December 02, 2015

One way to distract yourself during the tww.... a trip to Iceland and Ireland!

Chris had suggested we book a "real" vacation over the holidays, since despite actually having traveled a fair amount this year, they've all been really short trips over weekends with just the occasional extra Friday or Monday to pad it. (Even when we went to Barcelona, we were only there for 3 days before I had to report to work!)

Don't get me wrong, they have been fabulous:
Christina's bachelorette in NYC, March

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, April

Christina's civil ceremony in Paris, April

Christina & Matthieu's NYC wedding (with Evander Holyfield!), April

Cidery / winery tour weekend in Charlottesville, June

Weekend in Florida, July 

Chicago for my SIL's baby shower, July

Chris's grandmother's 80th bday in Toronto, August

Visiting my sister and her fiancé in Berkeley, September

Madison to meet my nephew!!!, October

But all were very rushed, and outside of those first few days in Barcelona, none has been just Chris and me.

One of my bucket list items has always been to see the Northern Lights, and I've heard Iceland is a great place to do it - plus a generally fantastic place to visit in general. Although to be fair, most people who have told me that have gone in the summer. But because Chris is a wonderful husband, he agreed to a trip to Iceland... in January... as long as we added a second stop to someplace slightly less Arctic Circle-y. You don't have to tell me twice to add on more destinations, so after a stop in Reykjavik, we are headed to Dublin! Also in January! To test my husband's love for me, apparently!

All of this ended up coming together because a girl who works for me just got back from Europe herself, and mentioned that the only way she was able to put together the itinerary she did was because of a new(ish) low cost airline carrier out of Iceland called WOW Air. So I promptly pulled up their site, and GOOD GOLLY their airline is well-named, because HELLO CHEAP FARES TO ICELAND.

(There are several caveats: they only fly out of BWI or Boston; absolutely nothing is included in those prices, like bringing luggage or reserving seats, much less food or in-flight entertainment; and they only fly between certain city pairs on certain days of the week, which means you have to be somewhat flexible in your planning.)

I landed on Dublin partly because of that last point: I can't leave until January (end of December = busiest time for me at work) but they only fly out of BWI to Reykjavik (KEF) on the 1st, the 3rd, or the 4th that week. So lining that up with a flight *out* of KEF to another city (while also making sure that city had a flight back to BWI on a reasonable day!) was an interesting little game of Jenga, but I eventually landed on a plan that gives us 2 full days in Iceland and 4 full days in Dublin. I would have liked 3 days in Iceland, but the tradeoff was spending close to $2k more in airfare by going with Iceland Air, soooo 2 days in Iceland it is!

SO. NOW. Who can tell me what to do while I'm there?? :) :)

I've booked a tour with SuperJeep to see the Northern Lights - if the trip is cancelled due to weather or the lights are a no-show, they'll let us try again the next night.. and given we only have two nights there, that seemed prudent. I'm thinking of booking this Golden Circle tour for our second day - smallish tour group rather than a big bus, and gets us back into the city in plenty of time if our Northern Lights tour needs to be rescheduled for Night 2. That leaves us with our first day there to wander Reykjavik proper while trying not to collapse from jet lag. (Our flight gets in at 5! 20! am! and our hotel has already let us know that our room is indeed booked the day before, so we will not be able to check in early and collapse for a few hours.) BUT! Who has been to Reykjavik and can tell me what we should check out?

And then DUBLIN!!! ::heart eyes emoji:: I've been to Dublin once, maaaany years ago (like.. holy balls, 12 year ago?!) but that was a very short trip, just over a weekend if memory serves, back in my US Airways days. We saw the Guinness factory (naturally), many many bars, and the nearby town of Kilkenny. This time, I intend to do MUCH MUCH more, including getting out into the countryside.

But how to choose?? The Cliffs of Moher (aka the Cliffs of Insanity from Princess Bride)!? How can I not? The Giant's Causeway? Belfast? Connemara? HELP! I'm thinking it might make sense to rent a car in Ireland rather than relying on tours, given that we have more time there. Although I don't know how well we'd do at driving on the wrong side of the road.

So! People! Tell me what to do / see / eat / visit!


  1. Yes booking trips is an excellent way to distract yourself! I'm so jealous that you are going to Iceland- I have always wanted to go there but CP is not super keen on it being a cool place to visit. How could it not be with all of the waterfalls, hot springs, Northern Lights, etc?

  2. This is so awesome! Iceland is on my list. Iceland Air has a direct flight to KEF from Denver and that's often the cheapest option for flying to Frankfurt for us, and they do this thing where you can do a multi-day stopover for no extra cost or hassle, so someday that's the plan. Also, OK, yes, cold, but I've heard Iceland is BEAUTIFUL in January. I can't wait to see photos!

  3. I have been to neither, so I can give no advice except the highly unnecessary, have a great time!

  4. YAY! And how fantastic about the cheaper flights! I have no idea what to do, as I have been to neither, but I cannot wait to see your pics and read about it! :)

  5. Okay, now I really, REALLY want to know what you did in Ireland!