Iceland waterfalls photos: Photo essay of my favorites

Happy Friday! For FriFotos this week, I decided to share some Iceland waterfalls photos that I have not posted on LatinAbroad yet. Hitchhiking and Couchsurfing in Iceland is definitively one of my top trips to date. Those 7 days, albeit frozen and windy, were fabulous. Iceland is like a different planet and I’ll always be in love with its foreign landscapes and incredible geography. I can’t wait to go back!

If you rather go straight to the FROZEN waterfalls, goto bottom of this post! 😉

Skogafoss face formation

Loved this waterfall! Not only you can see it from the road and it gets more and more impressive the closer you get to it. Also, Skogafoss face formations are interesting and quite fun to photograph. I kissed that wild Icelandic local there…and I liked it.

Iceland waterfalls photos: Skogafoss face formation

Skogafoss face formation

Iceland waterfalls photos, Skogafoss face picking nose

Hehe

Iceland waterfalls photos frozen Skogafoss

Me freezing, standing on lava rocks by Skogafoss. Look at that nice rainbow (on left) making an appearance!

Frozen Seljalandsfoss waterfall

While the flow of Seljalandsfoss waterfall during the winter is rather thin, what I love the most about it was its frozen surroundings. Being from Puerto Rico, I had never seen such a beautiful winter wonderland and it was my very first time seeing frozen landscapes in person. I was like a kid in Disney World! Water that spritzed on my hair froze instantly and I could simply not stop giggling. You can probably see that through these photos!

frozen Seljalandsfoss, Iceland waterfalls photos

Me walking toward frozen Seljalandsfoss. Such a beautiful winter wonderland!

frozen Seljalandsfoss river, Iceland

Frozen droplets on my hair! I had a giggles attack…

frozen Seljalandsfoss, Iceland waterfall photos

Me atop frozen Seljalandsfoss waterfall. I had to take some crazy, completely frozen stairs!

Gullfoss: Iceland’s most popular waterfall

Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s top attractions and for a good reason. These falls are stunning. They are the biggest I’ve seen on my travels actually. Yes, this means I haven’t visited the Niagara Falls, Angel Falls nor the Victoria Falls (yet!). And so, Gullfoss dropped my jaw gently 🙂 Once again, the beautiful frosting was indeed the perfect topping.

Gullfoss Iceland waterfall photos

River and frozen Gullfoss upon our arrival

frozen Gullfoss Iceland waterfalls photos

frozen Gullfoss in all its glory

frozen Gullfoss Iceland waterfalls photos

Gullfoss and Marcello!

| Read more: Iceland Couchsurfing and hithhiking by the Arctic!

Have you visited any Iceland waterfalls? Which is your favorite?

 

FriFotos: Time and clocks around the world

This week’s FriFotos theme is Time/Clocks, so I decided to make a compilation of these representations from my world travels. Above all photos, there’s a blurb about the trip behind the image and maybe even a piece of a travel tale (or two). Enjoy!

NYE Ball Drop in Times Square, New York

Thinking about ringing the New Year in Times Square? Then you must start looking into holiday tours right now! Parties with views of the famous NYE Times Square Ball Drop book quickly. Although the best party in town was TGI Friday’s (closest to the action, anyway!), it was sold out. So…I seduced an NYPD officer and he let me breeze through Times Square Ball Drop VIP lane, get the best view of the Ball Drop, and I only got there at 10 PM, instead of waiting long freezing hours outdoors. Once of my best travel tales to date!

FriFotos Times Square NYE clock

A little video: Just for fun! 😉 😀

FriFotos NYE Times Square Ball Drop, clock

Best time to look at the clock in Times Square!

Big Ben, London

One of my best Couchsurfing experiences was in London. I stayed in the giant duplex of a model photographer who had at least other 10 models from all over the world surfing his several couches and beds! It felt like a Girls Scouts retreat, but with photo shoots and tons of sightseeing thrown in. All the girls got along very well and we hit town together. We still keep in touch. Here, some photos of my Korean “Couch mate” and me in front of the Big Ben. Good times! 🙂

FriFotos Big Ben clock

The Leaning Tower of London? Haha, love how this shot came out!

FriFotos Big Ben

Now it’s my time with Mr Big!

Cuckoo Clocks, Black Forest, Germany

In 2005, I went on an unforgettable multi-country Europe tour for the first time. It was mom’s high school graduation gift for me in part, and I’ll never be able to thank her enough. I did work for this too, via fundraising, as it was an “educational tour” of sorts. Maybe that’s why this trip felt so good! 😉 Anyway! While I already started to share my travel journal entries from that Euro trip, I have not told you about one of my favorite spots yet: The Black Forest, Germany. Wandering around the cuckoo clocks shop by the Rhine Falls was quite fun (and interesting!).

FriFotos, Euro Trip cuckoo clock

Me in front of the huge cuckoo clock by the shop. See that green kind of window on top? @ 2:10, a HUGE cuckoo came out of there. Too bad I missed it!

FriFotos, Euro Trip cuckoo clocks

Me and some of the famous cuckoo clocks. Gosh, I was young! =P

Got any peculiar clock shots? Which are your favorite FriFotos?

New travel bucket list items: UNESCO Europe, Utah Holi festival, ol’ US of A

It’s Travel Bucket List Wednesday! Let’s celebrate 😀 To be featured next week, simply post the link of your travel bucket list on a comment below!

travel bucket list - Dorset Coast, England, UK

“Bats Head to White Nothe: chalk cliffs on the Dorset Coast, U.K.” (JimChampion, Wiki)

25 of the Coolest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Western Europe

UNESCO World Heritage Sites – love them! Many on this list are already on my travel bucket list, such as Cinque Terre, Alhambra, and Venice, Italy (the latter already crossed off in 2005!).  However, I got new ideas! The Dorset Coast, England was a spot I had never heard of, for instance.

travvel bucket list, Il San Pietro di Positano

Il San Pietro di Positano on COnde Nast Traveler

Top 100 Hotels and Resorts Worldwideluxurious travel bucket list!

Ahhh, if I were rich…but a girl can dream, right? And so I did while staring at this travel bucket list of luxurious hotels for a while. Gorgeous locales! While I love them all, among my top favorites are the Four Seasons Bora Bora (overwater bungalows!), Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Safari Lodges at Phinda Private Game Reserve, Hotel Caesar Augustus (Capri), and Il San Pietro di Positano.

travel bucket list, Utah Holi Festival of Colors

Holi Festival of Colors in UTAH, USA – on my travel bucket list now! (Photo: Jeremy Nicoll)

Photowalk during Holi, Festival of Colors in Utah, USA!

I have previously shared with you how Holi, the Festival of Colors, is on my travel bucket list. However, what I did not know is that the festival is huge not only in India. but in other parts of the world! Particularly, I found this gem of a post/tour/photos on the Jarvie Studios (Utah) website. Yep – apparently, the Festival of Colors is huge in Utah USA! I really wish I would have known ahead of time, as it is celebrated throughout an entire weekend. I can’t believe it is happening in just a few days and I’ll be missing it! Hopefully I can make it next year 😀

Highway 1, California

Road trip on a classic 60’s Mustang down Highway 1, California? Heck yeah! (eeetthaannn, Flickr)

Deej’s Top 10 USA Travel Bucket List

Speaking of the US of A, I stumbled upon Deej’s travel bucket list and it was a reminder that I must add more “domestic items” to my own list. Too many times I forget how many great sites, states, destinations are within this country itself. I’m grabbing some ideas!

Dorset Coast, South West Coast path

South West Coast path of the UNESCO Dorset Coast, England – can’t wait to hike it one day!                (Amy Groark, Flickr)

What’s on your travel bucket list? Post your links below to be featured!

Euro trip through the eyes of a 17 year old, pt 4: Venice, boys, self-image (photo essay)

The special travel mini series “Euro trip through the eyes of a 17 year old” is back! A compilation of posts & photos from my 2005 travel journal, when I was only a recent graduate from a Puerto Rican high school, still learning English. This was my first major trip outside the island (if you don’t count my Disney World trip in 2nd grade and living in the Dominican Republic with my aunt for a month after elementary school graduation). Hope you enjoy the retrospective!

Want to start from the beginning? 
Euro trip photo essay, PART 1: Germany (countryside)
Euro trip photo essay, PART 2: Germany (city)
Euro trip photo essay, PART 3: Austria

Note: Grammar, writing style have not been edited: That’s the whole point! 😉

Posted on 06/22/05, 3:55 AM on Kiwibox.com (cont.)

Euro trip 2005

June.14th.2OO5

Weeee, Italy. I loved the guys, the buildings, the climate, everything, until we checked-in @ the hotel. First off, we got here @ like 8:3OPM last night so the hotel we were going to stay at (Hotel Vionello) didn’t let us in ‘cause ‘it’s not permitted after 8PM’, so we ended up staying in hotel Kennedy. Lol, some rooms, like Manuel’s, didn’t even have a real shower! I mean, there was just a hole in the flor of the bathroom, a shower head in the ceiling, and that was it! lmao. I WILL show ya the pic Myriam took when she send it my way! Also, in the morning we had cereal and a bagel for breakfast. That was it. The thing as that after we finished, we entered again to look for something, and guess freakin’ WHAT!? The other uests of the hotel were having bacon, eggs, ham, cheese, many bread options, and cereals!!! I mean WTF!? Are we fucking HATED!? Italy def. lost some points by that. But still, Fefi, Laurie, Yari, and I have decided to move to Italy *nods*. Btw, the buildings and sp houses are SOOOO purdy, and some of them just *gorge*. Right now we are on our way to take the Aqua Taxi to go to Venize (we were @ Lido Di Jiolo)

my Euro trip, road trip to Italy

From which Shell gas station will u have this kind of view? *only* in Italy (during our road trip Austria-Italy)

Whoa! Venize was *awesome*! Soooo many great things, soooo many HOTTIES! I mean arn, I was perturbated, in pure AWE! Lol. Oh and, here was the *climax* of my self-esteem boost *nods*. All those hotties looked @ me and let me tell ya, it felt sooo nice lol. We 1st went on a lil’ trip in *gondola* through the city for like half an hour. Darn, it was raining, so the day turned all crappy and REEALY cold! It was odd! Butt, @ the end of my lovely trip in gondola, this one guy, a “gondolero” (guy of a gondola), brought his hand to me to help me get out of the gondola, like one of those romantic moments of corny movies, lol. And his hand was sooo comfy, and he gave me this sexy, but totally sweet and respectful look…*melts*. Not only that, but also I got a pic of us! *nods again* aaaand he grabbed me by my waist REEEALLY tight and very close to him (quickly I didn’t even really touch him I just standed there at his side for the pic and then all of sudden he just grabbed my waist and brought me reeeally close to him! I didn’t even had time to actually have the thought myself [:p]) soooo…we also went to this palace called *Palazzo Ducale*, which was really gorge as well. There was also Plaza San Marco I believe and close to it we also went to a Murano glass demonstration @ the original store of Murano. That was outstanding, I mean the maker is *so* talented; now I know why Murano glass is SO expensive, and with REASON! After that we had some awesome lunch (I had a HUGE platter filled to TOP of paste penne in a tomato sauce and a generous slice of lasagna by the side, all topped with a lot of melted cheese AND parmesan cheese :D). THEEEN we went around the city for like 3-4 hours, all by ourselves 😀 I was with Laura, Yarielis, Fefi, and Myriam. It was soo funny, ‘cause darn, all of these hot guys, and all of them turned back to look at me, and even one of them told me “hooola, bon apetit” in a very sexy voice, since I was licking a nice coffee gelato. Lol. Myriam and Laurie wanted to buy a bag to put it in my head they said. Lmao

Venize hilights, facts

I had a MAJOR self-esteem boost here due to all of those hotties looking at me sexy and melting me + the cashiers/workers @ the Murano Glass place were talking about how amazingly beautiful I was (LM over-heard them and told everyone at the bus loud: “MarĂ­a has caused sensation in Europe” then N went sooo mad and replied “”she that actually BELIEVES it?”” and then LM replied quickly saying ““ay, but it’s soo true not only ‘cause of all the guys that has been looking at her, but ‘cause the ppl @ Murano were talking about her beauty and how they have never seen someone as gorgeous”.” She went WHITE *Lmao*). SOOO, CALL ME CONCEITED, but darn I mean, u would feel *really* good if all those European and Italian guys were looking @ ya from head to toes and if like 1O persons were talking about how they find your natural beauty outstanding (while u were actually wearing no freakin’ make-up AT ALL!)! I honestly didn’t know how to react; I have NEVER ever gotten so many BIG compliments like those in my entire life! :I

Venize is NOT flooding; the SEA LEVEL is rising. Did u know? 🙂

Ppl are overly VERY nice and polite, but that ol’ lady @ our hostile hotel Kennedy pissed me off with the whole breakfast thing and how we couldn’t even GO OUT of the hotel if we weren’t wit our parents. None of us seniors were. WTF?! Plus, in Italy u are an adult @ 16, darn it

-THE BSB WERE FREAKIN’ THERE!!! They sang some songs at a festival in a place I actually VISITED THAT SAME DAY! Darn, I couldn’t see them, ‘cause I found out they were here when I was switching channels checking out Italian programming

-Gelatos are YUMMY

my Euro trip in Italy, Venice arrival

Venice arrival!

my trip to Europe, Venice arrival 2

yay yay Venice!

Pics that could be taken at the Palazzo Ducale (only out of the windows or in stairs, since cameras inside were not permitted)

my European holiday, Venice Palazzo Duccale balcony

Palazzo Duccale balcony

euro tour in Italy, inside Venice Palazzo Ducale

Quick secret snap! Shaky tho =(

my trip to Venice, Palazzo Duccale statue

womp!

Venice trip to Europe, Palazzo Duccale plaza

Palazzo Duccale plaza?

Me during and after our lil’ trip in gondola through Venice. I know, MY HAIR LOOKS LIKE CRAP. I mean it caught a lot of humidity and rain, then dried just like that. Eh.

Euro trip, Venice gondolas

me and Venice gondolas!

Euro trip, Venice gondolas 2

me with Venice gondolas again!

Euro trip, Venice gondola ride

Venice gondola ride!

Euro trip, Venice gondola ride 2

so happy!

Euro trip, Venice and Italian cutie

Me and the gondolero I told ya about. Ignore me please I looked like crap. But look at him. And what it’s even more unbelievable is that he actually looks even better in person. Oi, and watch closely how he is holding me (watch my WAIST) 😉 haha =P

Euro trip, Venice Plaza San Marco

Me @ Plaza San Marco! Gorgeous, eh?

Euro trip, rainy Venice

Me right before going back to the Aqua Taxi. See how crappy the weather was? 🙁 too bad

My thoughts after reading this travel journal entry, 7 years later: I can tell how damaged my self-esteem was back then. You can see how I have to reiterate, to remind myself constantly on my own journal about how the Italians found me pretty. I used to be the hated nerd in high school for being different. I also attended a private school my mom could barely pay for just so I could have a better education…which meant I was “the poor one.” My school years were quite tough and spent, mostly, in solitude. It wasn’t until my last year or two that I had — wait for it — three friends. But now, looking back, I know all the struggles truly made me stronger and gave me the drive and determination I currently have. They allow me to continue with my crazy plans, and actually succeed, no matter what others say. If you are bullied or ever feel less than what you’re worth, remember: The sun will shine brighter soon! 🙂 **Never give up**

Euro trip, Venice Doges Palace

Euro trip: Venice Doges Palace (Photo: Andrew Balet)

Did you ever take an Euro trip during your youth? What did you learn?

Austrian Superstitions: Part 12 of the World’s Superstitions Series

It’s Austrian superstitions time! Welcome to Cultural Tidbits Monday folks. This week, I decided to switch it up from Traveling through Food and delve deeper into cultures by resuming the World’s Superstition Series. It is crazy to see how many of them overlap from country to country and today we’ll see if this is the case or not when it comes to Austrians!

Austrian superstitions, garlic cold remedy

Austrian cold remedy! (Photo: Wiki Commons)

* Speaking of colds, what’s the no-fail remedy? According to Austrian superstitions, that shall be sliced garlic, mixed and downed with yogurt, while still raw. Hmm!

* Girls, listen up: Don’t sit on the sidewalk or steps outside while it’s cold, unless you want to get a dangerous UTI! As strange as it sounds, apparently, the cold can somehow penetrate your woo-ha (!?)

* According to Falkor.org: “Mentioning how much success you have, may cause bad luck. Therefore, knock on wood will prevent that good fortune/luck will leave you.” This is not only part of Austrian superstitions, but also other Western Europeans’ (including Dutch, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Ukrainian) and America!

Austrian superstitions, white horse

Man owning a white horse? Could be bad!

* Now these Austrian superstitions findings are golden: They were printed on The Clinton Morning Age newspaper back in June of 1897!

* It is unlucky to enter the house with your left foot forward
* It is unlucky to ride behind a bobtailed horse at a funeral
* Woe to the man or woman who sneezes while looking at the new moon
* It is unlucky to sneeze before breakfast or to tell dreams before taking a drink of water
* If a man owns a white horse, a white cow, and a white cat, and then caps the climax by carrying a white umbrella, the average Austrian will not associate with him

Austrian superstitions, Topfen

See that stuffing? The Topfen Treatment! (Photo: sierravalleygirl, Flickr)

Now, are you ready for, quite literally, the crÚme de la crÚmeof the Austrian superstitions? As told by Kate ReuterswÀrd on her blog about expat life in Sweden:

My all-time favorite, although I think this is an Austria-only superstition, is definitely the Topfen Treatment. Topfen (also known as Quark, WeißkĂ€se, or Kesella) is a lot like cottage cheese, and in Austria, it’s a common filling for desserts. When my friend, Elaine, got carpal tunnel syndrome in Vienna, her doctor told her that surgery was unnecessary because all she needed to do was let her wrist rest in a good amount of quark, as the cheese would “draw the inflammation out.” Right.

Aww Kate, too bad, I was about to splatter some cottage cheese on my wrists! Speaking of which, they are hurting, so I’m going to go and take a little break now…

Previously featured countries:
Puerto Rico
India
France
Australia
Palestine
Mexico
Egypt
Iceland
Kenya
The Netherlands
Panama

Know any other Austrian superstitions? Share them in a comment below!

Europe trip through the eyes of a 17 year old! Pt 3: Austria

For Travel Tuesday this week, I am resuming my travel mini series “Europe trip through the eyes of a 17 year old.” It consists of a compilation of posts & photos from my first travel journal, first published on Kiwibox back in 2005. Here are the pages I wrote during my very first trip outside the U.S. & Puerto Rico, as a newbie 17-year-old blogger with no real English training or travel experience. The photo essays may be cute and humorous…or just plain quirky haha 😛 Below, part three!

Want to start from this European series from beginning? 

PART 1: Rothenburg, Germany

PART 2: Neuschwanstein + Munich, Germany

Note: Grammar, writing style have not been edited: That’s the whole point! 😉

Posted on 06/22/05, 3:55 AM on Kiwibox.com

Europe trip 2005

June.12th.2OO5 (cont.) Since we are nearly done with Germany, here are some hilights of the country, IMO -I liked the countryside better than the city (except for Munich! That was *awesome* -I found very few nice Germans; most dislike us 🙁 -The things I loved most: Munich (everything), Rothenburg (cute and very nice ppl!), the Italian waiter @ the ristorante who was so nice/cute/sweet, both castles we went to, and all of the personnel @ Tutti Frutti! 😀 -Too much grass :p -The houses are cute -Our hotel in Ausburg SUCKED BIG TIME -Our hotel in Rothenburg was *cute* June.13th.2OO5Off from the hotel to our 12-hour drive to Italy (or so!?); we are stopping for 2 hours in Austria tho. Anymoo, I had like a kind of ‘breakfast date’ with Mike :p he afterwards asked me for a hug and that’s the last time we saw each other *sniffs* :p but there’s no way that can be compared with Darryl’s, nuh-uh. Anyways, I think I’ll take a nap now.

~*~

We are arriving to Innsbruck right now. Gah, I lost most of the views ‘cause I fell *deeply* asleep *pouts*. Oh well, I could catch a few and let me tell ya, Austria is GORGEOUS! This is a valley surrounded by the Alps and many mountains, also pretty buildings and all; simply amazing, ich liebe es! 😉 (I think that’s “I’m lovin’’ it” in German, lol)

~*~

Back to the bus and resuming our road trip to Italy. We spent 2 hours @ Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria 😀 omg, it was too great! And the souvenirs’ prices were very nice, but didn’t have enough euros so couldn’t buy anything *pouts*. We went to a lil’ city and beautiful park, then went around town and also visited the *Swavroski Crystals* place (that was AWESOME! I have to wait for my friends to send me their pics, aince I didn’t have enough cam memory by then). But wow, back to the views…just *too beautiful*! I mean geez!

Austria (or I better say, Innsbruck :p) hilights

-BREATH-TAKING, I mean just too freakin’ gorgeous -I would have liked MUCH BETTER to have spent all of those days we did in Germany here in Austria instead -The climate is just PERFECT! (hot, but the wind makes it warm and cool; no cold wind chill AT ALL) -I could freakin’ live here -Did I already mentioned that it was just *beautiful*!?

~*~

Right now we are passing through the highest bridge of Europe. I hope someone takes freakin’ PICTURES! And seriously, this is DAMN high. Weeee.

Europe trip 2005, Austria arrival

Me in front of some building I liked @ Innsbruck. Oh and, that’s my “He loves me…” and in the back “…I love his friend” tee 😀

Europe trip 2005, Austrian Alps

See how gorgeous u can see the Alps in the background?! =D

Europe trip 2005, around Innsbruck

me around Innsbruck – loved it!

Europe trip 2005, Innsbruck streets again

Innsbruck streets again

Europe trip 2005, Austria-Italy road trip

Spectacular views just shortly after we crossed the border from Austria to Italy

Europe trip 2005, entering Italy road trip views

So this is Italy (?)

Reflections after reading through my past: Funny how much we change through the years, right? I could not help but think, wow, how crappy my digital camera was back then, too!? XD I remember having a very noisy, perfect-square-shaped mini Polaroid, one of the first [affordable] digital cameras to hit Walgreens. It cost me like $89 and I bought ti right before my Euro trip. Haha, the memories!

READ MORE: My Venice Italy, Boys & Self-Image

Do you remember your first Europe trip ?  How was it?

Travel through Icelandic food: Photo essay

Continuing the popular series, this Cultural Tidbits Monday we Travel through Icelandic food, sampling some dishes of this isolated, yet spectacular island of Iceland. Hope you enjoy the brief photo essay!

Icelandic food: Appetizers, meats and sides

Icelandic food and sides

Þorramatur: A traditional Icelandic food plate. On left: Hangikjöt, HrĂștspungar, Lifrarpylsa, Blóðmör, HĂĄkarl, SviĂ°. Plate on the right: RĂșgbrauĂ°, FlatbrauĂ°. (Photo: Creative Commons)

I’ll start this Icelandic food photo essay with the dishes that were the most foreign to me. A plate of Icelandic products, cured in a traditional manner, is called Þorramatur (Wikipedia). Above, you see the not-so-foreign rye bread (rĂșgbrauĂ°) and flatbread (flatbrauĂ°) alongside some interesting-looking meats & sides. Hangikjöt is Icelandic smoked lamb, which is eaten cold or hot and also happens to be a popular side dish in a bigger meal (typically including green peas and potatoes bathed in bĂ©chamel sauce). HrĂștspungar are lambs’…balls, soaked in sour whey. Lifrarpylsa translates to “white pudding” and it is in fact a meat dish made out of oatmeal, bread, suet, pork meat and fat, then shaped into a big sausage (only a slice pictured above). The black version of the pudding, named Blóðmör, is made out of lamb’s blood, oats, rye flour and stuffed inside pouches that…happen to be the lamb’s stomach. Oh and the SviĂ°? The most popular of the group, it is a singed head of lamb. Ummm so! What’s next!?

Icelandic food, appetizers plate

Whale (top left corner), puffin (center) and smoked lamb (bottom right). We could dip them on raisin reduction (bottom left)

Above is an appetizer plate that I ordered at a restaurant when I visited Iceland. It consisted of whale, puffin and smoked lamb. Whaling is frowned upon almost worldwide nowadays, but I was told by my hosts while Couchsurfing in Iceland that I had to try it. In fact, he offered me some smoked whale as an appetizer when I came back to his place that same night. I feel kind of guilty admitting it, but it was delicious. But then again, you feed me smoked anything and I’ll love it. Oh, and you must be wondering what a puffin is?

Puffin, Icelandic food

These are puffins. (Photo: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons)

And yes, I did feel really guilty for eating one as well…

Icelandic food: Fast food and other entrees

Icelandic food, mink whale kebabs

Mink whale kebabs (Photo on right: Creative Commons)

Mink whale (hrefna hvalur) is typically served on a stick with peppers and veggies — aka “kebab” style. It may be found in restaurant menus or supermarkets (ready to be cooked). I could not bring myself to eat this much whale, however…

Icelandic food, fish and chips

Icelandic fish and chips

These are more hybrids between fast food and a main entree: Icelandic fish & chips. My travel buddy went down the traditional route, with fried fish sticks (left). I decided to have the haddock in delicious garlic pesto sauce (right). Our chips (real-cut red potatoes bathed in a type of aioli) came with curry (yellow) and rosemary/garlic (green) dipping sauces. All delish!

Icelandic food, Vikivaki

Vikivaki: Best place for late-night, fast Icelandic food

I’m surprised I even have a photo of this place. Most nights we would stumble upon Vikivaki after hard-partying with the locals or right after pre-gaming (read: Still somewhat intoxicated). Thus, no photos of the actual food. From what I remember, I would always order some delicious sausage and/or hot dog with tons of cheese and chili. Yum.

Icelandic food, BĂŠjarins Beztu Pylsur

BĂŠjarins Beztu, an infamous Icelandic food stand (Photo: Richard Eriksson, CCommons)

BĂŠjarins Beztu is infamous, known for being the best place to get a hot dog in all ReykjavĂ­k. I made sure I tried one of their creations before I left the country and rumors are right. From what I remember, they were even better than Vikivaki’s. Make sure you get a hot dog with chili on top! It is so good.

And that’s it for my introduction to Icelandic food! Next week we’ll be traveling through the culinary treasures of a different country. Got interesting country suggestions? Drop me a line!

Have you ever had Icelandic food? Any favorites not mentioned above?

FriFotos: London Chinatown

Hey-oh! Just a little taste of this wonderful Friday here, participating in FriFotos theme “China” by posting the only ones I got from my travels that are somewhat remotely Asian: London’s Chinatown. My intense weekend starts tonight with pre-games and pre-Gasparilla celebrations, so this will be the last post from me ’til the weekend is done. As you already know, Tampa Bay’s Mardi Gras happens tomorrow! Friends have already flown down and I’m going to be quite busy hosting and prepping eggs & kegs + blueberry pancake Jell-O shots for guests. Hope you have a wonderful time and if you are partaking in the local Gasparilla festivities: Be safe and don’t drink and drive! 😉 Hallaaaaaaa

London Chinatown

me by the entrance of London's Chinatown!

London Chinatown

Detailed work - only Chinese "archway" I've ever witnessed (for now)!

Chinatown in London

I wonder what that says - anyone?

bustling Chinatown in London

bustling Chinatown in London

FriFotos, London's Chinatown

me getting a little taste of Chinese architecture

red booth London Chinatown

the infamous red phone booths are everywhere in London, even Chinatown!

What’s your favorite Chinatown in the world? Why?

Christmas traditions around the world PT 2!

CLICK HERE for pt 1 of Christmas traditions around the world! learn about the FESTIVE customs and traditions of even more countries.

Christmas in Italy

Christmas traditions around the world, nativity scene

Presepe: Nativity scene in Italy (Photo: Davide Papalini)

Thought Christmas were longer only in Latin America? Think again! In Italy, Christmas officially starts on December 8th with the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception and then, families typically start to decorate their homes with lights. Gift giving, however, does not happen until January 6th or Epiphany, a tradition shared with many Latin American countries. That 12th day of Christmas is when it is believed that the Three Wise Men (aka Three Kings) visited Baby Jesus and showered him with gifts. As such, just like in Latin America, the main Christmas decoration is the Nativity scene, or as it is called in Italian: The presepe.

Christmas in Jordan

Christmas traditions around the world, beef and bulgur

Minced beef and bulgur, a traditional Christmas dish in Jordan (Photo:Wearenotmartha.com)

Christmas in Jordan is celebrated with great fervor by the Christian minority there. What surprised me the most, however, is the tradition of soaking dry fruits in rum, brandy, and cognac by women in early December! I can’t wait to go back to the Middle East an try those! 😉 Then on Christmas Eve, a cake is baked, while Christmas Day dinner consists of grilled eggplant, vine leaves in tomato sauce, stuffed turkey, and minced beef with bulgur

Christmas in Martinique

Christmas traditions around the world, shrubb

Clément Créole Shrubb, a popular one in Martinique (Photo:Scotlandstephenson.com)

Christmas in this creole tropical island is a mix of Caribbean and French flavors. Their most distinct Christmas tradition, however, is the making and drinking of shrubb, a fine liquor made of white rum, sugarcane syrup and dried peels of tangerines and oranges, which are abundant at this time of the year.

Christmas in Mexico

Christmas traditions around the world, posada

Posada procession in Oaxaca, Mexico (Photo: GoMexico.about.com)

Mexican Christmas (or “Navidades”) officially start on December 16th with a tradition called “Las Posadas,” which last all the way until Noche Buena or Christmas Eve. This tradition involves the recreation of Mary and Joseph’s hard journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, trying to find shelter to give birth. A different part of the journey is recreated every night, culminating with a party at a neighborhood. Children dress as angels, shepherds, and also as Mary and Joseph in such processions, with their parents following with lit candles.

Christmas in Morocco

Jemaa el Fnaa

Jemaa el Fnaa Square. Marrakech, Morocco

As a Muslim country, Christmas is rarely celebrated in Morocco. Yet, due to the strong French/European influence in the country, along with a growing expat community, you will find Christmas lights and decorations sprinkled throughout the big cities. Days vary, however, depending on the faith and background of that minority. For instance, members of the Orthodox Christian Church celebrate Christmas on January 6th; while the Coptic and Armenian Churches celebrate the holy day on January 7th. Last, but not least, the Catholics typically attend a special evening mass on December 24th to start Christmas.

Christmas in Panama

Christmas traditions around the world, Panama

Left: A traditional pollera dress; Right: Light show during Panama City’s Christmas Boat Show (Photos: Family-christmas-traditions.com)

Christmas in Panama is quite lively and several great events are held, specially in the capital Panama City. Festivities kick off the 2nd weekend of December with a big Christmas Parade. Gorgeous floats pass by and women dress in very bright, traditional dresses called polleras. Also, at night, an amazing boat parade showcase a light show that is truly spectacular!

Christmas in Puerto Rico

It is tough to decide what’s your favorite tradition of a Puerto Rican Christmas. Is it the fact that they begin on Thanksgiving Day in November and don’t end until the end of January? Is it the party after party throughout the whole season and how virtually everyone decorates their homes with hundreds of lights? Or is it the food and plena music?

Coming from the Island of Enchantment, I can tell you that the most unique and fun Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico is the parrandas! In essence, they are drunken Christmas carols! Learn more about Puerto Rican parrandas here.

Christmas in Spain

Christmas traditions around the world, Pavo trufado

Pavo trufado: A traditional Christmas dish in Spain (Photo: Cocina.org)

Naturally, Christmas traditions in Spain are very similar to those in Latn America. Thus, I have decided to switch it up a bit on this entry and leave ya with a recipe of a traditional Christmas dish in Spain: Pavo Trufado de Navidad (Christmas Turkey with Truffles)!

1 turkey of 4 kg.
œ kg. minced lean pork
1 kg. minced veal
Salt and ground black pepper
1 glass of brandy
1 large glass of dry oloroso sherry
3 tins (of 90g) truffles (mushrooms)
150 g “jamon serrano”
200 g belly of pork in rashers
6 eggs [click here for the rest!]

Christmas in Switzerland

Christmas traditions around the world, Swiss ringli

Ringli: Typical Christmas treat in Switzerland

A special Swiss Christmas tradition is to await the arrival of Christkindli: A white angel wearing a crown full of jewels, which holds a face veil over its face. This angel is the one that brings the presents. These, by the way, come in a basket, which is carried by Christkindli‘s child helpers. Also, another Swiss Christmas tradition is  to eat ringli (homemade doughnuts) with hot chocolate.

Christmas in St Thomas (US Virgin Islands)

Christmas traditions around the world, St Thomas sweet bread

Photo recipe: VirginIslandsThisWeek.com (click to enlarge)

One event to look forward to when spending Christmas in St. Thomas is the Challenge of the Carols outdoor concert. It is infamously glorious! While at it, grab some Johnny cakes (traditional holiday sweet bread). Click on the image above for a traditional recipe to bake at home!

Christmas in Vatican City

Christmas traditions around the world, Vatican

Vatican Christmas Tree (Photo: Sunshine city, Flikr)

Naturally, the Pope delivers his traditional Christmas speech and directs mass to thousands of fervent believers. This service, called “midnight papal mass,” actually begins at 10 PM on Christmas Eve in St. Peter’s Basilica. The papal speech, however, is delivered around noon on Christmas Day.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions around the world? Why?