We were gone for two weeks, with our first mini-stop in New York City. Instead of spending our nine hour layover sitting in the airport, we decided to head into the city and squeeze in some extra sightseeing. We ate at Mario Batali's restaurant, Del Posto, in Manhattan and absolutely fell in love with the Chelsea area.
There are few cities I've visited that I felt like I could live in, (Dublin. That's probably it.) and I honestly wasn't prepared to like NYC (I thought I'd be claustrophobic and on edge. I'm used to spread-out-California.) so it surprised me. I loved the style, the literature, the music, the pace, the people. I want to go back!
After that brief excursion, our first main stop was Iceland. We've long been intrigued by Iceland (the music scene, the remoteness) and finally decided to go. We aren't big hikers or backpackers, so we were rather oddball tourists there...when we travel we really love to see the architecture and history, and experience the people, food, and culture. Iceland offered plenty of those things, so we didn't feel like we were missing out by not being super outdoorsy.
We inadvertently visited during summer solstice, so it never really got dark the entire time we were there. The sun officially set around midnight and rose around 3am, but the sky never actually gets past dusk. The landscape is so interesting in Iceland—very volcanic with moss and some wildflowers, but very few trees outside the city.
Apart from Reykjavik, we visited the Blue Lagoon: geothermal hot springs with natural salinity and silica clay that give the water its signature color. The weather was actually quite temperate, considering how far north the island is. All the people we met were friendly, and the food was good (though there were a surprising number of hot dog and hamburger joints). They love skateboarding, and I was thrilled that we happened across a small competition on one of the days we were there...I missed my kiddos.
|The Blue Lagoon.|
|The Laundromat Cafe...that's my kind of decorating!|
|Art in Barcelona. :)|
After Iceland, we traveled to warmer climates. We spent a few days in Barcelona, and then met up with my brother-in-law in Ibiza and Mallorca. I sprained my ankle in Barcelona, so we didn't get to do as much exploring as we wanted to, but it all ended up working out. We became soccer converts (that's a big deal for us non-sports people) and watched many a World Cup match in one of the local cafes. We also went to the Picasso Museum strolled through the Gothic Quarter.
The islands were beautiful...especially seeing them from the water. I'm not a big boat person, but Ibiza wouldn't have been nearly as wonderful if only seen by land. It was worth the rocking and rolling, the perpetual equilibrium distortion, and the challenge of getting on and off a boat with a sprained ankle. We didn't go to any clubs, though that seems to be what Ibiza is known for (thank goodness because that really isn't my scene) but had plenty of good people watching.
Seeing the progress on our house when we arrived back home was another treat. The walls have been insulated, and the finish work is progressing. It's starting to come together! I can't wait for the day when my time can be used for reading and writing instead of house design and decisions.
I did get some good reading time in while I was away, but that'll have to wait for the next post. For now, happy summer and happy reading.
|Cedar siding in the master bedroom. So pretty!|