Category Archives: getting out

okinawa.adventure:food

It’s true. We are total foodie travelers and often plan parts of our trips around meals (because why not?!) and the food in Okinawa definitely did not disappoint. Not a single bad meal (or even convenience store snack) was had during our 9-10 day stay.

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The sushi was of course amazeballs and super fresh. I stepped out of my comfort zone to try a quail egg and yam puree roll, which was pretty tasty, though I’m not sure I would go for it again (a texture thing…). We checked out a sushi-go-round where when you ordered off the menu a little race-car ran down the belt holding your order. Conclusion: so cool. We also did a pretty good job destroying a ton of plates.

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The ramen was also something straight out of the self help section. And by that I mean it was pretty life affirming and life changing. None of this ‘just add hot water’ stuff…this is the real deal. We sampled more than a few bowls at different restaurants and I’m still hard pressed to choose my favorite. The broth is always thick and full of over the top meaty flavor (& you can add miso! Heavenly!!) and additions like bean sprouts, hard boiled eggs and even more green onions are totally encouraged. I kinda want some more. Right now.

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We checked out a few local markets where you could get everything from the oink of the pig, to seaweed, to still moving shellfish. One of these markets on Kokusai Street in Naha was straight out of an Anthony Bourdain episode (…which is from real life, I know. I just want to BE him.) where you could take your freshly purchased, still moving food upstairs to one of the many little family run restaurants and have your fresh catch immediately turned into dinner or a snack.

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I also ventured to try this funky ice cream in a balloon (someone needed to do it). Banana was the flavor of the day and despite some obviously dirty references (which totally made us laugh) it was pretty yummy. I felt a bit like a jerk walking through the market with this balloon thing hanging out of my mouth, but you only live once, right? (hashtag yolo!)

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Japanese curry was also a winner despite my pretty severe dislike of anything curry related (I don’t like coconut and curry powder is icky). It’s a totally different taste and not what I expected at all. And don’t get me started on the gyoza! Even the worst of the batches we inhaled were better than what we can get around here. So yeah. Now I’m super hungry……pass the ramen please! And some gyoza. Don’t forget the gyoza…!

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okinawa.adventure:part.I

The husband and I just returned home from an amazing trip to Okinawa, Japan where we visited friends and got the best tour we could have asked for. Hotel Tonino totally gets 5 stars from us. The food was amazing, the company was great, and I don’t think I offended anyone too badly, in addition to laughing more in 9 days than I have in years.

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We checked out a cherry blossom festival which was pretty amazing. Not only did I see the largest spider I’ve ever seen outside of a pet shop (and I’m told it was only a baby…) but we were able to sample some super delish food (meat pockets are omg good) and I saw a baby goat wearing a pink dress, diaper and diamond bling necklace. I would say that all of that made my life ultimately complete, but the fun didn’t stop there.

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There was of course tons of amazing sushi at our finger tips and I am proud to say that I tried some new things….the raw quail egg with sweet potato puree was a step outside of the comfort zone for me (you know how much I love quail eggs, so it had to happen). We also checked out the funky sea grapes, ice cream from a balloon (yeah, I totally ate that in public) and sampled the famous habu sake. The sake contains dead habu snakes and venom and was actually pretty tasty despite destroying my insides for 2 days afterwards. We checked out a snake show with these snakes (alive of course) which was insane – the demonstrator slapped a cobra. Twice. Wow.

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There are of course more updates to follow as I have yet to process the photos from the actual camera….brewery tours, beach combing, glass making, ramen eating…..the fun didn’t stop!!

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icelandic.photo.dump

Upon returning home from our trip abroad I find I have a ton of things to do. I would say that might be a gross exaggeration, but it’s not too far off the mark. So what did I do today? I edited photos from our trip and uploaded them to the internet. I am continuing along the theme of “unnecessary at the moment” by posting this right now. Most of the photos from the camera are from our drive around the perimeter of the country and there are a lot (a lot) of sheep pictures….but the sheep made me really, really happy.

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I think this looks like a George and Rhonda. What do you think?

 

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I was very concerned how these rural folks got their mail as I couldn’t seem to find any mailboxes, or figure out if they would have rural delivery? A PO box? How far did they have to drive? You know I’m a mail nerd, so these things are kind of a big deal if I’m going to move into one of the amazing picturesque farms right at the base of a fabou waterfall…..This was the only rural mailbox we saw.

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You can find some more of the photos offloaded from the camera in the Flickr set here.

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knitting.iceland

Iceland is absolutely full of yarn. Even at the tiny mom and pop grocery stores and some of the gas stations. Seriously. That’s probably because there are also sheep everywhere (not necessarily in the gas stations, but almost literally right outside…). And this is good, quality, Lopi type yarn and I took every opportunity to fondle as much of it as I could while I was there. (And it was cheap!!!)

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We stopped and checked out the Handknitting Association of Iceland (quite a few times actually, as my husband was obsessed with finding the perfect sweater) and I stumbled upon my first community knitting project. I had heard about places that do such a thing but was never able to be part. A basket by the door had a scarf in the round with all sorts of different yarns and patterns and a list of the knitters from over 20 different countries listed. And yes. I had to take part.

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We did finally manage to find the husband a sweater, though he thought perhaps he needed another (but we decided his next epic sweater would come from Ireland or Scotland), and it was a double feel good purchase as it was handmade just for that shop. So awesome!

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icelandic.adventure

The husband and I just returned from a pretty amazing 9 days in Iceland. We packed as much into that time as possible and drove around the entire perimeter of the country as well as spent a few days in the capital city, Reykjavik. The drive was amazing and really drives home how immense the landscape is (even living in Alaska I was pretty blown away). We saw tons of sheep (they are everywhere! I mean, it. Everywhere!!) and I tried my hardest to name many of them…Millecent, Harold, Rupert, Miles, Dot, etc.

What people don’t tell you about Iceland is that most of the country smells like sulphur. I’m not saying it’s bad, but don’t expect your shower water to smell any better than a few eggs, and your silver just might turn colors. All of the thermal hot spots and sulphur fields which are constantly ‘oozing’ also give the air itself a nice “Iceland” smell. Food is also quite expensive and may or may not be worth the price. We did however fall head over heels for their hot dogs, which are cheap are run about 380 krona ($3 give or take). They are made from lamb and garnished with their version of ketchup and mustard as well as fresh and fried onions. We definitely bought these 2 at a time.

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Waterfalls are everywhere (if you took a picture of each you would never be able to leave – and this is just traveling highway 1 around the island) and are amazing. We took a short hike to Svartifoss and were rewarding with a fabulous waterfall heading over some naturally occurring basalt columns. Though I was being a turd (we had a hard time working the travel/blood sugar/food thing out) it was well worth it.

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One of the last stops on the Golden Circle tour (which includes a geysir and another huge multi-step waterfall) was a very cool site which most people miss: the rising edge of the North American plate. And by plate, I mean the moving tectonic plate which forms the crust of the entire globe. Wow. Mind blown. Despite a lot of wind and rain (I renamed it Windland) it was well worth it.

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I have yet to process the photos taken from the actual legit camera, but will report with a link to my flickr page soon. It was a great trip and I am so glad we went (we will definitely be back!), but for now, it’s so great to be home.

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And the view of Greenland on the way home wasn’t too bad either…

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