I was so very blessed to get to spend a whole day touring the childhood and adulthood home (for a while) of Hugh Miller, geologist, reformer, stone mason and Scots. Truly an amazing experience!! I used my National Trust for Scotland pass to tour it, which is awesome.
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!!!
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!!!
Seek out local events, read/seek the local posters and attend local events (there are often free, inexpensive venues)
Hear music? Hunt down the source, ask a local about something interesting in the area. Use your senses, get “lost” by wandering and treasures will unfold
Try the local fare and cuisine, ask the server the daily special, purchase chow from a food wagon/truck
This is a great tip but by also checking out the postcards before endeavoring on the daily adventure, a postcard will also some highlights of the town/area you might not otherwise known of previously and thus will discover awesome things while hunting the sites