Travel

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In the past 48 hours, I’ve heard of at least 3 different people saying that they’re going to Japan in the spring. Obviously, my first reaction was to get insanely jealous and my second reaction is to think about all the delicious udon that they’re about to eat. Mmmmm udon.

So I decided to look back on our own trip from last year and I stumbled onto this image. I remember the exact moment I took it. Andrew and I had woken up early to make it to Tsukiji Fish Market. We tried for the 3a auction but even with the time difference and us waking up super early everyday, there was no way we were going to be able to make it THAT early. But we did make it there at around 6a. This fish market was bumpin’! I mean there were people everywhere you turned, they were all on these miniature stand up golf cart things zipping in and out of lanes, and gigantic fish EVERYWHERE. It was a seafood lover’s paradise.

Andrew, being the awesome yelp-per that he is, found the “best” sushi restaurant. It was really different than what I’m used to in the states. You stand outside and wait in this really long line. While you’re waiting in line, there’s a guy there who will take your order. It’s usually just pointing at pictures on this big billboard but luckily this guy also spoke pretty good english too. He told us that sushi in a sushi roll was for tourists and that we had to get a sushi bowl. He was totally right. Eating sushi from a bowl was a totally different experience. So it was the raw fish on top of a bowl of already seasoned rice. All the extras like wasabi, ginger, vegetables and everything were on a different plate on the side. Just the rice alone was so flavorful and delicious. But man, the whole meal was amazing. I never expected sushi to be that much better considering it’s not even cooked, but it was!

So this picture was after we stuffed our faces with fatty tuna, rice, and everything else. We went to Hamarikyu Gardens which was less than a mile away to walk off everything we had just ate. That little building in the middle of the water is a tea house. We were at the gardens so early that it wasn’t even opened yet. I bet it would of been a great place to have some hot tea though.

If you are one of those people who are going to Japan then this is for you.

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Every time I think about these horses, I smile. They were every where in Iceland! So short and so hairy. They’re just so cute.

This one was taken on our first day out. It was probably the worst day we had weather-wise. When we landed the pilot over the speaker said we were experiencing 50 mph winds. You could literally feel the plane shaking while we were de-boarding. Add that to all the rain and it was kinda miserable being outside. Luckily the wind didn’t last all day, but the rain sure did. It was raining off and on but mostly on.

So what do you do on a rainy day in Reykjavik? Drive the golden circle! We saw these horses everywhere but all the roads on the island are fenced off. I think it’s so the horses don’t run into the middle of the street, but they could be there for other reasons other than that. I just don’t know. But the whole time we were driving, my friend Mel and I were on a hunt to find horses that were close enough to the fences so we could photograph them but also possibly pet some of them. After pulling over about 5 gagillion times, we finally ran into a group of them that were right next to the fence. Mel suggested I change my lens from my 16-35mm to my 70-200mm so we could stand far enough away from them that we could still get good pics but not scare them away. So I changed my lens and ran out the car.

We slowly started walking towards these horses. Then we realized, the closer we got to them, the more they would come to the fences. They’re super friendly! I immediately ran back to the car to change my lens back to the 16-35mm wide angle and got super close. This was taken at about my hip. I wasn’t looking, I just kept on clicking, hoping for a good shot. Obviously, the horses did not mind all the rain and wind. I’m pretty sure these guys thought my camera was food. Which it is definietly not.

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Yesterday was Presidents Day. So happy belated presidents day to you all. Shout out to big GW!

So not only was the weekend amazing beautiful here in the DC area but one of my most favorite things about President’s day is Library of Congress’ Main Reading Room Open House. Its only open to the public on President’s day and Columbus day so it really is a special treat to go inside. This was probably my third time attending one of these open houses and it NEVER gets old. Not sure what it is, but it’s like you are smarter just by standing there. I mean the very first book ever printed is even on display here. One of my favorite parts is going to the card catalog room and pretend like I’m looking for a book. This room is humungous so I’m not sure how anybody can find anything in there so that’s why I pretend 🙂

This is obviously not an image of the reading room. I have a couple of those you can see here and here that I took from previous visits.  This is an image of a hallway. Where it goes, I have no idea. It was blocked off to visitors but I couldn’t help myself. I had to take a few snaps before anyone came and found me. But even from this little hallway, you can tell that this entire space is so beautiful. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this is by far my favorite interior of all of DC. It’s one of those hidden gems that a lot of tourists don’t get to see. Click here if you’d like to see the main room. It’s a stunner. Jaw droppingly amazing. So if you plan to visit at all, definietly try to come on Presidents day or Columbus day. If not, you still won’t be disappointed.

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A couple of blog posts ago, I talked about my favorite place in Iceland, Höfn. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here) It’s located about 5 to 6 hours away from Reykjavik so there were a lot of stops along the way. One of the best “road side attractions” was Jökulsálón lagoon. The only reason why I called it a “road side attraction” was because it’s right off the main road and you can’t miss it! It’s this humungous lake at the edge of Vatnajökul National park where pieces of Vatnajökul glacier break off. If you look at a world map and see Iceland, you’ll see how theres one huge glacier on the south east side of the island. That’s Vatnajökul glacier.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so cool. Literally. As soon as we parked the car, I hopped out with my camera ready. I was so mesmerized by these glaciers that I didn’t want to waste a second. Just the whole experience made it seem like you were on a different planet. I mean you can see the top of the icebergs, but I can’t even imagine whats underneath. How big these icebergs really are and how long they’ve been in this water. And if the icebergs were so big, how freakin’ big is that glacier? Man, I can’t even imagine.

Right across the street you go to Diamond beach and a lot of these icebergs have washed up to land and they are gigantic. So many of them were taller than me. I had a lot of fun climbing on them, running my hands (with gloves on) on them, and just taking note of all the beautiful blues I was seeing. It was so tempting to say “Icebergs right ahead”. I tried my best not to say it but I think it slipped out once.

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Sometimes waking up early can be a struggle. The night before I took this, I was out to dinner with a few of my girlfriends. We were having so much fun catching up that we ended up staying out later than we usually would of so that meant I went to bed later than I usually do. Before we even went to bed, Andrew asked if I was going to wake up for sunrise. I said “I’m going to wake up and check the weather”. Well the next morning the app on my phone said it was mostly cloudy (usually great weather for photos) but I sooo did not want to wake up. I was tired and because the weather channel app also said it was 29 degrees out, I double did not want to wake up. After about 20 minutes of laying there and pretending like I was looking at important stuff on instagram and my email, I finally rolled out of bed, put on two pairs of pants, 3 top layers and off to the city I went. I decided to go to the US Capitol because I felt like I haven’t been there for a long time. With the inauguration last month, that place was pretty crowded with construction and people for about 3 months prior.

Once I arrived at the Capitol, it seemed like all the cold air went away. All the sleepiness went away. And I just felt pure excitement. The pink started to really show through the clouds and the air was so still that the reflection in the reflecting pool was perfect. I’m so glad I got there early because by the time I drove home the skies had turned grey. Overall, timing was perfect for the pink sunrise and the clouds were perfect for a nap afterwards 🙂

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This is kind of a funny story. So lately when I’ll go to shoot the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise, I’ll park on the Arlington Memorial Bridge. It’s as close as you can get so early in the morning but you usually have to park kind of far down the bridge because there will always be cars that got there before you. So I’m walking along the bridge. I’ll stop and take some pictures of the water or something like that. You know, just takin’ my time and enjoying the morning views. Then at the very beginning of the bridge, I see this amazing puddle by the curb. I immediately crotched down to the sidewalk to to see if could get a better reflection of the Lincoln Memorial and see this beautiful shot of the memorial and Washington Monument all in one. Then I looked to make sure no cars were coming so I could stand in the street for a better view point. Luckily the parked cars were there to block me from the oncoming cars and I was able to capture the composition I was looking for. So I’m still crouching down and contorting my body in all these weird angles so that my tripod could balance on the sidewalk/road, I take the shot. I was really happy and so excited to have captured it because it was timed perfectly with oncoming cars providing these amazing light trails. But then when I was finally done, I stood up, turned around and looked in the parked car that was right behind me. There was someone sitting there the whole time! OMG He got a fabulous view of my butt the entire time. LOL. Who knows what he thought I was doing. But I can imagine the weird looks he was giving me the whole time while I was trying to set up.