Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Like most of you, we are pretty busy right now getting all things ready for the big day. I really do love Christmas but each year it comes with some mixed feelings.

Being an expat away from my family at Christmas time, I sometimes start to feel pretty homesick. Well, I say sometimes but I mean every year. I really miss the family traditions we had from going to the Christmas eve mass to having Chinese food after and playing board games till late.

I love the religious part of the holiday but really have started to dislike the stress that revolves around the commercial aspect of it. I absolutely love giving gifts to others and put a lot of thought into each gift and each one receiving the gift...but it doesn't always end in happy Thank Yous.

I love that my boys are finally understanding both the religious part of the holiday as well as the fun 'Santa' part of the holiday, but I definitely envy their fun time as I sit either ready to pass out from being so tired or am running around trying to sort out last minute demands.

Every year I try and take in the season; it's joy, it's beauty, the goodwill towards all and the peace it can bring with it. I thought I had gotten better at that but this year having been away so close to Christmas I am back in a bit of a rat race.

It is only the last couple of days that I could really sit down and watch a Christmas film with the boys, have some mince pies, and take in the Christmas decorations that give our home a wonderful atmosphere! There is nothing I love more than being with my family, being comfy and being so thankful for those I love so much both near and far.

I'm not sure I'll be posting again in the next couple of days, so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Be safe and enjoy all the holiday has to offer! :)


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Iceland Part 3

Sorry for the delay in getting Iceland Part 3 up but it has been more than hectic from leaving Iceland to unpacking and getting ready for Christmas!

So on the Saturday night we did end up venturing out to a mysterious lake in the middle of nowhere to see if we could spot the Northern Lights again. After sitting in the car for 2 hours and seeing nothing we took the icy roads back home to get into bed around 1am! I was getting exhausted. Luckily the boys are good and bare with us...they spent most of the time asleep. :)

On Sunday, we went back into the centre of Reykjavik as we hadn't really been able to see it properly. We explored some cafes, had more hot dogs and got to stop into the big Neogothic Church of Iceland. Incredible, this city just kept getting more interesting! It was also getting more cold (if that was even possible).
View from Church bell tower
Frozen lake (a little bit of it has geothermal water to keep the ducks happy)
Hot dog stand

On Monday, our last day in Iceland we drove out to the Blue Lagoon but decided not to pay the huge price tag to get in. We had already had a swim in the geothermal waters in our local pool and only had to pay £6. We did have some lunch there and had a walk around (it was a gorgeous spa!) and I spent a little money in the gift shop...I may have even picked up a couple of Christmas gifts. It was expensive but at least I spent money on other people and a little something for me for Christmas too! ;)

Geothermal waters at the Blue Lagoon

The silica in the water keeps in a nice natural blue

We continued on our drive and saw a lot more geothermal hotspots out and about in the countryside and we also saw a couple of silica turquoise lakes! Upon arrival back in the city we decided to have another dip in our local pool and then head out for a nice meal to end our trip.

The next day was spent packing up and travelling home (in a massive snow storm!)

I have to admit, I was really looking forward to our trip to Iceland but that country was amazing! It was naturally beautiful. Everywhere you looked there was something nice to see. The people and their history were so interesting and I just know I will never ever forget our time there.

Anyway, hopefully now we are back unpacked, laundry done and most of Christmas under control I'll be back to a more regular blogging schedule. :)

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Iceland Part 2

So, Thursday was day 3 of our trip in Iceland. It was definitely the coldest day so far! It was -4 degrees C but felt about -18 with the wind chill! We were freezing!

We ventured out on a Golden Circle Tour which was 8 hours long and went out to Gullfoss waterfall, the Geyser area of Iceland and we were supposed to stop at a famous National Park but due to the snow all roads were closed down. Instead we stopped to pet the famous Icelandic horses and visited an old Viking church. It was a long cold day but was so interesting. It was great to learn about Iceland, its culture and a little about its language. What a fascinating country!

By the time we got back and stopped at a restaurant for supper it was time for us to get back to the flat and get to bed.

Yesterday, we decided to hire a car since the weather has been so cold. We don't mind walking places normally but it really is getting to be too much for the little guys in -18 degrees...and today is even colder.

We took a little drive arounnd town and decided to stop in at our local swimming pool! It was crazy! Freezing cold and snowing and we were outside in geothermal water, what an experience! Later that night we got a famous Icelandic hotdog and then came back to get ready for our late night adventure to see the Northern Lights!

We didn't end up seeing the lights due to it being very overcast but it was still an interesting experience.

After a pretty late night, we woke up early this morning to head out in the car to see Skogafoss waterfall and a US military plane crash from 1973, still there in the middle of an Iceland beach! Both were awesome although the getting to the crash site is an experience I could have done without. My hands still ache from gripping my seat. We had to off road onto snow covered ice straight out to the ocean, and no, we did not have a 4x4!

Overall, it was a great last few days. Tonight we may go see if we can spot the Northern Loghts again on our own and then fingers crossed have a lie in while a huge snow storm takes over Reykjavik. :-)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Iceland Part 1

Boy have I taken a break from blogging! I didn't really plan it but I was sick for awhile and really lost my writing mojo so I thought; better a break then a blog full of junky posts.

Anyway, this week we are in snowy and freezing cold Iceland! Today was our second day here but so far so good!

Day one involved a wake up time of 3:45am!!! To get our flights out of Manchester airport. The flight was good and not that long. We were flying for just under 3hours! The boys were well behaved and spent most of the flight watching films on the tablet.

Upon landing we grabbed lunch and got a bus into the city centre. It was snowing like crazy and the roads were icy from a bad storm they'd had the day before. We arrived in the centre of Reykjavik, stopped to put on wellies and hailed a cab for our apartment. This is the third time we have used Airbnb for accommodation abroad and really recommend it!

Our apartment is lovely with everything we could need and we even have an ocean view!

We only ventured out last night to get some essential breakfast things for today and food for supper. It was a frosty walk and the boys were tired so it didn't make for the best night adventure but it was necessary.

Then the boys and I went to bed while the husband ventured out to try a glimpse the Northern
Lights...by luck he saw them! Fingers crossed some photos to come!

Today we had a relaxing morning. The sun rose at 11am! At 9am it was still pitch black! Then we headed into town to wander around get our bearings and book some tours!

It was a rough venture into the centre as we didn't see any taxis nor did we see any buses enroute. There were supposed to be local buses every twenty minutes from right at the end of our street into the city. Hmm... It should have taken 15 minutes roughly to walk it but with two small freezing cold bundled up boys it was more like 35!! Plus we had melt downs and crying. Oh and that was just me never mind the boys ;)

We made it to the centre got lunch, booked some excursions, found the travel office and did another mini food shop. After 3.5 hours out in -2 degree weather with 40mph winds we were ready to head home.

Tomorrow we are up early for the golden circle expedition. Fingers cross the boys will be able to cope ok. Best be off anyway, early to bed and need to check the weather! Night :)