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A Guide to Reykjavik, Iceland …

A Guide to Reykjavik, Iceland …
Guide to reykjavik

Views of Reykjavik

visiting iceland

Shopping for warmth

Long before I visited Reykjavik I was so intrigued about what this tiny island capital would have in store. It didn’t fail to disappoint my high expectation. The city looks like a small village but has a big city attitude with modern dining, an awesome bar scene and more art and culture than you can poke a herring at. Here is my guide of what to do to do and where to do.

Top tips for  reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja church

Icelandic street style. Image courtesy of Pinterest

Icelandic street style. Image courtesy of Pinterest

What to do:

  • Swim: Icelanders take their swimming VERY seriously, so a pool visit is a must. The Grafarvogslaug pool has 5 pools ranging in temperatures and a steam bath. So head there, de-robe and get wet.
  • Explore: The city is small but it is full of surprises. Take some time to wind in and out of the streets to admire the colourful buildings, street art and great shopping on Laugavegur, the old fishing wharfs down by the bay and the pond next to city hall.
  • Listen to music: Icelanders are avid artists and everyone is a slashie. Teacher/snow plougher/drummer or Model/Chef/Singer, and as a result, the music is mind blowing. I was lucky enough to visit while Iceland Airwaves was on which is the best way to enjoy up and coming artists performing in random locations across the city including book shops, art galleries, the blue lagoon sidewalks and Harpa, the stunning concert hall by the harbour.
  • People watch: Iceland boasts some of the most beautiful people in the world – the girls look like super models and the men looks like hipster lumberjacks. They all have an incredible sense of individual style, making it ideal to sit, stare and marvel at their coolness.
  • Enjoy the view: Hallgrímskirkja church is the main landmark in the city and can be seen in almost anywhere in the city. Climb to the top and enjoy sweeping views across the city, harbour and across the mountains.

best things to do in iceland

hamborgarabulla-tomasar

Inside Hamborgarabullan’s beautiful restaurant by the harbour, home to the best burgers in the city

k bar food

Soft shell crab sandwich from K-bar

Where to eat:

  • Kex Hostel: is home to some of the best food in town and it won’t break the bank. You can enjoy beautiful Icelandic seafood, burgers and bar snacks like the braised reindeer shank in crispy batter with herb cream.
  • Grillið: is located on the top floor of the Radisson hotel overlooking the whole city of Reykjavik. So while you’re enjoying the stunning views you and feast on some of the best fine Icelandic dining in the city.
  • The Laundromat Café: is super cute, super cosy and super central. It has big beautiful windows perfect for people watching. and is a great option any time of day, from breakfast through to dinner.
  • Stofan Café: Icelanders are obsessed with coffee and have some of the highest consumption in the world. Café Stofan is an ideal place to get a strong coffee and get comfortable on some of the many vintage couches if the weather is woolly outside.
  • Hamborgarabullan: This is Iceland’s answer to a good old fashion diner with crisp fries, juicy burgers and heart stopping shakes on the menu. There harbour side restaurant is a must visit at night, as it is a tiny little building lit up by hundreds of fairy lights.
  • K-bar: perhaps my favourite place in the city, maybe because I dined next to BJORK! What a way to top off the ultimate Icelandic experience. K-pop serves up Korean fusion treats including fried chicken, Korean seafood Bouillabaisse and kimchi sliders.
There I am, exploring the streets of Downtown Reykjavik

There I am, exploring the streets of Downtown Reykjavik

Street art reykjavik

Reykjavik Street Art

 

amazing things to see in iceland

Gullfoss waterfall

 

Where to drink

  • Slippbarinn: the bar is located right on the harbour so you can enjoy beautiful views sometimes even of the northern lights if you’re lucky. The bar is one the newest in town and they serve spectacular cocktails.
  • Snaps: the walls are plastered with newsletter and plenty of hanging pot plates throughout giving this funky bar a homely atmosphere. This lovely little low key bistro is the perfect place to start the night by enjoying some local beers like Borg and some killer cocktails like the Snaps Margarita.
  • Kaffibarinn: you will often see a line to get in here as crowds flock here to enjoy the live music and thumping dance floor. Icelanders LOVE to drink and party, and there is no better place to live like a local than here.
  • Prikid: This place is home to one of the best coffees in Iceland, but by nice the caffeine is replaced by booze and the tables are pushed to the side to create room for all the thirsty locals and tourists.
Blue lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

 

Guide to reykjavik  glacier

Getting lost in the ice

Day trips:

The benefit of Reykjavik being so small is that getting out and in is a breeze. If you’re not planning on traveling around the country I definitely recommend a few day trips to see some of the incredible landscape.

  • Snorkelling or Scuba Dive: Yep, you read that right, snorkelling. Take a deep dive in a dry suit between the two tectonic plates of America and Europe and admire the endless depths of incredibly fresh (and freezing) water. Scuba Iceland are the best company to do this through, and try and see if you can go with Nina or Wouter as your guides, they were incredibly friendly and fun.
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Hire a car, grab a GPS and drive towards Iceland’s largest glacier lagoon. On the drive you will pass snow-capped mountains, beautiful little towns, incredible waterfalls and endless lava fields.
  • The golden triangle: This is a well-travelled trifecta of sights to be been that requires some more driving. If you follow the trail you will visit Geysir where hot spring water shoots 25m into the air, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall and the Þingvellir national park where the tectonic plates are slowly being pulled apart right in front of your eyes.
  • The Blue Lagoon: Mineral-rich hot water from far beneath the earth forms this spectacular, super warm lagoon. You can float all day while soaking up the view of the rugged lava landscape.
Guide to reykjavik road trip

Road tripping through the lava fields

Planning a trip to iceland

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

 

Where to stay:

  • Hotel Borg: A beautifully restored historical building in the centre of town. The rooms are sophisticated, the beds are comfortable and the location couldn’t be better.
  • Kex Hostel: Don’t let the title fool you, Kex is just as good as many of the hotels I have stayed in if not better. Home to live music, a great bar and restaurant and some of the coolest, quirkiest interiors I have ever seen. You can get private or dorm rooms, all at a ridiculously cheap price (for Iceland) and all with amazing views across the water to snow-capped mountains.

best things to do to rejkjavic

Tips:

  • Grapevine Reykjavik is an awesome online and print magazine that is a wealth of knowledge of the latest updates on new restaurants, gigs and galleries.
  • I Heart Reykjavik is another great source of info, you gotta love a blogger!
  • Iceland is expensive, buy booze duty free on our way in
  • The name ICE-land says is all – pack warm clothes that can handle some rain and snow and some good walking shoes
  • Read Burial Rites by Hannah and Tales of Iceland by Stephan Markley before you go as well as my interesting facts about Iceland post.
  • Travel during the Northern lights seasons between October and March, they are truly amazing.

How to get there:
Iceland Air has many direct flights from capital cities across Northern America and Europe.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Guide to reykjavik 1

Until next time….

 

Posts cards from: Havana, Cuba …

Posts cards from: Havana, Cuba …

I recently returned from my Central American trip and my last (but certainly not least) destination was Cuba. Lots of people have asked me about what I thought of the country that is so well known for all the wrong reasons – the best word I can find in my limited vocabulary to describe it is fascinating. Despite having next to nothing and being ruled by one fierce leader after the next, the people I met were incredibly hospitable, happy, generous, creative and optimistic. Havana, the decaying but incredibly beautiful capital, was a feast for the eyes with gorgeous colourful buildings and people everywhere. Here are a few of my favourite photos…

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Review: The Standard Hotel, New York

Review: The Standard Hotel, New York

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The hotel has become an icon itself thanks to its patchwork of glass towering into the sky enabling you to view inside peoples rooms and vice versa. And as I mentioned, it is positioned above the beloved high line and more than an arm’s distance from any other buildings (very rare for NYC). Views in every direction, no matter what floor you are on, a bonus because there is nothing worse than forking out a few hundred for a nice hotel to look onto a barron parking lot or a brick wall.

The Hotel is home to the uber exclusive club the Boom Boom Room, the popular German style beer garden and The Standard Bar and Grill, home to potentially the best burger I have ever tasted. And I don’t take such claims lightly.

Restaurants aside, the hotel is quintessentially New York. The rooms are small but trendy and boast views of the highline right underneath it, the Hudson River and the never ending city skyline of Manhattan. Centrally located with some of the city’s best shopping and dining right at your door.

  • Service: friendly, casual and helpful.
  • Room service: A good variety of options, served quickly and good quality. Watch out though, it’s expensive!
    Rooms: compact but functional – you want to be sure you’re comfortable with any others staying with you, there is zero bathroom privacy. On the plus side, you can wash your hair while admiring the city skyline and highland below.
    Amenity: A roof top gym, pool, free wifi, plenty of dining options – the hotel has everything you will need.
    Best for: a holiday or weekender for couples or friends – not ideal for the business traveller as there are no meeting rooms.
    Price: It is expensive given it is not a luxury hotel but worth the money if you have it for the views and experience alone.
  • Location: The meatpacking district is central making travel uptown, downtown and Brooklyn easy. Some of the restaurants best shopping and dining is right at your door.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Review: The Crown Metropol ….

Review: The Crown Metropol ….

Metropol

Southbank is a great alternative if your visiting Melborune to explore the city because you get to admire the views of the city and other Melbourne landmarks like Flinders Street station, the Yarra River and Federation Square from your room. Crown has plenty of hotel options in close proximity to their casino which is home to some of the biggest names in Australia’s restaurant scene (Rockpool, Spice Temple and Heston Blumenthal ‘s Fat Duck to open there soon).  The best thing about the Metropol is that it is brand spanking new as far as hotels go, so no feeling like you stepped back in time into a bad 80’s movie set here. The views are incredible, especially if you are awake for the sunrise and watching the hot air balloons descend over the CBD.

The service: Professional and friendly
The food:  Fantastic. Not just your normal room service here, you can order selected items from the resort’s restaurant menus and the breakfast buffet is -Off. The. Charts.
The rooms: Generous with space, open bathroom lay out with separate toilet and showers with an open large bath tub, a good variety of magazines and TV channels. Great modern design, natural light and comfortable interiors, definitely a room you want to spend a bit of time in.
Amenity: my favourite part of staying at the Metropol is doing early morning laps in their roof top pool with double height ceilings with views spanning across the city. The roof top bar and gym are also get the nod of approval from me – nothing better than working out and drinking on top of the world.
The Lobby: Huge, grand, modern and it features a stunning piece of colourful art I would love in my own home.
Best for: Work travel or Melbourne weekender.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Top 100 Best Things to do in New York

Top 100 Best Things to do in New York

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Just like the tacky tourist mugs and t-shirts say – I HEART NYC! After living there once (very briefly) and visiting many times, I never get sick of the city that never sleeps. Here is a list of 100 of the best things to do in the Big Apple (in no particular order) and a few what not to do’s:

1. Have a boozy brunch at Clinton Street Baking House

2. Have a day of eating at Eataly

3. Walk around the Guggenheim
4. Go ice skating at Rockefeller or Central Park
5. Go bowling at Brooklyn Bowl
6. Walk down Fifth Avenue
7. Watch (or play) street basketball at Riverside Park
8. Marvel at the art at the Met
9. Take a step back in time at the Natural History Museum
10. Walk the highline
11. Sit on your lap top at the Ace Hotel lobby
12. Catch the subway… you never know what will happen
13. Bar hop in the Lower East Side
14. Go to tranny bingo at Lips
15. Row a boat in Central Park
16. Go to Yankee Stadium and watch a game
17. Kayak on the Hudson River
18. Have high tea at the Plaza
19. Walk done Madison Avenue
20. Wonder through the Chelsea markets
21. Go shopping in the meat packing district
22. Have a cocktail at the Boom Boom room at sunset
23. Have a cheese burger at the Standard Grill
24. Have afternoon drinks at the Frying Pan boat bar
25. Go to the Chelsea Pier driving range
26. Get a chopper ride around Manhattan
27. Pick up a bargain at the Brooklyn flea market
28. Go op shopping in Brooklyn
29. Have a drink at the Wythe Hotel roof top bar
30. Wonder the cobble stone streets of West Village
31. See live comedy at the Comedy Cellar
32. Go to the top of the Rockafeller
33. See a Broadway show
34. Cycle around central park
35. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
36. Have a picnic in Central Park
37. Gallery hop around Chelsea
38. Go shopping in Soho
39. Have lunch at the Boat House
40. Eat a gyro platter from the Halal guys
41. Get a massage at Okuyama Bodywork
42. Watch an outdoor movie at Bryant Park
43. Eat a slice of cheese pizza at Joe’s
44. Eat Mexican at La Esquina
45. Take a street art tour of Bushwick
46. Eat a rack of ribs at Dinosaur kitchen
47. Taste some beer at Brooklyn Brewery
48. Go to the big apple block party
49. Get drunk at a dive bar
50. Watch a game or concert at Madison Square garden
51. Volunteer at the Eagle Street Roof Top Farm
52. Go for a swim at the Equinox Printing Room roof top pool
53. Take a break and the Elevated Arce
54. Check out the old city hall subway station
55. Pay your respects at the 9/11 memorial
56. Drink beer at the movies at Nitehawk cinema
57. Eat a sandwich a pastrami at Katz Deli
58. Eat a cream cheese bagel at Murray’s bagels
59. Do sunset yoga in Fort Tryon Park
60. Eat dinner at Baltazar
61. Eat a burger at The Spotted Pig
62. Have lunch at ABC kitchen
63. Stay at The Standard Hotel
64. Admire The Frick collection at The Met
65. Explore the up and coming art scene in Dumbo
66. Drink at a college bar in Union Square
67. Go to a gay bar on Christopher Street
68. Eat dumpling’s at Ping’s Seafood, China Town
69. Eat tacos from the El Ray del Taco food truck
70. Grab a book and a coffee at Housing Works Book Store
71. Eat Sushi at Nobu
72. Spend the night at the Crosby Hotel
73. Have a coffee at Toby’s Estate
74. Go to the underground Apple store
75. Play on the giant key board at FAO Schwartz
76. Hit the d-floor at Brass Monkey
77. Eat meatballs at the meatball shop
78. Eat lunch at Pastsis
79. See a gig at terminal 5 or Radio City Music Hall
80. Go to MOMA
81. Buy designer fashion from a consignment store
82. Eat a cronut from Dominque Ansel Bakery
83. Make dumplings at Brooklyn Brainey’s cooking school
84. Take a Tribeca loft tour
85. Hail a yellow cab
86. Go to the Tenement Museum
87. Admire the view from 230 Fifth
88. Eat a cup cake from Mongolia Bakery
89. Take the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island
90. See jazz at the Village Vanguard
91. Eat a pretzel or hotdog off the street
92. Catch a train from Grand Central
93. Go on the roller coast at Coney Island
94. Admire the Statue of Liberty
95. Go to the top of the Empire State Building
96. Ride the Wall Street bull
97. Spend an afternoon drinking at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
98. Walk the streets of Little Italy
99. People watch… anywhere!
100. Have a sleepless night in the city that never sleeps.

3 things NOT to do:

1.  Go to Time Square – It looks just like the photos, don’t waste your time
2. Go to Mid-town – boooooring
3. Ride the horses in central park – horses don’t belong in the CBD, don’t encourage it!

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

P.S Send me any I missed!