This past May we had 24 hours in Paris in between our flights and since we´ve been in Paris before so we were not pressed to see all the major sights: Eiffel tower, Champs Elysees, Arc du Triumph and so on... but if you only have 24 hours and it´s your first time visiting I highly recomend taking one of the hop on hop off buses this way you can see them all in a short period of time.
This time we wanted to stay in a smaller more local neighborhood were we could walk everywhere, see a different side of Paris and pretend to be parisians for a day. While searching for hotels I came across Hotel Magenta 38 and it was fantastic! The hotel is located in Gare Du Nord where you can easily walk to lots of neighborhoods and Cana St Martin. This boutique hotel has trendy scandiavian inspired decor and lots of perks for the customers. There´s daily craft beer happy hour, Nespresso machines, amazing breakfast and lovely rooms. As soon as you step in you realize you are not in the typical chain hotel. This hotel was just down my alley: distinctive decor, nice perks, and cheerful environment. I usually prefer to stay at Boutique hotels because they have more charm and personality. Also, it doesn´t hurt that it was budget friendly.
After we checked -in and dropped our bags we grab a map from the helpful front desk/concierge and hit the streets. We didn´t have to walk too far (half a block LOL) to find our first stop: Cafe Le Bistro a nice and very parisian café that we read great things about. It´s everything we were looking for,.. small, quaitnt, not touristy and good no frills french food. We had had a glass of wine, onion soup and mussels and fries yum!. While we sip wine we planed the rest of our afternoon before the best part of the day: diner at Frenchie! but I´ll tell you more about later on. Here is a quick glance of where we strolled in the afternoon:
The highlight of our trip was diner at Frenchie by chef Gregory Marchand! we´ve been looking so much forward to trying it out. It is a small restaurat tucked away in a cobble stome street at Rue Du Nil. They offer a 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing for 125 Euros, a steal for a 1 michelin star restaurant. I love to be surprised by the chef and not having to think about what to order. The meal was marvelous and the setting was romantic and cozy.
Next morning we had a few hours before our flight so after breakfast we headed towards Le Marais district. This area has tons of cool cafes and shops. We stoped for a quick capuccino and at several shops where we bought lots of things for our house.
Then it was off to the aiport to stock up on macaroons for the short flight to Copenhaghen. Au Revoir Paris!
Whila planning the second part of our honeymoon we were looking for different tickets and routes to Europe since we wanted to go to the English Countryside and Ireland (I´ll share those in another post later), I came across with a budget freiendly option with Iceland Air that includes a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days! How amazing! Iceland had been in my buckelist for a loooong time so this was perfect! Sadly I made a rookie mistake and tought two days in Iceland would be good but no... I wished we could have stayed at least 4 to 5 days but on the bright side we know have an excuse to visit Iceland again. Iceland is a very big island and it takes a while to get from point A from point B so I definetly recommend staying at least 4 days so you can explore more areas of the island.
We stayed in Reykjavik in a small and quaint hotel nothing fancy at all but since we were going to be out most of the day it didn´nt make sense for us. It is centrally located so we walked both nights to Laugavegur street where most of the restaurants and shops are. 22 Hill Hotel was recently renovated and the rooms were big and comfortable. Here are a few tips about Iceland:
Here is our packed itinerary (it wouldnt be us othwerwise LOL):
Day 1: Golden Circle
Our flight landed at 6:30am we picked our rental at the airport and drove 40 min to Reykjavik dropped our luggage and headed off for breakfast. Iceland has some of the best baked goods I´ve tried! I would give it a thrid place (1. Denmark, 2. France... LOL in case you wanted to know!). We went to Sandholt Bakarí and it was delicious! We had a hard time trying to decided what to order. We ordered an assortment of pastries, croissants and of course Skyr, Iceland´s famous yoghurt,
The Gold Circle is a route between Iceland´s most iconic sights and it is also the #1 tourist attraction. Since we came here in April there were not many tourist as in the summer so it was all good!. The roads are mostly desserted so it´s pretty easy to drive around. If you only do quick stops it will take about 5 hours, we did it in 9 since we took our time in every stop and took some extra ones for lunch and snacks :).
Thingvellir National Park: this is a UNESCO World Heritage Center and a great place for history nerds hahaha but also for nature and photography lovers as all Iceland. There´s walking trails in different lenghts that you can take depending on your time.
Geysir: Strokkur is Iceland´s most famous geyser and it lives by it´s fame. It is very active and it is very fn to walk around. There´s also big restaurant and shops accross the street that offers cool wool products and awesome food. This was the best of all we saw in all the stops.
Gulfoss Waterfall: this places is juts marvelous! I saw lots of pictures of this waterfall in the summer but I must say I liked the contrast of the water and ice that we got to see. A must see!
Kerio: This is a volcanic crater lake and the pictures don´t do justice. The colors and the emerald green of the water are just out of this world.
We drove back to the hotel and the scenary changes so quickly that you are never bored! I´m not a huge fan of driving long distances but this trip went by so fast. After much delibaration we decided to go to Ostabudin for dinner, this is a cheese and gourmet products store that also has a tiny restaurant next to it with about 6 tables This dinner was one of the highlights of our trip! The restaurant is cozy and warm, food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. We loved everything about it! We ordered a meat and cheese plate that included puffin, goose and creamy cheeses, for the entree we shared the goose confit with game meatballs and I still can savour the mix of flavours of the different meats and the awesome port wine sauce. For dessert we had a skyr mouse with berries so simple and so perfect. This was the perfect way to end the day while sipping red wine. This meal turned out to be one of the most memorable of our 3 week long trip.
Day 2: Glacier Hiking
It was so hard to choose between all the different tour options available... oh men! This is why I wished we could have stay at least two more days. A friend recommended Guide to Iceland as a portal to find the different tours and tour operators and t was great help! They help us to map out our routes and gave us good advice. We decided to do the Skafatell Ice Climbing and Hiking with Troll Expeditions and it was absolutely amazing! Our guide was awesome and we were the only one´s that day so it was our own private tour. The glacier is breathtaking and it was very cool to see hundreds of years old ice. Ice climbing was more challenging that I was expecitng but it was exhilarting and super fun! I´m glad we chose this tour because it gave us the perfect mix between adrenaline rush and peaceful views from the glacier.
After our glacier tour we hit the road towards Reykjavil and make a couple of stops on the way. The first one was to pet the icelandic horses... they are so freakin cute! LOL and to see the impressive Skógafoss Waterfall! Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters, and you can walk right up to, but be prepared to be drenched. It is just overwhelming standing next to it.We climbed up the stairs to get another view pont from the top and there´s a hiking trail from there on that looked promising.