First Day in Iceland

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Our journey to Iceland began on December 17 when we started driving from South Carolina to Baltimore. We found reasonably priced airline tickets that were leaving out of the Baltimore International Airpot, so the 6 hour drive was worth it (and way cheaper). After a few pit stops, we made it to the airport around 4pm because our plane was scheduled to depart at 6.

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The Baltimore airport was very calm, so we checked our bags and passed through security with ease. We purchased our tickets with WOW Air. This was our first time flying with this airline and our overall thoughts were average. Our plane tickets were reasonably priced (for a flight to Europe), but we didn’t recieve any amenities. There were no TVS on the plane and they didn’t serve any food or drinks without a charge. We also left about 30 minutes late for no apparent reason. However, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. We sat next to another screaming toddler who never stop crying for the entire 6 hour flight. This was a HUGE bummer because we never slept.

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We arrived in Iceland at 6am local time and it was pouring rain. We de-boarded the plane on the runway and caught a shuttle to the luggage terminal. Before arriving, we assumed that we’d need to stand in a huge customs and border control line in order to enter the country. However, they simply checked our passports and let us walk right in!

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As soon as we collected all of our bags, we picked up our rental car through ProCar. It was a dark, cold, and rainy morning with little to no sleep (thank’s to that screaming child). Once we packed everything into our tiny rental car, we drove 40 minutes to the town of Reykjavik. Not much was open, so we went to a local juice shop to refuel before starting our first day.

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The town of Reykjavik was so cute and quaint! There were so many Christmas lights and decorations for the holidays.

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We didn’t wear all of our layers during our day of travel, so as you can imagine, we were freezing while walking around outside. At 9am we went to a small cafe for breakfast. This place was known for their famous waffles, so of course that’s what we ordered! They did not disappoint!

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I’m fighting to stay awake! At this point, it was 10 in the morning and it was still pitch dark outside. We asked a local what time the sun would rise, and they told us that it typically rises around 11am during the winter.

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Our first stop in the city was the Hallgrimskirkja church. This church was built starting in 1945 and was finished in 1986. They still hold church services here today. In fact, we only had about 15 minutes to take our photos because they had a service scheduled.

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Most buildings within Reykjavic are low to the ground, so you can notice this church almost anywhere.

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This is a massive pipe organ that weighs 25 tons! This specific piece was finalized in 1992.

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Out front, there is a statue of Leif Erickson. They believe that Erickson was the very first European to discover America. There are records that suggest he found America in 1,000 A.D., which is way before Christopher Columbus.

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We stumbled upon an Islandic history museum and walked around.

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Once we were finished, we found the best hotdog stand to eat at for lunch! As you can see by the line, everyone else seems to enjoy their hotdogs as well!

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It’s located downtown across from the harbor and has been open for 80 years!

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We LOVED our hotdogs! They were so yummy, and it was a simple and easy meal to eat while exploring on our very first day.

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Throughout Iceland, you will notice churches scattered throughout. They all have white bodies with red roofs and are practically identical. The only thing that varies is the size of the building.

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We couldn’t check into our airbnb until 5pm. We killed time by driving around the city and walking in and out of shops.

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We ended our extremely long day by eating pizza in the city. Of course we had to fit pizza into our trip at least once! 🙂 None of us had slept for at least 30 hours, so we wanted something simple and comforting.

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The pizza was great and exactly what we needed!

AIRBNB REVIEW: 

We rented an apartment that was located downtown and above some of the shops. While we were searching for a place to stay, airbnb offered the best deals and had exactly what we were looking for. We didn’t want to spend too much money on a hotel that we’d essentially only be sleeping in.

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This apartment was recently renovated and very clean. It had everything that we needed! There were heated floors in the kitchen, amazing views, a heated towel rack in the bathroom, and super cozy beds.

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We wouldn’t have gotten anything as nice as this if we’d opted to stay in a hotel. If you ever find yourself in Iceland, we’d highly recommend staying here. The only downfall, was that we couldn’t check in until 5pm and the owner was very strict about this. Also, there was no parking spot included, but we never had any problems finding a spot along the street right outside.

You can find the link to this apartment by clicking HERE.

Coast & Kaminsky’s

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On Friday afternoon, Grandma and I drove to Charleston where we would spend the weekend. We made reservations at Coast Bar and Grill for dinner and had plans on meeting Taylor there. They are only open for dinner and it’s a very popular place so it’s best to make reservations if you plan on going. We got there a little early so we started with some drinks from the bar.

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For an appetizer, we split their bacon wrapped sea scallops and a half pound of peel and eat shrimp.

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The bacon wrapped scallops were huge and wood grilled and basted in pomegranate BBQ glaze.

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The shrimp were fresh, coated in old bay seasoning, and even better drenched in butter.

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For our meals, Taylor ordered the sirloin with a side of asparagus and parmesan mashed potatoes.

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Grandma and I split the grouper with sautéed veggies and parmesan mashed potatoes. The fish was great and the veggies were the best I’ve ever had!

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When we were done our meal, we really wanted dessert! The best place to get a late night dessert within downtown Charleston is hands-down, Kaminsky’s! It’s a small place on North Market Street, but super cozy and relaxing.

“Kaminsky’s entices visitors into its cozy atmosphere with a rotating selection of delectable desserts made in house daily, in addition to heaping milkshakes, specialty coffees and cold beverage creations. Delight in over-the-top varieties of classic childhood desserts, signature hot spirited specialties, dessert martinis and hot toddies. A full beer, wine and liquor selection is also available.”

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We ordered hot chocolates, a cookie sundae, and a coconut creme pie to go! The service was great and everything came out quickly. If you come in the middle of summer there will be a line down the street, but the turn time is pretty quick! Thankfully, we were able to get right in.

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The cookie sundae comes with two very fluffy, warm homemade chocolate chip cookies, vanilla bean ice cream, whipped creme, and chocolate syrup. Perfect for two!

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Once we were done with our delicious dessert, we called it a night!

Thank’s for reading! 🙂

Brunch & Coffee

Last Tuesday, Taylor’s classes were cancelled so we decided to head downtown and walk around Charleston. We weren’t expecting it to be as cold it was, so we ended up grabbing brunch at Toast and Coffee from Kudu and then heading home.

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The streets were almost empty, but they will be busy in a few weeks once the weather warms up.

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If you ever find yourself in downtown Charleston looking for some yummy southern food, you should check out Toast! They are located on Meeting Street, which is within walking distance from all the shops on King Street and tourists attractions. We love how they serve breakfast all day long, because there’s nothing worse than craving some comforting breakfast food during the early afternoon only to find that they stopped serving breakfast an hour ago. If you’re not in the mood for breakfast, they also serve lunch and dinner.

Our waitress pointed out to us that their Deluxe French Toast was featured in the NY Times, “Hailed as a must eat by the New York Times.” Taylor ordered that with the apple topping (they also have peach) and a side of bacon. I ordered their 3 cheese omelet, which came with the largest biscuit I’ve ever seen, grits (I gave to Taylor),  and a side of bacon.

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They definitely don’t short you on food here and our waitress was so sweet. We’ll definitely be back for breakfast and we really want to try their lunch menu. If you drive, you will need to either find street parking or use the parking garage. There is a parking lot beside the restaurant, but it is only for the hotel and you will be towed if you park there, so keep that in mind if you decide to drive.

When we were done with our meal, I really wanted to try Kudu’s coffee because Taylor’s roommate told me it’s one of the best coffee shops in Charleston! The inside was rustic and cozy, and I also noticed that they had an enormous outside seating area with string lights dangling above for when it gets darker out. I cannot wait to come here in the summertime!

Taylor.JPGI ordered an iced caramel latte! We really wanted to relax here while we worked, but Kudu didn’t have a single electrical socket. Neither of our computers were fully charged and we didn’t want to start and not finish anything when our computers died. They probably do this so people don’t come and stay there forever?? I’m sure it get’s busy but still, how disappointing.

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The latte was super yummy and strong! I go through phases where I like my coffee really sweet and 90% creamer or I like it really strong. Currently, I’m going through the strong phase…extra espresso shots please!

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We hope you enjoyed reading this! Let us know if there are any other places in Charleston we should give a try!