Reykjavic Adventures – Whale Watching & The Blue Lagoon

We’ve officially made it to Iceland, our 30th country since this Olmsted Scholar experience began (almost) two years ago.  It’s been quite an incredible journey.  After leaving our car in Oslo, we booked a late flight into Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.  Our first day, we took a tour with Elding Whale Watching, the oldest company of its kind in the city.  We changed our 10.00 reservation to 14.00 after suffering an unexpectedly acute case of jet lag and the weather was nearly perfect. We had clear skies and although it was a bit (a lot!) brisk, the whale guide commented it was the most active the dolphins and whales had been in some time.  We lucked out!  Unfortunately, our second day in Iceland turned out to be pretty crappy weather-wise.  In order to make up for this, we took the bus (which Bobby was amazed was equipped with wifi) to the Blue Lagoon, where the water is warm, no matter the temperature outside.

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Oslo, Norway – The Other “Emerald City”

Oslo Opera House at sunset

For our entire trip in Oslo, Bobby kept comparing the city to his beloved Seattle. There are a lot of similarities: the cities both sit on water in an area carved by glaciers, they have large shipping/fishing industries, similar craftsmen’esque homes, and strong art/architecture scenes.  We are partial to Seattle, but Oslo gave us an unexpected sense of home despite the huge distance separating the two.  We stayed with a lovely woman who gave us great info for all the best things to see in her city: the Oslo Opera House (of course!), the islands in the surrounding area, the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Akershus Fortress, and several interesting museums.  We tried our best and saw the majority of the list in just two days!  Of course, we could have stayed much longer…. [Read More]

Denmark – Venturing into Scandinavia

Castle and sculpted hedges

This may sound incredibly inane, but the two things that I took away from Denmark were 1) Danish people are really blond (blonder than Swedes!) and 2) every person in Copenhagen must own a bike (I think there were more bikes than Amsterdam!)  On this leg of our trip, we continued on our journey from Germany to Denmark, stopping in Odense and then Copenhagen.  This was our first time in Scandinavia, and we were really excited to see the area, since we’d heard such high praises from multiple sources.  Luckily, Denmark didn’t let us down (….well, other than everything being really expensive, but that’s a given in the Nordic countries)!  :)… [Read More]

The City of a Hundred Spires: Prague

Prague skyline from the castle

Prague was once nicknamed “The City of a Hundred Spires” because of its spiked cityscape.  Today, historians estimate there are 500 spires within the city limits.  This was the first time visiting Prague for both Bobby and me, and I must say it’s now one of my favorite European destinations.  Although the weather wasn’t spectacular, we couldn’t help but feel the city’s charm.  We were very thankful that Prague’s famous Christmas market was still going strong, even though we visited after the 25th and it served as a perfect backdrop for our visit.

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