welcome ... enjoy yourself

Monday, September 29, 2014

hallgrímskirkja church

I love visiting churches.  I love seeing how people honor what they find sacred.  It says so much about the people and the culture who built it/them.  In Iceland we visited Hallgrímskirkja church, a Lutheran parish church designed by Guðjón Samuel in 1937 and constructed from 1945 to 1986.  The statue in front of the church is of Leifur Eiriksson (the first European to discover America!) and was a gift from the United States to Iceland in 1930, the 1000 year anniversary of the founding of their parliament at Þingvellir.  

I thought the starkness of the church was so interesting compared to the churches we saw in Europe last year.  It exemplified Iceland to me - so European but so different.  Iceland is a place all its own.  

Thanks for checking out my photos!  Hope you enjoyed them.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

goodbye summer 2014


Summer 2014, you were busy and wonderful.  I've done a round up of my favorite experiences from this summer, and I hope you enjoy looking through them!  Not pictured here: a blog design update (woot!!), lots of relaxing evenings hanging out in the living room with Paul and the pups, a job change, long weeks at work, roller derby practices, dog walks, and tasty picnics.  Here are the things (that I took pictures of) that made my summer:


7/15 http://www.findingjoyinallthings.com/2014/07/portland-farmers-market.html








Thursday, September 25, 2014

reykjavik part 1

Welcome to post three(ish) of our Iceland travel photos.  I don't think I've mentioned yet that we traveled to Iceland with five other friends Paul went to college with.  I was completely impressed that they were all able to coordinate this kind of trip, and now I'm inspired to plan a similar trip.   Probably not to Iceland, but anywhere would be cool really.    

We stayed at an Airbnb apartment in Reykjavik, about a 25 minute walk to downtown (5-10 minute drive).  During our first full day in Reykavik (after we recuperated from our trip to Blue Lagoon and went grocery shopping), we walked downtown along the ocean path.  These first two photos are of the views that met us when we got to the water about 10 minutes into our walk.  

Walking further along the shoreline, we came to the Solfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture.  It was unveiled in 1990 on Reykjavik's 200th birthday.  It's actually a dreamboat, not a Viking boat, and represents the "promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress, and freedom."  

Harpa: Reykjavik's concert hall and conference center. It's home for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera.
The Reykjavik Cathedral Hallgrímskirkja that can be seen around the city.  I'll be sharing a post on the church next week!

The best advertisement I saw: share a Coke with an Icelandic friend!  Will you share with Helga or Uglu?!

You can bet that we had to make a stop here.  Luckily they had some wine for me since my stomach doesn't seem to mix well with beer.  Sorry beer.  Sorry tastebuds.  

And now the rest of the this post will be dedicated to restaurants, food, and eating.  The best meal I had in Iceland was at Restaurant Lokjarbrekka (don't ask me to pronounce that for you - or any of the Iceland words for that matter!).  

This restaurant specialized in Icelandic delicacies like fermented shark, puffin, and whale (seen above).  I sampled the fermented shark, and I'll say that it earns its reputation as Iceland's most polarizing dish.  It had a squishy texture and smelled strongly like ammonia.  I won't go on.  (This was the table's appetizer.  I felt too guilty to eat the puffin or whale.)  My main course was arctic charr, and I had some kind of chocolate cake amazingness for dessert. 

We also tested the local grocery store, bakery, organic food store, and hot dog restaurant closer to our apartment.  The ability to visit these places was one of my favorite parts of staying where we did.  It felt like we got a more real taste of what Icelandic daily life is like.

This is the Mondlukaka we found at the bakery; it's an Icelandic almond cake.  We got one for dessert the night we ate a home cooked spaghetti dinner at the apartment, and everybody gave it two thumbs up. 

And finally: the hot dog restaurant!!  Hot dogs are one of Iceland's most popular foods.  Crazy huh?  After I saw what counted as a hot dog I understood a little better why they were so popular.  The kind we tried were closer to sausage than American hotdogs are.  They were super flavorful and smelled amazing!

Look how happy those hotdogs made them!  

Thanks for reading :)  More pictures coming in Reykjavik part 2.  

P.S. Have you been taking any autumn themed pictures?  Share them on Instragram with the hashtag #findingjoyinautumn to enter my autumn Instagram challenge!  More details here.