26 April 2014

24-Hours in Iceland!

In 2005 I made it my life goal to travel to a new country every year. Last year I took a well-documented week long trip to Croatia to climb, and this year I visited Norway for a week of backcountry skiing. To start the trip off right, I did a quick stop-over in Iceland for 23.5 crazy hours in Reykjavik and the surrounding countryside.

Oh, and I convinced my friend Nick to come on the trip with just four-week's notice and no passport. We "popped his passport stamp cherry" together in the airport in fact. The customs agent actually gave us an Icelandic "wahoo" when I told him.

My PEOPLE are here! Sadly NOT our rental car.

We left Seattle at 4pm local time and took a 7+ hour flight direct to Reykjavik, landing at 6am local time. I slept on the flight for a few hours and Nick got about 45 mins of shut-eye, so obviously we were wide awake for our rental car pick-up (once we found it - seriously we spent 15 minutes just wandering around looking for the damn car) and EXCITING ski-bag luggage storage excursion.

Our itinerary was basically planned by an experienced Iceland-visitor, so we followed his advice and drove straight to the world famous Blue Lagoon, where we slept in the rental car like vagabonds for two ours until the pools opened. Because we're classy like that. 

Just outside the Blue Lagoon

Nick and kC, rocking the Blue Lagoon like A BOSS!
After our skin was silky smooth from the mud and salt bath, we drove 2 hours north east into the Icelandic interior and saw Geysir, the first original geyser after which all other "geysers" are named.

Geysir. Blew up every 4-7 minutes. Quite impressive.

More Yellowstone-like pools of blue hottness

Another quick 20-minutes in the car heading north and we were at Gullfoss, a rather impressive 2-stage waterfall dropping into a very deep canyon. Being a great traveler, I had read absolutely nothing about this waterfall before the trip, and was completely floored by the beauty and grandness of the rushing water.

Photo by Nick. Enhancements by iPhone ;-)

Grandpa Max was mightily impressed too!

Kristina: Suffers from Shortness. Nearly fell over right after this photo was taken.

We grabbed some surprisingly delicious fried chicken sandwiches from an Icelandic-equivalent gas station (seriously guys, these were like a 7/10 on the sammich scale) and headed out on our 2.5 hour drive back to downtown Reykjavik. I let Nick drive, which was an AWESOME idea because I took a little carnap, AND we made it back in less than 2 hours. Not that he was speeding or anything.

Do I really need to caption this?
Think this town is ready for the TUTU?

In Reykjavik we checked into our hostel and set about drinking our 6-pack acquired at Duty Free.. Seeing as we don't read Icelandic, we selected our beer based on the label and alcohol content. We were not disappointed.

With a map, cameras, and I'll admit it, a little drunk, we walked (stumbled?) to Sabud, a delicious dinner place recommended by more than a few people. We dined on sumptuous lobster bisque, baluga whale (I am sorry - it was mighty tasty), and red fish. My belly was happy :)

Post dinner included wandering actual downtown until Nick tried to get into a fight with a drunk guy  (we successfully broke up a potential domestic violence situation and it was mostly uneventful) and then ending back up at the hostel where they shut down the bar at 11pm so we just went to bed. Here are some of the pictures from our wandering:

Icelandic JUMP!

Icelandic BALLET!
Icelandic SUNSET!
Icelandic SELFIE!

Sunday morning was quite eventful trying to get gas, pick up the ski bags, AND get to the airport in time for our 7:50am flight. It all went smoothly until we got to the airport and waited in a 20-minute baggage check line only to be rerouted to ANOTHER line due to the fact that Nick had a backpack - which is considered "oversize". Really irritating. Once we boarded the plane it started snowing and we sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour waiting for the de-icing machine to save us. I was pretty sure we'd be stranded in Oslo with our already-short layover to go through customs, check in to our new flight, and go back through security....but the travel gods were in our favor and we made it!
Next blog - Norway!

Did we eat Long Bread on our trip? Keep reading to find out! (and seriously read that "long bread" description. Hilarious.

11 April 2014

Turns All Year Month 30 (before 30)

When I first started the 30 Before 30 List (inspired by Ginger! Thanks girl!) I had no idea that Turns All Year was even a thing. Hiking to ski? Nothankyouplease.

But then I went out. And it was AWESOME. And I was hooked.

I remember fondly when I made my first 12-months. Originally on my 30 Before 30 List as a "goal", then I realized, "Hey, if I make it until April 2014 (one month before my 30th birthday), I will have skied 30-consecutive months!" So obviously I decided I needed to do that.

For month THIRTY I took a Tuesday off from work (thanks best job ever!) to hit the slopes on April Fool's Day with Matt. Only it wasn't a joke - we were really skiing while everyone else was really at work. The sun was out and it was glorious.

Hi Stevens!

We waited in no lines, with the exception of waiting a chair in the afternoon, which was pretty terrible. We almost just packed up our stuff and high tailed it outta there. "This place is really getting crowded," we said in disgust.

After exhausting ourselves with 18 runs in a mere 4.5 hours (including an hour long lunch break!), we opted to head back to Seattle where the weather was also perfect. So...we went boating. Because: boatley.

Hellooooooo Lake Union

So, to recap for those of you who don't read this and just look at photos (and thus for whom me writing this paragraph is a complete waste of time) here is what my day looked like:

April Fools! No, but seriously, I skied and boated on April Fool's Day!

And, just becuase it amused me and the only reason I keep this blog is for my own amusement, here is what I wrote as my out of office on April Fool's Day:

Thanks for your message! I will be out of the office on Tuesday, April 1 in celebration of April Fool's Day.

Just kidding. I'm not out to celebrate April Fool's Day.

But seriously I will not be in the office, and I will return your message on Wednesday, April 2.

Now I realize that April isn't over and therefore I'm a little premature in my "TAY Month #30" post, but you see, April is a month full of adventures:

First, I tried my first attempt at snowmobile backcountry skiing with my friend Nick. We had a big objective and knew it'd be tough to hit in the right weather window, but we set out anyway. Well.....fast forward a few hours and we had left Seattle at 4am, rode a sled 10 miles through downed trees, up steep embankements, and over locked gates only to arrive at our destination and realize we were done. Conditions were too unstable and dangerous, so we watched some avalanches come down, dug under the sled to turn it around, and back down we went.

Overall our day it was a good introduction to snowmo travel and I got in my workout chasing after Nick, who said I was too much "ballast" for some of his tough maneuvers. Yup, pretty sure that means he called me fat.

Nick gets to ride. I get to wallow.

And second, or lastly as the case may be, I am heading off to ICELAND and NORWAY to swim in the world-famous Blue Lagoon, ski on the Norwegian fjords, and hopefully catch the northern lights. SUPER excited! Even better? I convinced Nick he need to come with me :)

Catch ya later SUCKAS!

10 April 2014

Turns All Year Month 29

March was a tough month to motivate to get out skiing, but luckily I had a few really fun events to help me get back on skis. The month kicked off with a She Jumps event to get the girls out on the slopes - and get out we did! Continuing my tradition of skiing on the first of the month with Theresa, we donned our Saturday's best (aka festive tutus) and joined the ranks of lady skiers to rip down the mountain.


A little mid-day yoga break

Yup. I made us line up by RAINBOW!

I'm serious, everyone RIPPED. We unloaded the chair and minutes later were at the bottom without stopping. I looked around quizzically and said to the group, "Are we waiting for anyone???", then suddenly and EXCITEDLY exclaimed, "We're NOT waiting for anyone!"

We had an awesome day and the mountain even came out to give us a lovely view. I was stoked Lisa made it out for a ski day too (and of course, skied in a tutu)!

Lisa, me, Erica, and Theresa jumping for joy!

I love it when Rainier looks all moody

Never one to be satisfied, in the middle of March I took a blitz-trip down to Shasta to try and summit another 14'er. We were blown off the mountain but had a great time regardless. Here's a photo that didn't make the original blog:

One of the few photos I have of me actually skiing! Woot! Photo by Matt Davis.

To put a solid exclamation mark on the end of my 29th month, I headed up to Stevens with Matt for some weekend turns in the sunshine, aka drinking on the chairlifts and cruising groomers. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, or get another month of Turns All Year.

Owly says Woot!