While in Israel with us and after noticing a lot of stray cats, Alan decided to take a photo of each one he saw. He was able to get photos of 46 cats in the 6 days we were here! That’s a lot of cats! Anyway, here are some of those photos!
When getting ready for this trip, I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to collect cool souvenirs from each place I visited because we don't have the space. Then, after thinking about it more, I decided that I could get a pair of earrings from each country! They are small and are something I will actually use, unlike key chains or magnets.
I thought of this idea after we already left Iceland. However, I decided to use this box that we received from our first class upgrade on the IcelandAir flight! It is the perfect size to hold all of my earrings and provides a little something from Iceland.
SCOTLAND: In Scotland, I got these Triquetra shaped earrings because of their significance in Celtic and Christian history. The Triquetra was adapted from the Celtics to represent the Holy Trinity.
ENGLAND: I'm going to be honest- these weren't my first choice. Unfortunately, I looked in every shop I saw to find cheap earrings that represented England. Even little British flags would do. Unfortunately, the only place I found a single pair was at a gift shop near Buckingham Palace. I probably won't wear them, but they can remind me of my experience at the palace while in England.
NORWAY: These earrings I thought were very cool and unique. Because Bergen is such an important shipping port, I found these boat earrings (if you can't tell, they are boats viewed from the front). While visiting Bergen we saw their maritime museum and sat and watched boats in the harbor.
DENMARK: In Denmark, Amber is called "The Gold of the North"! It was basically everywhere in Copenhagen, so it was only fitting to get these amber earrings! I knew these simple heart shaped ones were perfect!
SWEDEN: I chose these little horse earrings because of the Dala Horse which is a symbol for Sweden! However, the Dala Horse is wooden and red, but metal and rose gold color is as close as I could get!
LATVIA: I bought these little beauties from a sweet old Latvian lady selling jewelry along a little sweet in Riga! They are also amber because of how important it is in Latvia! Apparently the forests in the Baltic region created 100,000 tons of it!! Also, amber is starting to grow on me :p
Another fun thing we are doing on our trip is a scavenger hunt set up by John! Since he is traveling Europe a few weeks ahead of us, he had the idea to leave behind little things for us to find! He purchased several New Zealand magnets (like the one below) and placed in them in different cities that we both are visiting! John has sent us descriptions of where to find each piece, but if that isn’t enough he also sent us the exact coordinates with a photo of the location (like below)!
It is fun to have something to look forward to in different places!!
QUEST 1: Reykjavik, Iceland
We started off with the easiest, it was at the reception desk at our hostel in Reykjavik! Because of that, we don’t have a picture of acquiring the first one. We then decided to give it away to a friend we met in Norway to remember us by in exchange for a drawing of the three of us!
QUEST 3: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
Our next piece is in Copenhagen, so we will be finding it in the next couple days!
Every person we talk to about our trip asks "How do you pack for 9 months?", well here is the answer! So far what we have brought has worked perfectly for us, but we still have a very long way to go!
While getting ready for our trip, we read the words of wisdom from many experienced travel bloggers and basically took tips from each of them to create our packing lists.
First, we both have Osprey Farpoint backpacks, Alexander has the 70 liter and I have the 55 liter. We love these because they open wide like a suitcase so you don't have to dig around in the bottom for your things, and because they include a detachable day pack.
Second, we used a variety of brands for our everyday travel essentials. We had to bring travel sheets because not all hostels include them and in some places, we will probably prefer to use our own! We also have a security pillowcase (it has a zipped pocket so you can keep your valuables safe). The pink thing in the lower left is my travel towel. It's amazing because it is super absorbent, dries quickly, and is really really compact while still being full size. The spork has already come in handy with quick meals and for hostels that don't have silverware for use in the kitchen! We have not had to use the SteriPen just yet- the drinking water in most of Europe is completely safe to drink. I of course also have sleep shorts and eye shades.
This is a photo of Alexander's supplies. He is carrying laundry detergent for washing clothes in the sink and earbuds for noisy hostels.
Here, I have my noise cancelling headphones, neck pillow, makeup and mini emergency kit!
These are my shoes and swim suits. I have two reversible swim suits and a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of cute wedges, and a pair of flip flops.
Lastly, and I my opinion most importantly, we had a hard time picking what clothes to bring. However, when necessary we plan to change out some clothes to be more seasonally or regionally appropriate.
Below are the tops and bottoms we brought with us. I also brought one blue and white striped dress and a grey multipurpose dress (not pictured).
As for jackets, I brought a rain coat, a jogging jacket, a vest and another light coat and fleece. Alexander brought similar jackets along with a few sweaters.
We also each have toiletries and locks for our bags, along with other odds and ends!
My brother Alan is really jealous that Alexander and I get to travel the world and he doesn't. He also has a rock collection with a few special rocks. He asked me if I would take one of the small ones with me so he could have a rock that has been around the globe.
The rock is very small, so of course I said yes! I have been photographing the rock on its adventure and plan to make Alan a photo album when I get back!
I thought everyone might be interested to see what the rock has been up to lately! I will post the rock photos here to document its travels!