Hi dear readers,
I’ve been silent because I’ve been sitting with some kinda writer’s block… also known as “SO pregnant and just TOO TIRED to think.” I’ve been grinding away at a more academic post on how people prioritize having a child of one gender over another, and tend to prefer to have families of at least both genders, but I’ve had to put it aside because it was just getting too tortured. Another day? Hopefully, anyway!
Instead, I’m going to take a break from talking about ultra-mommy things, and tell you about the babymoon in Iceland that Thomas and I have planned.
Most people who read this probably already know that Thomas and I consider Iceland our home away from home. We’ve been there FIFTEEN TIMES. We love to travel, but find ourselves returning there for a few reasons: 1) it’s very close to NYC (about a 4.5 hour flight), 2) the people are friendly/welcome children (B has been and it was actually pleasant), and 3) there are endless things to do: amazing restaurants, gallivanting through nature, seeking the aurora, going to the Blue Lagoon, hiking to an abandoned airplane on a black sand beach… the list is endless. We can’t justify going anywhere else because we always feel like there’s something else we should do there, and we can usually get there for a long weekend if we plan far enough in advance.
This time around, we are going just after my Baby Sprinkle (hosted by my lovely friend, Danielle) and leaving B in my parents’ capable hands.
(Sidebar: that we’re lucky enough to have my parents nearby and able to watch B is amazing, and enables our world travels… and keeps me sane.)
I’m not going to lie… every time we go anywhere without B (this’ll be our second time overseas sans baby) my heart aches. It will be so nice, though, to get some time alone with Thomas before Baby #2 makes an appearance. So… here’s the plan:
Day One: One always arrives in Iceland from NYC at around 5:55am. Nothing is open except the airport, which is okay with us. (We usually book our hotel or AirBnb to start the night before so we have it as soon as we arrive to drop our bags and relax.) Generally speaking, after we get our bags I head straight for Joe and the Juice in the airport (CAFFEINE) while Thomas grabs the car. Always rent a car in Iceland… much more fun that way!
After we are a little more awake (thanks to a double espresso and a smoothie) we head to Reykjavík proper. The drive is about 45 minutes, as you land to the south of the city in Keflavík, on a peninsula. You pass all kinds of beautiful coastline and lava fields, but we’re usually a bit too tired to take photographs.
This time around we’re staying on top of a pottery artist’s studio. The pottery artist’s daughter, a painter, owns and rents out the apartment, and the whole family (the dad is a photographer), contributes to the art in the space. We’ve been visiting the studio since we started going to Iceland, so there’s special significance to our location this time. After saying hello to our hosts, we’ll head to Reykjavík Roasters to say hello to our barista friends and get some more coffee, this time roasted in Iceland!
Okay, if that didn’t sound cool enough to you… later on Day One we are meeting up with a guy named Gunnar Freyr, aka the Icelandic Explorer, one of the most famous photographers in Iceland, to have a chat at his studio The Space, because…
Day Two: GUNNAR IS TAKING MATERNITY PHOTOS OF US. IN ICELAND. IN NATURE. Sorry for the all-caps freak out, but Gunnar is my perpetual favorite, and we’re so excited that he’s contributing to this pregnancy in such a personal and cool way. I had reached out to him for ideas for shooting portraiture in Iceland (I’m a super amateur landscape photographer myself, so no clue about this) and to connect with him to find a freelancer to work with. After a bit of discussion, he offered to do the shoot himself!
We’ll probably start just outside of Reykjavík in the lava fields at around 8am, and then make our way down the South Coast, shooting at cool secret locations, and maybe also some more well known ones. There’s a black sand beach that is pretty frequented by tourists, but given that it’s going to be mid-March, we’re hoping for some solitude. This kind of shoot is something I didn’t do with B’s pregnancy, and I thought it would be nice to have a different and still positive experience this time around. (I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety about how different the pregnancies are, and how I’m feeling emotionally so different this time around, and this is me attempting to celebrate the differences without guilt. Another post for another day.) I’m also showing a lot more (I’ve heard that’s a thing with the second) so I’m hoping the effect will be cool.
Shoot day will probably wrap between 5:30 and 6pm, and we’ll head back to Reykjavík to eat dinner at either Old Iceland or Kopar, two of our favorite restaurants.
Day Three: Totally Thomas’ choice. Chances are we’ll head out of the city to take some pictures ourselves, but this time of the landscape. There’s also a lovely rare bookstore an hour’s drive from the city that we like to frequent. The proprietor is a lovely older man who travels the world and picks up antique books he fancies: everything from 1700s psalm books from Africa to local treasures that are 500+ years old. The front of the store is a regular bookshop (they have a cafe with a killer gluten free brownie… literally can’t wait) but the back of the shop is made up of glass cabinets and stacks of old, rare books. A bunch of the stuff is museum quality (I picked up a 1600s Burnt Njál’s Saga edition once) but the owner doesn’t have the means to preserve them. We try and pick a choice few to take home when we can.
Since it’s March and it’s high season for the Aurora, we’ll definitely go seeking (probably an every night thing!!) We’ve seen it a handful of times and it never gets less magical, so we set our alarm clocks for midnight and drive out of the city lights just for that. What can I say… this wasn’t meant to be a restful trip!
Day Four: This is our last day. Our flight is in the late afternoon/early evening, so we’ll probably bum around the city, picking up souvenirs and eating a lot of good food. We’re always sad to leave because returning to Iceland feels like coming home to us. We know the roads, the people, the restaurants, and can slip in seamlessly. It’s always weird to get on an airplane to go back because it feels like we’re leaving the place in which we actually should be remaining. One day I’m sure we’ll have a little apartment or build a house in Iceland, but until then, we’re happy to stay with artist friends.
Okay, that was a lot of information for you all, and I’m sure you’re sick of me yammering about Iceland and this trip! I would love to hear of your recommendations as to how to decompress before Baby #2 (I’ll be bringing my needlepointing… I am an old lady and I know it) but we have a lot of time on our hands without B! Good car topics pre-new-baby? I wanna hear them. Aromatherapy self-care I can bring on a short trip? Send me a message! Good recommendations for a travel chess set? Help a girl out! I’m going to try and use the time we have in Iceland to really reconnect with myself, this baby, and Thomas, so all ideas are welcome.
Have a lovely night, dear readers, and speak soon!