Roma!

Oh goodness, let’s see here we will start with yesterday (8-19-08)…

Once we arrived back at our beautiful room, with the patio, we got settled in. I repacked by backpack, twice, and packed my suitcase for home. We decided to go find the Fendi store for Susan. So that means, Spanish steps. There is a so called ‘shopping triangel’ of all the high end and name brand stores, the middle point being the Spanish steps. We headed down the middle street, and apparently Versace moved, because it wasn’t where it was 4 years ago. I didn’t think we were ever going to find it, and dad looked up and goes, oh there it is. So, I took a picture first, then the guard at the gate opened the door for us. Dad was a little freaked that one lady follows you around the whole time, but nothing in thw store is cheap, and they will do anything for their customers, so she had to follow us around. If we would have wanted something to drink, she would have gotten us something. I helped dad pick out a purse I think Susan will like, we paid for it and left. We headed down the next street, and there it was, Nike Roma! It was beautiful, haha!! Actually it was small, but I just wanted a shirt that said ‘Nike Roma’ and I found one! So I was satisfied.

We came back from the Spanish Steps and shopping, settled in a bit more, then headed out for dinner. I had pizza again, and dad had some pasta. He got to keep his wine bottle, he’s going to make a candle with it they even gave him a bag to put it in! We got some gelato on the way back, and ate it on our patio as we tried to figure out why my external hard drive wasn’t working, however, we couldn’t figure it out. We went to bed, and slept hard, this hotel is just so nice!

Today (8-20-08) started wonderfully! I woke up and remembered I packed the cord that came with my hard drive, and boom! It worked!! Yeah, so that means I don’t have to lug my computer around! How exciting! Anyway, we ate breakfast and headed to the Holy land…the Vatican. We had a tour at 1130, which essentially just let us bypass the rediculously long lines to get it to the muesum and the Sistine Chapel. We had audio guides, but didn’t really use them, only on the stuff we thought looked cool. The Vatican has an amazing collection of Egyptian relics. We also saw some cool paintings, one of Raphels painting that has Michelangelo, Leonardo and himself in it. I’d seen it before, but its pretty cool with an explaination. Then we made our way to the Sistine Chapel, it only took about 2 miles of rooms, and over an hour on foot! But the Sistine Chapel is a rectangular room, and about 3/4 of the way down there is a railing looking thing, its about 10 feet tall. Then there is the art. Its beautiful. The colors are still very vibrant. When you are in the chapel you cannot to pictures (No Foto!) And every minute or so they yell ‘Shhhhh’ but ofcourse, Heidi, I got you some pictures! I don’t know how clear they are, but I will put them up tomorrow for you!! It took us over 2 hours to go through the museum and chapel, and when we got out it was after 130. We stopped and had some strawberries and water, then headed back to St Peters square. We decided to climb the coupola! The dome is so high, actually its the highest point in Rome! Law saw that no building can be higher than the dome! So, we took the elevator to the top of the church, then climbed the 320 (or 312 according to dad) to the top of the dome, and WHAT A VIEW! We decided this was the best view yet. While you could see the Roman forum, a building was blocking the Colosseum 😦

After St Peter domes, we walked around the chapel, then headed down to the tomb of Popes. Its was cool, first we saw John Paul I, then we came upon John Paul II, Mr JPII himself Tok well his grave). People we kneeling in front, and guards were moving people along, but JPII clearly was loved. After the Vatican we decided to go see the Trevi fountain.

I told dad it was on the back of a building, he goes, ‘it really is on the back of a building.’ Well it is! We through our coins in, got pictures of us doing that, and relaxed for a little bit. Then we came back to the room to drop our stuff off before dinner. Dinner was good, I had pizza, again, its just that its so good because everything is soooo fresh, and I love all the different cheeses!! Tomorrow we are going to the Colosseum and the Roman forum.

We saw the lights!

I finished my blog last night around midnight. I decided to get the cameras ready for what I hoped to be a viewing of the Northern Lights. Our location was spot on, up above the city, not too many lights around, and nothing too big in our way. I wanted to set up the GoPro to capture what I could via time lapse (I still dont know if this worked, it took TONS of pictures). While I was outside setting up the GoPro, I heard some people talking and looked up and noticed what at first I thought were whispy clouds – and then I realized they were turning light green and were in fact THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!

I ran into the cabin to wake Lauren – “Wake Up!” Nothing. “Wake Up!!” Nothing. “Buddy, wake UP!! The Lights!!” She finally woke up, we bundled up, I grabbed the camera and we went outside to see the light show!! It was pretty vibrant at first – but it faded pretty quickly. I think I spent about 35 minutes outside watching the show and attempting to snap some pictures of the party! The main picture on this page was actually taken by my Google Pixel 2 – Google for the win! I also set up my Nikon D3400 with a 18-55mm lens at first and then switched to my fisheye 8mm lens.

This morning we slept in as much as we could and then Lauren started making us lunch for our road trip today. The drive is only about 2.5 hours to the next Airbnb, but you can never have enough road trip food!

Our first stop was the seal museum. It was like $10/person for this tiny little hole in the wall museum – but they also do research, so the money was worth it. We learned a lot about seals and how they interact and we realized they look like water meerkats and dogs in one. After the museum we headed to the wool factory! I need to say that I keep thinking Im going to see how wool is made, but in reality what you see is what is made with wool. It was pretty cool though and Lauren was in heaven so it was a win.

The worst decision we’ve made….

So it turns out that 2.5 hours is NOT in fact accurate, but that could just be my driving. Let’s start out with the fact we had to backtrack this morning to see this super cool waterfall (Kolugljufur). It was only about 25 minutes, but that should have been our first sign of the day. The road to get to the falls was a gravel road (remember, gravel insurance – today it paid off!). It wasnt far – maybe about 5km on that dirt road, but Lauren was already feeling it! (she gets a bit nervous) These waterfalls were a great find, and we were happy to stop and take a peak at the beauty that this area had to offer.

Next stop on the crazy train was a geothermal bath that has been recently rebuilt after being covered in a mudslide a couple hundred years ago. Turns out, this is the start of our worst decision (yet). To get to said bath we had to drive roughly 1.5 hours (according to google). However, what google failed to tell us was that more than half the drive was on a gravel road. And that our other option was an even worse gravel road. So we turned around got some gas and headed back (we had no idea what we were getting into). The drive was long, hard and FULL of potholes. Im not sure the car ever went over 50kph. I was constantly dodging pothole after pothole and Lauren was constantly wincing with worry. The weather didnt help either because it was raining and windy. So the rain just made the wipers mad with its inconsistency and the windy just made the car mad with its inconsistency.

When we finally arrived at the bath – the look on Lauren’s face was priceless. It was just a small little 10′ diameter rock pool with warm water. Yes, you read that right, warm. It wasnt hot – this cant be qualified as a hot spring or a hot tub. But it was quaint and it was an experience. We parked the car and grabbed our suits. We had to climb a snow covered hill up to the bath and then about 3 meters above the bath was a rustic changing house. We had to slosh down to the bath after we changed to get into the water. It was still raining and it was only so warm. It was here in the bath that Lauren said she wouldnt have come once she saw the road (gravel) but because I didnt hesitate she rolled with it. Neither one of us are quite sure that ride was worth it – other than to tell this story now.

We spent a good 15 minutes in the warm bath (again, NOT hot). We had to slosh back up to the changing cabin and then changed quickly and sloshed back down to the car. It should also be noted we didnt have towels (this place is unmanned) so shirts had to do.

We got back on the road to our Airbnb in Stykkisolmur. It was another 1.5 hours according to google. And once again, it lied. It was a gravel road basically until we pulled into town. And this time it was worse than the first. We were driving cliff side, at a few points I was shocked the road wasnt washed out because of the amount of water flowing over it. We even had a front row seat to some waterfalls! (At this point we shouldnt be proud of that fact, it was scary, but cool.) Once we arrived in town we were able to find our Airbnb very easily.

What we werent able to find was food. this town is very tiny. And tiny doesnt work all the time with a vegan in tow. After two failed restaurant attempts we landed on a “fancy” restaurant in town – and what do you know – VEGAN friendly! it was the perfect place to sit our butts after a long day in the car. (emotionally and physically long, not necessarily time-wise). Lauren had a vegan burger and I got the cod. They of course had amazing sourdough bread and butter and salt (thats a thing). After dinner we headed back to the Airbnb and attempted to use the hot tub – but sadly it didnt not work. So shower and bedtime for very exhausted bonzos!!