Barefoot in Bali

~By:  Julie

Tired of the routine of perusing the islands in Thailand, we sought to broaden our horizons and collect a few more passport stamps. As such, we decided to see more of what southeast Asia had to offer. I was running low on passport pages, and with visas taking up an entire page, I was really starting to worry by the end of the trip! We went from LA to Japan, flew to Singapore for a couple of nights, headed to Bali for a week of sheer bliss, then to Kuala Lampur for one day. From there, it was up to Vietnam for another 5 nights, then we bounced back over to Bangkok before passing through Burma and Cambodia, but again: I was down to my last passport page. So, I split up with my travel group and flew back to Bali, joining up with some travelers I’d met on a rooftop in Bangkok three years previous.

On our last visit a week or so earlier, we’d spent the majority of our time hanging by the pool or sitting on the beach in Kuta with the beach boys (not the band). Kuta Beach is a long string of little beer stands surrounded by colorful plastic chairs and umbrellas, run by local Balinese guys with coolers displaying signs selling “Bloody cold Bintang.” Some are even humorously advertised that the beers were “Cold as your exes heart!” We made fast friends with a beach boy in front of the Sheraton named Harley, with his contagious smile and warm greetings. We were serenaded by the locals, who sang American songs, and kept ourselves cool beside ice cold beers, which whisked us into dusk. We found our own little section of the beach that felt like home.


Even when I returned a week or so later, I felt like I would be cheating on Harley if I sat at any other stand… so I didn’t. In that first week we made arrangements through a local travel agency next to our hotel to rent a van and driver for the day to take us up to Ubud. First we went to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, then to Monkey Forest in Ubud and finally to the Bali Pulina Agro Tourism Plantation to taste the most expensive coffee in the world. Luwak coffee is made from the poop of a civet cat, which we cleverly nicknamed “cat-poo-chino.” At the time, none of us knew about Kopi Luwak or the cruelty involved with the Civet. All we knew was that coffee pooped from a civet cat is the most expensive coffee in the world sounded like a must-see novelty. In hindsight we probably should have done more research and taken it out of the day’s agenda completely, but it was an educational experience overall.

Be aware that traffic is horrendous in Kuta. We brought plenty of snacks, an aux cord for Spotify playlists and (obviously) roadies… it is us after all! I will also warn you that the driver we hired did try and take us to different places, other than the ones we had agreed upon. He tried to take us to an unofficial coffee plantation, and luckily Anna caught on that it wasn’t the right place. She was able to direct him to the one she had saved on TripAdvisor. Google Maps was another big assist. Traveling with T-mobile makes life so much easier and keeps drivers honest.


So fast-forward a week and some change, and I’m flying solo back to Bali to meet the Canadians. They had booked a spot at TZ Party Hostel in Kuta so I also booked a space. The location is ideal, being right in the heart of Kuta, and the pool bar is a great place to make friends. They have floating bean bags in the pool that I basically lived in for 3 days even in the rain. The rooms themselves are bare and minimal, however, I spent so little time indoors it didn’t matter. TZ Party Hostel was epitomized by the owner, Brad. He sat down with me, explained the place in detail and described the tours he could hook me up with.

Brad’s Australian, and after being in Asia for so long, hustling with broken English and hand signals, it’s so refreshing to have someone speak perfect English that isn’t trying to hustle you! He lays the good and bad out in great detail and has so much knowledge of the culture and the land. He knows which boat companies are safe and which ones have had fires or sunk. No joke! At night he organizes dinners and shows, so that other hostel mates can mingle and get to know each other. I made some pretty fun friends after a steak dinner and a lady boy cabaret show. We are bonded for life after that!

The hostel is on Legion street in the heart of Kuta, right by the memorial of the 2002 Bali bombing, which I highly recommend taking a moment of silence before you set off to celebrate life over at the unavoidable Sky GardenSky Garden. I’m not really sure how to describe Sky Garden. You pay an entrance fee and you get 2 free low quality drinks. I’m not a picky drink person but whatever poison they are serving didn’t agree with me… twice. I promised myself after the first time around I wasn’t going back there, that I’d have just as much fun with my friends at a more low key bar with better and cheaper drinks. However, at my second arrival in Bali, the Canadians and my new friends from the hostel hadn’t experienced it yet and I was dragged back into the lure of the Sky Garden. That poison that they are passing off as liquor has some strange and varying effects on everyone. Personally, I’m not a fan, but like I said, it’s something you have to do, for a reason I can’t explain.

You should make note that October to April is rainy (wet) season. This effected us in really “special” ways. While in Kuta we had about 36 hours of solid torrential downpour. China Air had lost the Canadian boys’ bags and it took them 2 days of having to wear the same clothes and buying a few tourist shirts until their bags finally arrived. Being their luck, the bags arrived the day of the storm. They had to ride their rented motorbikes in the rain to and from the airport. Meanwhile, I was enjoying a couple rounds of Kings Cup with some Australians, Brits and Swedes back at the Hostel. After a solid game of Kings Cup, the rain didn’t matter anymore so we hung out in the pool on floating beanbags until nightfall.

Tired of the noise, the hustle and bustle, and the legendary hangovers, we decided a change of scenery was needed and to chill out over at Gili Trawangan. Anna flew down from Rangoon to join us in Bali and we booked a boat transfer to Gili T. The hostel helped us arrange the transportation to the boat and picked the safest boat to the island. This is a day I will never forget. We had met a Lufthansa flight attendant and a boutique British flight attendant, a Chilean philosophy student who studies in China, a French Canadian bartender and a fun sized Filipina traveling nurse all at the pool in the hostel. We made fast friends on the boat and when we got to Gili T, Surprise… surprise it’s raining!! We realized that none of us have planned for lodging so we head to a bar for ‘planning beers’ as we dried off and used the wifi to find hostels. At the Canadians suggestion, at some point we realize that there are enough of us that we can rent a private villa rather affordably. We locate one on Airbnb and we sent 2 people to go in person to do some low season rainy cash negotiations. We ended up getting the most gorgeous villa for roughly $24 a night per person which in Asia is a splurge but we were beyond ready to be spoiled. We got a palace with our own pool, a live in staff of three, and it included the most amazing breakfast with fresh juices and fruits. It was a great break after so many hostel bunk beds.

Gili T doesn’t have motorcycles or cars; it’s run only on bicycles and tiny horses. We rented old rusty bikes and I believe you can go around the whole island in less than 3 hours, though be prepared that a fair amount of the route is sand and the bikes aren’t properly aligned. They are very rusty and old which can make for some unexpected exercise. We made stops to watch sunsets at various cute little bars and bungalows around the island and we made sure to do the iconic swing photo shoot. We spent 3 days exploring, snorkeling, swimming with the turtles and relaxing.

As travelers go, a few of us split ways and a few of us ended up in Ubud, and our two Dutch friends from previous travels joined us. Ubud caters more to the yogis and the nature lovers. It’s quiet and peaceful and the food selections are incredible. We found a delightful tapas restaurant with tasty sangria and stumbled across a quaint little vegetarian place with bunnies roaming freely in the back garden where you dine. We stayed a day, left our main backpacks at the hotel storage and packed only the essentials for what might be the craziest 4 days of my life thus far. 2 Americans, 2 Canadians and 2 Dutchies hopped on 3 motorbikes and we set off to explore the island of Bali.

As tourists and travelers you are going to be stopped by the police or “traffic officers” and it’s inevitable that they are going to try and get money out of you. We got away with maybe handing over 30 bucks total on a couple of occasions. The goal was to hike up Munduk but between the rains and my broken toe (happens sometimes when you hike up a waterfall barefoot) it wasn’t feasible. We drove our bikes into the jungle with ponchos and at some point we just gave up since we were soaked to the core and just wrapped our small backpacks in the ponchos. The jungle road trip was incredible minus the rain and the limited visibility due to fog. The turns were hairy and I’m sure my knees hit cars and cyclists going the opposite direction. I held my breath and silently said my prayers. We finally found a little $10 a night guest house, set our clothes on the impossible mission to dry and warmed up in the shower and downed some tasty hot soup. A couple games of cards with beers and we were back in great spirits. The next morning the group headed to watch the sunrise over the mountains and after a good full breakfast we were back on the road. We ended up in Lovina where we set up camp at another guest house that we stumbled upon.

The new goal was to try any activities involving water since the rain wasn’t really cutting us a break. By now we had started to smell like wet dogs, and nothing we owned was dry! Our plan was to go to the natural water slides but yet again, rain fell on our parade. The locals told us that the water levels can get deadly and there is no way we could go. They told us that we could definitely do the natural hot water spring baths instead. So we hopped on our bikes and spent a glorious day in the hot springs with cool rain sprinkling us!

Now, you might have gotten the impression that we cope with alcohol and you’re right. A day in the hot springs with old traveling friends, reminiscing our previous journeys and copious amounts of alcohol later… things got fuzzy. The next thing I know we are getting matching tattoos in a scuba shop in Lovina because apparently that place had the best lighting for the job. We marked an incredible journey permanently in ink to remember for the rest of our lives, not that we could ever forget.

I never knew how helpful a motorcycle ride can be when you’re hungover as holy hell. But the novelty soon wore off, as we spent 6 hours straight riding around the island trying to get back to Ubud to have a warm shower and clean clothes. It’s been 4 days of rain in the same clothes and everything is turning a sort of orangish color. The smell is something we could only describe as “the odor.” We had to wash every single thing we owned, we threw away shoes that were unsalvageable, scrubbed every pore but it somehow still lingered. We had one final night all together in Ubud before the Canadians had to leave and we ventured to a quaint little hookah bar and somehow ended up at a gay club dancing the night away. The group said our tearful goodbyes to the Canadians and Anna and I followed the Dutchies back to Kuta were we prolonged our trip one extra day at a time. We were delaying the inevitable of going home. No one ever wants to leave paradise. The long journey home seemed like a death sentence. Eventually we slowly made our way across the ocean. It personally took me 5 flights and 38 hours before I made it back to California.

One of our good friends just recently returned to Bali and found our friend Harley, tending bar on the beach in his same spot in front of the Sheraton hotel. He remembered her and had a bloody cold Bintang ready and waiting!

Read more about Potato Head Beach Club:


Iceland: The Final Stretch

Day 7: Seydisfjoudur to Hofn

After clearing the mountain pass, we stopped in the little town of Egilsstadir, pretty much because they have a Vinbudin. After stocking up, we noticed our left tire was flat. After consulting Avis, it was off to the tire shop. Back on the road and a large bill for Avis, for 2 tires we attempted to make up time driving to Hofn. There is a short cut on the way, highway 939, which is a mostly gravel and mountainous road which splits off the ring road, you still save over an hour taking this extreme detour, but watch out for crazy idiot sheep!


‘Lambhus Cottages’ located just past Hofn on a farm, overlooks the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest in Iceland. After nature time and petting the horses, we drove to dinner at a recommended restaurant on a nearby farm. The Hofn area is known for its langoustine or lobster and Jon Riki Restaurant at Holmur Guesthouse has mastered the art of lobster. After an appetizer of lobster soup, it was onto the main course of lobster pizza, because there is no such thing as too much lobster. This restaurant is also a brewery, which just recently became operational. The restaurant has no real address, but can be found thru their GPS coordinates, basically its on the Ring Road, in front of the big glacier.

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Day 8: Hofn to Vik

After an early wake up in Hofn, because some weirdos like alarms on vacation, we headed to another neighboring farm for the breakfast buffet. For approximately $15, the buffet at Brunholl is well worth the price, plus their bread tastes like Christmas. Score Iceland: 1, the rest of Europe: 0 for properly cooking bacon, as an American I find this very important.

After breakfast we headed towards Vik, one of our shortest drives on our route. On the way we stopped at Jokulsarlon for the glacier lagoon experience. Showing up without a reservation, we waited an hour for a ticket time to accommodate five people. Thankfully the lagoon cafe sold hot chocolate mixed with rum. The Amphibian Boat tour costs 5,000 Kr or $45 for a 45 minute boat tour of the glacier lagoon. The lagoon was created by the receding Breidmerkurjokull (where do these words come from) glacier and is dotted with hundreds of beautiful white and blue icebergs, which have broken off due to the warming climate. Before leaving the boat, you have the opportunity to sample 1,000 year old ice. Slightly overpriced, I still recommend this tour because how often does one get to play in a glacier lagoon.

Soon, we arrived in Vik and checked into ‘North Star Apartments’, a spacious 2 bedroom apartment. Immediately we set off for the beach with bottles of champagne in our backpack. In Vik you will find one of the few black sand volcanic beaches in the world. The atmosphere on this beach is incredibly calming and I found myself happy sitting alone with my thoughts, music and of course champagne. After dipping our feet into the icy water we set off to explore Vik, which took a whopping 10 minutes.

Our only requirement for dinner was a menu which included fermented shark, therefore we selected Strondin, for the last supper. With only 4 full service restaurants in Vik understand that you might wait for a table, which just means time for a patio beers. The fermented shark appetizer was definitely a palate adventure and is served with a shot of Brennivin, a traditional Icelandic liquor. Snap chat captured our experience and the taste can only be described as fish dipped in chemicals, but when in Rome… Our entrees proved to be more fulfilling and we headed home early, as there is absolutely zero nightlife in Vik.

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Day 9: Vik to Selfoss

Waking up I realized with a heavy heart, that this was my last real day in Iceland. For our morning exercise we hiked the majestic mountain behind our apartment. Half way up we realized there were thousands of Puffins nesting in the rock face which jutted out over the ocean. Careful not to disturb the bird’s environment, we were able to get with in 5 feet a family of puffins. We retreated back down the mountain before I kidnapped one as a new pet.

Unfortunately due to work constraints I would travel back to Reykjavik alone and without seeing the Golden Circle. Iceland has a wonderful bus system connecting each city back to Reykjavik. I hopped on the public bus in Selfoss for approx $9. I booked a bunk at Hlemmur Square hostel, while nice enough, this was by far the most boring hostel I have ever stayed in. Most people kept to themselves, even in the common rooms and happy hour. After a quick and lonely dinner at the Laundromat Cafe, I crashed early for an oh dark thirty departure to the airport.


Day 10: Fly home little bird

The most efficient way between Reykjavik city center and Keflavik airport is the Flybus. This express bus can be booked online at and will pick you up at most city center hotels and hostels for 3000 isk or $25. Before boarding my 10:30 flight, I quickly scarfed down a breakfast of pizza and beer, because I make adult decisions.

If you take anything away from this trip know Iceland is not cheap, however one of the most beautiful countries I have visited to date. My baller on a budget style was blown out of the water, but whale watching and glacier lagoons are once in a lifetime opportunities, definitely worth the dip into the savings account. My do or die list includes

  1. Book your Blue Lagoon, whale watching and other popular attractions asap, especially in the summer months, we missed out on Westman (Vestmannaeyjar) Island ferry by waiting.
  2. Duty free is your best friend, after that behold the Vinbudin
  3. Use Bonus and picnic/cook as much as possible
  4. Happy hour is also your best friend….life lessons
  5. Book accommodations early, if traveling in a bigger group, 5 people was difficult to book for, while maintaining a budget. Solo travelers or doubles can get away with waiting, but some places/towns offer very limited price conscientious options, especially in summer.
  6. If you are a camper, bring a tent and go for it
  7. See everything you can on this beautiful island
  8. Boys will do laundry, if the machine resembles a video game

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~By: Amanda

Read parts one and two of our Icelandic three part Saga: Reykjavik and The Ring Road

Way Too Wanderlust

Lambhus Cottages: Lambleiksstadir, 781 Hofn Iceland +354 662 1029

Jon Riki Restaurant and Brewery: GPS location N64 16.825 W15 29.016 +354 478 2063

Brunholl: Myrar, 781Hornafjordur Iceland +354 478 1029

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Reynivollum 3, 781 Hornafjordur Iceland +354 478 2222

North Star Apartments: Bakkabraut 12, Vik 870 Iceland +354 4871212 booked via

Strondin: Austurvegi 18, 870 Vik Iceland +354 487 1230

Hlemmur Square Hostel: Laugavegur 105, Reykjavik Iceland +354 415 1600 booked via


Iceland: Part 2 of 3

~By:  Amanda

Day 3: Reykjavik to Stykkisholmur

After a late night of fun in Reykjavik we finally started our adventure on the Ring Road. After a quick stop at Domino’s Pizza for a hangover breakfie, because we are still American, we set off with google maps as our guide. Driving north, the Ring Road has two toll stops, after the insanely long underwater tunnels, which feels like driving into the fiery depths of earth.

After 3 hours and a couple minor water falls, we entered the town of Stykkisholmur. With a population of 1,195, Stykkisholmur is a tiny fishing village on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Our afternoon activity was to climb Sugandisey, a rock island, connected by causeway to the main peninsula. The hike to the top of Sugandisey is intermediate and the views from the top are defiantly worth the effort.

After lounging in the grass, enjoying the last bit of sun, we headed back down the rocky trail to Sjavarpakkhusid restaurant for our reward beer. Here, we learned that Justin Bieber songs have been actually translated into Icelandic, why…… The wooden deck facing the fjord was the perfect place to settle in with our new favorite, Einstok beers. Afterwards we headed to Skurinn for dinner, the most budget conscientious restaurant in town. After our dinner, of you guessed it fish, we devoured their featured desserts, Nutella muffins and apple pie.

To finish off our day we decided to check out the Stykkisholmur pool, because if somewhere has a water slide, you go! The Stykkisholmur pool has a large indoor/outdoor pool area with three geothermal hot tubs at various temperature levels. The entrance fee was approx $8 and was well worth the unlimited trips down the water slide.

Day 4: Stykkisholmur to Akureyri

After a quick and delicious breakfast at Nesbraud ehf, a cute cafe and bakery, we said goodbye to Stykkisholmur. Next stop was Helgafell, which is a noted religious hill outside of town and is a must for everyone’s itinerary. According to Icelandic legend, one can make three wishes while climbing the hill, without speaking (a monotonous task for me) or looking back. In all seriousness though, 2 of my 3 wishes have come true so far…


Google maps suggested two options for this route. We choose the ‘short route’ traveling across highway 54, which was a ridiculous gravel road, however a trade-off for amazing scenery. Back on the Ring road, just past Laugarbakki we stopped lunch at Kolugljufur waterfall, to have a picnic lunch, complete with champagne.

The city of Akureyri is known as the northern capital, with our whale watching adventure planned we spent 2 nights here. “Akureyri FP apartments” has the best possible location in the city. The amenities in the apartment were endless including 2 balconies and blue tooth washing machine, which can be operated from your phone. For the first time in history, I saw boys excited about laundry. After an hour of playing with a washing machine, we headed down to R5 Beer lounge for 5 euro happy hour drafts. By suggestion from the bartender we decided on Akureyri Fish and Chips for dinner. Best fish and chips ever and coating every bite with jalapeno-garlic dipping sauce is absolutely necessary.

Day 5: Whale watching in Husavik

If you eat one meal in Akureyri make it breakfast at Cafe Berlin. After the most difficult decision of life thus far, I selected the egg, bacon and gouda on toast. After breakfast we set out towards Husavik for our pre-booked whale watching tour with North Sailing. On a stroke of luck the company contacted me the previous night and upgraded our tour to the 3.5 hour, Whale Watching and Puffin Tour. Our boat was a traditional Icelandic sailing ship and North Sailing, operates as certified carbon neutral. With the exception of the ugly ocean suits we were required to wear, provided by the company, the day was absolutely amazing. As they say, “life isn’t perfect but your outfit should be.” After skirting the island where we found thousands of puffins making their nests, we followed a pair of humpback whales as they dove and surfaced from the sea. Our tour concluded with hot chocolates with rum and pastries on our way back to Husavik.

Back in Akureyri we decided to check out Cafe Amour for another happy hour, notice a pattern here? Our dinner restaurant Bryggjan was suggested by our wonderful guide from the whale tour. The food was well worth the 30 minute wait. Since calories don’t exist on vacay, we hit the local favorite ice cream shop Brynja for dessert. Brynja serves soft serve ice cream with a variety delicious dips and toppings. #fatdays


Day 6: Akureyri to Seydisfjourder

With a heavily planned day, we set out early with our eye on the Myvatn Nature Baths. Similar to the Blue Lagoon, however less touristy, Myvatn is a smaller scaled geothermal heated spring. This geothermic pool is more scenic and quaint than its popular neighbor to the south, with an average temperature of 95-105 degrees (36-40C).The locker rooms are clean and provide the same amenities as the Blue Lagoon, including lockers and hair dryers. Entrance was 4,000 or $35 USD and obviously we opted to pre-pay for two beers. To obtain your beverages, one must flag down a nature bath employee and they will deliver your order poolside… fancy!

Back on the road, we steered towards what is arguably the best waterfall in Iceland, Dettifoss. Approaching the waterfall is the equivalent of being inside a monsoon, from the intense back-spray. Initially we planned for a nice picnic lunch next to the waterfall… try again! You can view Dettifoss, from the east or west of the falls and both with large parking areas. As you approach the waterfall you can hear the roar as thousands of gallons of water topple over the rocks to the 144 ft (44 meters) drop. The sheer force of the water proved to be too much for my little 5’3” body and I quickly retreated back to the car after only a few minutes with this amazing giant.


Soaked and cold we made our way towards Seydisfjoudur, stopping at the Bonus to pick up provisions for dinner. The drive over the mountain pass into this small and cute town situated on a fjord is difficult and snow still dotted the hill top, even in mid-August. Our cabin at ‘Langahlid Seydisfirdi’ was my favorite accommodation in Iceland. Approximately 2 minutes after our arrival we grabbed a bottle of red wine and ran for the hot tub. We all spent the next 2 hours chilling in the bubbles, listening to my favorite house playlist, taking in the view of the fjord.

Soon after arrival, we realized a serious lapse in judgment, the alcohol was almost gone. With the Vinbudin being closed on Sunday (DO NOT make the same mistake we did) we quickly weighed our options. Intel provided by locals suggested that sometimes local bars and restaurants will sell you full bottles of alcohol, however at a serious mark-up. The two girls were voted as best representatives to take on the mission, so we jumped in the car and headed back into town. We found a bar and settled down with two beers before propositioning the friendly bartender. After a call to the owner we were sold a bottle of vodka for about $75, the bartender threw in some mixers as a good gesture. We closed out the night with series of card games, drinking the most expensive bottle I have ever purchased outside a NYC club.

After a night of games and fun (never leave the house with out Uno and Phase 10) we settled off to sleep in our precious little cabin. The next morning we hiked thru the fields to the waterfall behind the cabin before heading down the road.

Read part one: Reykjavik  and the conclusion: The home stretch

Way Too Wanderlust Recommends

Our Home Apartments: Laufasvegur 21-43, Stykkisholmur 340 Iceland +354 899 1797 booked via

Sjavarpakkhusio: Seabraut 2, 340 Stykkisholmur Iceland +354 438 1800

Skurinn: Thvervegur 2, Stykkisholmur 340 Iceland +354 544 4004 no website found

Stykkisholmur Pool: Borgarbraut 4, Stykkisholmur Iceland +354 433 8150 no website found

Akureyri FP Apartments: Radhustorg 3, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 863 0042 booked via

Nesbraud ehf: Nesvegur 1, 340 Stykkisholmur Iceland +354 438 1830 no website found

R5 Beer Lounge: Radhustorg 5, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 462 1400

Akureyri Fish and Chips: 12 Skipagata, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 414 6050

Cafe Berlin: Skipagata 4, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 661 0661 webpage thru Facebook

North Sailing Tours: Hafnarstett, Husavik Iceland +354 464 7272

Cafe Amour: Radhustorg 9, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 461 3030 webpage thru Facebook

Bryggjan Restaurant: Strandgata 49, 600 Akureyri Iceland +354 440 6600

Brynja: Adalstraeti 3, Akureyri Iceland +354 462 4478 no website found

Myvtan Nature Baths: Jardbadsholar, 660 Myvtan Iceland +354 464 4411

Langahlid Seydisfirdi: Langahlid, 710 Seydisfjourder Iceland +354 8971524 booked via

Iceland: A three part saga

Part  One:  Reykjavik

The perfect blend of the great outdoors and gracious hospitality; Iceland is an adventure travelers dream. While quite pricey for most budgets, there are still ways to have a cost effective trip to Iceland. Budget accommodations are not typical for Iceland, we choose a more middle ground pricing. Opting for apartments and guesthouses, with five travelers, most hotels would blow our budget out of the water. There are several ways to save money when it comes to dining and drinks and direct those extra dollars towards adventures and must see sites!


Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik

After arriving three hours late from New York, we hurried thru immigration and customs as we were rapidly consuming our cushioned time allotted between landing and our Blue Lagoon reservation. We reserved our rental car thru Avis and after the worlds longest line, we were informed our wait would still be an additional 20 more minutes.

Arriving an hour late, the Blue Lagoon luckily accommodated our tardiness. In advance, we booked the Premium Package online, which included a use of towel, robe and slippers, a complimentary beverage and free sparkling wine with lunch at Lava Restaurant. On previous trips I had always selected the Comfort package, which is by far the best value. Upon arrival you receive a wrist band, which is utilized for locker access and for payment of refreshments and services while inside the lagoon. It is essential during the high season, summer months that you book your Blue Lagoon reservation time in advance. You can also utilize several tour companies including Iceland Tours and Grey Line which will arrange packages with transportation.





50 Euro

65 Euro

85 Euro

195 Euro

  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Use of Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Reserved Table at Lava
  • Sparkling wine at Lava
  • Entrance
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • One Complimentary Beverage
  • Algae Mask
  • Use of Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Reserved Table at Lava
  • Sparking Wine at Lava
  • Spa Journey Product Set
  • Entrance to the Exclusive Lounge

*This information was obtained from the official Blue Lagoon website

The Blue Lagoon is an amazing geothermal lagoon, heated by the earths energy and is considered one of the 25 Wonders of the World. Iceland sits on a hot spot between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. There are several natural lagoons and heated pools throughout the island, which are created by this unique position on the planet, the Blue Lagoon being the largest and most popular, right outside of the capital city of Reykjavik.


The changing areas are clean and well accommodated, providing a comfortable space for slipping into your swim attire. Hair dryers and other amenities are supplied for efficient exit. Before entering the lagoon, it’s highly suggested to heavily condition your hair as the lagoon water can make hair very dry and sustainable to breakage. Typically, I attempt to keep my hair completely out of the water, a more difficult challenge after a few beers.


Swimming in the Blue Lagoon can be equated to being inside a giant bathtub, temperatures range from 99F (37C) to 102F (39C).The water is said to have healing properties and a complimentary mud mask is provided, which is created from the Lagoon’s silica. Of course the Blue Lagoon has a bar or I wouldn’t go there. With the comfort package, or above, one drink is included, choose the sparkling wine, its the biggest bang for your buck. Next, switch to Gull beer for drink 2 thru ???


Our Premium Package included a reservation and complimentary glass of sparking wine at Lava Restaurant. If you are looking for a fancy day, go for it. Our group mostly opted for a small appetizers, for a late lunch. My choice was the Langoustine Soup or Lobster Bisque, which I assume is on the buffet in heaven. The meal was accompanied with this delicious complimentary bread and salt butter. After lunch we paraded back into the lagoon for another hour of swimming and of course more Gull, before heading into Reykjavik.

After a 45 minute drive, we arrived in Reykjavik. For five people we booked a centrally located 2 bedroom apartment, “Thomsen Apartments”. Check in process was simple and efficient; the owner provides you with a code to retrieve your keys located in the lock box outside the apartment.

After settling in, we ventured to find a supermarket for much needed supplies. Near by we found a local grocery charging exuberant prices, $5 for a lime, never mind those duty free vodka tonics need no garnish. We gathered the most necessary items, including “Cool American” flavored Doritos and still chipped a bill equivalent to $43. Luckily thru a google search, we learned many grocery shopping lessons, this website is everything . Based on our budget, we determined that Bonus was our go-to supermarket for our journey. Several Bonus stores dot the ring road, selling basic groceries at tolerable costs, I still use tolerable loosely here. Also, package alcohol is only sold thru the State store outlets, called Vinbudin. These stores also found in every town, STOCK UP, most Vinbudin operate limited hours. Best advice stop at duty free and bring in the maximum allowance.

After a pre-dinner cocktail, we set out to wander the picturesque town of Reykjavik, before deciding upon the Laundromat Cafe for dinner. This restaurant located in the central square of Reykjavik has an amazing variety and was relatively cost efficient for dinner. The restaurant is decorated in a quirky style and also doubles as a laundromat. If available choose the high-top tables nestled on either side of the entrance. For the nosy, there is a drawer fixed on the table which contains notes and cards from travelers past, an intriguing activity while waiting for dinner. My menu favorites include the fish and chips, the steak sandwich or the tapas platter. We ended our night here with another fresh cold Gull beer, exhausted from travel.


Day 2: Reykjavik Part Deux

Everything is brighter after a good night sleep, especially on the best couch bed ever. For lunch we settled into the cozy and rustic Islenski Barrin restaurant and ordered beers produced by the Einstok Brewing Company. The Icelandic lamb stew was hearty and sensational, other favorites included salmon and lobster “missing dogs” with delicious, crispy, waffle fries. Our friend ordered for the table, the Hardfiskur or dried fish chips. Hardfiskur makes the list if must try Icelandic delicacies, however I don’t understand the appeal.



After lunch we headed to the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran church, for our attempt at being cultural. The cost is 7 Euro or 8 USD per person, to ride the bell tower elevator. The aerial view of Reykjavik is breathtaking, spanning 360 degrees. This church is also a Pokemon Go gym, in case you cared. After our church visit it was only necessary to browse the Icelandic Phallological Museum, that’s right, the Penis Museum. It’s interesting to say the least, it proved to be an entertaining 30 minutes.

Happy hour is an important thing to consider in Iceland and well, life in general….beer typically costing $8-10, wine is $11-14, cocktails….elevating from there. Many places run a spectacular happy hour, we choose Bar Anasas, which is fabulously decorated as a beach tiki bar. Bar Ananas is also a tapas bar, serving Icelandic inspired tapas in mason jars. We ended the night at Cafe Rosenberg listening to amazing live music.


Check out parts 2 and 3 of my  Iceland Saga:

~By: Amanda

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

The Blue Lagoon: 240 Grindavik, Iceland +354 420 8800

Thomsen Apartments: Reykjavik City Center, Iceland +354 519 2626 booked via

The Laundromat Cafe: Austurstraeti 9, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 587 7555

Islenski Barinn: 1A Ingolfsstraeti, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 517 6767

Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church: Hallgrimstorg 101, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 510 1000

Iceland Phallological Museum: Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavik Iceland +354 561 6663

Bar Ananas: Klapparstigur 38, Reykjavik 101, Iceland +354 551 5444 no website available

Cafe Rosenberg: Klapparstigur 25-27, 101 Reykjavik Iceland +354 551 2442

Goin’ Up, On a Tuesday: Rooftop Athens, Greece


Watching the sunset over a beautiful city such as Athens is the perfect way to finish a day. A rooftop bar with delicious cocktails is an amazing way to enhance any sunset. The Galaxy Bar and Lounge on the rooftop of the Hilton Athens holds one of the best vantage points in the city and is a wonderful place to start your evening. With direct views of the Acropolis, the very long curved open terrace runs the entire length of the hotel. Before heading down to the Plaka for a Greek dinner feast, make sure to meet your friends at the Hilton Galaxy Rooftop bar for pre-dinner drinks.  

My favorite drink is the Champagne Supernova, which is champagne with vanilla vodka infused with lychee and rose flavor. The drink menu offers a diverse selection of drinks, including an entire page dedicated to the magic known as the Gin and Tonic! While definitely  on the pricy side, the stunning sunset views are worth it, so stay for one cocktail at least and take some very Instagram  worthy pictures. The cocktails are also inclusive of complimentary bar snacks, and I love bar snacks!!! If you are truly sticking to a budget, beer is a reasonable choice. 

YOLO, so you might as well spend a couple extra dollars and see a glorious sunset over the Acropolis.

Way Too Wanderlust Recommends

~By:  Amanda

Throw back Thursday: Canal Tour, London

Looking for something different in London and optimizing on our love for boats, Anna and I found The London Waterbus Co, operating a canal tour of London. With pick up points in Little Venice, the London Zoo and Camden Town, the 50 minute long tour provided a unique prospective on the history of London for 8£ one-way or 12.50£ return. Tickets are purchased on-board and require no reservation. Times of operation change seasonally and can be found on the company’s website.

We always need “provisions,” so we filled a couple of water bottles with sparkling wine for our own trip enhancement. The covered boats are historical narrow boats, which are designed for the shallow depth of the canals. Commentary discussing the history of the canals and locks of London was provided by our very witty tour guide.

We selected to start from Little Venice and disembark in Camden Town for an opportunity to explore the quirky northwest London borough.
Way too Wanderlust Recommends

The London Waterbus Co: 32 Camden Lock Place, London NW1 8AL +44 020 7482 2550

~By:  Amanda


Throw back Thursday: Electric Bike Tour, Barcelona 

Art museum visits typically end with me in some sort of trouble. Therefore, when choosing a cultural activity, it’s best to steer toward one without breakable objects. Having traveled to Barcelona several times, we wanted to see the city from a different perspective. After consulting my best friend Google, we found the Barcelona Electronic Bike Tour with Tapas and Drinks. Yes! They officially stole my heart with ‘tapas and drinks.’ With a very reasonable 4 pm start time, this was definitely the tour for us! We booked the 3 hour tour, which included the bike, the helmet, a guide, bottled water and insurance for about $50 a person via

The meeting point was Avendia de la Cathedral, which has a noteworthy religious sculpture, and our tour began in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona. Luckily our group that day was very small and included only a nice Scottish couple, which allowed for more time to become better acquainted with the bike operation. Before the tour commenced the guide gave us a small briefing and instructions, as it was our first experience on electric bikes. Electronic bikes operate similar to normal bikes, except that the small motor gives you an additional push as you pedal, increasing your speed. Our smaller group also allowed for a more interpersonal experience with our wonderful guide, who spoke English, Spanish and Italian! Guides fluent in German are also available.
The tour continues through the Gothic Quarter (El Gotica) and El Born, stopping next at the Parc de la Ciutadella. Later we headed down towards the Mediterranean sea to Port Olypmic, and then La Barceloneta before finishing off at the W Hotel. The extra push from the E Bike allowed us to cover much of the city in just a couple hours, before heading back for tapas and wine.
The tour included three glasses of wine– a white, a red, and my favorite: sparkling  Spanish Cava! The pours were quite generous and the tapas were delicious and filling. It was enough to for two small girls to call dinner. The local restaurant, Els 4 gats was finished in typical beautiful Catalan decor and operated in Barcelona since 1897.
For an interesting and active way to see the city of Barcelona, this tour is an amazing addition to your vacation.
Way too Wanderlust 

~By: Amanda

Sam Wo

San Francisco is notorious for a wide variety of incredible, delicious and varied cultural foods. My hotel was close to Chinatown so it felt mandatory to partake. I had heard of Sam Wo and did a little research as I was told the hours vary from day to day and they are closed on Tuesdays… ironic since I’m posting this on a Tuesday, but I’ll bridge the gap and give you a day to let this sink in so you can pick up some Sam Wo on Wednesday.
A little history for you, Sam Wo was originally opened in 1912. It was a haven in the 1950s for the beat generation of no frills, cheap Chinese food. It became famous in the 80s due to one one of their waiters who was well known for being rude or refusing to serve people he just didn’t like. I was told if someone would order pork fried rice… he would look at you and say “no. Today you will have Mongolian beef.” He apparently was a special character and made a lasting impression on the community and was synonymous with the Sam Wo restaurant name. The place closed down in 2012 for two years based on health inspection failures and reopened in a new location on Clay St. with a clean bill of health.
The vibe is still the same as is some furniture and there is a little shrine to Edsel Ford Fung on the wall. The place is small and doesn’t seat more than 50 people but the food is good and fast and cheap. The staff was extremely friendly especially if you mentioned the history. They still don’t serve alcohol but they are working on that along with a few other innovative ideas.
We ordered a pot of hot tea and some spring rolls to start. A little sweet and sour pork, chicken and broccoli and shrimp chop suey and we had plenty of leftovers for our guilty pleasure later. Absolutely make sure to check the website before going to be sure of their opening hours for that day. Bring your appetite and maybe come with a pre-buzz or check out one of the fun Chinese dive bars afterwards. Definitely an experience to remember.

~By: Julie

Khaosan Road: Get Bangkok’d

For those of you who love the movie ‘The Beach’….This is where in Bangkok that Richard obtains that famous map from Daffy, which leads him to “paradise” The way he describes this street is accurate and if you are looking for a place to start your afternoon and finish at 7 am the next morning this is it.

After landing from the USA, we immediately proceed to Khaosan Center bar, known in our circle as “Merry Christmas bar” for our traditional tower of Chang and spring rolls! From there it’s a parade down the street as we stop at various bars for buckets as the Thai DJs remix the European EDM hits!!!! By 4 am it’s time to hit up a tuk tuk to Spicy night club that will keep us going to sun up! Time to sleep for a few hours before basking in the sun at our fav rooftop pool….


~By:  Amanda

Goin up, On a Tuesday: Highlands NYC

For our inaugural bar/restaurant Tuesday, I have choosen a place new to us this summer, which is becoming a fast favorite! Highlands NYC located in the West Village is a Scottish style pub with upscale finishes.

The Happy Hour here is what continuously draws us back, including $5 beers, $6 wines and $8 cocktails. My favorite is the Highland Mule, which is topped with a watermelon ice pop, while Anna enjoys the Old Fashioned. The beer and wine selection are not your basic ratchet house wines or large brewery domestics either and include a refreshing French Grenache/Syrah Rose and the Lionshead Pilsner from Pennsylvania. The happy hour snacks are definitely worth noting too, try the beef sliders or one of the flatbread selections.

While I have not had the opportunity to partake in the dinner menu, it looks fabulous. For those whisky connoisseurs, Highlands NYC also has a large selection of Scotch, bourbon and other selective whisky flights. Anna choose the Isle Hopping flight and recommends flight tasting as a fun afternoon activity!

Way too Wanderlust Recommends:  

Highlands NYC: 150 W 10th Street, New York, NY 10014 +1 212 229 2670

~By: Amanda

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