Cioccolato, Chocolat, Schokolade of Europe

I’m a chocoholic. I’ll admit it. If I could eat chocolate with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would. I’ve loved chocolate for as long as I can remember.

chocolate-italy-250-x-239 chocolate-greece-250-x-136
Italian and Greek chocolates

These days, I actually prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate. Tastes better to me, and apparently has some health benefits. Strangely, though, I’m not a fan of white chocolate.

chocolate-iceland-174-x-250 chocolate-new-zealand-115-x-250
Icelandic and New Zealand chocolates

I like certain combinations of chocolate…chocolate with banana, chocolate with raspberry. My ultimate favorite combo is chocolate with peanut butter!

chocolate-finland-250-x-245 chocolate-latvia-116-x-250
Finnish and Latvian chocolates

Not only do I indulge in chocolate regularly at home, but I also make it a point to try chocolate in every country that I am traveling in. Chocolate that is locally made!

chocolate-germany-143-x-250 chocolate-lithuania-250-x-249
German and Lithuanian chocolates

I have found great chocolate in every country. Of course, there is the infamous Belgian and Swiss chocolates that I have sampled.

chocolate-belgium-250-x-152 chocolate-switzerland-138-x-250
Belgian and Swiss chocolates

Gelato in Italy became an addiction! In Vienna, I ate a piece of the Sacher Torte in the café that it originated from.

chocolate-austria-189-x-250

Chocolate museums make for some fun and interesting facts about chocolate. Not to mention the free samples!

chocolate-belgium-museum-238-x-250

To prove that I have indulged, I usually keep the wrappers from the chocolates so that I can put them in my scrapbooks, which I share with you in this blog.

chocolate-ecuador-250-x-172chocolate-russia-150-x-250
Ecuadorian and Russian chocolate (the Russian chocolate was given to me by one of my sisters who went – she knew I would like it!)

As I always say at the end of my blogs, and especially at the end of this one,

Sweet Travels!

All chocolates eaten by Debby

Iceland with my Sister: Priceless (Part Three)

Priceless experiences and memories of a journey in Iceland with my youngest sister; this is the final blog describing some of the adventures, along with photos, of a time when two sisters, who are 15 years apart in age, who had never traveled together before as adults, met in a far remote corner of the world to explore together!

–Driving around on Snaefell Peninsula, with Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-covered mountain on one side of us, the farmland surrounding us, and the Atlantic Ocean to the other side of us.
blog-iceland-e-150-x-87.jpgblog-iceland-b-106-x-150.jpgblog-iceland-k-150-x-97.jpg

–Seeing my sister take photos of our priceless memories.
blog-iceland-j-175-x-116.jpg

–Saying how lucky we were that the weather we had mostly cooperated, giving us warm, sunny days.

–Piling rocks on a cairn during a walk through a volcanic landscape, to give us good luck.
blog-iceland-a-154-x-175.jpg

–Seeing the scrunch on our faces as we got a whiff of the rotten-egg smell of the sulfur of volcanic activity, seeing the colors of an area that looks like Yellowstone, and making shadows against those colors.
blog-iceland-i-141-x-175.jpg

–Experimenting with Icelandic food, such as lamb soup, hot spring bread with smoked trout, and salted cod. Yum!

–Standing near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, over-looking a crack in the Earth.
blog-iceland-g-120-x-175.jpg

–Seeing Iceland (which is more green than ice), from the air, as we took a flight from Reykjavik to Lake Maavatn.

–Looking at old Icelandic memorabilia, and old-style homes (some with grass on their roofs), at a couple of museums, including an open-air museum.
blog-iceland-h-150-x-127.jpg

–Exploring and walking around a small crater lake at Kerio Explosion Crater.

–Seeing geysers spout warm water into the air, and then feeling the “rain” from it getting us wet.

–And finally, hearing my younger sister say, “this is wonderful. I’m so glad we did this,” with crampons on our feet and ice axes in our hands, as we walked on a huge glacier, with its white ice and black volcanic rock, surrounded by brown and grassy landscape, with the Atlantic Ocean looming in the distance. Oh, and then trying our skills at ice climbing!
blog-iceland-ice-6-101-x-150.jpgblog-iceland-ice-1-150-x-100.jpg
blog-iceland-ice-5-106-x-150.jpgblog-iceland-ice-3-150-x-81.jpg
blog-iceland-ice-2-87-x-150.jpgblog-iceland-ice-4-107-x-150.jpg

–And don’t forget to look back at the first blog with a photo of two sisters playing on swings!

Sweet Travels!

Iceland with my Sister: Priceless (Part Two)

It was worth every penny: that trip that I made to Iceland with my youngest sister; the trip where, due to our 15-year age difference, we had never really had the opportunity to travel before together; the trip where we bonded, agreed, and laughed; the trip that was expensive, yet priceless!

In my travel journal, I kept a list of the activities that my sister and I did when we were in Iceland. Some of the items on the list are typical tourist activities; other items describe the Icelandic landscape; other items are just things that we experienced together, as sisters, exploring and having fun. I’d like to share some of the items on that list, in random order, along with photos for the visual impact, to get an idea of what happens when two sisters meet in a far remote corner of the world.

–Soaking and relaxing (and playing) in the heat of the sulfuric water of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and hot springs, only hours after my sister arrived in Iceland.
blog-iceland-5-129-x-175.jpg

–Sitting on a black rock/sand beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere on the Snaefell Peninsula, as we drove ourselves around.
blog-iceland-9-126-x-175.jpg

–Putting our feet in hot water in a cave near Lake Maavatn. (Note the feet theme.)
blog-iceland-12-129-x-175.jpg

–Sitting in a natural hot springs river, out in the middle of vast lava fields, of black rock covered with green moss, while it was raining out, near Hjalparfoss waterfall.
blog-iceland-2-100-x-175.jpg

–Looking at several waterfalls throughout Iceland, many with rainbows, plummeting lots of cold water from melting glaciers, and hearing my sister say how “beautiful” it was, as we walked behind one of these waterfalls.
blog-iceland-4-115-x-175.jpgblog-iceland-3-175-x-113.jpgblog-iceland-1-127-x-175.jpg

–Riding through the countryside of shrubbery and meadows near Geysir, on Icelandic horses.
blog-iceland-6-175-x-107.jpg

–Looking at lighthouses on the coast, small community churches, and red roofed homes on green farmland, in various areas of Iceland, including during our drive around the Snaefell Peninsula.
blog-iceland-16-85-x-175.jpgblog-iceland-13-105-x-175.jpg
blog-iceland-15-157-x-175.jpgblog-iceland-11-175-x-153.jpg
blog-iceland-8-122-x-175.jpg

–Watching Arctic Tern encircling our car, almost like in a bad movie.
blog-iceland-17-165-x-103.jpg

–Overlooking the city of Reykjavi­k, with its colorful-roofed homes, from the bell tower of Reykjavi­k Cathedral.
blog-iceland-10-175-x-121.jpg

–Seeing a red/orange sunset over the Atlantic Ocean at 11pm at night; and waking up at 2am, while sleeping in our tents, noticing that it was still light outside.
blog-iceland-14-175-x-68.jpg

–Blowing on dandelion flowers and making wishes.
blog-iceland-7-135-x-175.jpg

As you can see, this trip was quite special for both of us. Stay tuned for another blog with more photos of these priceless experiences and memories.

Sweet Travels!

arctic tern photo from Wikipedia

Iceland with my Sister: Priceless (Part One)

This is part one in a series of blogs of what happens when two sisters, who are 15 years apart in age, who have never lived together, nor traveled together before as adults, meet in a far remote corner of the world to explore together. It is somewhat like a MasterCard commercial:

blog-iceland-sisters-152-x-225.jpg
Me and My Sister in Iceland

Flights to Iceland: Expensive, at least for me, as my sister was already in traveling in Europe.

Car rental to get around parts of Iceland: Expensive, compared to rental car rates in the United States.

Gas for car rental: Even more that the rising gas prices of the United States. (Although that was a few years ago, so now-a-days, who knows…)

Guided tour excursions of other parts of Iceland: Expensive, but worth it because from them my sister and I learned a lot about the country, and we were able to go to places, and see things, that we could not get to with the rental car.

Hostels or guesthouses, mostly in Reykjavik: More reasonable than hotels, as my sister and I slept in a tent some of the nights.

Food in Iceland: Unbelievably expensive, but delicious.

Experiences and memories of two sisters traveling together in Iceland: Priceless…

blog-iceland-tent-200-x-190.jpgblog-iceland-car-200-x-114.jpg
Tents and Cars in Iceland with my Sister

For me, the journey with my youngest sister was like a MasterCard commercial. Yes, Iceland was expensive, but it was also priceless. Not only did the actual experiences my sister and I had, and the things we saw together, make the trip priceless, but it was also about spending the time with my youngest sister, bonding, getting to know each other, laughing, and having fun together. It was about seeing the expressions on my sister’s face, witnessing her reactions, hearing her comments, and being playful, curious, and adventurous together. What was also priceless was that even with our age difference and the fact that this was our first time traveling together, we got along beautifully: we had the same travel styles; we agreed on what we wanted to do and see; we even agreed on what we wanted to eat, where we wanted to sleep, and how we got to places around Iceland. We had a fabulous time together, and I would travel with her again in a heartbeat.

blog-iceland-amanda-swing-200-x-169.jpgblog-iceland-debby-swing-200-x-173.jpg
Playing with my Sister

The experiences and memories of traveling with my youngest sister are, for me, truly priceless!

Please read future blogs for some of the priceless experiences that my sister and I had while we were in Iceland.

Sweet Travels!