Iceland’s Landbrotalaug Hot Pot and Where to find it

 

Today I want to introduce you to my favorite hot spring in Iceland, The Landbrotlaug hot pot!  A hot spring for two!  This spot will definitely make you feel like you are in the middle of no where and much like a real Icelandic.  The area actually has two hot springs.  One fed by a pipe that is more shallow and but still toasty.  The other is just a few meters away, it’s so small that it only fits two people!  Maybe three people if you really want to cram yourselves in there.  First, lets start with how to find it.

 

How to Get there

The Landgrotalaug Hot Spring is hard to find.  Typing it into Google Maps did not seem to work so well, it took some research to figure out how to find it.

We were traveling from the Hveragerði area so we followed Iceland’s Ring Road 1 to Highway 54, or Snæfellsnesvegur.  From Ring Road 1 the pull off to the hot spring was a 32 minute drive once we got on highway 54.  It comes right after the Eldborg volcanic crater sight (it is popular to hike to the crater).   The sight doesn’t allow for much notice but it does have a tourism sight sign pointing to the dirt road leading to the hot spring.  Turning onto the road makes you think  this doesn’t quite seem like a tourist attraction, as it is literally a dirt road filled with pot holes.

Take your time and you will get there without a problem.  We got there with no problem by going slowly in our rented camper-van, you can read about our camper-van here.

Parking

Once you pass an abandoned building you are almost there.  You will find yourself pulling up to a small parking lot.  Parking is free but since these are both a small and secluded you may have to wait your turn.

To be polite and let other people enjoy their time without strangers hovering over them, wait in the parking lot until it is your turn.  When we parked there was someone already there.  So we decided to use our GoCampers campervan to go ahead and make dinner while we waited.  Just as we were finishing up cooking our Backpacker’s Pantry meal we saw a couple leaving.  We packed up our dinner and decided to enjoy our meal it at the sight.

 

 

Finding the Hot Spring

There really are no direct signs from the parking lot to the two hot spring locations.  I went on ahead on the best path I could find passing by the one fed by a pipe, which someone was already in.  He told me to check out the two person hot spring as it is deeper and the spring water was warmer.  Luckily for us as it was getting chilly out and people were leaving that particular one so I headed that way.

To get here you have to cross over a small stream.  They have placed some rocks in the water to help people cross.  As nice as the gesture is you still get a bit wet, so bite the bullet and go with your bare feet or have some good waterproof shoes on.

 

Changing

No changing rooms or stalls here like you might see at other Icelandic Hot Springs!  Some people change in their cars but the two springs are far enough away from the parking lot you could always be discrete with your quick dry towel to dress at the spring.

 

 

Enjoy!

Just as I was about to get in my husband was crossing over, he brought dinner and some adult beverages we picked up at duty free at the Airport (it’s hard to find anything in the grocery stores in Iceland).  We scarfed down dinner as it was 11:00pm and enjoyed the warm water on our sore legs from our hikes on this chilly evening.  You can easily lose track of time in the summer months (we went in June), they experience almost 24 hours of daylight.  It’s easy to forget the time and find yourself cooking dinner at midnight.  Iceland’s long daylight also leads to you being able to go to these types of sights in the middle of the night, you can avoid fighting crowds.  It’s a win win.

Since we went so late at night we had a lot of time to sit and chill as not many people were out and about.  We spent a good 45 minutes here getting wrinkly before we sadly had to make ourselves leave.  We sipped on our beverages and took in the sights.  It didn’t feel like you could get much more Icelandic than this.  Mountains in the distance, reflections of the sky in the still stream nearby, a natural hot spring and a local brew in hand.

But make sure you are being polite with your time as other people want to stop by to enjoy it for themselves as well.  We kept an eye on the parking lot and saw a few cars pull up and then leave right away.  Eventually we saw one that parked to stay and we decided our time there was sufficient as we still had an hour of driving left for the day.  After drying off with our Turkish Towels we packed up our camp and headed back to our GoCamper campervan.  On the way back someone was already heading in, a local that lives nearby.  He said he uses this every night to tend to his sore back, its cheaper and a better heat than his water heater at his house.

 

What to Bring:

Swimsuit

Quick Dry Turkish Towel (seriously these were a lifesaver in Iceland, between hot spring visits and campground showers)

Waterproof Camera

Flip Flops (if you don’t want your shoes to get wet walking over)

Beverages if you desire

 

Tips

Go early in the morning or later in the day

We actually stopped by this sight twice in once day.  We planned to get there fairly early but due to a later start we didn’t.  When we showed up there were already a hand full of cars in the parking lot waiting their turn.  Anxious to see other things we decided to stop by later in the day.  We were actually driving a loop around the Snæfellsnes Penninsula so we had the option to stop by later.  Which is when we came in luck when we pulled in about 10:30pm.

Drive  a Loop from it

As mentioned above when we first showed up we felt like it may be too long of a wait and we might miss out on other sights.  This is not something that you want to miss, so I was glad when we were able to still enjoy it on our way back for the night.  By completing a loop this gave us two chances to make it happen.

Be Respectful

This hot spring is free, so there is no one there to constantly manage the property.  Make sure you take out anything that you bring with you.  This seemed to be more of an issue in the parking lot.  Sad to see even in the parking lot of these serene locations.

 

Landbrotalaug Hot Pot is definitely worth the visit any time of the year.  I kept wishing I had one of these in my backyard to relax in on the chilly evenings.  Enjoy and let me know if you end up going or have any questions!

 

 

A Guide to the Kjeragbolten Hike

 

When my husband first marked Kjeragbolten as must do hike in Norway I was all for it; but as our trip approached the thought of this hanging rock started to get to my nerves a bit.  When I read that our favorite travel family, Earth Trekkers, did it with their kids I was determined that I could as well.  I kept reminding myself we had just hiked Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park, which was supposed to be rated a riskier hike than Kjeragbolten.

 

How to Get There

We based ourselves right outside of Stavanger and had a rental car from Budget for our time in Norway.  So we took the 2 hour drive to the parking lot of the hike.  This drive was very scenic and had lots of curvy roads that were fun to drive.  And lots of sheep! So watch out!

 

Public Transportation

If you don’t have a car available many people use Tide Buss to get themselves there from Stavanger.  From the bus you will want to go to Øygårdsdalen as that will be the parking lot to the hike.  Visit Norway has a lot of great information on their site about reaching this hike by bus.

Parking

There is a steep parking fee (as is the case with most hikes in Norway) of 200 NOK (about 23 USD).  The parking fee made us cringe, but we tried to view it as the small cost of our full day activity (If we were in a city we would be paying for tours, museums etc.).  At the start there is a restaurant and restrooms; make sure you stop here as there will be no restrooms along the trail.

 

Stats

Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles)

Elevation Gain:  570 meters

Time: It takes most people 6 to 8 hours to complete.

 

When to Go:

We did this hike on  July 1st 2018.  It was definitely warm out, as Norway was experiencing an unusual heat wave.  But even with the warm temperatures there were still some snow on parts of the trail.  Most of the snow was just off to the side of the trail, but toward the end we did hit some patches we could not avoid.   If you’re not traveling in the summer make sure you check the road conditions as they sometimes have to close the road to the parking lot due to poor conditions.

 

The Hike:

Begin your hike at the car park and make your way up the hill.  Throughout the entire trail make sure you follow the red ‘T’ markers to stay on the route.  The first part of the hike is  the most strenuous part as you hike up hill straight away.  There are chains along parts of the path for you to use if you wish.  I first thought I didn’t need them, but in some spots as the intensity of the slope heightened I definitely used them as support.  Parts of the path can also get very slippery on a rainy day.

 

 

After a hike straight up you get to rest your legs as you descent down into  a green valley.  This helps give your legs a break by using some other legs muscles to get down, and the stroll along the flat part of the valley isn’t not bad on your eyes as well!  A lot of people use these more shaded areas in this area for overnight camping to get early starts on the trail.

 

 

There were still some uphills to conquer before dipping into the second valley area of the trek.  The incline sections are steep and cover elevation change quickly.  Always pace yourself and go at a speed your are comfortable with.  Snack and water breaks are always a must for me to keep my energy levels up.  You do want this to be enjoyable, so stop and take in the Norway views.

 

A Guide to the Kjeragbolten Hike

 

Once you reach the leveled off area of the largest uphill the trail becomes fairly leisurely, and this is when the sights start to get even better.  If you conquered those uphill climbs you’re due the reward of the views!  The last part of this trail went by so fast, as we were able to casually walk it pretty easily with out having to hold on to any chains.   Just keep your eye on the red ‘T’s to stay on the trail.

 

 

At last we reached final leg of the trek.  In the photo below you see two of the red ‘T’s to mark the trail.  The route to the right we followed on our way back, but first to get to Kjerag you want to take the one below into the ravine area.   Since this ravine area stays in the shade this was the only snowy area of the hike we couldn’t avoid walking in.  Once in the ravine just look ahead and there it is!

 

 

When we arrived there were only about 2-4 people in line to take their turn to step out on the rock.  We immediately got in line and were glad we did, since while we were eating our lunch the line grew significantly.  Getting up early to beat the crowds is completely worth it.

 

 

After our photos we hung out here for lunch and gave our legs a rest before the trek back.  We even saw a few base-jumpers take off from other parts of the fjord.

 

How Was Step out on Kjerag?

I definitely was nervous about stepping out onto the rock.  But as you can see in the photo below its not a bad leap.  Everyone was polite about letting you take your time to get your prized photo.  Be patient, take your time, and take a sure steps.  I was surprised how comfortable I felt once on it!

 

 

The Trek Back

Besides the step out on the rock, my favorite part was our detour back.  We were not pressed on time as this was our only activity scheduled for the day.  So we decided to take the less direct trail back off to the right of Kjerag.  This offered much better views of the fjord then the waiting area by the Kjeragbolten.  We walked along this edge for awhile until we decided to head back to the main section of trail.

 

Then look ahead and there it is!

What do I need to bring?:

Water– it gets pretty hot so hydration bladders are great to have and easy to pack

Hiking shoes/Sturdy Gym Shoes– I am wearing my favorite Ahnu hiking shoes

Sunscreen– it can get bright on that Norway rock face

Snacks/Sandwich– we packed lunch meat, granola bars, fruit, and jerky sticks

Hiking Poles– these are great pack-able ones for traveling

DayPack- I used my North Face Isabella Backpack for this trip but I am also a fan of the Osprey day packs

Rain Jacket– you never know what the weather will do in Norway

Rain Cover– these pack small and have saved our bags multiple times, always in my daypack when I am hiking

Camera/Cell Phone– for your token picture on Kjerag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucerne Switzerland: The Mt. Pilatus Loop

If spending time in the city of Lucerne, Switzerland then you must save at least half a day to complete the Mt. Pilatus Loop.  This loop can be completed a couple different ways, by cable car, cogwheel train and by boat.  All giving you different a unique and stunning views of Mt. Pilatus.

Mt Pilauts sits 2128 meters below and on a clear day you can see 73 peaks!

 

First, I will share with you how we completed our travels around the mountain.

Arriving at the Lucerne train station we used their locker system to hold our luggage while we explored throughout the day.  We actually stayed the evening in Interlaken, so this could easily  be completed as a day trip.

Getting to Pilatus: Gondolas

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Berlin on Bike

Berlin On Bike

This post has been sponsored by Visit Berlin.  All opinions are my own.

Berlin has so much to see and so much history to immerse yourself in, there no better way to see Berlin than by bike!  Knowing we were only going to have 3 days in Berlin we wanted to see as much as we could.  Typically I am more of a do-it-yourself type of traveler and tend to stay away from guided tours, until we found Berlin on Bike.  We were so glad we did this tour.  We knew a general history of the city and country but this tour gave us so much more of an insight to what makes Berlin Berlin and the sadden history this city has been through.

Berlin on Bike has four different tours to choose from:

Berlin’s Best: taking you through the city touching on architecture, the Berlin Wall, museums, Brandenburg Gate, city parks, and the city center to get a cohesive feel for all that is Berlin.

Berlin Wall Tour: dive deep in the history of such a visible sign of struggle in this city and country.  Get a take of the endless stories of the Berlin Wall from building to the removal.

Alternative Berlin:  this tour celebrates Berlin, from the street art, architecture, people, nightlife and stores throughout the city.

Street Art Tour: All about the art that lives outside of the museums and galleries in Berlin.

We choose Berlin’s Best as if touched on some of all of the above.

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Renting with GoCampers Iceland

Renting a Campervan in Iceland

This post has been sponsored by Go Campers Iceland.  All opinions are my own.

I will admit when my husband and I were discussing the possibility of going to Iceland we both laughed at the fact that you could rent campervans.  It was not on our radar at all.  Once taking a look at prices and availability of AirBnB’s, hotels and hostels we soon realized that none of them were in our budget, especially searching for ones equipped with kitchens (eating out is expensive in Iceland).  After our research we decided to dive a little deeper into looking at the possibility of a campervan,  after looking at which seemed like everyyyy campervan rental company in Iceland we found Go Campers.  We started to fall in love with the idea of taking a campervan around Iceland.  We planned on renting a car, so this idea was almost a two for one deal.

Why a Campervan?

One of the reasons why we didn’t immediately have a camping trip on our radar was because we knew we would be heading to some other countries afterward and would not need camping gear anywhere else.  And has anyone been to REI?? Camping gear can get expensive!  Along with packing loads of gear then heading to 4 more countries and lugging that around seemed horrendous.  Go Campers could have not been a more perfect fit.  We soon realized that you didn’t need to pack anything extra than if you were staying in the luxury hotel if booking with Go Campers!  Anything that wasn’t included could be added on for a small daily or one time fee! And listen to this…..you can add WiFi on! Seriously this idea could not get any better!  We were SOLD!

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A Simple 3 Step Skincare Routine for Travel

A Simple 3 Step Skincare Routine for Travel

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite products while on the go.  I try my best to have a skincare routine, but I will be the first to admit that in our busy lives its easy to let it go by the wayside.  I find while traveling the better I take care of my skin the easier it is to get ready in the morning as I don’t need as much makeup to make myself feel refreshed and ready for the day.

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Great Eats and Drinks in Killarney, Ireland!

Great Eats and Drinks in Killarney, Ireland!

Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder

When we first arrived in Killarney we already had dinner in Kinsale so we were not looking for dinner options.  But we decided to take a quick stroll around town before heading to Ross Castle when we stumbled upon Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder.  While we stuck our heads in- they were playing Cars, had shelves full of whiskeys and was serving plates of charcuterie, it was like it was calling our names we knew we had to go back.

We went back a few days later, after a long day driving about the Dingle Peninsula this was the perfect place to sit back and relax.

This place was very chill.  Don’t let the name fool you, they also offer a large variety of gin cocktails.  And not only did they serve spirits from around the world they had a craft beer, cider and wine selection as well.  The great thing about this place was that you didn’t have to stick to trying to choose one type of whiskey.  They offered a variety of flights as well.  And even better a wide variety of price levels to fit your choosing.  The flights cost anywhere from 14 euros to 60 euros.

Having dinner in Dingle already we decided to go for a charcuterie board and a flight of whiskey.  My husband order the “Irish Favorites” flight and it was thoroughly enjoyed.  We still talk about how perfect this place was for us.  All our favorite eats and drinks!

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Mother’s Day Gifts: for the Wanderlusting Mom

Mother’s Day Travel Gift Ideas

Yay for moms. I am not one but I love and appreciate all the mothers that are in my life (actual moms, sisters, family and friends). I don’t know how you do it all!

If looking for an awesome travel related gifts for your favorite mom or really any women in your life look no farther. I will be taking advantage for these adorable and thoughtful items for the traveling women in my life.

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Where to Stay in Chicago: FieldHouse Jones

Where to Stay in Chicago: FieldHouse Jones

If looking where to stay in Chicago, you should definitely check this place out.  Ringing in the dirty 30 my husband and I celebrated my 30th birthday in Chicago.  Staying at the trendy FieldHouse Jones in Chicago made it an even more perfect weekend.   Although I usually like seeing new places, it has been over 10 years since I have visited.  My last time in the Windy City was on a high school art field trip and this was my husbands first time in the city!

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Travel Gear Wish List

Travel Gear Wish List

1.  /  2.3.  /  4.  /  5.  /  6.  /   7.

 

As we start planning for our next European adventure I have started to compose some items that are on my wish list for our trip.  Some may be more essential than the others but all still great travel items to have.

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