Monday, March 31, 2014

Let it Glo, let it Glo, let it Glo...

And within a day or two of my makeup class I was being whisked off to Finn again for business.

I'll fully admit that this time around I wasn't so nostalgic in a lot of ways. At least not initially. I was going there for business and I had even contemplated flying back before the weekend, my work technically ending early Friday morning. But I decided it was a good chance to catch up face to face with German K and Hong Kong P, so I asked and German K had space and time for me to crash for the weekend. The plan was set.

First though, was the business aspect of the trip. And this time, instead of defaulting with the Radisson Blu Seaside, which was my chosen hotel since the first time I stepped foot in Finland, I decided to go with the place that American J had recommended last time she was in town with us: The Hotel Glo Art.

Seated in the center of town, a mere 7 minutes walk from the Kamppi bus station, it was hip and perfect for this trip. A little more expensive than the Radisson, but I decided that having an easy place to commute to was more important this time, especially as I was going to go like a native and use purely public transit.

I got put up in the newly renovated section of the hotel, which was hilariously in another building across the entrance to the parking lot. Whatever, I'll totally check out your new rooms (oddly without having seen your older rooms...).

It was pretty posh, not gonna lie. Adorable place with good mood lighting and slick new surfaces.

TV that looks like it's part of a mirrored wall. It's one of those systems that turns itself on when you put your room key into the slot, turning on all the electricity and the last lighting settings that were on when it was taken out. The maid generally resets your settings when she comes in and cleans.

The dimensions of the room were a bit strange, more like the first apartment I stayed in temporarily when I first moved to Finland. Oddly narrow hallway with some usable space, spacious bathroom (though also narrow), and a beautiful bedroom space.

Made me miss the Finnish toilets. They're just so much quieter and nicer than the British ones. Somehow just more...functionally comfortable. Easy instead of cold. I'm sure a lot of it is in my head but I think about things like material and shape differences. Really does change the experience of the porcelain throne. And every country is just slightly different. I once had Hungarian Z tell me after she'd been to the US that she had to figure out how to sit differently because the US toilets have a tendency for splashback. Hilarious. (Sorry if that's too gross for you).

Oddly there were no real lights in the bathroom, so it was kept very dim. The only light emanated from the bedroom through the shower stall (I'll get to that in a second), and the backlighting on this mirror. Made it difficult to do detailed tasks in there, like flossing. I had to go out to the TV or hallway to get better light.

The shower stall was a glass cube on two sides that was shaded but looked out on the bedroom. Kind of a great concept, actually, knowing when someone was in the bathroom but still not giving up too much privacy (assuming you're comfortable with the person in the room with you).

I also thoroughly enjoyed these cube lights that stood in for nightstands. Brilliant.

And the best part of all for the shower - the rainforest shower head. I miss these. And the cleanliness of Finland's unlimited water supply. Sigh. I knew what I would be missing when I moved but didn't realize all of the consequences of it (needing to use more lotion and moisturizing or cleansing products to deal with the harsh chemical water of the Thames, having to deal with the taste of chemically treated water, etc).

Anyway, this was a nice start to my several day trip with Finn. It felt good to be back in his arms.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning to look like an adult

I think it is no secret by now to any of my friends and family that I don't wear makeup. Not on any sort of regular basis anyway; sometime last year I started going out to Internations events actually dressed up (read; sometimes eyeliner, eyeshadow, or even lipstick once I bought a great stick of red from MAC during Rhinda's bachelorette festivities), but other than that, zip.

I usually reference laziness as to why I wear none, as it's true that even when I do wear makeup I tend to forget to check up on it and reapply periodically. And also the historical reference of wanting and starting to wear makeup regularly in uni only to realize that if you wear makeup you can't easily take naps between classes. It was stopped immediately once that realization hit home. 

But really this stems from the fact that I simply don't know how to put it on. Or even what to buy. The red lipstick I recently acquired was pointed out to me by the gay salesman and he had to show me how to put it on correctly. It was only then I realized the potential (it was not a color I would have picked myself, though it looks I wear it practically every time I go out and want to wear makeup).

I still have no real interest in wearing makeup on a regular basis, but more so lately I've realized the benefits of doing so, even if it's small tweaks. I've also seen enough girlfriends with and without their makeup to realize that it can do wonders. Not saying people aren't beautiful inside and therefore outside but man, sometimes the differences are night and day. 

It was with this thought in mind that I bought a makeup class through Groupon. £40 for a three hour session on how to put on the basics, master the smokey eye, and hopefully have a lot more knowledge on what to buy for your skin to look good. Yes and yes. Rhinda especially encouraged me after her mom said to her, not unkindly, that your looks and youth will not last forever - men like to see something pretty for the long run.

I showed up at the venue, Makeup London Academy, 45 minutes early. Don't take this as a sign of extreme eagerness (though it is), more that I was terrified of getting lost or waylaid on my journey to a place I'd never been. This is up in Camden town, in case any of you were interested.

The place was super cute:

Granted I'd never been inside a makeup academy before but this somehow was what I pictured. I get the impression that they do other things other than classes here. Like it's an actual makeup salon or something. No idea though; I only knew it in this context.

The class started and I sat front row, taking copious handwritten notes to store all the knowledge that was being spread to me (Two had warned me after going to her Groupon class that she'd not taken enough notes to put any of the techniques into use...I was going to guarantee for myself that this wouldn't be the case).

The instructor (a sassy black lady who does professional makeup for London's fashion week) was really good about explaining the different products in the MAC line (I'd noticed that makeup academies align themselves with certain manufacturers and only carry their brands...makes sense) and how they're used, demonstrating all the while on a girl from the class. I was really glad I hadn't volunteered to be the dummy girl; I wouldn't have been able to take notes!

We went over basic skin/foundation techniques then moved onto the smokey eye and some daytime looks. This was 90 minutes of instruction.

I'd have to say overall the entire makeup applying process is way harder than I'd thought. I'm okay with blending colors and doing that sort of stuff (design background, after all), but jeebus. Whoever thought of applying makeup for the effects we see on celebrities and in movies...that person was pure artist through and through. 

No wonder I hadn't figured out how to master it on my own by winging it. This has perfected technique written all over it. Not to mention the need for quality makeup and an extreme amount of makeup brushes.

The last 90 minutes of class were for practicing on a partner (this is so you can get the shapes right and whatnot by not using yourself as the dummy, since you already know your own face) and then on ourselves. I was paired with a young Asian girl in the class (surprise surprise) and we practiced on each other. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time for us to practice on ourselves so I will have to do it on my own in the privacy of my own house.

We left the class after being given a free lipstick and MAC eyeliner and called it a day.

My main takeaways from this experience:
  • Getting makeup to look good is hard work. Lots of blending and retouching is necessary to get the flawless look everyone's looking for.
  • Blending with the appropriate brushes is the key to awesome eyeshadow looks. My god the skin above my eye felt like it was being sanded off there was so much swirling and blending happening there. This tells me to invest in good brushes, otherwise scratchiness and lost brush hairs will be a constant problem.
  • You really do need several colors to make any dramatic eye look work. There are base colors (matte, opaque colors, nothing with shimmer) and then there are the colors you want to stand out (still another two, at least). We're talking a 5-10 color shadow box for starters.
  • You need a set of several different-shaped brushes to make it work. Any part of your face requires several brushes (lips, eyes, skin).
So my next plan of action is to stock up on cheaper-than-the-UK makeup while I'm in San Diego and then practice for Rhinda's rehearsal dinner and other times during the wedding festivities. This is a good excuse to try things out and know if I need more.

I'm starting there. Like I said before, doubtful that any normal routines will change on a day-to-day basis, but at least I want to master a night and day look for when it may become relevant. You never know when you'll need to put your best face forward.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy Friends Dinner

The following Friday it was my turn to host. After speaking to Churches about how we didn't want to be angry about being single on Valentine's Day, I decided to host one at mine and invite over Churches and the Iceland crew. What better way to spend a day commercially known for love than expressing the other kind of love - friendship?

Unfortunately I made it right after work though, so I had to leave a little early in order to make it in time to cook up the vegetarian fried rice I had in mind. Vegetarian because Salads was supposed to show up (as she'd RSVPed). She never did. I've already taken note of the pattern and after she accepts an event but fails to follow up in some way (e.g. asking what she could bring, directions how to get to x place), I write her off as not coming. I'm not even disappointed anymore, just given a sense of satisfaction from correctly guessing again. The only reason I still made the vegetarian rice this time was that I simply didn't have meat or the time to go buy some. Hence, vegetarian fried rice.

The others brought things as well but admittedly it was kind of a meager meal and I felt a little bad about being such a poor hostess. By the end of the night everyone was drunk enough not to notice, so I guess it was alright. I will plan better for next time though.

Both NonSequitor and Two bought rotisserie chickens from nearby Waitrose and we mixed this with my vegetarian fried rice. Churches brought an incredible board of cheeses with grapes, biscuits, and crackers to go along with. This was definitely the biggest hit. Everyone brought booze of some kind and I also served my house alcohols as well as nibbles in the form of candied spiced nuts I'd picked up during the holidays and the chocolates I'd scored at work earlier that day:

Our head chef likes to host events sometimes and this time to celebrate Valentine's Day he made handmade chocolates, one of which was paired with a high quality tequila shot and salt. All of them were tasty and extremely creamy. And free. This man is awesome.

Anyway the rest of our night was boozing, playing Cards Against Humanity (now our standby game) and chatting about hilarious things that were going on.

It was a good reminder that love is wonderful, in all its forms. I don't think anyone noticed their singledom that day.

....or the rest of the weekend for that matter.

Two and Olive had already asked if they could stay over at my mine after the party and I of course said yes. They had had tough weeks and wanted to just relax, not worrying about going home.

So the next day (all a little hungover), we went to Cafe Oink for the normal and very delicious English breakfast and then Two and I spent the entire day doing a movie marathon from my DVD collection.

I mean a true movie marathon - I think we watched 5-6 movies from around noon until 1am or so. We were watching for so long that Olive came back from the job he had that day and joined us. And they slept over again.

The next morning (Sunday now), we decided to have breakfast elsewhere to try something new. We walked down the block (near where my hopeful-new-gym is) and stopped at The Castle Bar, a place I'd been eyeing for awhile due to its always-busy covered outdoor space. No matter if I am walking home late from Ealing Broadway or out in the morning to go somewhere else, there are always people here. Lots of people. Happy people.

So I suggested it to Two and Olive and they were more than happy to indulge me; especially as it was in the direction of Ealing Broadway, which is where they would need to get to in order to get home (my station being closed on Sundays).

I ordered the eggs Florentine:

I hadn't remembered Florentine eggs having such a citrusy cream sauce (like hollandaise but more sour?), but they were tasty nonetheless. Two had the full English and said it was comparable to the one at Oink (and similar in price as well). Olive had a bacon sandwich, as is his wont sometimes instead of the full English.

We chose the right day to get out there as well - the covered patio space was brilliant in the warm morning sunshine. Such a rare treat in London.

And that's how we ended the weekend; I went home to clean my apartment and get on with starting a new week and Two and Olive commuted home back to their place to continue with their lives.

It was a nice reminder though that good friends are so essential. Happy friends day indeed. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Homecooking instead

And now we're back from London! Apologies that this is posting later in the day than normal...been flying all night and getting things back to normal.

Enjoy again. :) tSH


The next day I was meeting with the Icelandic crew for a much-desired reunion after our trip. We all assembled in Canary Wharf at Actor and NonSequitor's house for a little casual dinner party.

In preparation for it I cooked the night before, making myself some porkchops for lunches (with steamed spring greens...something oddly resembling kale and cabbage mixed together) and a first attempt at sticky toffee pudding, made with dates that I filched from work:

My powers of scavenging and being resourceful have grown ten fold since then, but I'll not get into that here.

Everything made and I set off for Canary Wharf, arriving first from our group (other than Actor, who clearly lives there).

We dined on fajitas and enchiladas a la Actor, and they were tasty and filling. When NonSequitor got home we broke into a vat of pickled chilies he has below the staircase, saying someone's uncle gave it to him (it's a several gallon tub that he's been slowly eating through for the past two or more years). The chilies were the hottest thing I've had in a long time. I teared up and had to have an icecold beer to get it to settle down. Wowsers.

The rest of the night was drinking lots of wine, playing Cards Against Humanity, and general dreaming about our next trip.

It's really nice to go on trips with friends...the reminiscing never stops, even years after the fact (as has been tried and true with all of the group excursions I've been on). This is what making memories is all about.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Underground Supper Club

Not three days later after returning from my Icelandic life-changing adventures, Churches and I had a date with a supper club I'd heard about.

It was generally described to me as "The Underground Supper Club: where you can eat in a vintage tube car while chatting up strangers."

Yes, it's true, I was lured into the idea by the hope that maybe I could meet my future someone. It was even advertised on their webpage as a place where several couples had met their mates. Plus I liked the whole concept of this dinner club thing - bringing together strangers to eat several course meals together and strike up interesting conversation. All things I like.

So after work that Friday Churches and I left and sought out this underground supper club. Tickets were about £40 for the several-course meal we were supposed to have.

Unfortunately the instructions on how to get there were anything but clear. They said to follow the google map directions, which we did with uncertainty. We found ourselves in the middle of a business park that held a recycling center and some sort of warehouse storage. A bit creepy. We did eventually find someone working at one of these who directed us in the right direction, while finally getting ahold of the actual people in charge of the club on the phone to get them to confirm where they were.

Of course this would be the day I decided to rebreak my feet back into heels. A terrible choice. We were off course by about a 15 minute walk. Sounds short when you're wearing comfortable shoes but it's slightly torturous experience once you factor in heels.

We did eventually make it there, after meeting two other girls who were clearly lost. We walked in as a foursome, having chatted about what we were doing. It was indeed a vintage underground car, hoisted off the ground and made into a serviceable restaurant.

Surprisingly cute.

We were warned about how cold it would be in the car, since the windows and doors didn't exactly seal shut (just like normal in-service carriages). They nicely provided blankets for every seat though, exactly for this purpose.

And about an hour later, dinner started.

First course was a marinated daikon with a deep fried ball of risotto. I'd have to say the daikon was quite good and tasty; the ball of deep fried risotto surprisingly dry considering what it looked and smelled like. I was eager to get to more courses, having purposefully eaten less at the office that day to account for our several course meal.

The second course was a bean sprout salad, tossed with oil and lots of parsley (flat leaf, not curly), and marinated enoki mushrooms. I enjoyed this but it was again still a bit plain. I was a bit underwhelmed with the food so far, considering its price and the trek we had to make to get out there.

But I was enjoying the company immensely - seems Churches and I were not the only ones thinking we'd meet some foodie friends and hopefully a new future someone. Everyone at the table was female and young (mid 20s to early 30s I'd say) except one older French gentlemen, who then exclaimed to the waiter that he enjoyed the company immensely (hilarious).

Churches and I got about 9 restaurant recommendations from around London from this group. Fantastic to know other foodies who have been here longer and who have a definite opinion on what is the best Chinese or pub in the city. We took down the names of the ones that several people agreed were the best of something. So many new places to try.

The main course was duck on a bed of mashed daikon. It was a bit dry to be honest, but certainly one of the tastier things that had come out so far.

I should say here that the chef is not professionally trained as far as I've understood - he started out doing supper clubs in his basement (hence their original name, Basement Galley) and eventually expanded to include the tube car we were now sitting in (which is part of a museum in the daytime). I love the idea behind it but the homecookedness does show through and the choice of ingredients was still a little lackluster.

And finally, the dessert. A mille foie with blueberry and walnut creams. This looks better than it tasted; it was not very sweet and the flavors were a bit dull. Not to be a drag about it.

Overall the food was underwhelming and Churches and I agreed that though it was nice to meet all of our foodie tablemates, it wasn't worth the price in the end. The hunt for a tasty supper club with eligible males continues.

After dinner the chef came around after a speech to the carriage and asked us how the food was. I imagine this is the time where he normally gets lots of praise and ego-boosting, as he stood there quite a long time trying to suss out compliments from us.

Unfortunately for him, our table was full of true foodies, so no one had much to say about the food, though there was much commentary on the carriage atmosphere itself, which was lovely. I finally volunteered that I enjoyed very much the pickled daikon from the first dish. This was in truth my favorite part of the meal.

A worthwhile experience but one for the history books. Onto more restaurants, based on the wonderful list Churches and I acquired.

Another experience in London, checked. :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The last supper

And we're back! Was an amazing wedding experience - I see what my sister means now by saying weddings are the best parties! I will document my adventures from it and post. Until then, enjoy the rest of the Iceland trip!



I did some research on TripAdvisor and found the most recommended not-as-pricey restaurant in Keflavik. It was awkwardly Kaffi Duus - the self same restaurant we'd stopped in on our unsuccessful aurora watching trip the first full day we were in Iceland. We hadn't remembered its name the first time though so it was like very strange deja vu walking in this time and realizing we'd already been here.

Also it seemed a good way to end the trip - as we'd started it, but changed somehow.

Looking over the menu it seemed like a good time to get some good eats and fill up on the last of the rare meats (I don't think London purposefully stocks horsemeat in their restaurants and supermarkets):

Clearly whale was just begging to be eaten again. And the remaining three of us were all adventurous eaters with no guilt. Minke whale it is!

After being denied the best lobster restaurant in the country when we stayed at Lambastadir (American J was not a huge fan of seafood, it seems), Two felt it necessary to get the lobster bisque that was available here instead. It did little to make up for the taste of disappointment at not trying the best lobster in the country, but it was something. And the soup was hot, salty, and pretty good.

We all ordered mains as well. Two went for lamb, Olive for the whale, and me with monkfish. Monkfish is always delicious no matter what it looks like. This I learned from TV and it's not let me down so far.

This, also, it being our group of three and quite hilarious, was where we decided to have our blind taste test. Whale or lamb, can you tell the difference with your eyes closed?

We started with Two - she guessed correctly but said they were surprisingly similar. If no one had told her it was whale she would think it was beef and lamb mixed together.

I went next and had the same experience, except that someone put potato in my mouth as a "palate cleanser." Lol, thanks guys.

I too second her notion that whale is surprisingly normal-meat like, despite what people want to say. This also makes me really believe that the first restaurant must have had a funky whale, because all the whale we had after that was tasty and like a good beef steak.

After several days of being in Iceland, we were exhausted by all that we'd done, seen, and eaten. We stayed up as late as we could talking and finishing off the rest of the whiskey, but sleep overcame me shortly after midnight and we tucked in for the night.

The next morning, much too early for what anything should be on your last holiday day, we all woke up, had the complimentary breakfast at our bed and breakfast hotel, and I was dropped off at the airport to fly back to dirty unfascinating (in comparison to Iceland) London. Two and Olive stayed for a few more hours before coming back on their evening flight.

And so that was our adventure to Iceland. Incredible is the best word I have to describe it. I would highly recommend this country, any time of year. It's beautiful, the people are hilarious and nice, and you can do and see things that the majority of people except the very adventurous ever see.

Though I caught a lot of flak for eating the unusual meats when I returned...I wouldn't take away the experience for the world. Controversial as it may be, if you don't like it that's totally fine. But I'm fine with my choices.

Iceland, you are definitely in my top two places I've ever traveled, tied with New Zealand (which is surprisingly similar in a lot of ways). Thailand and Japan you still reign supreme, but it's not everyday I go to a new country and am so blown away.

It was that special.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Down to three

And one more post before I hop off to catch my plane....enjoy and see you next week. :) tSH


The next morning I felt a bit wrecked from all the whiskey, but I still managed to get up in time to eat a little breakfast and get the farmhouse tour that was guided by the owner.

Again, no sort of guilt whatsoever that I'd eaten all of his farm animals in one form or another in my life. The thought was only that they were delicious. Actually that's not true, most of my thoughts were on how tired I was and how cold it always seemed to be. But I did enjoy the animals and really liked the idea.

Too soon it was time to drive back to Keflavik to drop American J off at the airport.

Our group now down to three we decided to head back to Reykjavik and spend our time doing last-minute things like quick lunch and souvenir shopping. Two and I did this while Olive slept in the car.

For lunch we had mushroom soup and hummus at C is for Cookie, a popular cafe that Actor had wanted to visit but we didn't have time for before:

Very tasty and cute. I was so full from the large bowl of soup that unfortunately I couldn't eat all the hummus.

Souvenir shopping went fairly well and we ended up pretty much buying all the non-duty-free items we were both looking for.

We drove back to Keflavik to check into our last hotel before heading out for the last supper.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hiatus for the wedding of the year

Hello dear readers,

Tomorrow (where I may or may not post one last entry) I am flying to San Diego to be part of Rhinda's wedding. It's hard to believe that it's finally happening.

In the few days leading up to the wedding I will be radio silent, but then after I will return to continue posting.

See you again on Monday, have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend, and much happiness and sunshine. <3


Into the hot pot

Our next hostel was Lambastadir, located in...Lambastadir.

It was a guesthouse made from the idea that the family that owned it had enough land and happiness to spread it to others. They also recently added a farm where visitors can feed and learn about the animals they take care of (everything from lambs, ducks, chickens, and horses).

Simple, clean and...

has a hot tub. Outside. For aurora watching.

I don't care about anything else about this place (though it was pretty awesome with its modern rainforest showers and comfy quarters for sleeping and breakfast); any place that has a hot tub outside for aurora watching is an A+ in my book.

And so it was, it really was.

After an extremely hearty dinner of shared nachos and a burger (or super burger) each at the local restaurant:

(It makes me happy just to look at pictures of nachos. They are still one of my most favorite things in the world...really.)

(Called the Selfoss Burger for the town nearby, called Selfoss. It was indeed quite tasty.)

(Kaffi Kruus, where we had our Selfoss burgers of glory and to-go cheesecake and date cake.)

Olive and I changed into our swim suits and tried out the hot tub (or "hot pot" as the owner hilariously calls it).

Verdict? Pretty sweet. They had built it perfectly so as you sit in the tub you'd have a view facing the sky in the direction where most auroras are spotted, while also being completely blocked from the 50km/hour winds that are common there. It was blowing so hard that as I opened the door to the guesthouse it literally flew back, taking me with it. That's no joke...I knocked over their stone gnomes trying not to eat it on their porch. :P

Soon Two and American J were anxious to get outside the front yard and see if any auroras were popping up, so we got out and joined them in warm clothes once again.

What we saw was astounding:

Notice the extremely bright stars behind the fantastically visible aurora. It was a frantic battle between wanting to stare endlessly into the stars because it'd been such a long time since I'd seen them so purely, and wanting to watch the aurora slowly change over time.

A battle where I won either way.

Eventually we did get cold again though, and the lights seemed to be dying down, so we got back inside and Two, Olive, and I jumped into the hot pot again. (This was one of the several times I was very pleased with myself for bringing two bathing need to put on a wet one again!). American J was tired and cold and decided to check out her new prized photos in the room.

After drinking single malt whiskey and eating chocolate clusters we saw the aurora pop up again...this time with a ferocity that could not be matched by anything we'd seen so far:

With the naked eye I could see each part of it twisting, swirling, speeding up, transforming. The intensity of the aurora was powerful, and I will never forget what it looked like watching that bright green glow.

After yelling for American J to get her butt out on the deck and watch the aurora from the hot pot, she relented and joined us...only to jump out again not much later to get her tripod and camera and take more photos (and whose photos I have stolen for this).

Two, Olive, and I took the lazy route and literally took photos from the hot pot by putting Two's camera on the fence and pushing its button every few minutes. They are equally incredible. And didn't require leaving the hot pot. I think I can only consider that the biggest win ever.

For those who are curious: we could see the green very clearly but a lot of the other colors in the photos were not visible to the naked eye, only so after long exposure. I've understood that the intensity we saw that night was about a 3. This is based on the Kp index, which goes from 0 to 9.

We heard no sounds from the aurora (e.g. the clapping I mentioned earlier), and again, I believe this only happens when it's directly over you and very strong.

I will never forget these moments. There really is something magical about watching the aurora.

Not to mention the stars also. Incredible stars and lots of shooting ones out that night. I saw three by the time I got out of the hotpot around 5am (we were basically in there straight from 11pm to 5am), though everyone else saw about 10. I was just not good at holding still and watching in one spot for one to cross my visual path.

This is what we traveled to Iceland for. This is what we wanted. Bucket list item, incontrovertibly checked.

Thank you Lambastadir for this incredible life experience.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wandering the literal road not taken

After our hearty breakfast at the haunted hostel we packed the car and set off for our sights of the day - wandering around the windy one-lane roads of Iceland's vast western wilderness.

Apparently you can drive across the entire island in a day if you really dedicated yourself to it. We did not. We kept the driving pretty minimal because Olive was still the singular driver. I know how that feels so we stopped frequently to take pictures (this happened so often I didn't bother mentioning it until now...I guess this is the benefit and detriment to having photography-loving friends). Each drive was maybe half an hour away from the previous one.

These are the places we stopped (names I may not know...and yes ,these are all pictures that I actually took with my crappy smartphone camera):

Little church that was supposed to have a gorgeous interior. That guidance was not incorrect.

Moss house that is apparently known...for something. Never quite understood why this place was famous but I guess it is. And it's located literally next door to the church. All the doors were locked...I checked.

Another tiny chapel where we decided to take pics and Two suffered the first and only slip our trip saw. Nothing was injured though (perhaps just pride) so we were all good.

And then, as we were taking pics and being a bunch of tourists...who came around the corner to investigate us?

Icelandic ponies! :D Actually they're really horses, but they're hilariously cute and curious. So furry, such beautiful manes...we kept pointing out the "ridiculously photogenic" ones...but they all were.

You know in some ways I've started to wonder if I don't have emotions. I enjoyed these ponies immensely, but at no time did I feel the guilt of thinking they were also delicious.

No point at all.

Two and I later saw a tshirt in one of the tourist shops that she and I both wished we had had the foresight to buy: it said "The Icelandic Horse...simply the best."

Yes they are best, best indeed. Best at being delicious.

It was through these quiet picturesque landscapes that we found our next hotel, located in Lambastir. Another one of American J's research results.

Such fabulousness ensued.