The Most Charming European Captial // Ljubljana, Slovenia

If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may of gathered something, I am not the biggest fan of big cities. I will take being out in the countryside exploring then in a crowded city shuffling my way between buildings any day.

But some cities, they have a charm to them that makes it impossible not to love, and Ljubljana is one capital city that I would happily visit again and again.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

From the castle overlooking the city to the colorful buildings lining the river right through downtown there was something special about Ljubljana.

After our week in the city one thing was defintely certain…

I was completely charmed by Ljubljana.

So much ❤️for this charming city, take me back!

A photo posted by Kaelene (@unlockingkiki) on

When I travel to new places I like to take my blogger hat off and just enjoy taking it all in. Sometimes I like to create a guide to share on the blog, or if I have learned some great tips or places to visit you can bet I will share them, but for the most part I just want to wander a new place with my camera in hand and my eyes open to take it all in.

And that is exactly what I did while in Slovenia.

While I don’t want to make a full out guide for Ljubljana (I will leave that to the lovely Isabel!) I do want to share a few things that we did and ate that we absolutely loved so that if you are venturing over to this charming capital city you can enjoy to.

What to Do

While we were in Ljubljana our favorite thing to do was to just wander around the city and see what we stumbled on. We explored tiny streets, stopped into some beautiful shops, and made a few wine pit stops along the way. (Slovenia wine is delicious!) My favorite thing about Ljubljana was that it was such an easy city to navigate so you didn’t have to worry about getting lost!

Ljublana, Slovenia

Aside from our wandering adventures a few highlights of the the things we did in Ljubljana:

Walk up to the castle | Overlooking the city is the beautiful Ljubljana Castle. You can reach the castle by walking up the hillside, or by taking the funicular railway for a fee. We walked up to the castle in the early evening to take in the city from above at dusk, highly recommend doing the walk at this time!

Browse the small shops | There are a ton of really cute shops around town that I loved browsing around. H and I picked up some fun handmade nik naks to add to our flat and if my suitcase was bigger there would of been several more purchases made!

Visit the quirky area of Metelkova | For something different head over to Metelkova for some unique art displays. This is definitely one of the more unique artistic collectives you will find in Europe, everywhere you look there is colorful and unique art to take in!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Where to Eat

Everything we ate in Slovenia, it was delicious! The fresh fish, all of the comfort food meat dishes H enjoyed, and the desserts, my goodness it was good! Every meal we had was memorable, (make sure you come to Slovenia hungry!) and these three spots were some of our favorites.

Gujžina | A charming restaurant right in downtown everything our group ordered was amazing. Make sure and try the unique Slovenia dessert, prekmurska gibanica “over Mura moving cake”, it was seriously so delicious and yet I still don’t even know how to describe it!

Manna | If you are in Ljubljana and want to have an unforgettable dinning experience go here! The Viking and I both have this meal in our top 5 dining experiences, it was amazing.

TaBar | A fun spot for some tasty tapas and wine!

And the most important dining tip, stop for a glass of Slovenian wine at any of the cafes along the river!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

A few other favorites from our trip:

The Open Kitchen | The Open Kitchen runs every Friday from mid-March to October, it was just our luck that we happened to be in Ljubljana on the first Friday of Open Kitchen for the year! There is all different kinds of food to try, wine to taste, and desserts to enjoy. If you are in Ljubljana while the Open Kitchen is running be sure to stop by.

Our day trips from Ljubljana | Ljubljana was the perfect base for us to take a few day trips so we could explore more of Slovenia. We spent on day at the coast visiting Koper, and another in the mountains and visiting Lake Bled. I loved that we could make a short hour or two drive out of the city and be out in the countryside exploring!

All of the dogs | Okay, maybe not exactly something for the list, but I loved all the dogs around the city! Any place that is as dog friendly as Ljubljana is a gem in my book.

Ljubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana was never a place on my radar, and I think it took me the first few days of the trip to learn how to properly pronounce Ljubljana, but it was a city that has left a lasting impression on me.

If you have the chance to visit this charming capital city, GO! And take me with you:)

Ljubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, SloveniaLjubljana, Slovenia

Some cities, they are worth dealing with the crowds for :)

Want more Slovenia fun?! Check out this post about the gorgeous Lake Bled. How about a castle post? Yup, Slovenia has castles to, and probably one of the most unique castles around! One thing is for sure, Slovenia is one gorgeous country!

Question of the Day?
What is your favorite big city to explore?

There Is Another American in Iceland – Round Two!!!

When you are an expat the friends you make become such an important part your life. It can be tough finding your group of friends in a new place, but once you do it will make all the difference!

I feel so lucky to have found such a great group of friends to experience Iceland with. A big bonus to my great group of friends, we all have similar interests which just makes our adventures together that much more fun!

Brúarfoss, Iceland

A few months ago I introduced you all to my wonderful friend Jeannie and her blog. Today I convinced another one of my friends to let me interview her for the blog today, she is a crazy talented photographer and always has a fun story to share!

Introducing Stacey, the expat veteran in our group having been in Iceland for the longest amount of time, which means we are always going to her for our crazy questions and you can always count on her to have an answer. Other than being an awesome resource Stacey always makes the most of her time and has explored some gorgeous places in Iceland. The best part, she takes stunning photography along the way so we can all enjoy!

If you like having gorgeous pictures show up in your Instagram feed you are going to want to follow Stacey. She gets up to some epic adventures around Iceland, and all over the world, next time I am convincing her to take me with her!

Without further ramblings by me, meet Stacey!

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So the most obvious question I have to ask, what brings you to Iceland? Had you visited Iceland before you moved here?

How I ended up in Iceland is pretty random. Very untypical, it wasn’t for love and it wasn’t because I was obsessed with all things Icelandic. When I was in university I did a study abroad program for 6 months in Copenhagen and visited all the Nordic countries at that time with the exception of Iceland. After university, I was living and working in Manhattan and wanted a change of surroundings/pace. I decided to look for jobs in the Nordic countries and London. Around this time an offer for a trip to Iceland came up on the (now extinct) airline Iceland Express. I dragged a friend along for the trip and we spent 5 days in Iceland in September 2010. The company I worked for had an international network in Iceland and I decided why not try to reach out to the HR contact and see if I could meet them to explore any potential opportunities. This turned into a job opportunity and here I am 5.5 years later still in Iceland!

#mycity 💙💛 #reykjavik #iceland

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

You have been living in Iceland for a few years now, is there anything that has surprised you about life in Iceland?

When I first moved to Iceland I basically knew no one. Over the first two years so much surprised me! I felt like a little kid who needed to learn how to tie my shoelaces and put my clothes on all over again. Icelanders (un)timeliness, the crazy Icelandic wind, a month of Christmas festivities in December, the dark winter and bright summer days. When I moved to Iceland one of my biggest worries was starting a social network from scratch in a country where people have had the same friends and social network for their whole lives and were known to be ‘closed’. I couldn’t have been more wrong on that one. While I definitely had to put myself out there, I have met some of the most amazing and helpful people and have great friends in this newfound home of mine! As time went on everything got easier and now I think I’m more surprised about life in the United States than life in Iceland! Crazy how that happens. (I totally agree with Stacey on this!)

#perfect #monday #reflections from #laugardalur #reykjavik #iceland 💙👌🇮🇸

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

What is your favorite thing about life in Iceland?

This is a very easy question, the nature! I’m spoiled to wake up and drive to work every day with the mountains and sea in the background. The air is so fresh, the water is so good, and the ever changing scenery is just unbelievable. I can go past the same location every day and somehow it looks different! A day out in the countryside in good weather always makes me smile.

What is your favorite place you have visited so far in Iceland?

This is a tough one, depends on what type of place.

My favorite mountain? Lómagnúpur on the South Coast.
My favorite town? Siglufjörður in North Iceland.
My favorite region? Toss-up between Northeast Iceland and the East Fjords.
My favorite waterfall? Probably Dynjandi but this is a hard one!
My favorite city swimming pool? Lágafellslaug
My favorite natural swimming pool? Seljavallalaug

I’ll stop here but I think you get the picture, the list goes on and on.

Where is next on your Iceland bucket list?

Up until last February I had items left on my Iceland bucket list, the last one being the natural ice caves at Vatnajökull. At this point I have officially checked everything off the list! However, that doesn’t mean I’m done by any means. I love going to places in Iceland again and again, they look different based on that days cloud cover and weather conditions. Probably the biggest one I’m looking forward to going back to this Summer is Þakgil near Vík, straight out of a fairytale! I also want to spend more time exploring the highlands, just need a 4X4 with high clearance and some expertise in driving through rivers to make that one happen.

i live in a #fairytale take 1000! awesome view from #þakgil, takk @mcdaniej for the recommendation! #sundayfunday on the #southcoast of #iceland #verslunarmannahelgi

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

Are there any places in Iceland that you think visitors should skip visiting?

Depending on how much time you have in Iceland, I would skip the Golden Circle and do the South Coast to Fjallsárlón/Jökulsárlón instead. I would also skip the Blue Lagoon and do the Myvatn Nature Baths in North Iceland. Some places are just becoming too touristy right now! I’m also more for the smaller, less crowded spots like Gjáin, Fljótshlið, Þjórsárdalur, or Kvernufoss than the big Seljalandsfoss and Skogarfoss.

got to spend the afternoon at one of my two favorite places in #iceland, the #glaciallagoon #fjallsarlon and will get to spend the evening at the other! #lasthurrahofthesummer

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

You take gorgeous pictures of your travels. Do you have any photography secrets behind all those awesome shots?

Why thank you! The only secret I have is that I actually don’t know how to use a camera very well. I know the basics, know the northern lights settings, but I’ve never spent more time on it although I want to. I walk through life thinking about how it would look in a photo, I think it’s much more about the photographer and the framing than the equipment ☺ – (Absolutely love this!)

those #summer nights! the #midnightsun has officially arrived and it is a perfect evening in #reykjavik! #hallgrimskirkja #iceland 💐🇮🇸👌

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

One non-Iceland question. You have traveled all over the world taking gorgeous pictures along the way! What is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to and what is the next destination (outside of Iceland) on your list?

Next destination outside of Iceland is a Mediterranean cruise next month through Greece and Turkey, I’ve been itching to see both Santorini and Istanbul for quite some time so I’m excited about this. We’re also planning on a short weekend in Greenland this summer, quite different scenery but I’m sure will be an experience!

My favorite place I’ve ever traveled… this is just too difficult! Copenhagen and all of Denmark hold a very special place in my heart from the time I spent studying abroad there. Ethiopia was the best different experience, Morocco was definitely the most colorful, Switzerland rivaled Iceland in its nature, Holland for its canals and reflections, I could keep going for ages…

what do you do with one free hour in #copenhagen on a beautiful #summer night? #nyhavn of course! this place never gets old. #denmark

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

while it isn't #humpday, #happyfriday from the #hump's of #marrakech #morocco! #camel #marrakesh #maroc

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

#mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? #perfect #reflections along the #canals of #leiden #holland! 🇳🇱📸👌

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

And last question, what is your favorite picture you have taken in Iceland?

Also such a tough question! Depends on the category, some examples below ☺

Favorite Northern Lights shot:

one of my favorite #northernlights #photos in honor of #stpatricksday and #tbt! #green #iceland #nofilter 💚☘💚

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

Favorite Winter Shot:

💙 this city! #reflections #reykjavikloves

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

Favorite Rainbow Shot:

why can't all days be spent chasing #rainbow's? saw all of the #colors this weekend in #þingeyri #vestfirðir #westfjords #iceland

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

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Aren’t her pictures just gorgeous?

I told you I have some talented friends! Make sure to follow along with all of Stacey’s adventures over on her Instagram. And if you are in need of some more wanderlust I recommend just browsing her gorgeous Instagram feed, her pictures just make me want to jump into them!

Just one more picture of hers to end this post from her most recent trip up to the West Fjords.

small #town livin' in the #westfjords, #flateyri #iceland 💜🏔💚

A photo posted by Stacey Katz 🌎 NY 🇺🇸 Iceland 🇮🇸 (@stacey.katz.photography) on

I need to visit here asap!

A big thanks to Stacey for sharing all her beautiful pictures and stories with us!

Question of the Day?
Are you into photography? What is the best photography tip you have ever received?

Back To My Homestate // Life Lately

Hello from Oregon!

I have been back in Oregon with my family for a week now and it feels so good to be home.

No mater how many beautiful places I get to visit and how many fun adventures I have my favorite place to be will always be back home with my family.

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I am one lucky girl and am very close to my family and am loving every minute of being home with them.

For those who don’t know I am the oldest of five, and I have missed my siblings so much! I have a lot of catching up to do with my siblings now that I am back home and am loving getting to spend time with them. Although all my brothers are concerned with is the fact that they are now taller than me, I like to just tell them they are big and strong so they can take care of me when I am older:)

As close as I am with my family it has not been easy for me to be away from them all. All those holidays, birthday, and casual Sunday afternoon family BBQ’s missed has not been an easy thing for me to deal with, but I am so happy to be back home now and enjoy all those things with everyone.

In fact, I was able to come home a few weeks earlier than my summer holiday to join in on one very important celebration. ( I even told my boss I needed time off for almost two years ago)

My little sisters graduation.

Oregon

After missing out on so many things I feel so lucky to be able to be home to celebrate with my family and couldn’t be prouder of my baby sister who is about to head off to play college volleyball.

Oregon

I just have to brag again about this girl for a minute.

My little sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 5 years old. Things have not always been easy for my sister but she has never given up. I could never handle the things that have been thrown her way with the grace she has. My little sister is my hero (I even wrote my senior paper in high school about her) and continues to inspire me everyday to not let anything stop me from chasing my dreams. From succeeding in her athletics and schooling, to being an all around wonderful person, I couldn’t be prouder of her and feel so lucky to call her my sister.

Okay, before I start to tear up and get all emotional (defintely cried at her graduation, I blamed it on the jet lag) let’s get back to this weeks recap.

So this past week has been all about graduation parties and family celebrations, all of which my parents have hosted in their gorgeous backyard. My contribution to the parties was writing the menu in Icelandic for a fun extra touch. Or my moms way of having me show everyone my Icelandic skills, she is a proud mom :)

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The best thing about all of these parties, I have gotten to see all my family within the first few days of being home!

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I will be back in Oregon for a few more weeks and am just loving soaking in as much family time as I can.

The longer I live away from my family the more I can tell I am getting selfish with my time back home and what I do with it.

When I first moved away and came home for a visit I tried to fit everything in on those trips. From trying to see everyone, to shopping and eating all my favorite foods I didn’t want to miss a thing.

This time around though all I want to do is take it easy and just sit in my parents gorgeous backyard with my family laughing and talking late into the night.

OregonI don’t even care that the sun is ruining this iPhone picture, I still love it:)

Sadly my Viking wasn’t able to join me for the graduation celebrations, but we won’t feel bad for him, he just spent the past week in France cheering on the Icelandic soccer team in the European championship having an absolute blast.

And while he has been away I have enjoyed this time having with my favorite ladies.

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Side note, photo booths should be at every backyard party, too much fun!

My Viking will be joining me in just a few days and I don’t know who is more excited, me or my Dad:) I am looking forward to having him over for more fun in the sun.

This next week will be more low-key enjoying time with my family and friends before my Viking arrives, and then we are off for some exciting adventures. I know I live in a gorgeous place, but I also grew up in one beautiful state and I am looking forward to exploring more of Oregon with my Viking in the coming weeks.

OregonThrow back to my hike last summer to the Blue Pools where I am going back to this Friday!

And with that I am off to cook my family dinner. Time to prove that I really have grown up over in Iceland and can now cook more than just eggs :)

Before I go one last picture of my crazy family that I just adore, this picture is just a mess, but I think it is absolutely perfect.

Oregon

Family time is just the best and I am cherishing every minute I have here.

Keep up with my Oregon adventures over on Snapchat @Kaelene. And by Oregon adventures I mostly mean Snapchats of my dogs, but you should watch those too :)

Hope everyone is having a great start of summer! I have a feeling mine is going to be one to remember.

Question of the Day?
What are your summer travel plans? To my fellow expats how do you like to spend your time back home?

10 Bloggers Must See Spots in Iceland

BLoggers Favorites

A few days ago I said goodbye to the beautiful Iceland and headed back to Oregon to be with my family for a few weeks. While there is no place like home I will miss exploring the gorgeous Iceland for the next few weeks. So to help me fill the void I have asked some wonderful fellow bloggers to share their favorite places in Iceland.

Get ready for some Icelandic beauty, take it away friends.

The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

I’m going to be completely cliché and choose the Blue Lagoon! You know they say clichés are clichés for a reason, and it’s true with this place. It’s the classic spot that everyone goes to here, and we ended our trip soaking in the thermal waters. After so many incredible sights, hikes, and nature sights throughout the Golden Circle, we loved heading to the Blue Lagoon early in the morning on our final day and just relaxing. It wasn’t too crowded yet, it was a misty/rainy day, and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful or memorable way to wrap up our Icelandic adventure. We showered and headed to the airport from there, leaving Iceland imprinted on us forever(literally!:) – Emi from Well Traveled Wife

Nauthólsvík Beach in Reykjavik

Nautholsvik Beach in Reykjavik

I only got to spend 24 hours in Iceland on my way to Greenland which I know is waaaayyyy too little time in this beautiful country! Fortunately I had more than enough time to explore what Reykjavik has to offer and even stumbled upon a hidden gem just outside of the city centre: Nautholsvik Beach! I actually saw a picture of this place on Kaelene’s Instagram account a few weeks before I was heading to Iceland and just knew that I had to go there. I was lucky to arrive to a sunny and warm Reykjavik and after enjoying the view from Perlan, I made my way through a gorgeous forest full of wild flowers and past a tiny geyser to Nautholsvik. And the beach was even more beautiful than on the pictures I had seen. Blue water, green grass and only a few tiny clouds in the sky – I could have stayed at this place forever!
Van from Snow in Tromso

The Westfjords

The Westfjords

The Westfjords are hands down my favorite place in Iceland! When we moved here, I made a bucket list and Westfjords were one of the top 5 places I had been wanting to visit. We were recently able to sneak in a weekend trip, and I immediately fell in love. It is a magical place with breathtaking scenery, adorable fishing villages, and raw, untouched nature. Bonus: it’s the least traveled region in Iceland – that’s definitely my kind of place! Even though I’ve only seen a small portion of this incredible area, I can’t wait to go back and explore more. – Jeannie from Life with a View

Dyrholaey

Dyrholaey, Iceland

My favourite place in Iceland is Dyrholaey. I visited for the first time in 2014 and, to me, it perfectly embodies what makes Iceland, well, Iceland: incredibly strong winds, dramatic coastline, unobstructed panoramas, and highly Instagrammable lighthouses. I remember just standing high up on the promontory, closing my eyes, taking a deep breath of fresh Atlantic air, and feeling right at home. I can’t say I’ve gotten over Iceland since that moment. – Marie-Eve from To Europe And Beyond

Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

My favorite place in Iceland was definitely Jökulsárlón. I honestly couldn’t believe the gorgeous scenery; it was seriously something out of a movie. Lisa and two friends and I drove to the area and it was worth every minute of our road trip. – Rachael from The Rachael Way

Myvatn

Myvatn Nature Baths by Expat Edna

I loved spending an afternoon in Myvatn, first climbing Hverfjall volcano then relaxing afterwards at the Jarðböðin Nature Baths. The baths reminded me of the Blue Lagoon, except far more relaxed and quiet (and cheaper, too)! Being able to drink my favorite Icelandic beer while swimming in a milky blue pool, surrounded by such gorgeous nature, is one of my favorite Iceland memories! – Edna from Expat Edna

Gunnuhver

Gunnuhver, Iceland

It’s certainly not the most beautiful place in Iceland, but Gunnuhver is one place that will stick with me for a long time. The Gunnuhver mud pits and steam vents are just one stop on the fascinating and often overlooked Reykjanes Peninsula. The day we drove around the peninsula was an overcast, rainy, and generally nasty day. But that actually added to the mystique of a place like Gunnuhver. It’s said that the ghost Gunna haunts it, and a dark, gloomy day like this one made it very easily to believe that Gunna was still very much angry with this spit of land. There are more beautiful and stunning places in Iceland, but I doubt there are more haunting places. – Scott from Scott Bedgood

The Basalt Columns at Hofsos

balsalt-rock-iceland

When I think of all the things I love about Iceland – and there are many – I delight most in exploring its volcanic side. Every time a geyser erupts or I catch a glimpse of a volcano, I can hear Mother Nature whisper, ‘Don’t mess with me’.

Personally, the most beautiful example of Iceland’s volcanic history are the basalt rocks that can be found across the whole country. As basaltic lava cools over an extended period of time, startling geometric forms emerge; incredible columns of hexagonal basalt rock that often form cliffs stretching as high as the eye can see. The most popular example can be found in Vik, but have you seen the sheer number at Hofsos? I stumbled across them unintentionally, and was blown away at the sight. Very little has been written about them so it’s likely you’ll have the whole place to yourself!
Shing from The Culture Map

The drive from Hella to Vík in Southern Iceland

Vik, Iceland

My favorite place in Iceland was the drive from Hella to Vik in Southern Iceland. I couldn’t believe the views there – they were otherworldly! The green, craggy cliffs paired with the black sand beaches was just so beautiful. – Ashley from Ashley Abroad

The Westman Islands

Westman Islands, Iceland

It is no secret that I fell hard for the Westman Islands after my trip there last summer. From hiking up a volcano to taking a boat tour, cuddling with a puffin and the small town charm, my day in the Westman Islands is one of my favorite adventures I have done in Iceland. If you have the chance plan a visit the Westman Islands I hope you will love it there as much as I do! – Kaelene from Unlocking Kiki

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Thank you to everyone who participated! For more bloggers favorite spots in Iceland head over to this post I did last year. There are some more gorgeous places to add to your list!

To help you visit all of these amazing places on your trip to Iceland save the below map, and be sure to tell me what place is your favorite!

Question of the Day?
If you have been to Iceland what was your favorite place you visited? Planning a trip to Iceland, what place are you most looking forward to visiting?

Our Scotland Adventure // The Highs and The Lows

Scotland, oh Scotland, where do I even begin?!

Our five days in Scotland were full of adventures, from exploring castles to wandering the streets of Edinburgh everything about our trip was… well it was just freaking awesome you guys!

Sometimes I think looking back on a trip is when you truly realize how wonderful it was, and Scotland really was a wonderful trip! There were so amazing moments, and some not so amazing moments, but overall I couldn’t of asked for a better trip.

Before I get into more Scotland posts here is an overview of our trip with the highs and the lows.

High | Deciding to spend a few days driving around the Highlands

Scotland ScotlandScotlandScotland

When we were planning our Scotland trip we knew we wanted to spend the majority of our time driving around the Highlands, and I am so glad we did. It really is the best way to explore Scotland! While it might have been pretty stressful at times navigating the tiny country roads with other cars flying past us it was more than worth it for the scenery. From rolling green grass hills filled with cows and sheep to incredible mountain landscapes the Scotland countryside was every bit as charming and gorgeous as I hoped it would be. We could of easily spent more time exploring the Highlands, next trip :)

Low | Driving in Scotland

Scotland

We knew things would be a bit tricky adjusting to driving on the other side of the road, but oh my goodness that was way more stressful than I expected! From navigating the small roads and making sure we turned into the proper lane to the cars that seemed to go 100 mph and fly past us it was stressful! And of course for our first day we opted to drive the scenic route which we quickly learned was code for even smaller roads and even faster cars. The stress level was slightly high that first day.

But all the stress, it was worth it for those highland views, even the Viking (who was in charge of the driving) agrees.

High | Adding Dunnottar Castle to our itinerary

Dunnottar CastleDunnottar CastleDunnottar Castle

As we were planning our road trip itinerary it was a challenge to make the decision of what places we definitely wanted to see, and what ones we needed to cut out. Our time was unfortunately limited so we knew we couldn’t cover as much ground as we wanted. But one place that we both agreed we had to visit, even if it added a few hours of driving along some terrifying country roads just for the one stop, was Dunnottar Castle.

This was the first castle we visited in Scotland and as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew no other castle would be as breathtaking. Standing out on a tall cliff with nothing but the sea surrounding it the Viking and I both agreed this was one of our favorite stops of our road trip and definitely are favorite castle we saw in Scotland. An entire post to come on this gorgeous castle, mainly so I can share all the pictures.

Low | A packed afternoon on the Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye Isle of Skye Isle of Skye Isle of Skye

Even though we only had the afternoon to spend on the Isle of Skye we wanted to fit in as much as possible, and I think we were quite successful with all we managed to do.

From driving out to Talisker distillery (after a slight detour where we ended up in the middle of a farm with only a few cows to ask for directions) for some whiskey tasting, walking back to the Fairy Pools, and a delicious meal in Portree we packed a lot in.

Even though it was only for a few hours, and we may of tried to fit too much in, I am glad we got to visit the Isle of Skye, I just wished we had a few more hours to explore.

High | Having our own castle to explore in Fort William

Fort William, Scotland Fort William, Scotland Fort William, Scotland

For our last night in the Highlands we stayed in the lovely Fort William with a beautiful view of the lake. It was the most beautiful place to end our time in the Highlands and I wish we had more time to explore this area.

But before we said goodbye to Fort William we had to make one stop for my Viking to Old Inverlochy Castle. At this point I was a bit castled out and really did not want to make this stop, but I am so glad my Viking drove there anyways, this ended up being a highlight of our time in Scotland!

Our entire time at Old Inverlochy Castle H and I were the only ones there, I mean how cool is that, we got to hang out at a castle in Scotland all to ourselves?! Old Inverlochy Castle was a surprising highlight for sure.

Low | Getting terribly lost trying to find the Falls of Leny

Falls of Leny, Scotland Falls of Leny, ScotlandFalls of Leny, Scotland

When we were planning our Scotland trip we had read something about the Falls of Leny but we didn’t really pay attention to many of the details. Basically we just looked at the pictures, thought it looked pretty, and forgot about. Then as we were driving we saw a sign for the Falls of Leny and knew we needed to make a stop and try and find them. We had no idea where the falls where located, and the one sign for the falls, it is not very informative, but we figured they couldn’t be that hard to find.

So we parked where the sign was and began to climb up a hillside with nothing but trees surrounding us. It didn’t take us long into this little hike before we started thinking this didn’t seem right. But, we kept on, because you never know what is around the next corner.

Do you want to know what was around the next corner? More trees, that is it!

We ended up climbing all the way to the top, laughed about it, and headed back down where we ran into an older man heading off to the woods with a chainsaw (not as creepy as that sounds:). We asked him for directions to the Falls of Leny, he looked at us with a smirk, and pointed directly across the street.

Yup, the falls were literally right across the street from where we parked. This will be one of those stories that even though it was a major fail H and I will always look back and laugh about it.


High | Listening to a bagpipe player in the middle of the mountains

Scotland

You know those moments that seem to perfect to be real? This was one of those.

We had just a few hours left of our roadtrip and had pulled over to take in the view. It was a beautiful sunny day and we could of sat there for hours taking it all in. As we were sitting there we began to hear the sounds of a bagpipe, which at first we thought we were imagining since we had heard them so often on the trip. And then we turned around and there was one lone bagpipe player just playing away in the middle of no where.

It was amazing!

H and I walked over and listening for a bit and when he stopped playing I asked him why he was out there playing, his response, “it is just so nice out I thought I should come play for a bit.” Works for me!

High | Fully unleashing my Harry Potter nerd in Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland Edinburgh, ScotlandEdinburgh, Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland

Our first few hours in Edinburgh, they were spent visiting all the Harry Potter spots I had read about and it was amazing! No wonder J.K. Rowling was so inspired, Edinburgh is such a charming city. We even were spoiled with some lovely sunny days to explore the city. I could spend hours wandering those streets!

— — — —

If you are wondering what country to visit next make it Scotland, and take a roadtrip around the country, you won’t be disappointed.

More Scotland to come!

Question of the Day?
Do you like to look back on the high and lows of your travels?

Sunshine, Waterfalls, And An Interview With The Viking

The most amazing thing happened last weekend here in Iceland.

The temperature reached the 70s (20C)!

For the first time ever in Iceland I wore a summer dress, with no jacket or tights.

Sure it was probably only for an hour or two when the sun was the strongest, but temperatures in the high 60s, low 70s, that is what I call an Icelandic summer miracle.

And when Iceland gives you temperatures like that you have to celebrate, and the Viking and I found the perfect spot to soak it all in.

Faxi, Iceland

A sunny day picnic in front of a waterfall, yes please!

Don’t let those clouds fool you, it was hot and sunny, up until we took this picture and packed up:)

A lazy afternoon reading in the sunshine with my Viking was the perfect way to spend the day before these next couple of weeks throw some crazy schedules are way.

Faxi in SummerFaxi in Summer

During our afternoon of napping in the sun I tried to convince H to write a post for the blog. (I am still working on this so if you want to see a guest post from the Viking leave a comment, lets get him!) While he is not quite up for a full on post on his own I did convince him to let me ask him a few questions about being a blogger boyfriend, my Icelandic skills and the tourism in Iceland.

So, without further rambling let’s hear from my Viking.

Faxi in Summer

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger boyfriend?

H: I really enjoy all the experiences we have had that I don’t think we would of done if it wasn’t for your blog. For example, many of the places in Iceland that we have visited I hadn’t even heard of until you discovered them. And you have found some great places for us to check out on our travels abroad from other blogs.

K: Your welcome :)

Faxi in SummerFaxi in SummerFaxi in Summer

What is your least favorite thing about being a blogger boyfriend?

H: While I think your blog is amazing, at times it feels like you are always connected which can get a bit frustrating when we are out trying to enjoy our time together. When we go out to explore a new place sometimes it feels more like we are just there to research for the blog and not fully experience it. Sometimes it is nice to not have to think about getting pictures of a place but just enjoy it together.

K: Touche. But no, I totally agree with you, sometimes it is hard to disconnect and not think about the blog while out enjoying something. Goal for the summer, work on this!

H: The good more than out ways the bad though, and I love getting to take all the pictures for the blog. So it is mostly just a win-win:)

To my other bloggers out there, anyone else struggle with this? I love exploring new places and trying new things to share on the blog, but this can make it a fuzzy line from when you are out relaxing or when you are working. I definitely am working on getting better about disconnecting and try and do so at least once a week for a full day which leaves me feeling totally refreshed. Any tips you use to find a balance I would love to hear from you!

Faxi in Summer

What do you think about Kaelene’s Icelandic skills?

H: I think they are really good, I think you understand even more then you let on. You are a bit shy about speaking it and wish you would try more at home.

K: Baby steps, at least now I am attempting to speak it more at home with you.

H: Very true, you are doing great with it and I think you don’t give yourself enough credit.

(He then switches to Icelandic for the next ten minutes)

Speaking of my Icelandic skills, H is completely right, I understand way more Icelandic than I let on. I think I am afraid that once people know how much I understand they will only speak Icelandic and then I won’t understand things anymore. It is a security blanket that I need to let go of, my Icelandic is only going to get better the more I let people speak to me in it and I practice it myself.

But, on the positive side, not that long ago I was still so shy speaking Icelandic at home with the Viking, but now I have no problem trying to say what I know even if it is full of mistakes. So language win!

Faxi in Summer

Okay, now on to the questions about Iceland.

What is your favorite place to visit near Reykjavik for a quick adventure?

H: The hike to Glymur and Þingvellir.

Good choices my Viking. I especially love walking aruond Þingvellir in the Autumn, the colors are gorgeous!

What place are you most wanting to visit in Iceland?

H: I still haven’t visited the been to the wrecked plane on Sólheimasandur beach and have always wanted to see that. And then definitely the West Fjords, hopefully this summer.

(The West Fjords, are happening this summer, this isn’t a maybe it is a must for me!)

Most photographic place in Iceland?

H: Mývatn. The whole area is really beautiful with unique landscapes, lava formations, a lake, and the sunsets are always really pretty.

K: Maybe we should visit Mývatn again this summer!

H: Let’s just stick with the West Fjords for now.

When do you think is the best time to visit Iceland?

H: If you want to explore the nature come in July to the beginning of August. If you want to get the winter experience come in beginning of December for the northern lights and Christmas decorations.

My Viking sums up my answer to this question in a few sentences but I have an entire post on this topic coming your way soon so stay tuned!

Faxi in Summer
Is there any place in Iceland you recommend skipping?

H: A lot of the places have become really touristy, like the Golden Circle or Blue Lagoon, but they are quite unique so if you have never seen anything like that then check them out, I just recommend checking them out at the beginning of your trip.

K: Couldn’t agree more.

How do you feel about the booming tourism?

H: It makes me a bit worried. I don’t think Iceland is quite prepared to handle the high number of tourist and I am worried that our unique places are going to lose their natural beauty and turn more into a showy tourist stop.

On the other side I do think the tourism has been really great for Iceland and has brought lots of opportunities to the country. I just hope that the visitors that come here appreciate the nature and respect it.

K: I can’t believe how much has changed in just the few years that I have been living in Iceland. I find this topic very interesting, especially hearing from Icelanders about their thoughts on the booming tourism. This could be an interesting blog post.

H: Always thinking of different ideas for the blog :)

K: Always:)

What is your favorite thing about summertime in Iceland?

H: The long bright days and the Midnight sun.

K: Me to!

Thanks to my Viking for entertaining me with this little interview. Next time let’s see I can get him to do his own post :)

I am heading off tomorrow for some exciting adventures! Following along over at Instagram and Snapchat @Kaelene.
Question of the Day?

Any tips you use to find a balance I would love to hear from you!