Vacations often involve compromise — and the best ones leave everyone feeling that he/she got everything that they wanted! Cousins Jen and Vanessa wanted to go to Europe, but had differing views on which destinations were the most compelling. I helped them put together an ambitious “escape” that combined Iceland and Amsterdam, and it looks like it got two enthusiastic thumbs up 🙂
Our trip was AMAZING 🙂 Hotel Midgardur (in Reykjavik) was cute, comfortable, clean and friendly. The breakfast was simply but yummy…and vegan friendly 🙂 Grey Line tours did a really nice job. Our Northern Lights tour was cancelled the first night, due to weather…but the upgraded tour went out (it was double in price of ours…so we opted not to go). HOWEVER, the lights came out that night and were supposedly super bright over Reykjavik (we were totally bummed when we heard that the next day).
Our Golden Circle tour was great…tectonic plates, waterfalls, Geysers, horse farms and an old church. It was a LONG day…we rushed back to the hotel and had an hour to eat and get ready for our Northern Lights tour. We were out until 2am…no lights to be seen…and then slept for a few hours and had to wake up early to ride horses. It was cold…the horses were cool but once we were on them, the guides didn’t speak to us…tell us anything about our scenery, where we were going or for how long (I was through Laxness farms). We then went to the Blue Lagoon…it was nice and relaxing…then back to the hotel, where we had an hour to eat and go back out for the Northern Lights. Luckily, our guide and driver were much better than the previous night, so we SAW THE LIGHTS…yay. They were amazing and magical…we got home close to 2:30am…packed, showered and took at 4am shuttle for our flight to Amsterdam.
In summary, Iceland was great. We had super yummy vegan/veg meals (though food was expensive)…I would go back and maybe add an extra day for a break between tours. We definitely left exhausted!
We landed in Amsterdam after a night of no sleep, and proudly powered through the day without sleeping. The Hampshire Hotel Amsterdam American is older, but has character…and the breakfast…oh the breakfast. Never let me complain about all inclusive breakfast again. We spent at least an hour and a half each morning enjoying breakfast 🙂 It was delightful. We took a canal boat tour, visited the Anne Frank house, took fun pictures on the I AMSTERDAM sign, walked to the old windmill next to a microbrewery, had waffles, chips, checked out the red light district, went to the nine streets for shopping…and had AMAZING Indonesian food (also a vegan friendly city). Amsterdam is so walkable…Vanessa and I totally fell in love with the city. If any of your clients need places to eat (in either city), let us know, we can tell you where we went.
On a side note, we toyed with going to Paris for the day on Friday 11/13 (we looked up flights and train times)…and thankfully, it was too expensive for a day trip. Crazy and sad.
It was an amazing trip. I would go back to either city in a heartbeat…thank you for organizing…you have two very happy clients 🙂