Seydisfjordur, Iceland

My favorite town that we came across in Iceland was Saydisfjordur. Most towns in Iceland are super small. The population of the whole country is only 330,000ish, and Seydisfjordur’s population is around 700. We heard the town was a must see though and since we didn’t think we’d be able to access the hike we really wanted to do due to ice (can’t even remember what it was- maybe Glymur Falls- which we later found out WAS accessible), we opted for the safe bet.

We headed into Seydisfjordur from the south and came across some amazing waterfalls along the way, not far outside of the town.

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There are so many waterfalls all over the place in Iceland. You can catch a glimpse in that image directly above of how many little streams run down the sides of the mountains. I’m sure the streams were plentiful as the snowmelt in the highlands was pouring down to the coast while we were there, but it was just so different to be in a country like Iceland.

We found a random parking lot in the town and again, second guessed whether or not we could park there or not. But as we noted everywhere, you can really just park anywhere and nobody seems to mind.

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We were greeted by these kayaks. They seemed so perfect sitting there with the buildings and mountains in the background.

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Seydisfjordur was super quirky. We also walked into somebody’s house accidentally. It was on the backside of a shop and I swore it was the front door of the shop, but it was really the back door of the house. The people acted like we should have known but there were no signs.

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Laura and I walked by two guys trying to take very posed pictures in these chairs. We stopped and chatted with them (they were from Wisconsin- holla!) and took like, 50 photos for them to get the picture perfect for them. It was so funny because Laura and I always feel so bad asking people to take our picture and these guys had no shame in asking us to take a million to get the perfect shot. We didn’t mind at all though and then they offered to take some of us. We let them take two and then we were done. My, how times have changed! My old vacation photos are like, 95% selfies and tripod pictures and now they’re 95% scenery.

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This next picture I saw on Instagram plenty of times (I plan trips off of Instagram now- it’s the best for finding hidden gems). I actually had no idea it was in Seydisfjordur because Laura and I completely slacked on planning, so when we turned the corner and I saw the colorful street leading up to the church, I was completely surprised. It was so picturesque!

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We only spent a half day in Seydisfjordur and really, that was all we needed. The town is small and quaint and offered us some nice down time for a bit. We also ate at an amazing restaurant where I took one super blurry picture of my food. It was the Nordic Restaurant at Hotel Aldan. Laura and I shared the sauteed kale and spinach and both got fish (I believe I got the cod with the buerre blanc sauce) and it was excellent. Also, take note of those prices. Food in Iceland is ridiculous. I’ll discuss the cost of things in Iceland in a later post!

Other Iceland Posts:

Borgarvirki, Iceland
Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland
The Time I Went to an Eye Doctor in Iceland
Gjain, Iceland

Other Travel Posts:

Short Stop in Richmond, VA24 Hours in Philadelphia
Four Night Camping Adventure in Vermont

Gjain, Iceland

Alrighty, well, I’ve talked about some of my other favorite places in Iceland so far, but Gjain was another one that topped the list for me!

I read about Gjain long before we got to Iceland and we weren’t sure it would be doable. A few places we really wanted to go were still snowed it when we went in May and we heard it may be hard to get to Gjain, especially with out tiny little car that was definitely not a 4WD (and by 4WD, they mean like, big Jeep cars, not just any 4WD).

Since Laura and I like to be adventurous and test our limits, we decided to head out to Gjain anyway. It took us awhile to figure out where we needed to be and I wish I could provide some insight, but I have no clue anymore how we got there. I do know that there are two sides to enter Gjain from (which we didn’t realize), and I have no clue if one is better than the other, nor do I know which side we entered from anymore.

When we arrived to the “parking,” we saw one other car there and a big, long dirt road. We spent a long time contemplating if we should drive down the road or walk the couple miles there, or if we were really even allowed to park where we stopped our car. (“Allowed” is relative in Iceland- people kind of just do whatever since it’s so desolate in most places.) Eventually, we decided not to risk our car and just walk to Gjain.

The walk was long and lonely. One car passed us on the way and we secretly hoped he was going to offer us a ride because we would have been all about hitchhiking at that time. I wish I remembered how long this hike was exactly, but I want to say it was about 2 miles. That’s a short hike, but it felt pretty long in the middle of nowhere, especially because we weren’t actually even sure if we were going to the right place or not.

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After a long walk, we arrived to a “parking lot” and saw 2 or 3 cars and figured we must be close. We also took note of the other small cars that managed to drive the road just fine. We kept walking and saw this view:

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FOUND IT! It was so amazing to walk down such barren land and then come to this magical green area in the middle of nowhere. Iceland never ceased to amaze me! We had to walk down a pretty steep set of natural stairs to get down into the valley.

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It actually ended up feeling pretty warm down in the valley once we were protected from all the wind. We had a little picnic and relaxed for awhile, but only stayed about 1.5 hours since we had to walk back (uphill) and still continue exploring everything Iceland had to offer.

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The deep blue glacial water is so pretty. I loved it when we caught glimpses of the deep blues.

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In the photo below, take note of the photographer to the left of Laura. It looks like a small stream running by Laura, but it was much larger than it looks and she was actually standing at the top of a little waterfall that he was photographing.

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We were hoping to catch a ride with a photographer who was there, but after chatting for awhile, he didn’t offer us a ride and Laura and I were too shy to ask if he could take us back. He passed us halfway through our walk back. Laura and I decided it was karma for passing up a hitchhiker in northern Iceland.

Other Iceland Posts:

Borgarvirki, Iceland
Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland
The Time I Went to an Eye Doctor in Iceland

Other Travel Posts:

Short Stop in Richmond, VA
Four Night Camping Adventure in Vermont
24 Hours in Philadelphia

 

Borgarvirki, Iceland

One of the things I LOVE about Iceland is that everywhere you look, it is beautiful. I have been to a lot of awesome countries and seen amazing coastlines and countrysides and cute cities, but Iceland was something else. I could spend months getting lost in that country.

On one of our many driving days, Laura and I stumbled upon Borgarvirki. It didn’t look that impressive and I honestly almost stayed in the car for it because I was feeling all kinds of lazy, but I gathered up my energy and got out of the car.

Borgarvirki is an example of things that don’t look that cool, but end up being really awesome. This fortress is made out of basalt strata and has been used by the military for centuries, apparently. It appeared to be much smaller than it seemed once you climb up.

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The picture above is what we saw when we drove up, hence the reason I was kind of like, I could skip this.

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Once we got up into the fortress though, I realized it was HUGE! This is the front ledge from the top picture that you can see (the lower part- not the top part). It was pretty tricky to get up there, but getting down was way harder. Laura essentially had to catch me when I jumped down off that ledge. The pictures can’t even begin to depict what it was in real life.

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The ledge on the right is where I was standing in the picture above, looking in. The grassy area in the bottom left is the “interior” of the fortress.

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From atop the walls of the fortress. The walls looked pretty thin from the parking lot, but they were massive and intertwined with the landscape.

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The view on the other side of the fortress. The road pictured is the road we drove on leading into Borgarvirki.

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A gigantic cairn.

Laura and I probably spent a full hour there and could have stayed longer. That was how our whole trip was though- the land there is breathtaking and I could have spent hours in every location.

I plan to continue with shorter posts about Iceland because with how much that I have going on, it’s hard to get huge posts done and honestly, I forgot a lot of details about Iceland and have no clue what the names of most of these places are. I had a picture of the sign at Borgarvirki to remind me, but didn’t do that in most places.

 

Other Iceland Posts:

Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland

Weekend Recap

Does anybody notice a theme here? I seem to only been updating on Mondays! I think about sitting down to blog a few times a week but then… life happens!

Tuesday was an internship day last week, Wednesday was a short work day, and Thursday was an internship day. So I’ll start with Thursday since nothing happened the other two days!

THURSDAY

Around 11am, I left our sister hospital and went to my hospital (main campus). As soon as I got there, daycare called to say Jackson was running a fever. I left right away to go pick him up. I gave him Motrin as soon as we got home and he improved a ton!

When my mom got home from work, we went to run some errands. I returned pants to Kohl’s and got Jackson some pants and long sleeves (I only have summer clothes in his size since Charleston is so hot and it was so cool on Thursday morning!). We went to Target to grab a few things and then to Costco to stock up on some food.

As soon as we got home, I headed downtown since my friend, Jessie, was in Atlanta for the evening from South Korea. I haven’t seen her in so long but it was so nice to see her! She knows Jon from elementary school and is married to Jon’s best friend from childhood and we love them! Her husband is working out in South Korea for three years and they just got there. So, very nice to see her! And it was a beautiful night. We sat outside and had dinner and then walked around Piedmont Park. It’s been so long since I’ve really been downtown to hang out, especially now that Kassie moved out of that area.

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That kale salad was incredibly good!

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FRIDAY

Jon was here on Friday! He came in town on Thursday night since Charleston was evacuating for the storm and he figured he might as well come be with us! Jon actually ended up covering some cases in the Atlanta territory (at the hospital he also worked at as an x-ray tech before taking this job), so it was just me and my bub!

I took Jackson to the pediatrician in the morning for his 18 month check up. Poor boy hated it! He was so upset about being there and he got so nervous when anybody walked in the room!

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The blurry bottom of the photo is because my screen protector is broken, haha. Need to buy a new one.

I stopped to get coffee on my way home since I knew I’d have some time to sit and relax for a bit while Jackson napped. Jackson took a good nap when we got home and I worked on a paper for school. I basically spent all afternoon working on a paper since Jon got home around the same time. I ran out to the gym in the afternoon and then spent the evening just hanging out with Jon.

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At 9pm, Jackson woke up screaming his head off. It continued until 2am. SO frustrating. We had been giving him Motrin and Tylenol all day and it shouldn’t have worn off by then, but we gave more (we alternated it). I think he just got overly tired and would not calm down. We finally gave him Benadryl at 1am and put him in the car and he calmed down as soon as we got in the car. Finally, at 2am, he was sound asleep so Jon and I got to go to bed too!

SATURDAY

I was on call from 7a-11a and thankfully, I did not get called in! I couldn’t have handled it after our Friday night! I planned on working out in the morning if I didn’t get called in, but no way. We all slept until 8am and then just hung out at home until I left at 10am to go to work. I worked 11a-7p and came home and hung out since I wanted to get in bed early.

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SUNDAY

Much of the same as Saturday! I didn’t get called in at 7am, so I ran to the grocery store before work and then got ready and headed out to work 11a-7p. I went Laura’s once I got off work to check on her cats. I was there for awhile feeding them and changing out their water and scooping the litter box. I stopped by Newk’s for a sandwich and then got home and relaxed with Jon for a little while.

MONDAY

Today! I got to go to the gym first thing in the morning! Woohoo! My morning gym sessions are what I miss most about Charleston! I actually tried to go to CrossFit at 7:45, but it was closed today (the owners are stranded in some other state post-competition because flights aren’t coming into Atlanta, and I guess nobody else ran the classes). Instead, I headed down to LA Fitness. It was so empty in there! I wasn’t really feeling a workout at all this morning, but once I got started, I got into it.

I came home and joined my boys for some breakfast. We had to take quick showers after and head back to the pediatrician for a shot for Jackson since we postponed it on Friday because of his fever.

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In the waiting room.

During my bub’s nap time, Jon and I started planning France! I’m super excited about our trip together but wish we had another two or three days at least! We’re going Alsace, the Alps, Burgundy, and Paris. It’ll be a jam packed trip but I love that, so it’s fine!

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I sat down now to do schoolwork (don’t tell Jon, haha). The storm is just getting here and the wind is picking up, so I assume we’ll be spending our afternoon at home. I’m supposed to intern tomorrow, so we’ll see how the weather is and if daycare is open or not! My poor boy is super fussy from his shot and probably from not eating all weekend so it’s a rough afternoon around here…

 

 

Fosslaug and Bruarfoss, Iceland

Two of my absolute favorite places in Iceland were Fosslaug (a hot pot) and Bruarfoss (a waterfall). They were definitely both less touristy and both were hard to find, but maybe that was why I liked them so much. I’ll continue with Iceland updates soon sporadically, since it takes a lot of time to find the info again of what we did!

Fosslaug

The only information that Laura and I had to go on about Fosslaug was from this website. It didn’t take very long to get there off of Hwy 1, which is the Ring Rd, or the main road that goes around Iceland. It looked like a totally straight shot, actually! We entered the GPS coordinates and turned off of Hwy 1 down 752. Once we got down 752 where the grid coordinates were, we could see the steam, but there wasn’t a real parking area and there were no cars. We were pretty confused since we saw some people walking around out by the hotpot, but there was a cattle gate that said “No Driving.” A lot of the hot pots are on private property but the land owners allow people to enjoy the natural hot springs. We weren’t sure if we could just park by the gate, but we decided to give it a go. We ended up opening the gate and walking to the steam and realizing that there was an entire river between us and the hot pot! We couldn’t see anybody at that point, but we did see the hot pot itself and clothes were by the hot pot. We decided to go back to the car and look at our maps.

We realized we could cross the river by going north again on 752 and turning down 753. At the 753 intersection, there was a paintballing sign right there too. Once you cross over the river on 753, you take an immediate right and you have to park on somebody’s private farm, but other cars were there, thankfully. We also tried to walk in with the horses but realized we were in the wrong area. Finally we actually found a sign that said Fosslaug back by the parking area. Along the walk, you see Reykjafoss which was huge and beautiful! Most waterfalls there that we found that were that big had other people there, and we were the only ones enjoying it. It was so impressive and awesome.

We finally got to the hot pot and we were the only people there! It was a little creepy sitting in a natural hot spring, but it was also really awesome. The scenery was so pretty and it was so relaxing. It may not have been the most amazing view on the whole trip, but there is something about being in a hot pot without other tourists and just taking it all in. And Reykjafoss along the way was so impressive. Laura and I were so glad we stuck it out to make it there!

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Our failure to make it to Fosslaug the first time.
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Once you park on the farm, this is where you enter the gates.
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Reykjafoss.
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Just beyond the stream here is is Reykjafoss.

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Bruarfoss

Bruarfoss was one of the other adventures that Laura and I went on! We knew we wanted to go there on our Golden Circle adventure, but it was much harder than either of us imagined it could be.

If you put in “Bruarfoss” into Google, a location of it will come up so you can easily get to the general area. I believe we took Hwy 37 to Brekkuskógur. The road had all of these private signs on it and we weren’t sure we should be there. The road was also in terrible condition and looked like it was some sort of summer camp. We decided to stick it out and keep on driving in, despite all the random people looking at us. I believe there was a sign about walking, but the road got so bad that we thought we had to be in the wrong area and we turned around.

On our map, it looked like you could access Bruarfoss from the north side by taking the road Midhusaskógur and taking a left onto an unnamed road. Turns out, it was super hard to find back there. We actually stopped the only car that we saw on that road and asked the woman if she knew about it. She was clearly a local but had no clue what we were talking about. We kept driving and we ended up driving into a convent and having to open the gates to the convent to turn around. Oops.

We went back to the summer camp area where we started and decided to just drive back into the area where it had said something about walking. The road was still bad, but we did find an area to park where it seemed like it led to a walking trail. We could hear the water once we got out of the car too, so we figured it might be close.

It was super muddy to get out there since it never stops raining, but the walk itself was short.

One other person was there taking photographs with his tripod. But the waterfall was so awesome! It was so blue from the glacial water and it was so serene because again, we weren’t surrounded by tourists. We got there around 9pm, so I’m sure it’d be busier during the day, but it was a perfect time to go. (We went in May, so 24/7 daylight.) I absolutely loved this waterfall!

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The Time I Went to an Eye Doctor in Iceland

I promise, I will get to cool trip recaps soon, but this experience has to be remembered!

One of the days that Laura and I were in Iceland, I was getting in the car and felt something get in my eye. It hurt really bad, but then it went away completely and I never saw anything when I looked in the mirror.

Two days later (the day before we left), I was doing my make up (literally one of the only days I put on makeup there) and noticed that I had something embedded in the white part of my eye. It hadn’t really bothered me too bad, but I did feel like something was in there.

Of course, over the course of the evening, the pain got much worse. My eye was swollen and painful and it had gone from nothing to really bad in just a few hours. I decided to call the eye doctor in the US to see what they recommended and they basically said if anything was embedded in my eye, they would get it looked at before getting on the plane where the pressure changes. We went back and forth for awhile like, “Should we really waste our last night for this?” Of course, Google told me I was losing my eye and how it was an emergency.

In the end, we decided just to go to an urgent care. I bought traveler’s insurance before I left (which ended up being useless) so I felt like it was no big deal.

The urgent care seemed pretty decent. Everything moved fast. An elderly guy took us back to the room, which still had a dirty paper covering the table when he asked me to climb up.

Let me preface this by saying that I hate eyes! I cannot stand eye injuries at work. It makes me so squeamish. I hate people touching my eyes! I can’t even put eyedrops in my eyes (I do wear contacts sometimes, but that’s totally different). I get super nervous anytime anybody tries to do anything with me eye.

So he had my climb onto the table and he numbed up my eye and I was already pulling away and blinking. Then he took tweezers to get it out and I was super nervous. I kept asking him for just a second so I could recollect myself but he would just keep digging in my eye. I finally got to a point where I figured if I covered my other eye and looked away, I couldn’t see his tweezers and it helped. He said he got the big chunk out but that there was still some left. Then he came at me with this sharp tool and I got super nervous. Laura was kind of making jokes to try to lighten to the mood for me and I was nervous laughing.

The doctor got kind of offended and reminded me that he’s a doctor and he knows what he’s doing and if I didn’t like it, I could leave. I was like, “I know! I’m just really nervous. Eye injuries really freak me out. But I’ll let you do it.” I was already crying, so Laura was like, “Can we just have a minute to go to the bathroom so she can calm down?” and I was like, “No! That’s okay!” because clearly, this guy didn’t have patience for that and also, that wouldn’t have helped me.

So as I’m finally about to lay down, the doctor is like, “You’re in here laughing and screaming and kicking your feet! I’m a doctor and I know what I’m doing! If you don’t like it, get out!!!” I was so shocked that he totally just yelled at me, like, legitimately yelled at me, that I just left without saying anything other than maybe “I’m not staying here to deal with this.”

I cried for like, the next hour. It was totally dramatic, but I was so upset because I was so anxious about going there because of how nervous eyes make me and then to get yelled at?! It’s not like I’m a child! I was so furious.

In the end, I chalked it up to cultural differences. My guess is that Icelandic women are probably more stoic than American women and because care there is assigned, there is no competition for doctors. They don’t get paid the same and they don’t need to earn their business. So they can be complete dicks and it doesn’t matter. In the US, we’re all about patient ratings and making the patient happy. I’m sure he thought we were making real jokes about the situation and so he was offended, but still, I was totally put off by the experience.

I don’t know that I’d ever want to seek out medical care in another country after that!

By the way, when I got home, I had to drive from Atlanta to Charleston and could barely see. My eye was so swollen and goopy and painful. The next day, I went to an eye doctor here and had to wait for an hour and a half with Jackson, but the experience was much better! They were totally understanding and calm and it took 30 seconds for them to get the rest of the object out of my eye.

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When I finally got home from flying into Atlanta and driving 5 hours to Charleston. Cute photo!

Four Night Camping Adventure in Vermont

Back to mine and Gina’s trip recap!

On Saturday morning, Gina and I left Philly in the mid-morning after finishing our breakfast. It was about a six hour drive from Philly to our campsite, which we didn’t actually have booked yet. We actually had to find our campsite the morning we left on our phones (way harder than we were expecting), but we managed to find one that had availability. Our destination ended up being Half Moon Pond State Park near Lake Bomoseen.

We got to the park around 6pm, just in time to check-in. We really lucked out with our site. We didn’t get a spot on the water, but we could see it from our site and we were right next to the bathroom.

Gina and I set up the tent and built our fire for the night. We actually built some really good fires while we were camping. I was super impressed.

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The first day in Vermont, we decided to head out to Burlington since we wanted to hike the second day and go to Montreal on the third day. We stopped for breakfast in Shelburne at Rustic Roots but it didn’t really meet our expectations. It had come up on a bunch of Google searches for brunch in Burlington and we decided to stop early to avoid the Sunday church crowd, but meh. Not necessarily somewhere I’d go again.

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It was actually pretty chilly in the morning, but it was much needed after such a hot day in Philly! We mostly just walked around and explored. I bought a necklace that’s made out of the shells from bullets in the Cambodian killing grounds. I love it. Also, the guy at the store was talking to me for so long and when he walked away, I turned around and Gina was cracking up. I was so confused, but she had put her hat on top of my hat (that I was wearing) to try on necklaces, and the whole time I was talking to the guy, I was wearing two hats.

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Gina really wanted to go to a brewery in the afternoon, so we decided to go to Citizen Cider. I had a Cider House Mules (similar to a Moscow Mule) and it was so good! Gina got a flight of ciders and I really liked all of them, so I’d definitely recommend Citizen Cider!

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We decided to get back to our campsite since it was over an hour away and we still had to build our fire.

On Monday, we had planned on doing a bigger hike, but the weather wasn’t looking great. Gina really wanted to check out Woodstock, so we headed out there for breakfast at Mon Vert Café. I have no idea why, but I was expecting a bagel sandwich and instead, I got a regular sandwich. But the menu totally did not say that it was a bagel sandwich so it was my fault that I was kind of disappointed in my sandwich. It was still really good though. And my latte was delicious.

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We explored Woodstock a little bit and then headed to Sugarbush Farm. We had planned on doing a short hike in the afternoon, but I had a pretty bad headache and the weather was still a little iffy. The farm was pretty cute and it was interesting to learn all about maple syrup. Fun fact about me: I love maple syrup. I drink it in my coffee every day. We got to taste the different types of syrup and we did a little cheese tasting too. It was fun to try the cheddar that had been aged for different lengths of time.

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By the time we left, my headache was really bad. I’d been having headaches all week and I thought it was from doing something to my neck at the gym earlier that week, but Sunday was the first day that Motrin wasn’t even touching it. We decided to just go back to the campsite, where I fell asleep for a little while. I can’t remember if we did anything else that evening or not, but if we did, I didn’t take any pictures because I wasn’t feeling well and now I can’t remember. Oops!

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I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. I was nauseous from my headache and the pain was miserable. As soon as Gina woke up on Monday morning, I told her I wanted to go to the ER. I felt so ridiculous, but I didn’t want my migraine to ruin our trip and I’d had it for over 24 hours. I knew I could get some quick meds and feel better, so despite knowing that it would be an expensive fix, I still went. We went to Rutland Medical Center and their ER was great! It was pretty quick and we had a wonderful nurse and an awesome doctor.

Gina and I were hungry after leaving so we went to Speakeasy Café for bagels. The bagels were too dense for my liking, but the flavor was good (I got rosemary) and that was probably the best latte I got in Vermont. It was super good.

Since I was basically in my pajamas still, we headed back to the campsite to get ready for the day. We ended up hanging out at the campsite for a while, reading our books and napping. It was so nice to just sit and relax for the afternoon. We ended up going out to Manchester for the evening to get some dinner at Ponce Bistro. Our salads and sandwiches there were so good! It was such a nice evening to sit outside and eat too. Gina wanted some drinks, so we went to Gringo Jack’s and sat outside on the porch. The food there looked so good.

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We both woke up before our alarm clock and packed up our campsite on Monday morning. We did it surprisingly fast and even got the tent to fit back in the bag! We were so impressed with ourselves!

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Our original plan was to drive to Charlotteseville, VA, but we decided to go to Richmond instead since we didn’t want to go out of the way to make a stop for the night. We booked our AirBnB on the road again. Then of course, we had to stop in New York for bagels! We went to Lox of Bagels and Moor and holy moly, do they use a ton of cream cheese! Even too much for me and cream cheese is probably one of my favorite foods!

The drive was uneventful and we arrived to Richmond in the early evening! Stay tuned for Richmond, as I think this post is long enough!