Sunday, May 17, 2020

Iceland to Paris!

After a couple of days in Reykjavik, our heads were beginning to clear and our energy was returning ... recovering from jet lag takes a bit of time at our age!
We had an early morning flight to Paris ... Iceland's airport is very busy, but easy to navigate!  When we were here in 1980, it was an American Air Force Base.
This was the breakfast on our flight ... one of the many reasons why we fell in love with Iceland Air.
The view as we approached Paris ... fields that have been producing food for centuries.  It reminded me of crazy quilts ... oh the history this land has experienced.  I remember from my first experience in France (1978) being overwhelmed by the depth of Europe's history.
Speaking of history ... this is the ceiling in our hotel room!  Oh ... if only those beams could talk!
The brick wall behind our headboard ... it was wonderful.  The hotel was ... Tonic Hotel Du Louvre. It was a perfect location ... our future daugher-in-law found it for us.  She and our son stayed there as well when they joined us the next day!
We left to explore the area near the hotel ... just down the street we found this ... Eglise Saint-Eustache!
Restoration was in progress ... but even while navigating around the scaffolding there was still so much to see.
Hard to believe that this was barely mentioned in the tour book ... the majesty was unbelievable!
Even without much detail and information available to us ... we could appreciate the art and architecture!  We wandered around soaking up as much as possible!  Such a great way to begin our time in Paris!
When we left the cathedral, it was raining ... hard!  Look at the street!  Stunning workmanship done hundreds of years ago!
From the cathedral, three streets branched off  ...
... each lined with shops and restaurants ...
... quintessential Paris!
We were tired from a day of travel and decided to eat a bit earlier than the locals! After wandering the streets and reading menus posted in front of several restaurants, we finally chose one!
We began our meal with traditional French Onion Soup.  Perfect in every way ... after walking in the rain ... the soup wicked away the dampness and chill we were feeling!
I had a Truffle Pasta dish ... heavenly!
While walking back to our hotel, we walked through a park.  Because it was raining, the area was nearly empty.
This beautiful sculpture served as a landmark over the next several days as we explored Paris!  We kept pinching ourselves ... we couldn't believe we were there!

Do what you love!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Viking's Birthday!

Iceland holds a special place in our hearts ... it is where "our story began" thirty-nine years ago.
But that is a story for another day!  Today is my Mr's birthday!  A year ago we were able to celebrate in Reykjavik!
Mr wanted to celebrate by going to a bakery for coffee and treats!
A delicious way to begin our last day in Reykjavik before traveling to France!
We really enjoyed how walkable Reykjavik was!  Many older homes and neighborhoods are mingled in with the downtown area.  I loved how old homes had been resurfaced to withstand the harsh, salt water and air that comes with a coastal climate.  The siding was very durable and practical, yet they maintained the ornate and cultural trim!  Makes me swoon!
All window treatments involved white lace curtains!  What variety!  I could publish a book, just on all the different lace patterns on display!  On my next visit, I plan to seek out an Icelandic home furnishings store and bring some back to Alaska for my kitchen window!
After breakfast we went in the opposite direction of the day before ... we headed for the water ... in search of the North Atlantic Ocean!  We came upon a crew working to repair this boat from Greenland.
If you zoom in to this photo ... it is immediately obvious how big the original hole in the bow was!  We had fun guessing what might have caused that amount of damage ... because of our experience in Greenland we decided ice was probably the culprit.  
For lunch we picked up a few snacks at a grocery store and found a bench in this small boat harbor.  Iceland is a 40,000 square mile island ... every aspect of their culture is influenced by the sea! They are located at 64 degrees north, 4 degrees farther north than Cordova.  It is such fun to contrast their coastal lifestyle to ours ... so interesting to see what is similar and how it differs!
Where ever we travel ... domestic or abroad ... Mr takes photos of Post Office boxes and buildings.  Predictability is a good thing!  I value the constants in my life!
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner of reindeer and lamb (guess we both forgot to take photos) and shared a chocolate birthday dessert!
When we returned to our hotel room ... look what was waiting for us!  Sparkling wine and Icelandic Chocolates!
Even though it was days before her wedding, and she was busy preparing to travel abroad herself ... she remembered her "Pop's" birthday ... and made these arrangements for him!  We were both so touched!  And after 3 days of walking 10+ miles a day ... the sparkling wine and chocolate was the perfect way to end our time in Reykjavik!

Do what you love!  Do travel!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Friday, May 8, 2020

Happy International Viking Day!

Our second day in Reykjavik found our brains less foggy ... our bodies less sluggish ... and our enthusiasm strong!  After 39 years we were so excited to have returned to Iceland!  We were informed by the hotel receptionist that May 8th is International Viking Day!  Perfect!
This pond served as a landmark while navigating Reykjavik back in 1980 ... this city has grown and evolved so much ... this natural landmark served us well again in 2019!  We found Reykjavik to be a very walkable city ... our hotel was independently owned and had a central location.
Half a block and around the corner ... look what we found!  The Hand Knitting Society of Iceland! When we booked the hotel, we had no idea it was so closely located to this store ... providence at work!
I love that Icelandic sheep producers are working cooperatively together to protect the authenticity of their sheep related products!  We fell in love with their insignia ... and all it represents!  This was posted next to the door of the shop!
Walking into the store ... can only be described as magical!
Every garment was hand knit by an Icelandic citizen ...
... with authentic Icelandic wool!
I was swooning ... and because my mouth was open, probably drooling as well! 😉 It was overwhelming ... and that is an understatement!
Of the hundreds of sweaters in the shop ... this was my favorite!
Leaving the shop and looking left ... our next stop!
The Hallgrimskirkja!
This Lutheran church was designed in 1930 ... construction began in 1945 ... it was finished in the 1980's.  It was not finished when we were here in 1980, so we were excited to visit!
I love the simplicity of Scandinavian inspired design.  
Light ... clear ... functional ... unadorned ... very authentic to the materials used and culture it represents.
The baptismal font ... gorgeous!
The pulpit ... beautiful!
The organ ... stunning! It was added in the 1990's funded by donations from the public.
We really would like to attend a service here during our next visit to Iceland!
"Leif the Lucky" ... our son's namesake!
Arctic Char
We nibbled during the day ... with plans for a substantial, authentic Icelandic meal in the evening.  We found a restaurant that specialized in Icelandic seafood!
Because we live in an Alaskan commercial fishing community ... we were especially drawn to how Iceland prepares its seafood! Absolutely delicious ... unusually prepared in our experience!  When a restaurant is packed on a week night by local residents (not tourists) you know the food will be excellent and authentic!
On our way back to the hotel that night, we found these two in a gift shop window display.  They perfectly reflect how we felt ... tired and happy!  It had been our first time celebrating International Viking Day ... in Iceland ... providentially perfect!

Do what you love!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Our European Adventure Begins - 2019

As we all face a worldwide pandemic, we are forced to prioritize the many facets of our lives.  What is forefront in my life is my family.
Sister DillyDally's Engagement - 10.08.2017
We are so busy "living" ... going from one thing to the other ... that we forget to enjoy, savor, and record that which is most important to us.
Newly betrothed with banner made to commemorate their engagement - 10.2017
This blog ... that has served as a journal ... has been severely neglected ... especially when it comes to what is most important to me! So ... for the next few weeks I will be recording the life events that took place a year ago.
  We held a small engagement party for them in 2017 ... Dmitri had surprised Elsa with his proposal ... so no thought of wedding plans had been discussed! Later that evening while the two of them were helping us clean up ... Dmitri offhandedly and jokingly suggested they might get married in France.
Early the next morning while Dmitri and I were enjoying a cup of coffee, Elsa came downstairs with her laptop.  She had already found several possible wedding venues ... in France!  The look on Dmitri's face was priceless!  He quickly learned something very important about his lifetime partner ... she is proactive ... think twice before making suggestions in front of her!  A few days later, while driving home after taking them to the airport, Mr and I knew we would soon be traveling to France.  The last time we had traveled abroad was 1980!  We were thrilled!
Fast forward 18 months and it is April 2019.  All of our preparations had been made ... details and reservations for our 3 week adventure complete!  I added up the amount of time we were going to be in the air ... fortunately, I am very good at finding ways to entertain myself!  I decided I needed a knitting bag that would function well and fit easily in my travel backpack.  I pulled out this vintage cotton print that had been gifted to me ... and with the bag features I wanted in my head ... I designed a bag!  Of course ... this all happened the day before we left ... yep, I was happily and frantically working at the sewing machine!  My husband just shook his head ... after 38 years of marriage, he was used to my habit of this behavior!
Next came choosing the knitting project that would travel with me.  That was easy!  This beautiful yarn was hand dyed by Donna Druchunas of Sheep to Shawl.
Donna is such a talent!  She is an amazing knitting designer and teacher!  I subscribed to her Natural History of Knitting program that included her hand dyed yarn, patterns, and original artwork!  This Tulip hat was the perfect choice to travel with!
We took the polar route to Europe ... making a much shorter trip for us!  We flew to Seattle the day before, had a pleasant hotel stay and arrived for our flight on Iceland Air!
We settled in ... it was a very pleasant flight!  We highly recommend Iceland Air ... terrific experience!
Always fun to track the flight progress!  We got very excited while approaching Greenland!  In 1980, Mr was part of the first Americans to ski across the Greenland Icecap!  I was a member of the expedition's base camp team.  But that is another story for another day!
We were thrilled that it was light and clear enough to take an actual picture of the icecap from our window!
We arrived in Iceland very early in the morning!  We had made arrangements for transport to Reykjavik ... OMGOSH ... how this country had changed in the 39 years since our last visit!  Our faces were glued to the window as we enjoyed the 45 minute drive!
Neither of us had slept on the overnight flight, so we were very tired.  Our hotel room wasn't immediately available ... so we took a long walk around the city!  Nothing was open that early, but the fresh air and walking felt great after our long flight!  We planned to spend a couple of days in Reykjavik before traveling on to France.  Giving us a chance to acclimate to life on the other side of the globe!  We returned to our hotel for breakfast ... our room became available ... and we took a nice long nap!  Our European adventure had begun!