Iceland is Green

While poking around on the internet today, I learned that the Kardashians are in Iceland. Though I’m not the biggest fan of theirs, I must say I am of their latest travel destination.

Iceland was hands down one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to on the planet. It sort of makes you feel like you’re in a scene from Game of Thrones, while also reminding you of how incredibly beautiful the world is in its natural state. Though I didn’t see the northern lights because I went in the summer, there were still plenty of things to do and experience there! 

Here are my top five recommendations in case you plan on heading up North anytime soon!

  1. Reykjavik: Iceland’s capital city does not disappoint! The best way I can describe it is like a colorful old world Scandinavian fishing town…if that makes sense. The people are great, the food is amazing and the sites are incredible! Make sure to check out Hallgrímskirkja – the local Lutheran church. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you can go to the top and take in the city’s views! Some other activities the town offers are whale watching/ puffin tours and plenty of Viking museums!

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2. Strokkur Geysir: Seeing a Geysir erupt is a really cool experience! Basically hot water (100ºC) shoots up out of the ground every 8-10 minutes, due to their location on top of a geothermal field! I can’t say I understand all of the science, but it was really cool to see!

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3. Hot Springs: The Hot Springs in Iceland are amazing! Basically Hot Springs are naturally occurring pools of hot water due to Iceland’s geothermal activity. Many are open for the public to swim in…some are even attached to spas/ wellness centers. I had the most relaxing time swimming even though it was haling outside!  Getting to soak in a hot spring is an Icelandic must – relaxation at it’s finest that you’ll need after dealing with Icelandair (haha).

P.S. The steam was so intense it was hard to get a good photo without my phone giving up!

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4. Waterfalls: Not the most specific recommendation (I know), but I’m sure if you take a guided tour they’ll be sure to include some stops along a few of Iceland’s AMAZING waterfalls! When I was taking a “Golden Circle” tour, we stopped at about three different waterfalls each more breathtaking than the last! The views were incredible and really had a way of getting me back in touch with Mother Earth!

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5. Thingvellir National Park: This park offers some amazing views as well! Get ready  to feel small, insignificant and perhaps as though you’re in Middle Earth, while marveling at what a beautiful place the world truly is! This park is also special because it offers views of the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (the only place you can see it above water)…geology lovers rejoice!

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London Calling

Recently, I was in London with school and got the chance to completely fall in love all over again with the rainy city 007 calls home. Because my dad is from England, growing up I visited the UK often enough to see family (mainly in Manchester). Though I’d been to London before, on my most recent trip the city felt different. Maybe this was due to the fact that I hadn’t been in 4 years, or maybe after experiencing some college I was able to better appreciate the city’s history and culture. Whatever the case may was, I left this trip completely in love with London and thought I’d share my top 5 favorite landmarks!

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Big Ben: Is there anything more English than the world’s most iconic clock tower? Seeing Big Ben is a total must, that will truly make you feel like you’re in London. Seeing the attached Houses of Parliament is equally as fascinating if you’re into politics or English history. Plus being along the Thames is always beautiful and the surrounding area of Westminster is great for shopping and pubs.

Westminster Abbey: I’m a big art & architecture lover so for me churches in general always take my breath away. Plus I’m a kind of obsessed with the royal family, so getting to be in the place where all of the coronations took place and where Will and Kate got married is so much fun! The abbey is incredibly majestic and the amount of details carved in to the walls and ceiling is enough to keep you staring for days! 

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St. Paul’s Cathedral: Like I said architecture and churches are kind of my thing. This church is so beautiful because of its roman style architecture and the grand dome at its center. When looking up at the dome from inside, the intricacy of the mosaic scenes left me staring in awe until my neck started to ache. Plus you can actually go to the top of the dome…how cool?!

The National Gallery of Art: Holy Moly! Not only is the museum’s grand architecture absolutely stunning, but its collection of art doesn’t miss a step! From Caravaggio to Van Eyck to pick-your-impressionist…it’s all there! Not to mention the museum is only a short walk for the National Portrait Gallery (also worth a stop!)

Buckingham Palace: So maybe I spoke to soon about Big Ben being the ultimate symbol of British culture. Buckingham Palace is everything one thinks of when dreaming of royalty. The tall iron gates with gold detailing won’t infringe your view of the massive palace…every time I go the palace’s massive size still shocks me! Getting to witness the changing of the guards is also a pretty unforgettable experience!

Yes you Cannes

Summer can’t get here fast enough? I know exactly how you feel, but better…I know exactly where you should go for your Summer 2016 getaway: Cannes, France. Here’s 5 reasons why it’s one of my favorite destinations to date:

1. The Location: Staying on the Côte d’Azur means one thing: options! Being on the cost gives you easy access to other major towns along the French Riviera. During my stay, I travelled to Nice, Èze, and the neighboring country of Monaco. The trains/ tour companies in Cannes make it easy to reach other towns such as Saint Tropez, Marseille, and even Italy. The takeaway: This is a one plane ticket, multiple destination trip!

2. The Beach: First off, who doesn’t love the ocean? Now add clear aquamarine water and smooth golden sands that’ll make you think you’re in St. Barths. Finally throw in the image of the occasional yacht floating peacefully in the distance as you swim in Mediterranean Sea . How could anyone resist that…am I right?? When you’re there you have two options, either public beaches or private beaches. The public beaches seemed fine- they weren’t overly crowded and the best part is they don’t cost a penny! The private beaches on the other hand range in price from 20-40 euros per day. However, in my opinion the money is so worth it! Usually you’ll be seated on a boardwalk that stretches into the sea and have a beach chair, umbrella, wait staff, bar and bathroom at your fingertips. Personally, I used the InterContinental Carlton’s beach, and loved it! The takeaway: You’ll swim in the same sea, but pay for the experience.

3. The Shopping: Holy Labels! If you love fashion, you’ll think you’ve died and went to designer heaven. Even if you’re not buying anything who doesn’t want to enjoy a latté on the patio of the Armani Café? Shops including Balenciaga, Burberry, Céline, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton line the Croisette, their window displays alone being enough to give a girl butterflies. And don’t fear if these stores are out of your price range, a block or two north of the beach there’s a slew of more affordable shops like Zara and Mango. The takeaway: Come with an empty suitcase!

4. The Sights: Cannes is probably best known for the annual film festival it hosts. While you’re vacationing, a visit to the Palais des Festivals is in order. There you can walk the red carpet, where so many stars have done so before and get some quality photos in. You can also see the Allée des Étoiles (Cannes’ equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame) where celebrities such as Spike Lee and Julie Andrews have immortalized their hand prints. The takeaway: You get to walk on a red carpet (need I say more?).

5. The Atmosphere: There’s something about the town that makes you feel as though you’re in another world. As someone who grew up going on vacation to the Caribbean a lot, Cannes felt like a blend of tropical island life, with a sophisticated European edge. The food was amazing, the views were otherworldly and the people were friendly, helpful, and easygoing (not a snob in sight!). The takeaway: Book your flight now!