A layover has never been more exciting. My flight on Icelandair proved to be very successful, flying from London to Denver, via Reykjavik, Iceland.
I arrived just little before midnight, went through customs (getting another stamp in my passport, woohoo!!) I was able to sleep a little on a terminal bench in a quiet area, which was super after so much adventuring and travel..
Upon waking up, I grabbed some coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and booked a round trip local bus ticket to the town of Reykjavik, where more unexpected adventures awaited, and the beauty was an unexpected surprise. The bus drove by the old lava fields (now covered in sparse shrub and grasses) and dropped off passengers not far from city center square.
The pictures tell the rest of the story, and I even sampled fermented shark (not shown). A rare delicacy I have never tasted or had available anywhere else!!!
Joe and the Juice Coffee
Atlantic Inlet to the coastline
Iceland sweater for sale at $400
Mural in the airport
Loki Cafe entree, amazing
Lief Erikson monument
Church hours in Nordic and English
Hallgrimskirkja Church, Iceand
The Loki cafe is an amazing place to dine and has some incredible views but be warned, Iceland is very expensive to enjoy, even on a basic level…be prepared to drop some cash on even basics. For example, a cup of regular coffee (roughly $2 to $3 in the USA) is easily $8 to $10 in Iceland, even outside of the airports. Why is everything so costly?? From what I understand, most things have to be important to Iceland and with a population of roughly 350,000 (for the whole country), costs are higher due to the enviroment and import costs, etc. It is worth seeing but plan accordingly…and apparently the higher winds and chill are constant, so dress warmly!!!
The St. Barbara Capella (church) was built in the beginning of the 1300s in the town edge
of Langensteinbach here in the Alb Valley.
A little history (compliments of the a German information website) tells the story beautifully here:
“The first documentary mention of the Barbara Chapel as “capella sanctae Barbarae” dates from 1432. The building itself dates back to the 14th century. Before the annexation of the chapel and the associated source to the Holy Barbara, a Celtic sanctuary was found there. Surely the dedication of the chapel is connected with it. Next to the church there was a graveyard for some time – wall remains can be seen on the square and foundations under the ground. Various legends surround the chapel and spring. For almost one and a half centuries, the chapel was a popular place of pilgrimage and the square before it was used for markets. A change took place in the second half of the 16th century with the rejection of the pilgrimage through the now reformed Wuerttemberg Duke. However, it would still be many years before the pilgrimage of the pilgrimage took place. In 1590, the church was still described as “a magnificent temple consecrated with artistic paintings on the Barbaraberg, sacred Barbara”. Twice a year in the presence of a large national market held before this temple. In the Langensteinbach camp book of 1605, however, the first records of the death of the church are described. The subsequent times of the Thirty Years’ War also made travel on land too dangerous, so that the pilgrimage finally fell into oblivion. The assignment of the church to the restituted monastery of Herrenalb did not change, as this was now impoverished. Only the market was continued on the Barbaraberg. In 1818 St. Barbara had completely ruined itself and remained exposed to the decay and plundering of the entire 19th century. In 1902 one remembered the ruin and began a restoration. Above all, the tower was to be used again as a lookout tower. During a new renovation, a massive spiral staircase was installed in the tower in 1966. The tower is open daily as a view tower and is located in the Waldpark St. Barbara in Karlsbad-Langensteinbach.”
What a wonderful adventure–driving through Freiburg, Germany (where we stopped for a Cappuccino), we continued on the #5 interstate, through border control/inspection, and into Switzerland!! We were able to change countries in a matter of about 2 1/2 hours, which to my American mind, is just outstanding and so surprising.
I, with passport in tow, felt giddy to be going to Switzerland and was anticipating a stamp in my passport. Alas, it would not be possible as the border control did not have a stamp and only did visual checks. Bummer, alas that is the rule. The inspector said that passport stamps are usually only available via the airport.
I gawked as we drove thru Basel, Switzerland, which is 2 kilometers from the border, inside Switzerland. Remembering, albeit too late, that Switzerland is neutral and not part of the European Union, I did not think to convert Euros to Swiss Francs but I was in luck.
Upon arriving in Laufenburg, already having crossed the Rhine (Rhein) River, we pulled off in the Aldstadt (historic) district, which in part borders the Rhine. Opening the car door, the scents of a Swiss Spring filled the air with beauty and grace and the air smelled of sweet things verses grilled sausages (which is often an occurrence in Germany.) The Videos tell the rest of the story and how I was in multiple places at once (and we went further into Switzerland and shopped in Leistal.)
I can attest, Swiss crafted cheese and chocolate are absolutely amazing!!!
An exciting Saturday afternoon together at the Zoo together, where even the Hippotamus eat Germain cuisine of potatoes and cabbage.
The zoo is much larger than what first meets the eye and it is beautifully laid out, including animals and venues from all continents of the world.
The Seels (also know as Sea Dogs in German) and the Hippopotamus (Known as the
“River Horse” when translated from German) were very active while the Elephants trumpeted at dinner time. A splash of a good time as the seels breached and barked in the water.
What an exciting and interesting afternoon-evening of people watching. So much variety and interactions galore–skipping children, a bicycle with a legit trailer, a skinned knee, an elderly man whistling down the cobble stones, a couple on a date (and enjoy Apfel Streudel) and so much more!! While enjoying the visual stimulation, my taste buds were delighted by Blood Orange infused teas and a snack on the very busy platz. What a beautiful day!!!