5 Hikes in Iceland for Those Short on Time

5 hikes from Reykjavik Welcome to Iceland! Most likely you are staying in the capital city, Reykjavik and are loving the quirky vibe the city has. But you didn’t come to Iceland for the city life, no you came for the stunning Icelandic nature. The options are endless when it comes to places to visit in Iceland, but for those short on time that still want to get a taste of the Icelandic nature this post is for you.

The 5 hikes below are all around an hour away from Reykjavik making them the perfect half day or less hiking excursion. If time allows I recommend doing all 5, but just one hike will have you falling in love with the Icelandic nature!

1. Esjan
Hiking EsjanHiking EsjanHiking EsjanEsjan is less than a 30 minute drive from Reykjavik making it the perfect destination for those with only a day in the city but still want to get an Icelandic hike in. You can chose how long you hike for, make it a short hike under two hours or spend an afternoon exploring all over the mountainside. And the views of Reykjavik from the top, amazing! If you can only fit one hike into your Icelandic itinerary I highly recommend making it a hike at Esjan.

2. Glymur
Iceland - http://unlockingkiki.comGlymur - http://unlockingkiki.comA hike back to the second tallest waterfall in Iceland, Glymur, will more than satisfy your hiking needs. One of my favorite hikes I have done in Iceland, the views alone make this hike a must do! Reaching the waterfall is like an added bonus to your hike. This trip has it all, Icelandic horses and sheep, waterfalls and stunning landscapes, and a surprise challenge that just adds to the Icelandic experience, but I will let you discover that for yourself.

3. Hveragerði
Hveragerði - http://unlockingkiki.comFancy a true Icelandic style adventure? Take a short hike just outside of Hveragerði to the hot spring called Rekjadalur. Complete your hike with a soak in the hot spring, preferably with an Icelandic beer and under the midnight sun. Hveragerði is a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik making it the perfect place for a half day adventure.

4. Gjáin
Gjáin - http://unlockingkiki.comGjáin - http://unlockingkiki.com Described to me as “the most beautiful place in Iceland”, Gjáin is a hidden Icelandic gem. Very few tourist ever visit Gjáin, I myself didn’t even know this place existed until a few months ago! When you arrive you will feel like you have stepped into a fairytale. A short and easy hike, Gjáin is a perfect place for a picnic break during a day of exploring Iceland.

5. Seljavallalaug
Hiking in IcelandHiking in IcelandIf you have a bit more time to spend this hike is perfect for you. In the south of Iceland you can treat yourself to two stunning waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss , before heading off for this hike. A 20 minute walk back towards the mountains will bring you to one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. Treat yourself to a dip in the pool before leaving and you will leave Iceland with one unforgettable memory.

And so you can be sure to not miss any of these places here is a map to save for when you make the wise decision to visit Iceland.

Question of the Day?
Are you a fan of hiking? What would you want to do if you visited Iceland?

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Boy Meets Pumpkin

H and I have been together for almost four years, and for the majority of the time I totally forget that we are from different countries. Those times when I do realize that I am in fact dating a man from Iceland and not America are often surrounding cultural traditions that he has never experienced. One such tradition, carving pumpkins.

One of my favorite things about our relationship is being able to share traditions from our culture with each other so when we walked into the store this weekend and I saw a box of pumpkins I knew what our Sunday afternoon plans would be.

Pumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandStraight from the USA, Grasker, translation:pumkpkins! And in case you have never seen a carved pumpkin the store left an example for us to follow.

Pumpkins in IcelandAs we were picking out our pumpkin H started asking questions about how the whole pumpkin carving process works.Our conversation went something like this…

H: How do we carve it?
K: With the little carving tools from the pumpkin kit
H: I don’t think they have these kits your talking about
K: They have to, they probably were shipped with the pumpkins

5 minutes later

H: Looks like your precious pumpkin kit isn’t here. You Americans and all your extra gadgets, I am sure we can figure it out.
K: (completely annoyed) I guess so
H: What kind of picture do you like to carve?
K: I don’t know, I always use the sketches that come in the pumpkin kit.

Point of story, while pumpkins have arrived finally in Iceland my beloved pumpkin kits were no where to be found. So off we went with our pumpkin in tow and H reaching the conclusion that I have never carved a pumpkin in my life (only partially true, I get bored of carving after a bit). Regardless of this fact I think H was more than excited to have a pumpkin to carve, he couldn’t help but play like the little kids in the pumpkin patch on the walk home.

Pumpkins in Iceland

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Just a boy and his pumpkin

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H decided he would handle all the carving duties and I would deal with the cleaning of the pumpkin. Fine by me. As soon as we walked in the door H’s got right to carving his first pumpkin.

Pumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandWhile H was carving the pumpkin open he asked me what the inside of the pumpkin was like. My answer, messy. Once H got the pumpkin open he gave his own opinion on the inside of the pumpkin. Apparently the inside of the pumpkin reminded him of a shriveled up brain, because he has so much experience with dealing with brains.

Pumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandIMG_4730No matter what I always seem to make a mess when cleaning the pumpkin. Part of the experience, as I told H as my excuse to why the pumpkin was all over the kitchen floor:)

Once the pumpkin was cleaned I passed the project back to H where his design side came out and he got to work drawing a photo he found online. Sometimes I don’t know who I’m dating, my drawing skills end at stick figures. H was out to prove a point to me, you don’t need silly pumpkin kits to make an awesome pumpkin.

Pumpkins in IcelandYes, H wore his orange pants to match the pumpkin, he went all in for his first pumpkin carving experience:)

Pumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandPumpkins in IcelandOnce his pumpkin was complete the countdown was on for it to be dark enough to light up his jack-o-lantern. While we waited I had to treat him to pumpkin seeds, another important part of the pumpkin carving experience.

Pumpkins in IcelandThe verdict, he was not a fan of the pumpkin seeds, but the boy has skills when it comes to carving pumpkins.

Pumpkins in IcelandHe proved his point that he doesn’t need a pumpkin carving kit to create his jack-o-lantern master piece. I proved my point that I most definitely do. Just another fun filled night in this international household.

Question of the Day?
Do you use a pumpkin carving kit or just a plain ole knife? Are you a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds?

A Blue Celebration

I did it, I survived my first year in Iceland!

I can’t believe it has already been one year since I said my goodbyes to Oregon and boarded a plane to start a new chapter in my life 4,000 miles away in Iceland. It has been a challenging year to say the least but I am so proud of what I have accomplished and how I have grown from this experience.

To celebrate this milestone in my expat life nothing sounded better to me than a relaxing spa day. I mean really, what better way to reminisce on my first year in Iceland than while soaking in the water of one of Iceland’s most famous sites, the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon H and I spent our sunny Sunday afternoon floating around the lagoon, applying silica mud masks, and me rambling on and on about my experiences from this past year. A perfect afternoon enjoying two of my favorite things about Iceland, the nature and my Viking.

Blue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue Lagoon

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Spa day to celebrate my one year milestone #bluelagoon #oneyeariniceland #traveliceland

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A quick side story. Despite being a bit of a clutz I risked bringing my phone into the water, and while those ten minutes of picture taking were mostly spent stressing over my phone the photos where totally worth it. After successfully keeping my phone dry the entire time I made a comment to H (who told me it was a bad idea to bring my phone in the water) along the lines of,”see I told you it would be no problem.”

It was after this smart ass comment while I was making my way out of the water to put my phone back into my locker that I of course tripped on the stairs. Thankfully I managed to catch myself with my arm that didn’t have my phone and was able to keep my phone safely above water. How terrible would that have been though if I had made it ten minutes in the water with my phone with no issues only to drop the phone in the water on my way out!

Once we had officially turned into prunes we made our way out of the perfectly warm water to clean up so we could take some pictures around the area. Our first stop was the viewing platform overlooking the Blue Lagoon. I love the views you get at the viewing platform. One one side you are surrounded with a lava field covered with bright green moss, and on your other side you have the Blue Lagoon glistening in front of you. It is, in my opinion, the best place to get a view of the entire area.

Blue LagoonBlue LagoonIMG_4692Blue LagoonBlue LagoonAs we made our way out to the parking lot we took a walk along one of the pathways that takes you through the lava fields. Seeing the bright blue water with the lava rock shoreline is so beautiful.

Blue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonBlue LagoonEnjoying a day at one of the beautiful wonders of Iceland was the perfect way to celebrate my one year expativersary. I have a feeling my second year in Iceland is going to be even better than the first!

Check back later this week for a recap of my past year!

Question of the Day?
How do you like to celebrate life milestones? Is the Blue Lagoon on your bucket list?

The Best Thing About Fall…

All things pumpkin!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, I love it all and dream of all the pumpkin goodies this time of year brings. Okay I actually have a whole alphabet of what I love about fall but pumpkin is definitely my favorite fall time food.

This whole ramble about pumpkin has a point, and the point is that these pumpkin rolls are my favorite fall time recipe!

Pumpkin RollWhen I moved to Iceland last fall I was pretty bummed I would be missing out on Thanksgiving. So when H and I were invited to a Thanksgiving celebration here I already knew what dish I wanted to make, my Aunt’s pumpkin rolls!

This recipe is simple and always a crowd pleaser! Make extra, leftovers are delicious.

Ingredients:
Cake
▪︎ 3/4 cup flour
▪︎ 1 cup sugar
▪︎ 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
▪︎ 3 eggs
▪︎ 1/2 tsp cinnamon
▪︎ 1 tsp baking soda
▪︎ 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle onto towel)

Filling
▪︎ 4 Tbsp softened butter
▪︎ 8 oz softened cream cheese
▪︎ 1 cup powdered sugar
▪︎ 3/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease cookie sheet and line cookie sheet with wax paper. Sprinkle a thin tea towel with powdered sugar.
2. Combine flour, cinnamon, and baking soda in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar with mixer until thick. Beat in pumpkin to the sugar mixture. Slowly stir in flour mixture and mix until smooth.
3. Pour batter evenly onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
4. Immediately turn cake onto tea towel and remove wax paper.
5. Roll cake up in tea towel and refrigerate. While cake is cooling prepare filling.
6. Combine all filling ingredients and beat until smooth.
7. Once cake has cooled unroll and evenly spread filling.
8. Roll cake up again without the towel, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
9. When ready to serve remove plastic wrap and cut into thin slices. Dust with powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Roll Just a tip, make sure you add enough powdered sugar to the tea towel otherwise the cake will stick when rolling. This may cause you to have a breakdown in the kitchen and enlist the help of the man of the house.

Pumpkin RollEither way the job gets done.

Once your beautiful pumpkin rolls are ready to serve don’t forget to…Instragram them of course!

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First attempt at making pumpkin rolls #myfavorite #bakingsuccess#thanksgivinginiceland

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Last step, pose with pumpkin rolls acting like the breakdown in the kitchen never happened.

Pumpkin Roll I am already looking forward to our Thanksgiving celebration over here so I can enjoy these pumpkin rolls again!

Question of the Day?
What is your favorite fall recipe?

Helene in Between Blogtober