Bucket List: Iceland

reykjavik iceland city pin othe map

The conversation went as usual. “Where do you want to go next?” – “How about we go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights this year?”

Each year, sometimes twice a year, Susie and I have the conversation about where we’ll head to next. My cousin and I have been travel companions and best friends for as long as I can remember. These are the trips that I treasure most. Yes, I travel often on press trips, but the trips that we take together are simply the best, and while we didn’t get to Iceland THIS year, it’s on our bucket list….which means that it will happen within the next year or two.

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stayI’m a five-star gal, but lately I’ve been loving the back to nature stays that I’ve gotten to do. Still, there’s nothing like slipping in between a high thread count sheet with the heat turned up on a cold winter night. But, since it would be my first time in a Scandanavian country, I think I’d like to do something a bit more traditional and stay in guesthouses rather than hotels. The Minna-Mosfell Guesthouse is only 20 minutes outside of Reykjavík-city, making it the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors and still allow me to do my favorite city things – like tour, eat, shop, etc.

They offer free wifi and parking, and an outdoor hot tub (on my “MUST HAVE” list). The kitchen is stocked with coffee, tea, hot chocolate powder, pasta, pasta sauce, oatmeal, corn flakes, sugar, brown sugar, common spices, milk, butter, cheeses, jam, cultured milk (like yogurt), some fruits and eggs, for those lazy “stay put mornings” vs. venturing out to dine.

see bannerBecause there is just SO much that we want to see, I researched cheap car rentals in Iceland and found just what I needed via the Guide to Iceland. This way we can come and go as we please, including a visit to the Folk Museum, swimming in the Lagafellslaug in Mosfellsbaer,a nd of course taking the Iceland ice cave tours, before going to view the Northern Lights.

While I’m not much for hiking, I think it’s going to be necessary on this trip (oooohhh, that means I get to shop for hiking boots), although I’d also love to take in the Icelandic Opera, the Imagine Peace Tower, the Elinar Jonsson Museum and THE BLUE LAGOON (did I actually have to say that?).

Reykjavík is just one of those hip, quirky cities where you can explore all day and dance all night, and I plan on doing it all.

eat lipsJust one look at me and you’ll know that I LOVE EATING, and exploring a culture through food is one of my passions. I’ve got a great list of restaurants that have been suggested, including Resto and Fredrik V,  but I think I may also include a food tour just to get a sense of the different options available. I DO love my “markets” so my #1 stop will be the Kaloportid Flea Market to shop for traditional Icelandic foods (including some that are quite unusual). Of course I can’t leave without enjoying  one of my FAVORITE meals at Icelandic Fish and Chips.

Now my question is for you who have gone. Where would YOU suggest I do while there? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below and I’ll add them to my LIST.

Armchair travel: Best of books

Packed with stunning photos and engaging vignettes about U.S. and world destinations, Rand McNally's new "Best of" series will awaken and captivate the traveler that stirs in all of us. (PRNewsFoto/Rand McNally)

When I’m not in-flight or at a destination, there’s nothing that I love doing more than a little armchair travel. Even Mr. S, who’s not much of an explorer loves to pick up a great book of travel photographs like the new “Best Of” series by Rand McNally. This travel series is packed with stunning photos and engaging vignettes about U.S. and world destinations, Best of America: Day & Night, Best of America: Great Escapes, and Best of the World: Exquisite Experiences will awaken and captivate the traveler that stirs in all of us.

“These books are for road warriors and armchair travelers alike,” said Stephen Fletcher, CEO of Rand McNally. “Our editors have spanned the globe to illuminate special locations that provide once-in-a-lifetime, ‘bucket list’ experiences. The ‘Best of’ series continues Rand McNally’s tradition of guiding travelers – this time with vivid photographs and enlightening content.”

Best of America: Day & Night

50 Beautiful Escapes – Sunrise to Sunset

  • 50 beautiful American landscapes and cityscapes, and tips on the best time to experience them – by the light of day, by the light of the moon, or both
  • Catch the first sunrise in Maine, hunt for seashells in Florida, discover the colors of the Painted Desert in Arizona, explore California’s redwoods, see volcanic lava in Hawaii, stargaze in Joshua Tree, and more.

Best of America: Great Escapes

60 Unique Getaways to Beautiful Places

  • 60 captivating American destinations
  • Savor San Francisco, enjoy music in Austin, bike the Nantucket heathers, go Victorian on the Jersey Shore (and Antebellum in the Deep South), see Ernest Hemingway’s Key West, paint the town in Santa Fe, and more.

Best of the World: Exquisite Experiences

60 Cultural Escapes to Stunning Places

  • 60 of the world’s most-alluring destinations
  • Shop for perfume in Paris, find Charles Dickens in London, go al fresco in Tuscany, bike Dutch tulip fields, ski the Alps, get lost in Moroccan markets, climb dunes in Namibia, and more.

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