Blue Elephants by WRDSMTH


When you’re a kid, you color with reckless abandon. You color outside the lines. You color however you feel. Blue elephants, purple trees, red bears, green oceans — it’s all good. As you get older, though, everyone tells you to stay inside the lines, to color everything just like you see it. You end up painting by numbers — whether you actually paint or whether you write or sing or dance or act or direct. I think you should create what you feel. Create outside the lines. I want to watch green oceans and red bears. I’d love to listen to purple trees. And I long for blue elephants.
-wrdsmth

Wonderful Reykjavík, Iceland


I have traveled a lot and have had amazing experiences in my life but seeing the Northern lights was top on my list of things to see for many years, so my wife and I decided to book a trip to Iceland before Christmas in the hope of catching the magical Aurora.

img_1925

We did quite a lot of research beforehand and as there was a lot we wanted to see including the Northern lights, and we eventually decided on a 3 day Ice cave tour with Goecco, which turned out to be really really great. I will post images from that tour in a separate post.

We arrived in Reykjavik pretty late Sunday evening and as our tour was beginning really early Monday morning, we decided to check into our hotel and just go get some food and snacks for our trip the next day.

img_1938img_1927img_1937

We booked a room at the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum for 1 night as we would be out in the Golden circle for the next 3 days. The hotel was really nice and clean and in a great location downtown, price was quite reasonable too. We booked a Grayline bus to take us from Keflavik airport to our hotel and it cost us ISK3000/£21/€24/US$26 per person. We read online that the buses are much cheaper than a taxi from the airport as the ride is about 40 minutes. img_1929My first meal in Iceland!

We returned to a very snowy Reykjavik Wednesday night..img_2587img_2575img_2584img_2994Braving the snow down by the Harpa before retreating to our lovely warm apartment which we booked on Airbnb.

So we only had Thursday to explore Reykjavik and as the Blue Lagoon only had free spaces at 7 and 8pm(yes you need to book a slot), we decided to find a local pool to go and relax in the awesome natural hot outdoor pools.img_2616The one we chose was Laugardalslaug and is a very short bus trip(No.14) from downtown. There is a bus app you can download here – Strætó bs but its pretty crap and didn’t really work well for me but its all I had. We bought our bus tickets at a Tourist information centre that was right next to our apartment and a return bus ticket cost us ISK420/£3/€3.50/US$3.70 per person.img_2617img_2618img_2620You can rent a towel at reception and you have to shower naked before entering the pool area. There are various hot pools outside and it was so relaxing lying in a hot pool during a blizzard! From the above photos it looks like the few hours of daylight we got(about 4 hours a day in Winter) were nice and clear, but the weather is very changeable. The Icelandic have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes!”

So we got our bus back Downtown and went for lunch in a really nice restaurant called Laekjarbrekka, which is in a building that has been there since 1834!img_2626I ordered the Salted Cod with Broccoli, Cauliflower, Barley and Salsa and as you can imagine, the fish in Iceland is delicious! After lunch, I was eager to find a coffeeshop I had found through instagram called Reykjavik Coffee Roasters and the coffee did not disappoint! img_2674I have no pictures of the inside as it was quite busy at the time, but if you’re into your coffee and your in Reykjavik, it’s a must!

Reykjavik is pretty famous for it’s street art which I love, so here are some shots of that and the local area while we rambled around the streets..img_2624img_2649img_2628img_2642img_2655img_2632img_2639img_2629img_2675img_2640img_2623img_2621DCIM101GOPROGOPR4120.Sólfar – Sun Voyagerimg_2665Hallgrímskirkja churchimg_2641img_2673Our final dinner in Iceland was at KOL Kitchen and Bar, 30 seconds walk from Hallgrímskirkja church, where we both ordered Charcoal oven cooked Lamb with Barley, 12 month old Tinder cheese, fennel and carrots, amazing!

Well as I said, I will post our Golden Circle trip pictures and information in some separate posts, but if you have any questions regarding a trip to Iceland, feel free to comment or find my email here.img_2643Just before bed on our last night we booked our Grayline bus back to the airport and they picked us up from the front door of our Apartment. On the booking page there is a drop down menu with a list of pickup locations around the city, most of the hotels and well known apartment buildings are on there, and if not, Reykjavik is so small that you can’t be far from any one of the listed locations. So if you’re thinking of a trip to Iceland, just do it! It’s super expensive but it’s totally worth it! It’s safe, it’s beautiful and the people are great!

Big thanks to my wife for being the perfect travel companion again and again!

-Gary

 

 

 

2013 – my year in pics


So as the sun sets on 2013, here are some of my favourite photos of my adventures throughout the year…

20131231-062952 p.m..jpg

20131231-063017 p.m..jpg

A year of ups and downs and big decisions..

20131231-063245 p.m..jpg
Tokyo Auto Salon

20131231-063334 p.m..jpg

20131231-063346 p.m..jpg

20131231-063406 p.m..jpg

20131231-063427 p.m..jpg
Holiday in Cebu, Philippines

20131231-063535 p.m..jpg
Street art – Shibuya, Tokyo

20131231-063623 p.m..jpg
Work – RAUH Welt Begriff, Chiba, Japan

20131231-063736 p.m..jpg
RWB New Year Party – Roppongi, Japan with Jeab, Nakai-San and Shusaku-San

20131231-063903 p.m..jpg
Tokyo SkyTree

20131231-063948 p.m..jpg

20131231-064045 p.m..jpg

20131231-064111 p.m..jpg
Snowboarding – Inawashiro resort, Fukushima, Japan

20131231-064157 p.m..jpg
RWB New Year meet – Hard Rock Cafe, Roppongi, Tokyo

20131231-064310 p.m..jpg

20131231-064323 p.m..jpg
Asakusa at night

20131231-064417 p.m..jpg

20131231-064435 p.m..jpg
My first two Porsches that I cut up and built at RWB

20131231-064821 p.m..jpg
Took part in the Tokyo St. Patrick’s day parade with our football team

20131231-064915 p.m..jpg
My favourite time of year – Megurogawa, Tokyo

20131231-065035 p.m..jpg
Watching the world go by – Harajuku, Tokyo

20131231-065200 p.m..jpg
Tokyo station after the restoration

20131231-065233 p.m..jpg
Spent my last day living in Japan driving around Chiba in an RWB 993 with some great friends

20131231-065420 p.m..jpg
Ha’penny bridge, Dublin

20131231-065511 p.m..jpg
Croke park, Dublin

20131231-065610 p.m..jpg

20131231-065643 p.m..jpg

20131231-065656 p.m..jpg

20131231-065709 p.m..jpg

20131231-065722 p.m..jpg

20131231-065732 p.m..jpg
Had a fantastic time in San Francisco, such a beautiful city! Was great catching up with old friends and even got to ride around the city in a Hakosuka!

20131231-072340 p.m..jpg
50 years of the 911 – Mondello Park, Co.Kildare

20131231-072442 p.m..jpg

20131231-072455 p.m..jpg
Ireland v Faroe Islands – Aviva stadium, Dublin

20131231-072625 p.m..jpg

20131231-072632 p.m..jpg
IDC round 1 – Mondello Park, Co.Kildare

20131231-072732 p.m..jpg

20131231-072756 p.m..jpg

20131231-072820 p.m..jpg

20131231-072827 p.m..jpg

20131231-072855 p.m..jpg
Went to Gatebil Rudskogen in July, what an experience! Got to hang out with my good friend Torby and got to see his awesome garage where he’s currently restoring his stunning Datsun 240Z!

20131231-073318 p.m..jpg
Back to Japan in July to race at idlers 12hour endurance race for RWB

20131231-073422 p.m..jpg

20131231-073434 p.m..jpg

20131231-073448 p.m..jpg

20131231-073506 p.m..jpg

20131231-073520 p.m..jpg

20131231-073536 p.m..jpg
My third endurance race working with RWB and the best yet, LOVED driving the lovers rough/RWB Ireland 993, such an awesome car!

20131231-073703 p.m..jpg
My good friend Danny at FC Autosource loaned me this beautiful AE86 while I had a couple days off after the race and which I subsequently got arrested in 🙂

20131231-073838 p.m..jpg
Got to see the Coronas at the FM104 the gig at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, what a band!

20131231-074055 p.m..jpg

20131231-074103 p.m..jpg
Headed to Barcelona for a few days back in August

20131231-074339 p.m..jpg

20131231-074345 p.m..jpg
My friend Jonathan and I raised almost €1500 for our skydive in aid of the Irish Haemophilia society back in November, absolutely amazing experience and all for a great cause!

Well that’s been pretty much it for 2013, I’m sure I missed some stuff but that’s all I can think of right now, been a great year…

20131231-074639 p.m..jpg

Thank you!

– Gary Patrick Mannion