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Reykjavik Travel guide

Now I’m not self proclaiming that I’m worthy of hipster status but I can appreciate an 80’s bomber jacket, graffiti as art and smashed avocado as a brunch staple so I think I can offer a thing or two about Reykjavik and what it has to offer.

It’s a cool place (excuse the pun!) that isn’t trying too hard. That’s hipster in itself right?!

Pretty streets, cool shopping boutiques and cafes in abundance, it’s a great place to stroll around and not doesn’t have to be a stopping point en route to the wider country. Here are some top tips for your stay..

View Point…

The Church of Hallgrimur is the icon of this city. Walking towards it along the vibrant streets will take some time as you will want to stop for lots of pics! You can head inside and walk to the top tower to see beautiful views of Reykjavik’s colourful rooftops and further out to sea. The design was intended to resemble the natural landscape or Iceland with its ice caps, volcanoes and basalt columns. It’s a must see landmark in the city.

Insta Shot…

This was an easy decision and it just has to be the Harpa, the striking Concert Hall and Conference centre and recipient of the prestigious Mies Van Der Rohe award for architecture. It is situated in the heart of the city and features stunning views of snowy mountains and across the Ocean. Wander inside and take a good look at the different light that the centre draws to it. There are shops that offer Nordic designed crafts and gifts. We didn’t watch a concert but I’d love to check out the listings if I was heading back.

Something different…

For a population of just 320,000 people, Iceland has produce chart topping music from well known, respected artists Björk, Sigur Ros and Of Monsters and Men to name just a few. Reykjavík feels like the beat of the country and is home to a buzzing live music scene. Café Rosenberg was our favourite evening choice playing live jazz and some of Iceland’s breakthrough bands. An awesome stop during the daytime has to be Kaffe Vinyl, a new bar/cafe and record store. It wouldn’t look too out of place in Dalston and also hosts live performances in the evening.

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Something active..

So Iceland is renowned for its hot water springs but what about its cold water swimming! Not to be put off by ‘ice’ being the former syllable in the country’s name and being quite used to a cold lake or sea swim training for triathlons in UK’s great excuse for a summer I was quite up to the challenge. Close to Reykjavík town is the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach, where the sea temperature can reach minus 2 degrees in the winter. After a very short swim attempt, when actually deemed a terrible time of year to try it we committed ourselves to the hot springs close by. All year round, people enjoy the use of the geothermal beach’s hot-tubs, steam-bath, changing facilities and showers, even when the water drops below freezing. Whichever you choice it’s a great addition to a stay in Reykjavík.

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Something to eat…

So when we think of a hipster, what culinary choice often comes to mind is street food, or pop-up style, cheap and inventive food in a minimal setting. This could not be a better choice for a pricey country. We tried Icelandic Street Food, considered the first fast food concept in Iceland with traditional Icelandic food. It is a family owned business with recipes made from the owner’s Grandmother. He was in attendance on the evening we visited and pointed out that his Grandmother had made the cakes, which meant we just had to try them! I tried the seafood soup, and ordered a can of beer. This came to less than £20 so still expensive but much more reasonable than other options, and a lot more tasty than an overpriced spaghetti Bolognese.

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Something to drink…

Named after two Icelandic words for birch, Birkir (birch schnapps) and Björk (birch liqueur) are a fantastic showcase of native Icelandic ingredients.

Birkir, the stronger of the two at 35%, has a boozy and earthy aroma and mixes well with soda water or tonic for an easygoing cocktail. We bought some at the airport to take advantage of cheaper prices. Most of the rest of the team we enjoyed a beer or two!

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Something interesting…

I’d recommend a city tour with I Heart Reykjavik. They take you to their own favourite places in the city centre and teach you a few words of Icelandic. This is a great tour to get an overview and introduction to the city. I was amazed to see so much awesome graffiti art dotted around!

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My next post will share some of my favourite stops along the Golden Circle.

Have a great weekend all.

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CityGirl x

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Nepal Packing List

Packing for Nepal is not an easy task. I started months in advance and was determined to be as cost efficient as possible. I borrowed some pieces from my auntie, trawled through summer sales and took advantage of having Amazon Prime.

After camping for 14 days and trekking across completely different terrain there are a few items I really couldn’t have enjoyed the trip without.

⁃ Merino wool layers – I’m so impressed with how well suited merino wool is for hiking. It wicks away sweat to keep you warm and the more layers the better as Everest base camp approaches!

⁃ Trekking trousers – the ones with the ability to un-zip into shorts! It can be surprisingly warm at times, especially once you reach mid-morning so it’s great to quickly change them into shorts. Within the team they were quite an enviable part of my wardrobe.

⁃ Buff Neck Warmer – the dust is quite intolerable at times, and it’s important to try to avoid the infamous ‘Khumba cough’. If I could do it again I’d buy a patterned one as I noticed lots along the way that were much nicer than my plain one!

⁃ Hats – there seemed to be a constant need for different hats. Whether it’s hot, whether it’s cold or whether you just want to cover up unwashed hair. Bring a few for all weather conditions! I bought a cheap baseball cap at the Thamel market in Kathmandu.

⁃ Sunglasses – the sun combined with the thing air calls for sunglasses! Think of skiing and keep sun lotion on to avoid sunburn!

⁃ Hand Sanitiser – the most useful item. A necessity in this region! There’s rarely any running water for washing.

⁃ Lip balm – my lips were very dry along the trip. And dare I say it so was my nose when we reached the colder parts. I’d probably take one with SPF and some Vaseline or tea tree products for that too!

⁃ Bpa free water bottle – our tour provider gave us boiled water each day and it’s essential the bottles are BPA free when you use the warmer water. I bought one out there but I’d argue if it was BPA free even though there was a label on it.

⁃ Battery pack – it gets very expensive to charge your phones in the remote regions. And they limit the usage to an hour. They didn’t always allow camera chargers either so it’s great to have extra battery packs!

And also some home comforts I really wish I brought with me..

Herbal Tea Bags – although plenty of coffee and tea on offer we wanted to avoid caffeine at high altitudes. A camomile tea would have been perfect!

Granola Energy Bars – as much as were so incredibly grateful for the chef’s cooking on our trek it would have been so nice to have a fruit and nut granola bar to replace the odd out-of-date date snickers bar in between meals!

Mini Face Cream – it’s fantastic to be make up free and give the skin a much needed break from city living. Vitamin D and no alcohol really gave my skin a glow but the high UV levels and dusty paths took their toll too. I really wanted to have a decent eye cream to hydrate!

I’ve handpicked some particular brands that I think would be ideal. I’ll have this with you all next week.

CityGirl Xx

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Nepal – 8th wonder

On 27th May 2017 I marked the end of my twenties and joined the ’30’ club. Instead of giving into society’s pressure I asked myself how I would like to remember this milestone and with that I decided to follow my dreams. I love being outdoors, I love a fitness challenge and I felt an urge to travel somewhere different, somewhere epic. That’s where the idea came from to travel to Nepal and trek to Everest Base Camp.

I didn’t know it at the time but I think I might have made the best decision of my life! I want to share with you my adventures and hopefully inspire you to visit this beautiful country.

To start with I want to share with you some photos. Enjoy, CityGirl

I have never felt so beautiful, sitting amongst the stunning scenery make up free and care free.

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As much as I hate to admit it, I hadn’t used a shower for a week in this picture. I have never been so grateful for a fleeced headband. Look at these mountains and the blue skies. So beautiful.

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These trekking shorts were the most useful item I purchased for this trip. Although not the most fashionable!

I have lots more to share so keep checking back!

Xx