Visiting Jökulsárlón in Iceland

Visiting Glacier Lagoon Iceland - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

In January my husband and I spent 10 days driving around the west and southern portions of Iceland – as an aside, move Iceland up to the top of your holiday list.  Just trust me.  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the most impressive sights we saw was Jökulsárlón, also known as the Glacier Lagoon.  Located on the south east side of the island, this magical place is well worth the drive.

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Quick Bits: Friendship

Ueno Park Tokyo, Japan - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park – Tokyo, Japan

This is probably one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken.  Not that the photo itself is some masterpiece by any means, but the scene that I stumbled upon in Ueno Park during my first trip to Japan spoke to me.

No matter our lot in life, fundamentally we all need friendship.  We all need to feel the love of a another living thing.

I have a print of the original photo hanging up in my cubicle at work.  It’s a little reminder that each day we have the choice to show love, respect, and friendship to those around us.

4 Tips for Making the Most Out of Walker Stalker Con

Walker Stalker Con Tips - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

Full disclosure:  for most of my life I never understood the appeal of conventions (cons, if you will).  Sure, I like comics, superheroes, and shows like The Walking Dead as much as the next person.  However, taking precious vacation time to spend several days staring and shouting at actors, writers, and artists…and the whole dressing up thing…

Then, as it goes with most things in life we think we don’t like, my husband and I actually went to a con.  Oh!  The error in my ways!  Being big Walking Dead fans, the Walker Stalker Cons are our favorites.  As we prepare for our second convention in Atlanta later this fall, I wanted to give you a little glimpse into this world.  So brave the zombie apocalypse and get ready for four tips to help you make the most of your con experience!

WSC Atlanta Entrance - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

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Here Little Pig, Little Pig – Iberian Ham Tour Madrid

Madrid Tapas Trip Tour - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

I have a confession:  I might have a small obsession with jamón ibérico – AKA Iberian ham.  Trust me though, after one bite I am pretty confident you’ll understand why.  However, given that it is virtually impossible to get your hands on the stuff in the United States, you can appreciate why I hopped at the chance to take the Madrid Wine Tasting with Iberian Ham and Tapas Tour with Madrid Tapas Trip.

Madrid Tapas Trip Ham Leg - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

Be still my heart…

 

 

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Lions and Tigers and…Elk?

Elk Preserve - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

Well hello there!

As I am sure most of you have gathered, virtually 100% of my travel adventures are far from home.  However, the past 6 months have been an almost non-stop travel craze.  Since September 2015 I’ve been to Japan twice, Chile, Spain twice, Germany, Iceland, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, North Carolina…. it is pretty much a miracle that I can remember my own name at this point.

I am genuinely happy to be home for more than a 4 day stretch.  All of the travel makes me appreciate that sometimes there are amazing things right around the corner.  Right near our house are a series of forest preserves.  One of these, right off a busy street, features of all things, an elk preserve.

These guys have actually lived on the 17 acre preserve since 1925 when they were brought by train from Yellowstone National Park to Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA.  When you walk through the tree covered trails and catch a glimpse of one of these majestic creatures, all of the hustle and bustle of the city just drops away.

Explore what’s right around you.  You might just find a new treasure.

Elk Eating - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

 

Quick Bit – Toledo, Spain

Toledo - acheckedbag.wordpress

I’m back home this weekend which means (finally) back on track for weekly Wednesday posts next week. For now just a quick share from my trip to Toledo, Spain on Sunday. I could have walked those narrow streets for days!

Swimming Downstream

Japanese Garden - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

Japanese Garden – New Otani Hotel Tokyo

Typically I have zero issue with sticking out – I’m covered in tattoos, so case in point. However, traveling abroad begs a different question:  do you have a bit more fun when you for in?

As a white woman with dark hair, blending comes rather easily in many places – I don’t ignore this truth. That being said, I feel as though culturally I blend in places like Japan just as much and I think it counts for more.

Something as simple as knowing key words (hello, please, thank you, excuse me, etc) opens doors and hearts for you. Plus….it is rather amusing to then have locals assume you are also a local (or at least a fluent speaker), and rattle off all sorts of things in Spanish, German, Japanese or what have you.  Not going to lie. I’ve had all three of those happen in recent months – discussing mini bar charges at check out is way beyond my 8 word Japanese vocabulary, but both me and the front desk got a kick out of it.

As I sit here in the Munich airport, I appreciate that most places will richly reward you for taking a little bit of your time to learn about them before you visit.  For example, I’ve been practicing my “cava / jamón / patatas bavas por favor” for this next week in Madrid. 😉

Ice With That?

Glacier Lagoon Iceland - acheckedbag.wordpress.com

I’m still fighting jet lag from Japan and getting ready to hit the road again on Monday, but wanted to share a little tease of one of our favorite places in Iceland – Jökulsárlón:  Glacier Lagoon.

We almost didn’t go.  The weather was rubbish.  We were worried about the roads.  However, the thing about Iceland is just give it 10 minutes or drive a couple miles, and everything changes.  Sometimes you just have to take a chance and be ready for an amazing reward.

No filter on the picture above.  It seriously was that blue.  Created by glacial ice melting off of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, the lagoon is an every changing wonderland.   It is a 5-6 hour drive from Reykjavik, but the drive is a spectacular one – some of my favorite views were along this stretch.

More pictures to come!