Posts tagged #iceland

My Reykjavik | Farmers Market

I’m a big fan of buying souvenirs from a place that, well, actually come from that place. And that are hard to get outside of that place. I’m never going to plunk down money for a Louis Vuitton in Paris because I can get that at any luxury department store, you know? If I’m gonna haul something back, I want it to be because it’s truly something special from that place. 

So if I’m in France, I like to buy Monoprix baby clothes, cheap Apilco dishes and loaves of brioche from Aux Mervielleux de Fred.

I’m in in Italy, I want pretty leather bags from the Florence market or olive oil from an olive grove we stay near.

You get the idea.

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Going to Iceland, I always like to find something Icelandic... the only trouble is, since they only have 300,000 people- they have a smaller output of goods to choose from.

But each year, I make it a tradition to buy something made of lambswool... and if you’re going to be real Icelandic lambawool, you should head to Farmers Market to do so.

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Farmers Market is located in Laugavegur and makes the coolest knitwear in the country. That’s not just my opinion. That’s pretty much every Icelanders opinion, too. Other than your grandma knitting you a sweater, Farmers Market makes really nice and cool pieces.

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I bought an oversized cardigan there this year and I love it so much. It is cosy and perfect for my wardrobe... especially when it includes a baby carrier.

The shop has more than just sweaters- it has cool shoes, tights, scarves, and homewares.

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Even if you don’t want anything, you need to at least stop in to see one of Reykjavik’s coolest shops. And if you’re looking to find on of the best wool sweaters in Iceland, we’ll look no further. Farmers Market will be your place! 

And you know what the best news is? After you’ve shopped, you can hop across the street to Sandholt Bakery for some of their killer pastries. Mmmm!


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FARMERS MARKET | Laugavegur 37, 101 Reykjavik


Find all my Iceland favourites on my travel guide page or in my previous posts.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 19, 2017 and filed under iceland, shopping.

Notes from the Road | Reykjavik

Well, if you're following on Instagram, you'll have seen that we are in Iceland. Yup- back again for our 7th trip. (Isn't that nuts? Time seems like it's just flying these days. For those that have read this blog for a while- doesn't it seem like we just started going on these trips?)

While we are becoming really comfortable in visiting this lovely country, my parents had yet to visit. And seeing as how they love to travel and love to see us (read: our kids), a little trip was planned for the days before our work started here for all of us.

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It's been several easy days here. Lazy mornings around the hotel, a few slumber parties for the kids in my parents hotel room allowing Tyler & me to do dinner with our friends here, and lots of meals and little outings in between.

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While my Iceland Guide is pretty stacked, I have to say- it will be expanding again soon. There are just SO many new places here that it's hard to stop finding good places to add to the list.

But for now, I'll just share some pretty pictures with you and whet your appetite for the fun I've got in store for later.

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Oh, and I found out that "Bless" is an easy way to say "Goodbye" here. You can only imagine how much I enjoy saying that now in my most Southern drawl... complete with a hand in the air and a smirk on my face.

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More to come later from places with harder to pronounce names. 

P.S. Check out my YouTube channel for some fun new videos. Or subscribe to make sure you never miss out!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 7, 2017 and filed under iceland.

A Dummies Guide to Iceland (With Kids)

This spring, I’ve been B U S Y with travel consults. It’s definitely the most chaotic time of the year for me as summer approaches and so many people are getting their trips ready for the months ahead. While the bulk of people come for help with vacations for the UK & France, I have to say- Iceland is quickly becoming a big contender for the most popular destination.

While it definitely appeals to the young traveler- it is equally as popular with young families. And, as someone who has brought her own small children with her for the past five years on repeat trips there, I can easily vouch for why it is a fantastic spot to travel with children.

For anyone that is planning to come to Iceland, I thought I’d give you a few basic facts that either are asked often by clients or that I have learned from being there year after year. I figured there would be endless resources online for families planning a trip to Iceland echoing these same thoughts, but when I actually checked- everything was several years old… and now wrong! With the increase in tourism over the past few years, things have changed and I figured I would give some updated and specific pointers that really can change how you plan your family trip to Iceland.


1. CHILDREN UNDER TWO ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED IN THE BLUE LAGOON

I hate to charge in straight away with this bummer, but I have yet to talk to a person going to Iceland who doesn’t plan to visit the legendary Blue Lagoon. This is a real bummer, as I’ve always brought my babies in the lagoon with me. However, with the growing popularity and increase in visitors, there is now a VERY strict rule that children under two aren’t allowed in. You can swap off on who has the baby, but the lifeguards will (basically) yell at you if you bring a little baby in the lagoon that is under the age limit. 

If you’re still looking for a similar experience, you can always try another lagoon in Iceland. There is the “Secret Lagoon,” also known as Gamla Laugin, that (as of 2016) allows little ones. Or you can head to any of Iceland’s local pools where kids are not only welcome, but will have amenities to really entertain them…. for about $3 per person. Not only will you be with 100% real Icelanders, but you’ll get a great view at the (admittedly, quirky) fact of culture of life in Iceland: they are obsessed with swimming and go to their local pools frequently throughout the week!

 

2. YOU CAN RENT CAR SEATS FROM RENTAL CAR AGENCIES AT THE AIRPORT

Many people seem to feel restricted by the thought of checking car seats and having to schlep their own car seats all the way from the US. I feel that. It’s a hassle. The good news is, you can rent one with your rental car and skip having the hassle of bringing your own. Just check in advance, but there is typically a giant rack of them ready to distribute when you get your keys.

If you aren’t renting your own car, I’d recommend bringing your own car seats. Taxis WON’T drive your children unless they are in a car seat. While countries like the UK & France have loopholes to allow for children to ride in their parents’ laps in taxis, Iceland has strict laws that prohibit driving children without a carseat. (I’ve learned this the hard way!)

3. ICELAND IS VERY KID FRIENDLY

The good news is: Iceland has been kid friendly and, from all we have seen on our recent visits, continues to be so as the country booms in popularity. Sure, now there are some chic restaurants that wouldn’t be the best place to bring your toddler, but for the most part- the country is geared for little ones. Hotels are happy to put baby beds in room, when they have been requested in advance. Rental car companies can provide car seats, again when they have been requested in advance. While some countries feel a bit stuffier to the notion of bringing along a baby with you, Iceland is a great place to take the kids for their first trip abroad as the culture is still unique… but with enough personal space and freedom to give young families flexibility without a scornful eye.

 

4. PACK A SNACK

I know this sounds silly, but if you have room to bring some snacks for your kids- you’ll save yourself some serious cash by avoiding stuff in the gas stations and grocery stores. As you’ll most likely know or have heard, Iceland is EXPENSIVE. With the high value of the krona combined with the unceasing demand of tourists, the Iceland people are raking in the cash. They have no incentive to keep their food at normal prices when tourists will keep shovelling money their way. Save your money for good meals out, and don’t fond yourself tearing up over the absence cost of granola bars and bottled water. (PS. All tap water in Iceland is 100% perfect. Just bring refillable bottles and save yourself the unnecessary expense… and having the locals giggle at you for paying for bottled water when you can get the same out of the tap.)

5. ICELANDAIR IS GREAT WITH KIDS

While most people coming from the US will have to connect at some point in their journey to Iceland’s main airport in Keflavik, it’s worth considering flying with Iceland’s own airline, IcelandAir. Especially if you’re traveling with kids. While most airlines operate under the policy that all ticketed passengers pay the same fare (after all, a seat is a seat), IcelandAir has reduced fares for kids. Not only is the economic value a plus, but they are just, well, really nice to families. When kids board, they hand them a little box of food, headphones and colouring books. All seats come with personal entertainment systems, and there are plenty of options for kids. 

The other perk that IcelandAir famously offers passengers is the ability to do up to 7 days of a “lay-over” in Iceland (where all of their US-Europe flights connect anyway) for no additional fee. It was originally a marketing aim to get people to explore the country, but even now that Iceland is one of the top travel destinations- it’s still an offer to their passengers. This makes it a great stopover for families on their way to Europe, as it can help pace out the craziness of jet lag between the drastic time changes. Basically, a couple of days in Iceland doubles the fun… and halves the jet lag.

6. KIDS ARE FREE MOST PLACES

The truth is, most of the sites won’t actually charge you anyway. With the main attractions being beautiful outdoor sites, you’ll be able to walk up to most of them and enjoy them without paying a dime. However, for some of the paid outings- small children are free, too. For example, Into the Glacier is an amazing experience that we have taken my children to several times. While the site doesn’t say it, I’ve written to verify that small children are free. The company does need to know that they will be coming, so they recommend buying tickets for the adults and then writing to say that lap children (think toddlers & babies, not your 8 year old. Sorry!) will be coming, too. While they don’t need a ticket, they do need to be accounted for in the giant trucks that transfer people onto the glacier. If you’re planning for any paid excursions, its best to check with the provider. My guess is you’ll either be relieved to hear that they can join for free…. Or are too young to come with the group outing. Either way, it’s best to check in advance to avoid a busted day of travel.


Find all my travel posts for Iceland here or check out my travel guide to Iceland here.

Still want more? Book a travel consult for one-on-one with a session to help plan out your trip. 



 

*Images by Ashel Parsons for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on May 17, 2017 and filed under iceland, travel, kids.

My Reykjavik | BurgerJoint


I've mentioned it elsewhere- but Iceland has changed SO much in the past five years. The amount of people in every locations is exponentially more than when we first started going... and I would say more than doubled since even last year.

Whenever we saw friends or colleagues, they all asked us what we thought of it. The boom of tourism is changing the lives of all 330,000 people that live there. Every block in town and small village along the (only) highway is full of cranes and new business popping up in response to the hoards of tourstics flocking to Iceland.

While there are so many new (great!) places opening, I still feel drawn back to Burgerjoint (or "Bullan," as the locals call it) on days around lazy days when we are near the marina in Reykjavik..

This tiny shop tucked right on the marina makes fresh burgers. They're one of the most affordable meals in town, and they're pretty stinking good. No visit there is complete with a basket full of fries- generously sprinkled from the shaker of seasoning salt- and a coffee milkshake.

The BBQ bacon cheeseburger is a crowd-pleaser, but with huge sides (the large fries could easily feed 5 people), a small cheeseburger does the trick for me.

Find Burgerjoint at Geirsgata 1, Reykjavik 101, Iceland. (Right by the IcelandAir Marina Hotel)



 

*images by Ashel Parsons for Aspiring Kennedy

 

Posted on September 23, 2016 and filed under eat, iceland, travel.

iPhone (un)Operating System

Half-way through our trip to Italy, my phone stopped working. It wouldn't read the touch sensor for a day or so at a time- making it impossible to get into. I put up with it for a few more weeks (because I didn't have time to send it in to get repaired), and now I'm a month into a phoneless life and I have to say.... it is so nice.

While I wait, I have a £5 mobile phone. The tiny screen has a call log, contacts book, settings and game (singular- just one pathetic little game). It's so basic, and it has been a welcome detox from mindlessly scrolling social media and updating my inbox.

 

And all those helpful little apps? Whadday know- I can still login to my bank on my laptop and get everything done that I need as well as all the various functions that I spend clicking away at on my phone.

The only downside is that I never have a camera with me without my iPhone. I missed Viola's first day of school. I look at Harry's golden curls in the afternoon sunlight and realize that I only have my memories from sitting on the couch together, rather than a photo burst of them. So you know... pros and cons.

 

It's a real struggle to stay present- especially in the presence with my kids. In those quiet moments of sitting around the kitchen table or as they tinker with toys, I find myself constantly flicking back and forth between them and my phone.

I have the new iPhone 7 headed my way by the end of the month, and I'm already cringing at the bad habits that I'll fall back into.

How do you keep a safe distance from your phone usesage? My friend recommend the MOMENT app, which was a embarrassing yet needed look at how much I'm on my phone each day. (Or you could always go cold turkey and swap out for a basic cell phone. It's like a crash diet, and I have a feeling you may totally love it, too.)

 



 

*images by Ashel Parsons for Aspiring Kennedy

 

 

Posted on September 19, 2016 and filed under kids, life, iceland.