11 Month in Iceland by the Numbers

11 months, really, already! Where has the time gone?

When I was first looking back on my 11 month in Iceland it seemed to be a blur of the work/life daily routine. As I was planning this post I was afraid I would have nothing new and exciting to share from this past month. I don’t know what month my mind was stuck in because this past month has been full of fun adventures!

So lets get to looking into my 11 month abroad!

13.1 miles ran with H

Reykavik MarathonThe Reykjavik half marathon has been on my bucket list all year and when the day finally arrived I was so excited to join the 10,000 other runners. It was H first race and I loved having him experience the race with me. Nothing like having a speedy boy running next to you to motivate you to run faster!

Reykavik MarathonReykavik Marathon

First Menningarnótt celebrated

 MenningarnóttMenningarnótt, or culture night, is a full day of events happening in Reykjavik. There are live concerts in several stages throughout the city, food booths, street entertainers and a impressive firework show at the end of the night. This day draws 100,000 of approximately 325,671 Icelandic people to Reykjavik, the day is a big deal!

Two hours spent singing along with Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake ConcertJustin Timberlake made big news here in Iceland when he came for his first concert on our little island. The concert was amazing but my hope of getting a good JT picture was crushed by the pushy crowds and short girl problems, so a picture of H and I at the concert will have to do.

30 chaotic minutes at Kolaportið

KolaportiðKolaportið is the flea market in Reykjavik that happens every weekend. Some people swear it is the best place to find seafood and great Icelandic sweaters. Me personally, I can never make it more than a few minutes wandering the small aisles, it can be a bit hectic. But if your in Reykjavik on the weekends it is definitely a sight to see!

KolaportiðKolaportið

One unsuccessful blueberry picking trip

HeiðmörkThe Icelandic blueberries decided not to make an appearance this year in protest to the cold summer we had. Even though we didn’t find any blueberries to pick it was my first time visiting Heiðmörk, a beautiful area just outside of Reykjavik, so the failed blueberry mission was forgiven with the beautiful colors of the area.

HeiðmörkHeiðmörk

Three seasons of Top Chef binge watched

top-chef-1101-tom_0via
First off I just love Tom! H and I are hooked on Top Chef. And I will say our cooking game has stepped up since watching the show, letting out our inner top chef.

First Girl Gone International event

Girl Gone InternationalMe and one of my closet friends here in Iceland have recently became the community managers for GGI which basically means we are responsible for planning monthly events for ladies here in Reykjavik. We just had our first event and it was a great night with over a dozen ladies from all over the world in attendance. Post to come explaining more about GGI!

Two days spent remodeling our living room

Living Room RemodelAfter almost a year of living in our flat H and I are finally making it feel more like home! Amazing what a difference some paint and new shelves can make in a room! I now love coming home and relaxing on the couch in our new living room.

Before:
Living Room RemodelAfter:
Living Room remodel

First fall in Iceland

Fall in IcelandFall is in full swing here in Iceland and I am loving all the beautiful colors that are appearing all over town!

Fall in IcelandFall in IcelandFall in IcelandFall in IcelandI can’t believe that the next “by the numbers post” I will be writing will be marking my 12 month in Iceland! Writing these post and recapping my months abroad have been a great way for me to look back and see what I have been up to, the big, the small and all the in-between moments.

Previous by the numbers month recaps:
First Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Second Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Third Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Fourth Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Fifth Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Sixth Month in Iceland by the Numbers
Seventh Month in Iceland by the Numbers
8th Month in Iceland by the Numbers
9th Month in Iceland by the Numbers
10th Month in Iceland by the Numbers

Question of the Day?
What is your favorite thing about fall? Any ideas on how I should celebrate my one year expativersary?

An Update On My Icelandic Bucket List

Last winter I shared my Icelandic bucket list(part 1 and part 2) of what I hoped to do during my first year in Iceland. As I am almost at my one year mark I figured it was time to review what I have accomplished off the list and what still needs to be done.

From looking back on my list I have a lot of things yet to cross off. Even though I didn’t cross off much from my list I have had some wonderful adventures in Iceland already. Now on to the list that I need to get to working on.

Ride an Icelandic Horse – Incomplete
Icelandic Horses - http://unlockingkiki.comI am truly disappointed this has not happened yet! I had a horse riding trip all planned in April but sadly our plans fell through. This coming year a horse riding trip has to happen! At least I got to play with some adorable horses in Landmannalaugar last month.
Icelandic horses - http://unlockingkiki.comIcelandic horses - http://unlockingkiki.com

Attend an Icelandic Handball Match – In progress
While I didn’t get to attend a game last year I did watch several matches on tv, but I want the live experience. I have no understanding of the rules other than the goal is to get the ball pass the goalie but it looks like a great time. The season will be starting again soon and I am already on the lookout for tickets.

Scuba Dive at Silfra Rift – Incomplete
This one may be on my list for awhile. After my dip in the chilly water during my south coast trip I am not to keen on scuba diving in even colder water! This is H’s dream so I know one day I will suck it up and go for it. And I mean really, scuba diving between the American and Eurasian continents sounds pretty awesome!

Take a Boat Tour on the Jökulsárlón-Glacier Lagoon – Completed
Well sort of. Last Easter H and I made the 6 hour drive to Jökulsárlón in some crazy Icelandic weather. The boat tours weren’t running yet but I was more than happy getting to finally see the Glacier Lagoon.

The Glacier Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.comGlacier Lagoon - http://unlockingkiki.com

Photograph the Northern Lights – Incomplete
Big fail is more like it. Even though we were spoiled last winter with several amazing Northern Light shows I was never able to capture a decent picture. It was not for lack of effort. One night H and I rode over an hour on our bikes in the freezing cold trying to escape the city lights and capture my picture. It did not work. The mission continues this winter.

Explore the Beautiful Landscapes of Vík – Completed
Vík is a small town on the south coast of Iceland that I have often heard people talk about as if it was a fairytale land. In all actuality Vík is just a gas station pass through town, but the landscapes, oh the landscapes, they are fairytale (more like Game of Thrones) worthy!
_Reynisdrangar - http://unlockingkiki.com
Reynisdrangar - http://unlockingkiki.comReynisdrangar - http://unlockingkiki.comReynisdrangar - http://unlockingkiki.com

Attend Þjóðhátíð – Incomplete
H and I debated with this one up until the day of. Þjóðhátíð is a 4 day music festival held on the Westman Islands and from the stories I have heard it sounds like Icelanders version of going to Vegas, it is one wild party. Þjóðhátíð started just a few days after we returned back from our trip to Croatia so heading off to party did not sound appealing. I am so happy we passed on this trip and instead used that weekend to explore new parts of Iceland, like my favorite spot Gjáin!

Gjainn_001 - http://unlockingkiki.com

Take a tour through the ice caves in Skaftafell – Incomplete/ In Progress
When I made my bucket list last winter I did not realize the ice caves in Iceland were only open for tours a few month of the year. We started looking into a trip after the ice caves were closed for the year, but this year we are on top of it! Fingers crossed a trip to the ice caves in November will be happening.

Knit an Icelandic lopapeysa – Complete
Okay so I didn’t technically knit my lopapeysa, but H’s mom did and I got to chose the color and pattern so that pretty much counts right?

Icelandic Sweater - http://unlockingkiki.comOne day I will attempt to knit my own lopapeysa, after I learn how to knit, but for now I am so happy that H’s mom made onefor my birthday, it has already been put to good use.

Have a Game of Thrones moment at Grjótagjá – Incomplete
This little cave where the famous Jon Snow kissing scene was filmed is really far away from Reykjavik! When H told me how many hours I would be in the car just to look inside a cave for a few minutes I happily passed on this item. Maybe one day if we are already in the area I will get to visit Grjótagjá, for now I am fine with waiting.

Þórsmörk Volcano Hike – Complete
Þórsmörk is a national reserve with several hiking trails to chose from. I did not do the hike that takes you over the Fimmvörðuháls mountain ridge and past the new volcanic craters as originally planned, but I did get to hike around the Landmannalaugar national reserve so I am counting this as the done.

Landmannalaugar - http://unlockingkiki.comLandmannalaugar and Þórsmörk national reserve have a trail that you can hike (it takes 3-5 days) which connects the two areas. I only got a small hike in at Landmannalaugar and I am still in awe of the landscape. My hike over the Fimmvörðuháls mountain ridge still needs to happen, and now that I have seen the area I am determined to fit it into our schedule next summer!

Landmannalaugar - http://unlockingkiki.comLandmannalaugar - http://unlockingkiki.comSo I didn’t exactly succeed at accomplishing much off of my list, but my alternative adventures where just as wonderful. There is always next year!

Question of the Day?
Do you have a bucket list? What would be on your Icelandic bucket list?

Do’s and Dont’s of Hvar

Beautiful yachts everywhere you look, wild parties happening everyday, delicious food and stunning blue water, Hvar is a Croatian island not to be missed!

Hvar

Do go for an early morning run/walk
While we were in Croatia H and I were right in the middle of our training for our half marathon so we tried our best to sneak in some runs. With the days so hot we woke up nice and early to get out and beat the heat. While it wasn’t the most fun waking up early on vacation these early morning runs are one of my favorite things we did in Hvar.

Hvar MorningsHvar MorningsAs the sun rises little boats return in from a morning of fishing and the empty streets behind the houses sparkle from the sunrise. Fresh produce is prepared for display at the food markets and chefs are busy preparing the mornings catch. The empty beaches and calm water make you want to jump in and take a dip, and every so often you pass a late night partier doing an entertaining walk of shame. Early mornings in Hvar are not to be missed!

HvarHvarHvarHvar

Don’t waste time looking for a spot on the beach.
With few sandy beach areas in walking distance from Hvar the beaches in the area fill up very quickly. After fighting the crowds for a day H and I decided to follow the locals lead and take the trails down to the rock cliffs along the water.
HvarThere are surprisingly many flat areas in the rocks to lay down on so it wasn’t a problem to get comfortable. With hardly no other people around it was like we had our own personal beach, complete with stunning blue water. Much better than being on a crowded noisy beach.

HvarHvar BeachesHvar Hvar

Do eat and drink the local cuisine
H and I dined on local fish, olive oils and wine, and the most amazing pasta while in Hvar. We of course had to enjoy a few cocktails as well.

HvarThe best meal we ate during our time in Croatia was in Hvar. I can not recommend the restaurant Dalmatino enough, it will be a meal H and I will continue talking about for the next few years to come.

HvarBefore our meal started we were treated to an on the house appetizer with fresh bread and local olive oil paired with a shot of local liquor ( I am not sure the name but it was delicious). Quickly after we finished they brought us the recommend house wine, the Croatian wine Grk, while we waited for our meal. After several days of bad service Dalmatino quickly stood out for having excellent service, anyone who quickly brings me wine gets a win in my book.

HvarH and I both went for the black gnocchi with shrimp in a white wine sauce. The gnocchi is blacked with squid, which at first I was not to sure about but the waiter highly recommended it. The dish did not disappoint, love when waiters point you towards the best dish on the menu. As soon as our food arrived I forgot all about pictures and just enjoyed. This is how dining while traveling should be, a real experience featuring the the local cuisine.

HvarHvar

Don’t go home after dinner
Even if your completely stuffed, like we were after eating at Dalmatino, don’t miss out on walking around the town center at night.

HvarHvarHvarBefore the wild parties begin the town center in Hvar is full of life. Street entertainers perform dances, locals catch up after a long day out on their boats, movies are played on the side of the buildings, and the glow the street lights cast over the town is beautiful!

HvarHvarHvarHvar

Do take in all the beauty of Hvar
From charming little streets to stunning flowers, bright blue water and bays full of small fishing boats, soak all of it in. Hvar is a beautiful place meant to be admired.

HvarHvarHvarHvarHvar Mornings

And last but not least…

Don’t forget to visit the Hvar Fortress
Learn more about the history of Hvar while taking in some stunning views from the Hvar Fortress. I enjoyed my visit to the fortress so much I wrote an entire post about it. It is one attraction in Hvar you really don’t want to miss.

Hvar FortressHvar FortressHvar Fortress

It really is hard not to fall in love with the beautiful islands of Croatia!

Question of the Day?

ABC’s of Fall

While many of you are still enjoying the last of the summer heat fall has clearly started here in Iceland. The mornings are crisp, the days are quickly getting shorter and the leaves have already started to fall. This is my first fall in Iceland so I have no idea what the season has in store for me, I am just hoping it is not snow!

To welcome my first fall in Iceland I am using Amanda’s ABC theme post to share what I love about this season and what I am looking forward to this fall.

ABCs

All the colors. Oh how I love the colors that the fall brings. I have been spoiled growing up in Oregon with the stunning fall colors so I am really hoping Iceland’s fall brings some beautiful colors as well!

Bake an awesome pumpkin desert so my Icelandic friends can finally understand why I love pumpkin so much and why we need to import more pumpkin flavor products to Iceland!

Carve pumpkins. H has never carved a pumpkin as it isn’t a tradition here in Iceland, but I am on a mission to find a pumpkin that we can carve together!

Decorate our flat. It has been almost a year since I moved here and we are finally starting to add some decorations to the place. I really want to create a cozy space before the dark days of winter set in. Love making my home abroad feel more like home.

Enjoy my first Icelandic fall! Last year I moved here at the end of the fall when the leaves had already fallen so this year I am looking forward to experiencing the season and see what beautiful colors (and hopefully nice weather) it brings.

Four year anniversary. H and my’s four year anniversary is this October and I think a weekend in the countryside would be the perfect way to celebrate!

Girl Gone International events. I recently became a community manager for GGI and am responsible for planning monthly events for the Reykjavik area. GGI is an awesome organization and great way to meet ladies while abroad. Check back later this week for a post explaining more on GGI and how my first event as community manager went!

Hike as much as possible. Soon it will be several months of cold and darkness so I want to get in as many hiking trips as we can this fall.

Icelandic language classes have started again for me which means I really need to get to practicing! My vocabulary has increased so much in the past few months but I really need to work on my pronunciation and confidence in actually speaking the words I do know.

Jacket season is back! I have way to many fashion jackets that do nothing for me against the Icelandic cold. I love that I get to bring those jackets back out but I really need to add a thick winter coat to my jacket collection this fall.

Keeping my fingers crossed someone buys my car. 6 months before I moved to Iceland I had no plans of making the move abroad and bought a new car. Well that new car I loved so much has now turned into a pain in my ass that is draining my bank account and taunting me as I ride my bike to work everyday. I am hoping the fall will bring some potential car buyer my way!

Loving that I won’t have to rake leaves this year! Growing up my most dreaded chore was raking the mass amount of leaves that cover my parents yard. Although I will miss playing with Azora in the leaves.

Fall in Oregon
Mockingjay, Part 1. I am so excited to see the next Hunger Game movie when it releases this November. If you haven’t read the books I highly recommend them!

Northern lights! Nothing more magical than seeing those bright green lights dance in the sky above your house. Last year I was able to see the northern lights several times and am hoping I am just as lucky this year.

One year expativersary! I am thinking a day at the Blue Lagoon will be the perfect way to celebrate my one year in Iceland.

Prepare my first Thanksgiving dinner for H and his family. I really want to share with them some my families traditions and all the tasty dishes we have at home on turkey day!

Quack attack. The Oregon Ducks football season has began and this year I want to throw football parties to bring the Duck spirit to Iceland. I know these parties will involve me explaining all the rules of football over and over again but at least it is an excuse for tasty snacks!

Read all of those books that have been waiting on my shelf this summer. Nothing better than a rainy Sunday spent inside reading a good book.

Scarves, sweaters, sweatpants, bring on the comfortable clothes!

Throw a Halloween party. I am already browsing Pinterest for couple costume ideas, I have my eyes set on Mary Poppins and Bert, now to just get H on board with my idea.

Ugg boots my feet miss you! I love my warm Ugg boots, even if they aren’t the most fashionable shoe, but sadly they were too big to make it in my bag. My frozen feet are really missing them and they will most definitely be coming back from America with me this Christmas.

Visit Þingvellir. I have heard that Þingvellir in the fall is gorgeous. The next nice weekend H and I are headed that way to hike around the park and see one of the best displays of fall colors in Iceland.

Waiting for the fall TV shows to start up. I have missed Scandal, Modern Family and Parks and Rec this summer, can’t wait for the new episodes to come out!

X-cellent weather for a cozy weekend spent binge watching Netflix.

Yearning for my trip home this December! I am counting down the days and already thinking of all the things I want to do and of course the food I want to eat.

Zzzz. With days getting shorter and darker I am finding myself going to bed earlier and earlier. My winter habitation has began!

Question of the Day?
What are you looking forward to this fall? What is your favorite season?