euros/person) and is such a quiet town with a lot to see. You will definitely feel like you are in a fairy tale here.  Total Pastel de Nata for Dan: 5

Fodors at the winery.


Most western place in Europe.
Its a little windy here.
Pena Palace.
Pena Palace from the highest point in the park.
Vino. Yummy.

On our last day in Lisbon we decided we had to see the Castle Sao George since we were staying within the castle walls. This castle was built during Moorish rule in the 700’s but was a settlement way before that. The castle also provides sweeping views of Lisbon and has a neat museum where you can see the artifacts discovered on the site. For lunch we stopped by at this super cute Mercado da Ribeira near the train station which was half Market and half gourmet food court. I wish we had discovered this market earlier on our trip! All of the restaurants looked amazing. Dan also got to try a 1965 port that was bottled in 2014 so it was in the barrel for 49 years! After the museum we took the electric tram to Belem which is an area of Lisbon and is home to the most famous Pastel de Nata bakery in Lisbon, Pasteis de Belem. This place has a line out the door and make 20,000 Pastel de Nata’s per day. We ordered 6 Pastel de Nata’s and coffees and watched as tons of people filed in to get served or get take away Pastel’s. These things were so good that we had to get 2 more to go. There are a lot of other things to see in Belem, including Tower of Belem, Jeronimos Monastery, and few museums. We only had time to see Padrão dos Descobrimentos which is a tribute to the Portuguese explorers. Everyone forgets (and maybe not everyone maybe just me) that Portugal was a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries and discovered a ton of new lands. After Belem we grabbed dinner at Cervejeria Baleal, which was a seafood restaurant similar to the Cervejeria Romiro where you order the seafood by the kilogram. The seafood was great but after we had finished the guy next to us got his meal which came out in a copper sphere and was a seafood stew. He saw us ogling his dinner and allowed us to have some. This stew was bomb! If anyone is in Lisbon and decides to go to this restaurant order the fish stew! We will definitely if we get to come back. Total Pastel de Nata for Dan: 11


Here is our street from the castle.
Mercado Ribiera
1965 Port


Padrão dos Descobrimentos

We were sad to say goodbye to Lisbon and hope to see Portugal again sometime soon! (P.S. Dan ate 2 Pastel de Nata’s at the airport beating his goal at 13 Total!) (P.S.S. Dan is a fatty)

Kristin & Dan’s Top 5 things to do in Lisbon:

  1. Eat amazing seafood and steak sandwiches at Cevejeria Romiro.
  2. Find a scenic overlook and take in the beautiful landscape.
  3. Take the train to Sintra and see the palaces and western most point in Europe.
  4. Go to Pasteis de Belem and gorge yourself on Pastel de Nata’s.
  5. Eat lunch or dinner at Mercado da Ribeira and buy a bottle of port from the wine store.

Valencia (Part 2) – Paella, Parks, and the Holy Grail

So the second half of our stay in Valencia was full with making sure we saw all of the attractions we were interested in seeing and going back to any place we really loved. One of the main attractions in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences which is this crazy place where there are multiple buildings that look like spaceships or eyeballs or helmets which is super cool to look at but you can tell cost major bucks. They started building these things in 1996 and are still not finished and I don’t even want to know how much they cost but they house some pretty neat cultural activities like the largest aquarium in Europe, a 3D IMAX, and a museum that happened to have a special exhibit on 25 years of Pixar (I love me some animated movies). The aquarium, Oceanographic, was huge and had dedicated exhibits to multiple aquatic areas around the world and they have a dolphin show (basically a smaller SeaWorld). Some standouts were tons of sharks, beluga whales, sea horses, Japanese deep sea crabs, and shark eggs (you could see the tiny sharks moving inside!) and of course the dolphin show. The 3D IMAX, the Hemispheric, is probably my favorite building in the center you even get to hear the movies in English. We liked it so much we went back a second time and saw a movie about the Monarch Butterfly Migration. The first movie we saw was about the four sections of Jerusalem – Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, and Armenian and their religious celebrations and was really interesting.




The City of Arts and Sciences is located at the end of the Jardin de Rio Turia which is a huge park that runs through the center of the city. The park actually used to be the Turia River and when it flooded 100 years ago the city decided to re-route the river and turn it into a park. There are multiple jogging and bike paths, sports centers, outdoor workout equipment, ponds, and of course cafes with patios. But before I continue, I need to make a public service announcement about Spain. They love their patios! I’m so jealous of how much patio time they get, every restaurant in Valencia had a patio and it was packed at all hours of the day. So I’m bringing back more patio time in my life when we get back to the states. Okay enough about the patios…This park is where we were able to jog, took bike rides on the ValenciBiSi (Valencia has a city bike system like the Bcycle in Denver), and just wandered. It is pretty amazing to have a public park that runs through the city and you can tell by how many people use it that the inhabitants of Valencia love it too.


Since Valencia is the where paella originated we took a paella cooking class at the Escuela de Arroces y Paella and it was so cool. Probably one of the highlights of our time in Valencia. The class started with a tour of the Central Mercado where we bought ingredients for the paella. There are many variations of paella and the valencian version includes rabbit, chicken, snails, and four varieties of green beans. Dan put together a recipe section of the website that includes a video and instructions! So if you want to make your own authentic paella at home check it out. Valencian Paella

Trust in the paella and prove it's worth by tipping it!
Trust in the paella and prove it’s worth by tipping it!

During our tour of the market we got the skinny on the Serrano and Iberico ham legs so now we are ham bosses.  So if you ever go to Spain here is the deal. The legs with white hooves are serrano hams and the legs with the black hooves are Iberico pigs. Then there are 5 grades of Iberico ham legs and the higher the grade the more acorns (bellota) the pigs eat and the more free range the pigs have. The levels are ranked on “J’s” so the first level is 1J and the best is 5J’s or called “Cinco Jotas” and the best are 100% acorn fed and free range. Also apparently there is a guarantee if you buy a 5J leg and if it is not as good as you want it to be you can take it back and get a new one.


Also during our adventures at the market (can you tell we were obsessed with this place??) we ventured into the seafood section and Dan found a guy that was selling awesome looking oysters, shrimp, squid, and lobsters. We were able to eat oysters shucked by him while standing in the fish section of the market and they were bomb! Dan also tried raw scallop and shrimp. Which he claims is the best raw shrimp he has ever had.



Near the central market in the city center is the Cathedral de Valencia which claims to have the holy grail. This cathedral is gorgeous and for only 5 Euros (that includes the audio tour) you can get a great tour of the cathedral and see the holy grail and two Goya paintings. The church was consecrated in 1238 and is definitely worth the visit. They also have a mummified arm of St. Vincent that you can see at the back of the church which is a little creepy but cool I guess?? Also an interesting fact about the cathedral is it is the meeting place of the Valencia Water Tribunal which is a group that decides the water rights in Valencia and has been meeting for the past 1000 years. This group is also the only non governmental group recognized by the Spanish Constitution.



We had one more day in Valencia and wanted to see what we could find in the old fisherman’s area of Valencia, El Cabanyal. We did some research and stumbled across a restaurant called Casa Montana which has been in business since 1876! It is an adorable restaurant where you sit and eat among the wine barrels. Our waiter was really attentive, spoke great English and the food was fantastic. Our favorites were tuna poached in olive oil for 24 hours, grilled calamari, pimento pepper stuffed with tuna and braised leek with balsamic vinegar. So that was most of our can really tell we liked it!


We are really sad to say goodbye to Valencia but off to the next adventure in Seville, Spain!

Here are Dan & Kristin’s Top 5 Things to Do in Valencia –

  1. Shop at Central Mercado and eat tapas at Bar Mercado
  2. Take a Paella Cooking Class
  3. City Centre Arts – Hemispheric/Oceangraphic
  4. People Watch while taking a bike ride or evening stroll Jardin de Turia
  5. Grab Hortchata and Fartons at Mercado Colon

Mallorca, Spain – Scuba Diving, Bar Beaches, and Clubbing it Up

Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain and we weren’t planning on going here but we are glad we had the opportunity to see this place! Mallorca is the larger and more calm sister island of Ibiza and is a huge vacation destination for europeans.  The Mallorcan airport is the busiest in Spain and looks like it is a hub for Air Berlin (so many germans). It ended up only being $100 round trip to fly to Mallorca from Valencia so it was well worth it. Its also a hub for so many huge yachts. There was the 13th largest yacht parked in the harbor, Al Mirqab. You could see that gem parked in the harbor from the balcony of our hotel room.

View from Hotel Balcony. Yachts for Days!

We arrived Saturday evening and since we were in a clubbing paradise we decided we had to check out one of these clubs but first we had to get some dinner/nourishment so we could dance the night away. We ended up going to this Italian restaurant called Bunkers which was so tasty. Apparently there is a pretty large Italian presence on the island because during the spanish civil war the italians tried to move a bunch of italians to the island to take it over (they were not successful). I had the most amazing gnocchi at this was basically italian mac and cheese..yummmm.

Bunker Selfie. Nom Noms italian food.

After dinner we walked to the nightclub area which was packed and definitely felt like Las Vegas with people on the street trying to get you into their clubs. We finally settled on Blvd (or something like that..i honestly don’t remember..oops) and were like the first 10 people there. So again we were early to the party in Spain and that was at like 1am! The club finally started getting busy at like 3am..i don’t know how the Spanish can stay up so late! Either way we had a great time dancing and enjoying the night life! I would also like to point out that there are only english songs everywhere so even if you are at a club in Spain you will be listening to the same hits as in the US (so basically if you don’t speak english you have even less of an idea of what a song’s lyrics are than i do and that is saying something). Also something to note..the Spanish love their Gin & Tonics and they serve them super strong and in giant globe glasses..and they glow in the dark!

Glow in the dark G&T’s in the club.

The next day we were a little lazy and tired from our epic clubbing evening and didn’t get around to doing anything until later in the day. We ended up taking the bus to the Cala Major beach which was gorgeous and super busy. You can definitely see the appeal of having this as a european vacation destination! That night we ate at a great tapas restaurant Tapa Negra which Dan wanted to go to because of the jamons in the window (this is also a recurring theme..Dan loving on the ham legs). Also very yummy we had octopus, amazing homemade foie gras with fig jam, and pork cheek with black pudding (Warning: black pudding is basically blood stuffing. Not my favsies.)

View from balcony. Mallorca is a great landing zone for cruise ships.

Then we got to go scuba diving! Yea! The first dive was a wreck dive and Dan lost his buddy (me) and I lost my fins. It was dramatic and we will now refer to it as “the fincident”. There were four wrecks to check out and it was super cool because you could swim through the wrecks. The second dive was a cave dive and in one cave you were able to swim through a tunnel and the come up inside the cave! Super cool. We also saw sea stars, an octopus, and found a bicycle under water which one of the other divers proceeded to ride for most of the dive.

After diving we went to a super cool beach bar in one of the coves that was right on the water. You could just sit, eat, drink and watch the huge yachts drive by. This was our kind of place.  Now we just need to get a yacht. This night for dinner we ending up finding an asian restaurant that had an all you can eat buffet but instead of a was a conveyor belt where you would just grab whatever you wanted so that was an interesting experience. We chose our selections carefully because you never know what you are going to get at an all you can eat, asian, conveyor belt restaurant.

Look at that water! The beach bar is on the left, see the white tents.
Beers and beach bar. Awesome view. Clear water.

The last day in Mallorca we spent exploring the city center and the giant cathedral. We unfortunately didn’t have the time to go inside but maybe next time because we definitely would go back to Mallorca again!

Cathedral. Someone else actually took our picture!
Cathedral selfie.

Valencia – Living La Vida Loca (Part 1)

We made it to Valencia, Spain and plan on being here for a month. (Notice this post is 3 weeks into our Valencia trip. Apparently blogging is harder than it seems..) As part of our trip we we wanted to pick a place in Spain where we could stay for a longer period of time and really immerse ourselves in the Spanish culture and way of life. We chose Valencia for a couple reasons: it is way cheaper than Barcelona, it has beaches, it is still a big city with lots to do, and most importantly it has an awesome food culture. Valencia is the birthplace of Paella, the awesome rice dish, and horchata, cinnamon rice milk that is very popular in Mexico. Valencia is situated on the Mediterranean in the middle of the country. It sits at the crossroads of the agricultural southwest and the industrial north. We have done so much while staying in Valencia so for the sake of time we will just highlight our favorite activities!

Central Plaza.
Opera Singer in Paella Pan. Graffiti. There is some great graffiti in this city.
Patios. Patios. Patios. Also notice the chick with two chihuahuas who is on roller blades. I love this place.

Valencia is home to the largest market in Spain, the Central Market. This market is Amazing! It was built 100 years ago and has about 400 vendors. It sells everything you could want cheese, meats, bread, sweets, fish, veggies, fruit, spices, booze, olive oils.. I could go on and on. Also I want to take this market with us back to Denver.  Oh and it has a bomb tapas restaurant, Central Bar, nestled within the vendor stalls. It is the brainchild of a Michelin star chef that only serves food purchased at the market. We have been back to this place 3 times already…it is so good. Kristin ate anchovies and actually really enjoyed them and they make the most fantastic meatballs. This is a Valencia must see!

Central Market. Notice the hanging jamons.
Central Bar. Anchovies and Albondigas (Meatballs).

We were lucky enough to stumble across Valencia’s Restaurant Week the first week we were here! It is the same as Denver’s restaurant week where multiple restaurants across the city participate and have set menus and the price is set (20 Euros Lunch and 30 Euros Dinner). Valencia’s Restaurant Week also has a set lunch menu since lunch is such a huge meal in Spain. We went to two restaurants during the week.  Ma Khin Cafe which we randomly came across while walking the city. It is located in an amazing building called Mercado Colon which reminded us of the Source in Denver with restaurants, bars, a market, and events. We were able to catch a free orchestra concert on a Sunday morning. Its adorable!! Okay enough about the building back to the food (see I told you this would be a recurring theme). Ma Khin Cafe is an asian moroccan fusion restaurant and we got a ton of food like 8 courses. Our favorites were a moroccan inspired rice dish with fish and raisins and an awesome samosa.  We really experienced the late night dinner when we tried to go to this restaurant at 8:30pm and the restaurant was really surprised to see us and didn’t really know what to do with us so early. So we decided to get a drink and come back in an hour. Even when we came back at 9:30pm we were only the 2nd group in the restaurant. The restaurant didn’t get busy until like 10:30pm. Note to anyone going to dinner in Spain, don’t go until like 10pm. The second restaurant we went to was Entrevins which is located in a younger hipper neighborhood called Rusafa. Entrevins is exactly how it translates, between wines, because the restaurant has a huge wine list and you are surrounded by all of the bottles while you eat. This restaurant was described as modern catalan and was really good and we got the wine tasting too!! Yummy.

Outside. Mercado Colon.
Inside Mercado Colon. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. So neat!
Horchata house. Mercado Colon. Dan tried to order the “Valencia” (two horchatas and two fartons (pastries)) and got a pitcher of Agua de Valencia (booze) instead. Gotta love not speaking Spanish.

Since Spain has so much coast there are a ton of beaches everywhere. Valencia has a beach that is really close to town and a short train ride from where we are staying. There are also beaches about an hour via bus south of Valencia that are considered blue flag beaches. To be a blue flag beach you have to meet certain standards for water quality, safety, and environmental management. We took the bus one day down to one of these beaches. Since we went during the week it wasn’t very busy and seemed like a sleepy retirement community (everyone fled the beach at lunch/siesta time) and would be such a great place to have a vacation home if you are spanish. This beach is where we finally found some awesome seafood paella!! We have tried paella multiple times while in Valencia as part of menus of the day but they just weren’t very good so we were super excited to eat the real deal.


Since lunch is such a big deal in Spain we made sure we found some great restaurants to go for lunch. One of those restaurants is Delicat which has a set 5 course menu every day (13.5 Euros) and is an asian fusion restaurant. This place is fantastic (we have been twice already) and we were lucky enough to get a table the first time we tried to go because most tables are reserved in advance. It is run by a couple and they only have one lunch and dinner seating a day. You can tell they love their jobs by the amazing service and delicious food. It was so good that after we finished our meal we reserved a table for lunch the next week!

Plaza of the Virgin. Near Delicat.
Dan being the sexy fountain.

Valencia is home to a unique zoo called the Bioparc and is one of Valencia’s main attractions. The Bioparc is unique because there are sections of the zoo without any fences and they want to make it seem like you are totally immersed in the animal’s natural habitat. They specialize mostly in African animals so you can get up close and personal with giraffes, rhinos, hippos, monkeys, etc. It was super cool and totally worth it. I also want to comment on how awesome the spanish are because you cannot up charge for food and booze even at attractions. We were able to get a sandwich and a beer for 4 euros. Yea it is that cheap and amazing. Probably for the best beers aren’t that cheap at zoos in the US who knows what would happen with a bunch of drunk American’s at the zoo..weird stuff could happen.

Zoo Selfie.
We were literally this close. It was awesome. You could probably pet a giraffe if you tried.
Beers and Animals.

Okay..that’s all for now for Valencia. Next posts on Mallorca and the 2nd half of our time in Valencia!

Barcelona, Spain – That’s so Gaudi

We made it to Espana! And to warmer and dryer weather!! Our first stop in Spain is Barcelona and it is amazing. We stayed in a really cool neighborhood, Poblenou, that reminds me of River North in Denver. It is really industrial with a bunch of coworking spaces, neat restaurants, and art studios. We went to a coffee shop, Nomad Coffee Productions, that actually roasts their own beans. No offense to the Spanish but I love me a light roast coffee instead of the super dark espresso that the spanish love. So it was nice to get a cup of coffee like that. Dan and I actually got interviewed by Barcelona TV while we were there because they were doing a special on the coffee shop so who knows we might have been on the spanish news!

Owl Graffit in Poblenou Neighborhood

The first day we were in Barcelona we stumbled across an outdoor tapas festival which was a really great accident. You purchased tapas tickets and then each restaurant that participated made one tapa. They were delish and a great way to try a bunch of tapas. My favorite tapa was a squid ink risotto..yummy. Also hilarious was how you could buy beer tickets but if you bought wine/cava tickets (P.S. I’m in the land of excellent bubbly..aka cava. Yippee!) you had to buy a wine glass, apparently the Spanish do not approve serving vino in a plastic cup.

Yummy Tapas at La Rambla Tapas Fest

Also while in Barcelona we discovered the spanish lunch. This lunch does not occur until 2pm and consists of 2 courses, dessert, bread, and depending on which restaurant you are at any drink you want (wine/beer included). Oh and I forgot to mention this comes at a price of 11-12 euros. So needless to say Dan and I got ourselves into a few spanish lunches where we had a bottle of wine to share, after dinner drinks, and coffee. Oh and I also realized why the Spanish need a siesta..who can drink a bottle of wine at lunch and continue to function without a nap?? So because we are horrible at napping we ended up walking the entire city of Barcelona and taking in the scenery along the way.

IMG_20150615_180401_58 IMG_20150615_175104_37

Barcelona has a few markets but the most famous is the Boqueria Mercado which is a foodies paradise. So many delicious veggies, fruits, meats, and charcuterie. And by charcuterie I really only mean ham..pork..pig..more ham..the spanish are super fans of pork and you can totally tell by the markets. Legs upon legs of jamon..oh and every time we go to the market I basically have to drag Dan away and take all of the money so he doesn’t escape with an entire leg.  I’m still trying to talk him out of buying one and just “strapping it to his backpack.” We made ourselves a bomb cheese, meat, tomato, and wine dinner after our smorgasbord extravaganza at the market.

Kristin looking awesomely sweet next to the ham stand


Also probably one of the most famous sites in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia which is a huge cathedral, chapel, palace, castle (not sure exactly what to call it) like building designed by Antoni Gaudi who also designed a few other buildings in Barcelona and is an extremely famous architect. If you go to Barcelona you have to go to the Sagrada Familia and go inside. It’s unreal and it’s still not finished. This castle has been under construction for at least one hundred years and won’t be finished until 2026 (or that is what they say now).

Gaudi Selfie
Sagrada Familia
View from Nativity Tower Sagrada Familia
Casa Batllo Gaudi

Barcelona is the home of 28 Michelin Star restaurants and 4 have two stars which is a lot. So that goes to show how bomb the food in Barcelona is! We had to splurge and try one of these restaurants. So one night we went to Hisop which is described as “Contemporary Catalan Cuisine”.  They also have a tasting menu with wine for 90 euros so that was a bonus too. Some standouts on the menu were mussels with green curry broth/foam and the dessert which was an olive cake with strawberries and strawberry gelato. The dinner was overall really creative and we had some dishes I’m sure we won’t get to eat again.


Since we were getting all cultural in Barcelona we decided to see an Opera at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. The theater is gorgeous and the opera, Don Pasquale, was in Italian with Catalan subtitles so we didn’t really understand what was going on until we googled the play and then still didn’t really get it. The opera was way more casual than we are used to seeing in the states where everyone dresses up and makes a night of it. People weren’t really dressed up and they packed their own dinners and brought it with them. So definitely a different experience than we were used to.

Fancy Selfie at the Opera


We also went to see the Olympic park while in Barcelona. Its a cool thing to catch if you have time but definitely not a must see. It was fun to hike around the open gardens and run into a super techno music fest..

Olympic Park Fountains. Kristin looking really cool again.


Oh and that is not even all we did while in Barcelona…more to come on Montserrat and more Tapas!!

Reykjavik, Iceland (Part 2) – Gullfoss, Geysir, and Hallgrimskirkja

So Iceland has some pretty neat things to see. Including a giant waterfall (Gullfoss), a mini Old Faithful (Geysir), and a super sweet church (Hallgrimskirkja)..yea say that five times fast. I would also like to point out that the people in Iceland have an amazing sarcastic sense of humor. Most of their signs and advertisements say some pretty funny things for example there was a juice by Froosh called “More Bite than Suarez” which is funny even though Dan had to explain to me that Suarez is the futbol player who apparently bit a bunch of people during futbol matches (which is so gross/creepy). Also please notice my use of futbol instead of soccer because I’m becoming “european” whatever that means.


Gullfoss- The waterfall (obviously) but it is not the biggest in Iceland..that is Dettifoss. Apparently the story about this waterfall is that it is called Gold Falls because some guy threw a bunch of gold in there or because the water/sun makes a golden color. I hope its named because some guy decided to waste a bunch of gold..

Dan & Kristin at can see it is a little wet there. Tip: bring a rain coat and hiking boots.IMG_20150611_165536_22

Geysir- Well this isn’t actually Geysir..that is the geyser and actually Iceland is where the term geyser comes from. This is a picture of an awesome colored, very, very, hot pond near Geysir. No touching.IMG_20150610_140637

Hallgrimskirkja – Awesome church that overlooks Reykjavik. Also see the statue out front? That is Leif Erikson. There is a ginormous organ in the church and we were able to sit in the church and watch a guy get down on the organ and by get down I mean play a pretty neat organ tune.


View from Hallgrimskirkja overlooking Reykjavik. Gotta love those neat colored roofs..

Also hilarious Icelandic things..


Chuck Norris Grill with amazing Chuck Norris quotes on the door like “Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as giraffes.” And no we didn’t eat here although they apparently have good hamburgers. Oh and I forgot to mention, the Icelandic love their hamburgers. But who doesn’t love a good burger?

IMG_20150611_234042_67Wall art on how to tie a tie. Dan took this so he could “remember how to tie different types of ties” because yea he is also going to remember to look at this picture once every two years he needs to tie a tie..

So some more tips on Reykjavik:

-Dress warmly and bring a rain coat. This place is not dress accordingly.

-Spend the $ and see Gullfoss and Geysir. They are awesome.

-Stay in City Center. That is where everything is all of the shops, restaurants, bars etc. and it is super easy to walk around!

Well thats all for Iceland. Next post will be about to Espanya!!