A 12-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

July 29, 2017

This post is long over-due but I’m excited to share with you my recent trip to Iceland. We went for 12 days and 11 nights. I felt like it was just the right amount of time in order to see everything Iceland has to offer while not being on the road for too long in one particular day. I would definitely recommend getting a 4WD. We rented a Mazda CX-3 but in hindsight, would have rented a larger vehicle. There were 3 of us and we each had a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Everything just fit in the car. However, several stretches of the road are unpaved and makes for a very rough ride. I’m not going to go too in-depth but will provide our itinerary for each day to help with your planning.

Day 1

On our first day, we explored the city of Reykjavík. Our flight was delayed for several hours so instead of getting to Iceland in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon. Of course, we were hungry so we headed straight for lunch and had the best fish and chips from Kaffivagninn and cinnamon rolls from Brauð & Co. After lunch, we walked to the Hallgrímskirkja Church, and then drove to the Sun Voyager and the Harpa before checking into our place for the night.

fish_and_chips_Kaffivagninnbraud_and_co Hallgrímskirkja_Church_icelandharpa_icelandsun_voyager

Day 2

We woke up bright and early (around 5am) and went to Seljalandsfoss (where we hiked behind it), Gljufrabui Waterfall, Skógafoss, Dyrhólaey Arch, walked around Kirkjufjara Beach, saw cool basalt sea stacks at Reynisfjara Beach, and took a long walk to see the Sólheimasandur plane crash.

SeljalandsfossSkógafossSkógafossblack_sand_beachlambReynisfjara_BeachSólheimasandur_plane_crash

Day 3

We started our morning hiking around Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, visited Skaftafell National Park where we took hikes to see the Skaftafellsjökull Glacier and Svartifoss, and took lots of pictures at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach (probably one of my favorite stops during the whole trip). We ended the day with dinner at Humarhöfnin.

Fjaðrárgljúfur_CanyonSkaftafellsjökull_GlacierSvartifossJökulsárlón_Glacier_Lagoondiamond_beachdiamond_beach

Day 4

We first saw the Eggin í Gleðivík outdoor artwork in Djúpivogur, made the picturesque drive from Egilsstaðir to Seyðisfjörður where we saw Gufufoss, and enjoyed a hike to Hengifoss.

Eggin_í_GleðivíkSeyðisfjörðurHengifoss

Day 5

We started our day hiking to Dettifoss, saw Krafla’s Viti Crater, explored Leirhnjúkur Lava Fields, saw the mud pots at Hveraröndor Hverir and Námafjall, visited the Myvatn Nature Baths, hiked up Hverfjall Volcano, and saw lava formations and pseudocraters at Lake Myvatn.

DettifossDettifossmud_potsHverfjall_Volcano

Day 6

We started our morning at Godafoss, then saw the grass roof houses at Laufas Museum, and walked around the town of Akureyri. Then took a long drive to see Hvítserkur, looked for seals, and had seafood soup for dinner at Sjavarborg.

GodafossLaufas_MuseumHvítserkurSjavarborg

Day 7

Today began our drive through the Westfjords. We stopped for lunch at Restaurant Galdur at the Holmavik Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardry before continuing to Ísafjörður.

Restaurant_GaldurGamla_bakariid

Day 8

We began our day hiking to Dynjandi Waterfall, saw Garðar BA 64 (a shipwreck), hiked Látrabjarg Cliffs where we found puffins, and had traditional Icelandic fish stew at Heimsendi in Patreksfjordur.

Dynjandi_WaterfallGarðar_BA_64Látrabjarg_Cliffs_puffinHeimsendi_fish_stew

Day 9

We continued driving in the Westfjords and saw the Black Church, had seafood at Bjargar-stein, and saw Kirkjufellsfoss / Kirkjufell Church Mountain.

Bjargar-steinKirkjufell_Church_Mountain

Day 10

We started the morning at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, explored Vidgelmir Cave on a guided tour, walked around Thingvellir National Park, watched Strokkur fountain geyser which goes off every few minutes, saw Gullfoss on the Golden Circle and had fresh cod at Tryggvaskáli.

BarnafossVidgelmir_caveThingvellir_National_ParkStrokkur_fountain_geyserTryggvaskáli

Day 11

We spent our last full day relaxing and exploring more of Reykjavik. We had lobster soup at Saegreifinn, went back to Kaffivagninn for more fish and chips, and had ice cream for dessert.

lobster_soupiceland_food

Day 12

On our last day, we went to the Blue Lagoon to walk around and see this famous hot spring in Iceland before heading to the airport. Overall, we drove over 2,100 miles!

blue_lagoon

Tips

Before going, I would recommend downloading an offline map of Iceland in Google Maps. While we brought our GPS with us, we couldn’t get satellite signal and it ended up being useless. However, Google Maps worked great. We booked all of our rooms through booking.com and stayed at a lot of great Airbnb-type places. We got a SIM card for a cheap phone (we purchased through Amazon ahead of time) the first day we got there and it came in handy as we occasionally needed to call the houses we were staying at. Buy waterproof pants! Not only did they come in handy when it rained, it also helped to keep the wind out and were pretty warm when worn with long workout tights. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots is also a good idea. In case it’s not implied, a raincoat is also a must. Be prepared to eat lots of delicious fresh fish and lamb! I think I had fish everyday and loved every dish.

Drive from Arizona to Illinois

June 15, 2017

Last weekend my mom and I drove from Arizona to Illinois. On the drive to Arizona 6 years ago, we didn’t make many stops so this time, I wanted to stop by some iconic Route 66 stops.

On the first day, we drove from Scottsdale, AZ to Tucumcari, NM. We didn’t make any scenic stops this day but did have a delicious dinner at Fork & Fig in Albuqerque. I had The Fig burger with a side of cotija corn.

fork_and_fig

The next day we hit the road early so we could stop at Midpoint Cafe. I had stopped her on my way to Arizona and wanted to come back for more photos. It’s the midpoint along Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago. Because we were there so early, we didn’t get any pie this time.

midpoint_cafe

Our next stop was Cadillac Ranch. You’ll find people spray painting their own designs on the cars. I noticed people often brought their own but you can also find used cans on the ground. It’s pretty easy to find and makes for a nice quick stop to stretch your legs.

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cadillac_ranch_paint

After Cadillac Ranch, our next stop was in Oklahoma City. We had lunch and then set out to find two murals nearby that I wanted photos with. Here’s a list of 10 murals around the Oklahoma City area. There are several more that you can find with a quick Google search. Unlike LA, there’s hardly anyone around so it’s easy to snap a few photos with no one around.

oklahoma_city_mural

oklahoma_aiukli

After Oklahoma City, we spent the night in Springfield, MO. Instead of stopping by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, I decided I wanted to stop in Springfield, IL to see the Illinois State Capitol and Lincoln’s Tomb. They do free tours during the weekdays at the state capitol but because it’s a public building, you’re free to wander and explore. This was my mom’s favorite stop, she was definitely having a field day. I posted a ton of photos on my Instagram if you want to see more.

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lincolns_tomb

After stopping in Springfield, our last stop was in Pontiac, IL. I wanted a photo with the large Route 66 mural. There are several murals in Pontiac so this another perfect place to stretch your legs.

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coca_cola_pontiac

After 3 days and lots of McDonald’s, we finally made it home! The next time you hear from me will be about my trip to Iceland!

Casual Weekend Outfit

June 5, 2017

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Similar Fedora Hat //  Similar Stripe Tank // Similar Denim Shorts // Similar Crossbody Purse // Similar Jelly Sandals

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Rose Gold Cross Wire Sunglasses // Similar Gold Watch

This is my last week in Arizona. I’m still not sure that it’s really hit me that I’m moving yet. Although I’ve seriously been in box land for what seems like the last month. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve lived somewhere for 6 years and haven’t had to move in that timeframe. Between all the packing, I have managed to do some exploring and lots of eating with friends (in case you haven’t noticed on my Instagram page). I’ve been so lucky to meet so many different and interesting people. Some I have just gotten to known and others I’ve known since I’ve moved here 6 years ago. Living in Arizona, you get used to people leaving. However, it’s cool to know people who live all over the country. It’s never really goodbye. It’s such a small world and you never know when paths will cross again.

Plus, I tell people I’m going to be a snowbird and come back over winter breaks (while I’m in school). I think an Arizona winter beats Chicago’s any day and lucky for me, I’ll still have a second home out here. Now  that I’ve gotten a little bit of east coast, midwest, and west coast vibes in me it’s time to add some southern charm in!

bp_tank_outfit

OK, now let’s talk about my outfit. You can never go wrong with stripes and I love black and white, so this tank is pretty much perfect. I love the neckline and it’s so easy to wear with shorts. It’s from Nordstrom and it also came in a blue and black stripe combo (not a fan). I wish it came in other solid colors, I would probably pick up one of each. I found some similar options that I linked to in the beginning and end of the post. I also love my fedora hat from Target a few years ago. It’s perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes and especially to hide your sweaty hair because you’re melting. It’s also super easy to pack because you don’t have to worry about it getting smushed.

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Also, can we talk about how cute this Starbucks Arizona traveler is? I have 6 other Starbucks mugs from some of my favorite places that I’ve traveled to recently but didn’t have an Arizona mug (I don’t think they’re that cute). I am in love with this print and it’s the perfect reminder of my time here in the dessert. They also have a Phoenix version. It looks like they’re sold out online but you can still find them in stores. Go now, before it’s too late!

Pretty Neutrals for Spring + Quick Shopping Tips

May 21, 2017

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Petite Pintucked Flutter Sleeve Top // Similar White Skinny Jeans // Cognac Camera Crossbody Bag // Similar Tortoise Sunnies // Similar Gold Wedge Sandal // Petite Albion Ring

Spring in Arizona is more like summer in most places with the weather already in triple digits. I guess you’ve lived in Arizona long enough if you’re wearing jeans when it’s 90 degrees out. I was so excited when I saw this blush color blouse on sale at Ann Taylor a few weekends ago. They sold out of the blush color but they do have the navy option available in all sizes. This top is only $30 on sale and totally worth it. Get 50% off your purchase (including sale items) now through Monday by using the code ‘Mystery50’. I’ll link some similar styles at the end of the post. I was also excited to find a pair of white skinny jeans that aren’t see-through, stretchy, and reasonably priced at Marshalls. I’ve been searching for a long time for the perfect white skinny jeans. The jeans I’m wearing are by Level 99. I’ve never heard of the brand before but really love these jeans. With the very popular blush color that’s in style right now, white jeans pair perfectly with blush. Continue Reading

6 Years Ago Today + BIG News!

May 19, 2017

Exactly 6 years ago, I had everything packed up into my car and started driving west with my sorority sister, Whitney. Our destination was Scottsdale, AZ. I had only been to Arizona once before during spring break with my family in high school. The only thing I remembered was the mall (Fashion Square), getting sunburned by the pool, seeing all the stars in Sedona, and feeling a little carsick from the Pink Jeep Tour. Little did I know I would return several years later. I always thought I would move east to New York or Chicago after graduation. When I accepted a job offer in Arizona, it was supposed to be a temporary place, stay for 2 years and move back to Chicago type thing. 2 years turned into 3, 3 turned into 4… and you get the idea.

Over the last 6 years, I’ve slowly lost my Chic-aaa-go accent (still a little upset about that), discovered my love for hiking, furthered my love for food (have you seen my Insta account?), have gotten in the best shape of my life, experienced several firsts from camping to going to the Super Bowl, and learned to not stress so much. Most importantly, I don’t think I’ve truly been happy until about 2 years ago. I now believe that everything happens for a reason and while it’s important to have goals, there are several paths to get there. Everybody’s journey is different.

Emory University

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