Iceland Road Trip: The South Shore

The South Shore of Iceland in one neat little day-long (ok, maybe 18 hours) Iceland road trip. If you have a bit more time and can spend a few days in Iceland, then this is the route for you! You’ll cover waterfalls, glaciers, glacial lagoons, national parks, black beaches, lava fields and much more on this unforgettable route.

WHY DRIVE THE South Shore YOURSELF?

After figuring out that we didn’t want to do an organized coach tour (see also: Road Trip of the Golden Circle), we opted to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive ourselves out to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, at which we had a 1pm reservation for a Zodiac boat tour.  

We also wanted the freedom to be able to stop wherever we liked if something looked interesting. From everything we’ve read, the south shore of Iceland has so much to offer, it’d be crazy to just drive right by it all.

Pro-Tip: Make sure you have a chip-enabled credit card with pin with you if you’re on an Iceland road trip – you’ll need it to buy gas at gas stations along the way.

HITTING THE ROAD

We set out from Reykjavik after a quick stop for breakfast and coffee at Sandholt Bakery in Reykjavik’s city center (more on that later – about $14 US). We stocked up on snacks (fresh-baked soft pretzels from the bakery and bottled waters) and made our way east, out of the city.  Our plan was to just go to the glacier lagoon and then spend the rest of the day sightseeing on the way back at our leisure. It worked out really well.

The weather was a little iffy – drizzling, light rain, then sunshine, some wind, and basically everything but snow. So, be prepared for a few different seasons if you’re visiting in the summer! Then it was onward to our first stop: the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon! Continue reading

Experiencing the Quebec City Toboggan Run

What’s it like to go down the famous toboggan run in Quebec City (Toboggan Slide au 1884), just beside the Château Frontenac at the Terrasse Dufferin? Well, see for yourself!

We captured this video with our GoPro Hero4 Session and a handy-dandy chest strap, which Luke wore as the front rider in our run.

It was exhilarating, to say the least! The queue wasn’t even that long, although there definitely was a queue. We went on Christmas day, and waited for about 15 minutes. As you can see, three toboggans go at a time, and there seem to be about 9 in all.

Buy a ticket from Continue reading

Top 5 Most Overrated NYC Attractions

After years of taking friends and relatives around the City that Never Sleeps, I’ve been forced more than once to endure the tourist traps that define this great concrete jungle, but no real New Yorker ever tries to visit unless absolutely necessary. Here are my Top 5 Most Overrated NYC Attractions, and a few alternatives to get the same or similar experiences, without overpaying and braving the slack-jawed masses.

5.  Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center

Everyone wants to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Beneath the famous Christmas tree and the gaze of Prometheus, 150 skaters at a time can skate around in circles while being gawked at by hordes of tourists.

$25-$32 will get you admission to the rink and $12 will get you rental skates. Ouch.

Rock Center is beautiful and a must-see during the holiday season, especially. In the summer there’s a great outdoor bar and cafe that’s erected over the rink – so it’s a great place to be year-round. But, you don’t need to skate there.

Instead: Go ice skating at Bryant Park or The Rink at Brookfield Place – basically anywhere else.

Bryant Park‘s skating rink is free (yes, FREE!) with skate rentals of $20, and the Winter Village is definitely worth a look. You can store your bags for a fee and pay $28 to skip the line. Just allow plenty of time and you won’t need to do that, though. If you’re visiting, plan to visit during working hours, when the poor folks who live here need to be at work. And know that I’m envious of you!

The Rink at Brookfield Place, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, right by the water and surrounded by fabulous shopping and restaurants, is a great deal at $15 per 90 minute session and a $5 skate rental.  You can even pay a bit extra to take a skating lesson from former U.S. Olympic skaters. How cool is that?

4.  Statue of Liberty

Sure, Lady Liberty is a beaut’ and she celebrates her 125th anniversary this year. But, do you really want to get on a boat with a bunch of other tourists and be held captive, then corralled around the queue to get in, then wait some more, go Continue reading

Quick Poll: Where to for Christmas & New Year’s?

Folks, I need your help trying to figure out whether to do Copenhagen, Stockholm, or both for Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year. Here’s the rub: we usually try to cram so many things into one trip, we really want to try to keep it to one destination this time around. Please vote in my poll below! And please leave a comment if you have any place you recommend in the place you’ve voted for. Thanks in advance!

Cahoots: Cocktails in London

Cahoots LondonI really think I would have loved Prohibition. Why? Not because I think alcohol is evil – that would probably be the opposite of the truth. No, it’s because I am obsessed with speakeasy themed bars (or actual speakeasy bars) and Cahoots in London is quite possibly one of my favorite bars in the world.

How to Find CAHOOTS and Getting In

Set in an abandoned tube station just off Carnaby Street in Kingly Court (a great area anyway for eating and drinking in the evening), Cahoots is hidden away. A sign simply saying “To the Trains –>” with a small, bricked alcove and a nondescript door is the only indication that it’s nearby.  The door is manned by a gentleman dressed oddly like it’s 1945, in suspenders.

Cahoots London

In Cahoots.

You can only get in if you know the password – or, in this case – who to ask for. (It’s the Captain.) The doorman is in on the whole thing, and plays along in character completely.  The Captain may not be taking any more visitors that evening, or is the Captain expecting you? Do you have an appointment to see the Captain this evening?

Cahoots London

Reservations are for two-hour blocks, since it’s usually quite busy. Definitely book ahead if you want to be sure you get in during your trip!

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

Cahoots London

Propaganda Posters and subway tiles

Walking down the narrow steps after the Captain agrees to see you, you’re transported to London during WWII’s Blitz. The staff are all dressed in gear from the era, the music is jazz and swing, the only things on the menu are things that existed back then.  There’s no wifi (“What’s wifi?” replies the waitress, “This is 1945!”) or Continue reading

The Top 5 Worst Airplane Passengers

worst airplane passengers

Whether you’re flying for business or traveling on vacation, you’re likely going to encounter people who are just horrible airplane passengers. Here’s my list of the worst airplane passengers, ranked by irritation factor from lowest (#5) to highest (#1). Whether it’s thinking that the rules don’t apply to you, or complete disregard for personal space, you are ruining it for everyone else. If you do any of these things, maybe you don’t realize how much you’re bothering your fellow passengers. But trust me, you’re the worst.

#5 The person who can’t wait to unbuckle their seatbelt the second they land.

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You know who you are. The second those rear wheels hit the runway, a chorus of click click click! echoes throughout the cabin. Except the pilot always comes on the loudspeaker and reminds all passengers (yes, that includes YOU!) that you should keep your seatbelt fastened until the plane comes to a complete stop.  Why is this? Well, the plane stops short sometimes. This actually gives me great pleasure because the started “oh!” usually comes from one of you, oh Safety Shunner. Sometimes, you are taxiing for an ungodly amount of time (I’m looking at you, JFK). Sometimes, you have to wait for another plane to move before you can park at the gate. Either way, the flight isn’t over until the pilot says it’s over.

And what is your issue? Is the seatbelt SO uncomfortable that you can’t bear to wear it a second longer? I mean really. You’re not special. Keep your goddamn belt fastened and sit down.

#4 The person who has to stand up and get their bag or go to the bathroom after the plane has boarded/ is about to take off or land.

Unless you’re crapping your pants like an Olympic marathon walker, you can sit there and wait until we’re in the sky like the rest of us. SIT. THE. EFF. DOWN.  I don’t care if you don’t speak English (or Spanish or whatever the flight attendants speak) – don’t play Continue reading