It’s been too long

Wow, I haven’t blogged in a few days!

Well let’s start with my train ride to Barcelona. I had all girls in my 4 bed car, that was nice, and they were all young. 2 other girls (one from London, one from LA) they were back packing too. They are Jewish, and one is going to study in Isreal! How neat!

These girls aren’t very smart however, one got their wallet stolen in Rome, and they weren’t prepared very well.

We all headed our seperate directions when we got to the station and I headed off to find my hostel. The hardest part was finding the metro. We arrived at the old station, so I had to walk to find a metro!! Once I found the metro, it was easy.

My hostel is neat, in the middle of a neighborhood, with a supermarket right across the street!! The rooms are in flats, with 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen!! It even had a living room to hang out in!!

I was in a room with one boy and one girl and then an empty bed. The boy always seemed to be sleeping, except when I would go to bed, then he would be off somewhere! The girl is from Germany, she was there both nights with me.

I bought some groceries (Fanta Free, jelly, bread, yogurt, cereal, milk) so that I could save money and not buy lunches. However, the first day in Barcelona I decided to try a salad and potato Tapas–both nasty, cold potatoes aren’t my things, and I don’t like anchoives!! Especially not on a salad!!

I bought an open bus tour ticket for 2 days. They covered lots of the city, and you could get on and off as you like. I decided to ride each one around all the way before I decided what to see. It took 3.5 hours to see all the city, but it helped me understand what I wanted to see.

On the first day I went to the Olympic hill and took a tram to the top of the hill. Up on top there was a castle that overlooked the city and the port. I sat on top for a while and watched the ship yard and the cruise ships. I headed back down the hill after about an hour, and got back on the tour bus. I got off at a random station and caught the metro back to my hostel. I had dinner and relaxed, watched some Spanish tv, it was funny just watching their expressions! I headed to bed around 10, but I was exhausted!! I was supposed to rain, and never did, however it was cooler that day.

The next day I got up around 930 had some breakfast and headed back out. I stopped at the Sagrada Familia church (its been under construction for 70-some years! And won’t be done til 2026!!) My tour gave us a coupon book so I got a guided tour for the cost of the normal enterance. The guided tour was nice, the lady explained every detail, the whole church made sense then!!

After the church I got back on the tour bus, and took it to the stop by the mountain. I took a trolley up partway (more coupons!) And then a funicular up the rest of the way. On the top of the mountain there is a amusement park, you don’t pay to get in, you pay for the rides only!! So I sat in the middle of the park, watching the parents and kids argue over which ride is next, and I ate my lunch!! The mountain had a full view of Barcelona and the surrounding arean it was pretty!!

After the mountain I hopped back on the bus tour and headed for the city history museum. It took 45 minutes on the bus, and 45 minutes to find it! The enterance is very hidden, but it was worth it!! I ended up underneath much of the Gothic quarter looking at the old Roman city, the original Barcelona.

It was getting later, but I decided to ride the bus to dusk! It was fun watching the city close down. I got on the metro and after a construction site manoover, made my way back to the hostel. I had some cereal and some ice cream, what a healthy dinner! Haha!!

I got most of my stuff packed up, and hit the sack. However about 20 minutes later the door flew open and 2 people (a boy and girl) were standing there. They said something and left. My roomie said they did this ealier before I got back. 10 minutes later they came back with someone that works there. They asked us if we had reservations, and then left. We thought for sure they would come back, so we chatted for awhile, after 20 minutes we gave up and went to bed.

Apparently the girl came back because she was sleeping in the top bunk this morning, neither me nor my roomie heard her!!

I’m now sitting in the Barcelona train station waiting for my train to Madrid to post. I hope they have better food in Madrid!!


Looking to head to Iceland – to see what the hype is all about? Here are some things you should keep in mind!

  • Almost everyone speaks English (but you should get the Google Translate App just in case to read signs, packaging, instructions, etc)
  • They take American Express! Random fact, but it can be difficult to find an Amex accept-er outside the US. And here they take it! (Check your credit cards and debit cards to see who has the best/lowest international transaction fees)
  • Their gas stations only take debit card or cash – or a credit card with a pin! Many gas stations are unmanned, but the system is pretty much self explanatory. Keep in mind, it works exactly like the US – it verifies you have enough to cover a FULL tank (or you can pick a smaller set amount) and then you only actually pay what you use.
  • Many gas stations have a grocery store or restaurant in the parking lot or very near. Utilize them! Food is very expensive here – your best bet is to stock up on snacks and food that you can cook at your Airbnb or Hostel.
  • Bringing your own reusable bags will come in handy as well. Iceland is actually very green (reusable energy, recycling, minimal waste, etc) Lauren recommends these. They are silicon, water resistant (think phone in wet situations), and perfect for holding sandwiches, oatmeal (bowl on the run), cut veggies, etc. They also take up like no room in your luggage to get here!
  • The weather really can change every 5 minutes. It may sound crazy, but the weather there can be unpredictable and random. From snow to sleet to rain to sun – expect it all and expect it all in an hour.
  • Bring gloves in the winter – the amount of times your hands spend out them taking pictures is almost equal to the amount of time your hands are in them – but your little fingers will thank you for the warmth.
  • Get out of Reykjavik. In most cases its actually cheaper to rent a car than to take the day tours out of the city. There is so much more to see outside of the city (like the rest of the entire island) so get out and explore the hidden gems of this beautiful country.
  • If you rent the car, get at least the gravel protection – they offer a million different plans, but the gravel protection is the most useful. This is especially true if you go North in the country.
  • Make a list of the things you want to see and on your way to see them you will end up seeing even more than you planned. Be prepared to have your plans altered due to weather.
  • Many of the attractions here are free – unless you do a tour – so take advantage of that and see all you can!
  • Unless you do tours, I would recommend about $75-100 a day for budgeting purposes once you are on your trip. You will probably come home with money (unless you drink a lot or do tours) but this would cover food, gas and souvenirs.
  • I would budget about $50-100/night for housing. Using Airbnb gives you options – but if you are traveling solo you are looking at $100-150/night for Airbnbs. In that case I would use hostels (they have many) to save some cash. If you can really splurge on your trip stay at FossHotels – primo properties with modern flare!
  • You can really only find true more, American style hotels in Reykjavik – otherwise they are more like guest houses. They may call themselves hotels – but they may only be 6-8 room quarters, some you even have communal WC.
  • Stores close pretty early here, usually between 6-7pm. Restaurants are open later usually until about 10pm. If you want groceries or to shop, get out early!
  • No need to tip! Another nice benefit of leaving the US is not needing to tip – there is a service charge in your price, so just swipe, sign and walk!