Amanda and I enjoyed our 3rd anniversary by taking a trip to Iceland (6 days), Spain (7 days) and Ireland (2 days). We moved around a lot and got to see a good portion of what each country had to offer. Keep reading for a quick recap of our journey. Or, skip right to the pictures.

ICELAND


We started in Reykjavik, Iceland. We stayed in the Old Harbor near downtown, which we had some time to explore, including hearing the organ play in the cathedral, Hallgrimskirkja. From there, we drove north to to Hvalfjordur and hiked to (until just recently) Iceland's highest waterfall, Glymur, at 198 meters. We then drove around the Golden Circle, seeing Gulfoss, (a giant waterfall) Geysir (Old Faithful lite) and Pingvellir National Park (where the continental plates meet and where the Vikings established the world's first democratic parliment called the Alpingi). We then traveled south east, getting to explore Vik, Iceland's southernmost town, as well as two glacial lagoons, Jokulsarlon and Fjallsarlon. We also hiked on the glacial tongue of Solheimajokull. On our way back to Reykjavik we stayed a night and got to enjoy the Blue Lagoon as well as taking a tour of a man made ice cave in the glacier, Langjokull . We then flew into Barcelona, Spain.



SPAIN


We started our Spain adventure in Barcelona, near Placa Catalunya where we enjoyed a stroll down the pedestrian only, Las Ramblas, explored the old city called Barri Gotic and toured the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral designed and started by the famous architect, Gaudi. We then drove 5 hours into the wine country of La Rioja. We stayed in Laguardia, an old walled city. We enjoyed winery tours, tastings, and old town charms that the region had to offer. Another 5 hour drive took us to San Sebastian, on the north eastern coast. We stayed in the Old Town and explored the ruins of a once mighty castle (Castillo de la Mota) on Mt. Urgull. We also bar-hopped, delighting in the cheap wines and exquisite pintxos (tapas). We even managed to enjoy a few walks along the beaches, despite it being slightly cold and rainy.

We decided to drop off our rental car in San Sebastian and take a train direct to Madrid. We found a nice apartment situated in the city center, within two blocks of the Royal Palace as well as being near Plaza Mayor, Puerto del Sol, and the museum district. We toured the Prado museum, seeing various famous works of art by Goya, other Spanish artists, as well as artists from around the world. We also toured the 2,800 room Royal Palace, built (the current structure) by King Philip V in the early 1700s as an attempt to rival the grandeur of the French palace, Versailles. After basking in Spanish culture, we moved on to Ireland.



IRELAND


We began our short stopover before heading home in the capital, Dublin. We toured the Guinness Storehouse which included a pint of Guinness in a bar 7 stories up with a 360 degree view of the city. We downed another pint over dinner at the Brazen Head, Ireland's oldest pub (established 1198 AD). The next day we took a train tour across the country to the western coast where we visited the Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, Bunratty Castle (built in 1425, the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland) and had a quick city tour of Limerick.





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Iceland (95 photos)

Spain (77 photos)

Ireland (61 photos)