This is the Best Place to Stay in Iceland: The Garage

This country is perfect in every way. From the rolling hills off the set of Teletubbies to the small towns settled on the tips of the Fjords, Iceland and their glorious hotdog stands should be at the top of everyone's bucket list.
But, if I had to look back on my trip and choose the one memory that stands out most ... well to be honest, I just can't. It is, however, those moments when you get to "live like a local" that stick with you. And when people ask "How was Iceland?" it's the first story I tell them.
So, here is one of my favourites. It's called The Garage.
Located in Varmahlíð, which is about 24 miles from  Vík, The Garage is magically tucked under the hills of Southern Iceland overlooking the loomy sea. It was Sam's (my sister) birthday and I thought we'd splurge (just a little bit) from hostels and cheap hotels for the night, so she could turn 23 in a comfortable bed. So, I booked the little secret guesthouse for us #greatsister
Rolling up to the The Garage I couldn't bare the cuteness of it all. Siggi had let us in, showed us around and left us to warm our toes. We stayed in 'Axel's Room' and read how The Garage had been in their family for years and years. You can really feel the history seeping out of this place. And just as we were about to take our fist sip of hot chocolate, we heard a knock at the door.
Siggi was back! And he was loaded with questions. What are you up to tonight night? Have you been to the plane wreck? Do you want to go fishing with my wife Anna? Uhm yes I want to go fishing with Anna, where is she? Lead me to her! I want a real Icelandic experience. Well, I want a real Icelandic experience that's not going to be the death of me. So, thank god for only having one extra pair of waders because Sam went off into the abyss, while I took snapchats.
And, well, Sam came back with loads of fish and hardly any sensation in her fingers. I want to be an Icelandic woman when I grow up, they're badass.
After the days events came to a close, Anna ripped us around in her truck fish flying around in the back and all. She dropped us off back at The Garage and asked us to come for dinner. A home made meal, you got to be kidding me! 
Now, I'm not just saying this but, it was truly the most scrumptious meal I have ever sank my canines into. Sorry mom. We chatted over the fish we caught (correction: they caught), laughed over large glasses of wine and gobbled up the cream eggs Anna and Siggi spread out for dessert. 
We really didn't want to leave the next morning. And we were wishing we didn't have to stick to such a tight schedule, but all good things must come to an end. Well, until the next time.
I will say that I've never felt so welcome somewhere so strange in all my life. Two of the most genuine people I have ever met showed me parts of them and parts of their everyday lives, for free. No catch. And they were excited about it. That's one of the reasons I love travelling. Not only do you meet amazing people, but you see people being excited about life and being excited about having you learn from them. I think that's pretty cool.
So, I think yes, The Garage, was my favourite memory from Iceland.

How to Get to Iceland's Oldest Pool Seljavallalaug

How the hell do you get there? And yeah it's not on the map. We were definitely not in Kansas anymore, definitely not close to any signal and definitely lost. 
With a lot of guessing and wandering we finally made it to the oldest (still standing) pool in Iceland! Seljavallalaug  is one of Iceland’s best kept secrets, built in 1923. It's filled with hot spring water that trickles down from Eyjafjallajökull so you can take a dip all year round! 
Fast forward to dinner that night with our Icelandic family, who told us that back in their hayday they'd head down to Seljavallalaug to crack a few beers and flirt with the boys. Highschool hangouts in Iceland sound like fun, I used to go to the mall's foodcourt if I wanted to flirt with a boy.

Guide to Driving Iceland's Golden Circle

If you're visiting Reykjavik, you're going to want to set aside a day to scoot around the Golden Circle! It's the perfect option for visitors on a tighter schedule, who want to see a lot in a short period of time. Think of the Golden Circle as the Mini-Me to the Ring Road (which circles the entire country). With that being said, even if you have ample amount of time and plan to drive the whole country, don't take a pass on the Golden Circle. I mean Dr. Evil is nothing without Mini-Me, right?

How to Get There:
The Golden Circle is a 300km loop that lands you back in the heart of the city. Just in time for dinner! I'd recommend renting a car for the day (4x4 unnecessary for this route), rather than joining in on an organized tour. I just find that your own car allows you stop for photos whenever AND wherever you want, which means no rush, which means hours of petting Icelandic horses.  
What to See:
The Golden Circle consists of three stunning locations: the Þingvellir National Park, the Geysers at Haukadalur, and Gullfoss Waterfall. These are your 3 main attractions, but of course there are side stops you'll want to be taking. Especially the Crater Kerid.
1st Stop: Þingvellir National Park
Long story short, Þingvellir is the National Park where parliament was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Ancient times dude. But, now it's the place that best represents Iceland, where the history of the nation truly began and where almost all its major historical turns were made. On top of that, the National Park itself is sprawling and gorgeous and let's you walk along the juncture of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. So regardless of why you're there, you'll find something that tickles your fancy!
2nd Stop: Geysers At Haukadalur
So, this area features many spectacular hot springs, like the powerful Strokkur, which erupts a huge amount of water about every 10 minutes, so bring your raincoat and waterproof case. I'm talking 15-20 meters of water exploding from the ground into the air. Like whattttt?
3rd Stop: Gullfoss waterfall
Gullfoss, which In Icelandic means "Golden Waterfall" because on a sunny day, the water takes on a golden-brown colour, is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. It offers up a spectacular view of the forces and beauty of untouched nature. And FYI Gullfoss is the largest volume falls in Europe!

Feeling More Adventurous?
Kerið Crater Lake: It was once your typical cone-shaped volcano, but now that the top has collapsed it is an empty magma chamber that is home to a small lake. You can take a walk along the rim or take the stairs down to the lake.
Friðheimar: Looking to warm your belly on your day trip around Golden Circle? Don't miss the Friðheimar Greenhouse that grows its own tomatoes and cucumbers while serving up all you can eat tomato soup with an assortment of homemade bread! Mmmmm. Be sure to call or book ahead online! This place is bumping! 
Gamla Laugin: Natural geothermal pools in the raw Icelandic nature? Then look no further then the Gamla Laugin! Especially if you need a little relaxation mid day!
Pull Over: Just pull over, there's tons of little dirt road driveways that allow you to just stop whenever you feel like it. So take advantage of those and pet some horses for me!

If you have any questions let me know I'd love to help you plan your trip! Also, you can check out my full Iceland travel vlog here!

Rad Resorts: Memories Holguin Beach Resort

This seems to be an ongoing trend. I mean my mom went to Cuba 6 times in 2017. Ridiculous. I know, but that woman will do anything for a slice of paradise. Don't get me started on my ongoing battle to  convince her into a timeshare.
Moving on. This time we headed to the Memories Holguin Beach Resort, 4 star all-inclusive. Bare in mind that we went in the middle of July meaning there was next to no one there, which probably made it that much more enjoyable!
The Beach
Perfect. Crystal clear blue water all sand and no rocks. The beach bar is right on the beach so you can get your hair of the dog as you pass by in the morning. There are also tons of umbrellas so you don't toast your hiney. Regular guests get plastics loungers and premium guests get those nice blue comfy loungers (only downfall). There's also catamarans, games and foam parties!
The Pools
The best part of this resort are the pools. If you like pools, well, your about to be in cascading pool paradise. There are 5 pools in total with lots of seating around each one, giving you a different aquatic option for every day of the week. And don't worry there is a swim up bar.
The Resort
One of the best hotel layouts I've seen in Cuba. The resort itself is built on the mountain surrounding the bay so you can just imagine the views from the lobby and buffet. The palm trees and greenery are well kept and really make the grounds gorgeous. Although gorgeous, it does have about 76 stairs to go from the beach level to the main buffet. A little workout that will help you burn an extra cake at the buffet, but may not be recommended to people with health problems (although you can call the front desk to send a golf cart to pick you up and bring you up to the top).
Rooms: Bright, spacious, clean with large balconies. Bathrooms a bit dated, but very clean.
The Food
Average. The buffet was good on some nights and not so much on others (little variety but that being said I never went hungry). The snack bar was our lunch go-to for made to order pizzas, hotdogs, hamburgers and club sandwiches. As for the A La Cartes both the Romantic and Cuban restaurant served up pretty good food and we ended up booking either of those most nights.
The Nightlife
Unfortunately, for us the disco was closed due to technical issues that they were resolving. Fortunately, the resort being huge has a great lobby and outside terrace area to drink up the night! 

Any questions let me know! I'm always happy to answer and help out!

10 Things You Need to Know Before Heading to Reykjavik

What's the real reason people head to Reykjavik? The hotdogs. Duh.
Reykjavik may be only 6 hours from Toronto, but damn Instagram doesn't lie, #nofilter needed. But, before you get off the plane to roam this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous city here is what you need to know (especially if you want to stay budget friendly)!

1. Get to the Blue Lagoon Before it Opens
Chances are, if you're going to Reykjavik, you're going to the Blue Lagoon. You and every other tourist in town. Get there before it opens. I mean it. You'll not only get a prime parking spot, but you also won't waste time looking for a free locker or waiting in line for a towel. Plus it's the only way to get photos without millions of people in the background.
And yes they still serve beer at 9:00am ... give me a break it was close to 6:00pm back home. 
2. Buy Alcohol Before Leaving the Airport 
Things can get pretty pricey when it comes to having a drink or 10. So, if you plan on diving into Reykjavik's nightlife pick up a bottle of your go-to from the duty free on your way into the city. 
3. Join a Pub Crawl 
On Saturday me and my sister joined the local pub crawl just to meet people, have a drink and hangout with some locals. It was a good way to introduce us to Reykjavik, get some insider info and have a laugh. 
4. Don't Take Out Cash
Honestly, don't bother exchanging your home currency to Icelandic króna, everywhere takes credit. And I mean everywhere. Whether your in the heart of Reykjavik or at a guest house in the middle of nowhere. Tap tap tap tappin everywhere. 
5. Eat the Hotdogs
Can't lie, they're cheap, they're everywhere, but most importantly they're delicious.
6. Know The Best Spots for Food
And don't forget to make a reservation so you won't freeze your butt off waiting in the cold.

7. Layer, Layer, Layer, it's Windy
Although the weatherman may say otherwise, it's cold and the wind blows right through you. So, be prepared and do as your mamma says, wear a jacket, scarf, mittens, sweater and everything in between.
8. Check Out Myconceptstore on Laugavegur 45
Obviously you will do some shopping down Laugavegur, but don't pass up the chance to check out Myconceptstore. An eclectic retro-chic shop that sells anything and everything from jewelry and watches to mugs and jackets. Still to this day it's one of my favourites. 
9. Shop for Food at Bonus
If you're looking for snacks or cheap eats then this local grocery store is your go to. Hey, if you can save a few bucks here, you'll be able to spend a few more for an amazing authentic Icelandic dinner. Or a fish and chips feast at Icelandic Fish and Chips.
10. Wander the Streets
It's safe to say that you would know to roam the streets of any new city you set foot in, but Reykjavik has hidden gems around every corner. The best spots of Reykjavik are hidden away and you'll have to go looking for them yourself!

Let me know if you have questions or  I can help with any of your Icelandic adventures!