Veni, Vidi, Amavi

In the previous blog post, Lisa admitted some of the challenges that we face on our trip and how she learned more about her own capabilities. Throughout our travels and in meeting new people, we have learned a great deal about what is important to us as travelers and young women. 

After our last post (our Croatian vacation 😉 ), we arrived in Italia. While our time in Croatia had been filled with adventures at the beach and some birthday celebrations, Italy was our return to culture and history. My brother Dan joined our trip in Florence and traveled throughout the country with us. Our adventures in Italy were decadent and filled with smooth Chianti in Toscano; the best pizza and water views in Venezia; time-travel through the ruins of Roma, and sweet gelato in Sorrento. (When in Italia, you must fall in love with eating!) 


Having Dan with us on our travels in Italy was so wonderful, especially because it was easy to see how excited he was about all the history and culture of the country. Dan’s presence on our trip really made me realize how fast-paced our travels had been so far, with city visits only lasting 2-3 days. While Lisa and I have become accustomed to this way of life, I began to wonder if we are getting the most out of our trip. I’ve likened our travels to others as a sprint, not a marathon, in which we get a quick taste of each city and country. 


On one hand, I wouldn’t have it any other way for this trip. We’ve been so fortunate to visit and experience 8 countries in almost a month, which feels like dreams becoming reality. On the flipside, I’m sad to leave many of the countries, wishing we made room for just one more day. While in Italy, Lisa and I chose to rearrange our travel plans and spend a little more time in each city, and so far it has been a welcome change to stretch our legs and unpack for a bit (even if it’s just one more night!)

Over the last two weeks, I’ve learned to appreciate the small and quiet moments of this trip, where I spend all my energy in the present and not on where to go next. 


The moments of this trip I am remembering and holding dear the most are the ones where we just stop: When we skip the tour, walk away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists, and pave our own way through the city streets. It’s when we find our own spot, either on a canal or in a cafe on the street, and have a quiet moment that I remember why I chose a summer in transit: to savor and remember these moments that stand still in time, forever. 

-C

*Veni, Vidi, Amavi: We came, We saw, We loved

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Two Weeks In And Still Trekking On

The past two weeks flew by quicker than you could possibly imagine. So far, we’ve been to Iceland, Copenhagen, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and currently are in Croatia. Tomorrow, we leave for Italy. 

It’s a toss up between my favorite places so far. Iceland was amazing, Budapest was incredible and Croatia, well we’ve spent our days at the beaches so it’s hard to top that. 

Before we left on our trip, Catie and I have been told by many people that they always wished that they could do what we are doing. I truly believe it’s never too late to travel and see the world. It might just be a little more complicated depending on your circumstances. Catie and I were lucky that we didn’t really have anything holding us back.

Today, in Croatia, we scaled a small cliff side and swam in the clearest water, with mountains, cliffs, and villages around us. It was more secluded than the public areas and we just did what the locals do 😇. 


When it comes to traveling, I feel as if many only think about the glamorous side of traveling. Based on our Instagrams and Facebook photos, all you see is gorgeous views, delicious food, and fun experiences that we have along the way. While we are having the time of our lives and still can’t believe we are finally living out one of our dreams, it’s far from all fun and games. 

One thing I wasn’t totally prepared for: the heat. Yes, it’s July and it’s supposed to be hot, but I wasn’t thinking about carrying a 25 pound bag, walking through the streets for a half hour in the middle of the day to find our hostel, Airbnb,or home stay. More often then not, our clothes are sweaty and smelly, our feet hurt, and we either are starving, have to find a bathroom (which apparently you have to pay for everywhere) or are trying to find some wifi (aka why we haven’t been consistently posting).

I’m sure my mom would say “it builds character.” Which I often try to repeat to myself whenever I’m getting frustrated with the heat, carrying my bag, or have some other complaint.

Luckily, (and hopefully not to sound super pretentious) Croatia has been our vacation from our vacation. We’ve stayed at two airbnbs with incredible hosts, have hit the beach numerous times, and can finally wash all of our stinky clothes. We’ve also ate at a real restaurant for my birthday dinner, which was amazing. We usually are trying to find grocery stores for our meals to keep costs super low, so a restaurant dinner was a big treat. 

We are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things in cities, soaking up some culture and new experiences. What better way to begin again then a wine tour in Tuscany 😉 

Regardless of all the sweatiness and our bruised and blistered feet, we wouldn’t do this trip any differently and are ready to trek on. 💪🏻

On the Hunt for Folklore 

Just south of Reykjavik there is a fishing town, Hafnarfjörður, on the water that holds a very deep belief: there are hidden people living amongst them. 

Tucked away behind trees and lava rocks, there is a little house with a sign reading, Litla Álfabúdin, which means “the little elf store.” The shop owner, a friendly and serene woman, took time and care to explain to us the religion and beliefs of the hidden people, such as elves and dwarves. The town has rock formations left over from lava that flowed through hundreds of years ago. Icelanders believe that the hidden people live in these lava rocks and are therefore sacred. There are many homes built around the rocks in order to preserve the hidden people. 


The hidden people are as tall as humans, slender and fair, and look quite a lot like the elves in Lord of The Rings! 
Naturally, Lisa and I wanted to look for the hidden people. The store was situated on the edge of a park called Hellisgerði, or the lava park, where hidden people are rumored to live and roam. The shopkeeper told us there are three things that should happen to see a hidden person: 1 Have joy in your heart; 2 Release your inner child; 3 An elf who wants to be seen. 

We wandered through the lush green park, dotted with vibrant buttercups, in search of a sign for hidden people. We found many small caves and lava rocks…but it’s up to you to decide whether to believe or not! 

Reykjavik, Iceland – Just North of Summer

Reykjavik is the most northern capital city in the world. When we first arrived, the airline pilot said over the speaker that those staying in Iceland over the next couple of days will experience some of the nicest days of summer.  We quickly learned that the nicest days that Iceland experiences are only about 55F  and partly cloudy. Icelanders go so far as to market some of their clothing stores using the tagline “just north of summer.”

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After a few hours of walking around, the weather started to feel beautiful. We actually walked for 11 miles yesterday (thanks for keeping track, Fitbit!) I can’t even remember the last time I walked that much. We had arrived early that day, finally finding our hostel about an hour and a half after we were dropped off in the middle of town. Both of us can be called directionally challenged. The hostel only ended up being about 10 minutes from where we were dropped off. When we finally found it, we had 8 hours to kill before check in. We dropped off our bags and headed to the town for breakfast. Walking around Reykjavik, we found some places off the beaten path that it seemed many more locals frequented instead of tourists. It was absolutely amazing. Reykjavik feels like a small spread out town instead of a city. This makes sense considering the entirety of Iceland only holds about 310,000 residents.

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We both could see the beauty of this town, clearly, but didn’t really know anything about the history of this place. We did a free walking tour around the town and learned so much about the rich history and differences between Iceland and other more populated countries. Our tour guide, Erik, was hilarious, which kept it very interesting. At the end, he explained that Icelandic candy is delicious and they are really known for licorice. He passed out a sample that was filled with marzipan. Catie said it wasn’t bad; I’m not much of a licorice fan.

We ended our day by going to the famous Blue Lagoon. We both could see why this was listed as one the 25 wonders of the world. The water was warm and milky blue in color. There were a lot of people, but it never felt like it was too crowded. It featured a swim up bar, a small cave, and apparently waterfalls as well. This was one of the most expensive things we had in mind of doing on our trip and it honestly was totally worth it. There are several geothermal pools around Iceland, and Erik recommended everyone experience a cheap one the locals go to as well. These pools are apparently more popular in the freezing winter than in cool summers.

Today, we spend our last day in Iceland. We try to play things by ear, which I love, so who knows whats in store for today. Tomorrow, we leave bright and early for Copenhagen. Until then, signing off!

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