Game of Thrones Tour | Iceland

16 September 2018


Iceland is like no other country I have visited. The moment we stepped off the plane we could tell there was something magical about the place. Our trip was packed with tours so that we could get the most out of our short stay. There are so many tour companies you can chose while visiting Iceland. Depending on your interests and where you want to go, there's bound to be a tour for you. We opted for two Grey Line Tours, the first being a Game of Thrones tour. I mean, who can beat that? 

The tour is based around filming locations of the popular show, however there were a few people in our group who had never seen a single episode. Yes, I am a big GoT fan, but you do not need to know the background of the show in order to have a wonderful time. This tour took us to some of the most breathtaking places Iceland has to offer. The best part was we didn't have to worry about driving in the crazy Icelandic conditions that people always warn you about. 

Our first stop was to a meet a very special star of the show: one of Arya Stark's horses. The crew of GoT searched all of Iceland to find this particular white beauty. You see, Icelandic horses are one of the purest horse breeds in the world. No other horse's are allowed in to Iceland and if an Icelandic horse leaves the island, it is not allowed to return. That means when the GoT crew came to film some scenes of Arya riding a white horse, they had to find the biggest of this small breed in order to make it seem like it was a bigger horse. 


We then made a quick stop at Þórufoss Waterfall, the location where Drogon went hunting for goats. By this point of the tour we were beginning to experience the famous Icelandic rain, despite the fact the weather had been beautiful just minutes before. We quickly retreated back to the comfort of the bus after snapping a few photos on our phones.  


My favorite stop on the tour was the location of Brienne of Tarth's battle with the Hound. Hengilssvæðið is completely off the beaten path. Most of the time the journey up the mountains is completely blocked off, making it a very secretive and secluded stop. We spent a few minutes hiking up a trail before we could see the path through the mountains. Other than us and the mountain goats, we were completely alone. It was so peaceful, despite the pretty gruesome scene that had been filmed there. 


Þingvellir National Park was our next stop where we viewed the location of the "Bloody Gate". One woman in our tour was completely confused. 
"Well where's the gate?" She asked our tour guide. 
"Not everything you see in the show is real", he responded, laughing. 

Þingvellir National Park is an extremely important site in Iceland. It is the location of Iceland's first Parliament, dating back to 930 AD. It is also the place where the North American tectonic plate is separating with the Eurasian tectonic plate. The Rift Valley is growing larger every year, creating a pretty amazing landscape. 


It wouldn't be a Game of Thrones tour without seeing the location of a Wilding battle. Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng sits in a beautiful valley full of green grass and purple flowers. The waterfall in the distance makes it one of the most beautiful spots in Iceland, which is whyVikings may have picked it for a settlement over a thousand years ago. Today you visit the reconstructed Viking farmstead which offers a unique look into what life may have been like back then. 


Our last stop wasn't a filming location of Game of Thrones, but who can resist a good waterfall? With time to spare we spent a few minutes at Hjalparfoss, adding another incredible Icelandic waterfall to our list. 


If you are interested in touring Iceland, I would highly recommend Grey Line. By doing a tour instead of renting a car we were able to see sites that I may have not felt comfortable driving to on my own. The guides were fantastic and the tour was entertaining until the bitter end. 

xoxo

A Galveston Summer

28 June 2018


About a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting the Galveston Visitor and Convention Bureau team. They were SO incredibly lovely and I had an amazing time hanging with them and exploring Galveston Island. I was lucky enough to be invited to another fun filled day on the island and I knew this was something I couldn't pass up!



After joining up with a few other bloggers, we had the pleasure of meeting Gabriel Prusmack, a local artist. Gabriel showed us some of his favorite pieces around the streets of downtown Galveston. I am a huge fan of street art, you can even read one of my posts about it when I was living in Bristol, home of Banksy. However, I had never really seen any street art in America that compared to the incredible art that lined the streets of Bristol. Gabriel opened my eyes to the world of Galveston's art scene. I was completely blown away by the backstory and dedication of these local artists. If you love to enjoy a city through its local art, take a walk through downtown Galveston. 



Our next stop was Moody Gardens. For native Houstonians, Moody Gardens is the welcoming site you see as you cross over the giant bridge that separates the mainland from the island. The three pyramids, each with their own unique attraction, tower over the skyline as you make your trek to Galveston. After a $37 million dollar renovation, we were excited to see the Aquarium Pyramid in all its new glory.

It had been years since I had visited Moody Gardens. I remember my mom taking me and my sister on trips as a kid. The Aquarium Pyramid was always my favorite, and inside I always found myself wanting to find the penguin exhibit. On this day one of my childhood fantasies came true. I was about to meet a penguin.

Burges is one of the oldest penguins in the exhibit. As we all sat and watched him waddle in I couldn't believe it. Not only was I meeting a penguin, but he was going to paint us a picture too!








It's hard to top meeting a one eyed penguin, but our day was not over yet. Our last stop was to Pleasure Pier. Not many people know about the long history of Pleasure Pier and Galveston. Built in the 1940s, Pleasure Pier was originally used as a recreational facility for military members. After the war it was opened to the public, but shortly after a hurricane swept in leaving it deserted and destroyed. In the decades that followed it served as America's only hotel built entirely on water, only to once again be destroyed by a hurricane in 2008. It opened again as a place of fun and recreation in 2012 and has been a Galveston favorite every since.



Galveston remains a city that I cherish. No matter how many times I visit, I am always learning something new. Its history as one of America's leading cities means there are vast amounts of things to see and do. If you find yourself in Houston or are just looking for something new to do this summer, check out Galveston.com. They will be happy to recommend something, no matter what kind of trip you are in the mood for. 

xoxo