Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The golden circle

The weather was beautiful when we woke up to get our rental car. Avis picks you up at the door which is VERY convenient. We had to pick up our tent and stock up on cheap food from the local Budget market first. Our research told us that we'd need to get the bulk of our food in Rekyavik, but that turned out to be wrong. We found plenty of supermarkets along the ring road. No need to go overboard in Rekyavik. 

We did most of the Golden Circle in one day. The weather was perfect so we figured seeing everything in sunny blue skies would be a huge plus. We bought the Lonely Planet's little ring road book and it treated us very well. Between that and Sunni's Google phone plan we were always well informed (and it's impossible to get lost).

First stop was Pinvellir park. Very modern with lots of walkways. I'm pretty sure I saw Steven Spielberg and his son. One of the more crowded places we went, but not to the point where you couldn't take it all in uninterrupted.

Geysir was stinky and sulfery as we expected. We stayed and saw a few eruptions.

Gullfoss was massive and full of rainbows. Iceland has so many waterfalls that it's very easy for them to blend together after a few days. This one stands out for its size and beauty.

We were able to get very close to Skogafoss. It sprays everywhere.

We decided to camp in the city of Vik. We got in around 11pm so everything was closed. NO ONE was working the campground so we couldn't pay (no one ever showed up even in the morning, so we stayed for free).

Setting up the tent was a disaster. The instructions sucked and it wasn't like any other tent I've ever used. Plus the wind was INSANE. After about an hour struggling with a full campground of people watching us and not offering help, we got it together and went to sleep. The wind woke us up around 2 in morning. The tents were getting brutalized and our tent, in particular, was getting destroyed by the wind.  Shortly after, the front tent pole snapped and we had to take down the entire tent in a wind storm and sleep in our tiny economy car.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Iceland has been on my bucket list since I fell in love with Bjork in college and WOW’s cheap flights were just too good to pass up. But Iceland is notoriously expensive, and I am notoriously cheap. So we tried something a little different this year for our annual summer trip. We booked a ten-day trip to Iceland and planned to rent a car and camp for 7 days, then spend a few days in the city. We were able to bring everything but a tent without checking a baggage and we rented a car from Avis since I didn’t trust any of the budget Icelandic companies (which all get terrible reviews).

For a budget airline, WOW was fine. We’ve flown better, but we’ve also flown Ryanair (so much worse). We stayed at KEX hostel for our first night. The building is an old converted biscuit factory, with a full bar and live music. We checked in and were able to walk most of the city in a single day. The weather was exactly as we expected, cold and rainy. There was great live jazz playing at the hostel when we returned. We were pretty jet-lagged, but I stayed up for both sets (Sunni hates jazz and chose to sleep).

We had to buy lots of new gear for this trip. Somehow we found it all in black. 

Note* we are posting this way after the fact so we don't forget. Blogging and camping didn't mix.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

24 hours awake and a 4 hour tour of Taipei

Getting a cheap flight back to Tokyo was not easy. There were no direct flights in our price range. The best option ended up being either a 5 hour layover in Taipei or a 9 hour layover in Taipei. I read somewhere that the government offers free tours if you have a 7+ hour layover, so we picked that flight. We flew out of Nam at 2am went through customs around 7 and signed up for the tour. A cute old guy took us around on a bus and showed us the older part of town for about 4 hours. It was pretty great. We saw a beautiful old temple and walked around the ceramics district, then we went to some weird ethnic museum and toured a famous pottery factory. We noticed when we signed up for the tour that tons of flights were being cancelled. Turns out their was a MASSIVE typhoon hitting southern Taiwan. They ended up grounding all the flights, and closed down work in Taiwan for a few days because it was so bad. Luckily, our flight wasn't cancelled and we missed getting trapped by only a few hours. We felt so lucky when we checked the news the next day and saw people getting blown over in the street.

Monday, July 31, 2017

last few days in NAM

We kept pretty busy our last few days in Saigon. We went to a few cool galleries and visited Julies school. We went to the Independance Palace which basically unchanged since the the South gave up the war effort in the 70's. It's shockingly well taken care of compared with other museums in the country. The best part was the bunker in the basement. It had a very surreal quality. It reminded me a lot of the red room in twin peaks.

We ate a HUGE amount of food at the amazing local vege restaurant (we went three times).  Tons of great mock meat, good soup, fresh rolls and all kinds of other goodies.  All of it is so cheap. Our last meal cost like 12 bucks for three people to pig out until we were literally sick. I'm shocked how well we ate here. I was eating at least 2 Bah Mi's a day. I think I put on some weight.

sunni sells coconuts in her spare time

yes, they sold americas money magnates at the museum gift shop. too weird.