The Daydream Series: New Zealand – Kia Ora!

NewZealand

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

A visit to New Zealand is on top of many bucket lists. Jam-packed with extreme natural beauty, jolly kiwis, and fantastic food and drink, New Zealand impresses at every turn!

Cool cities, vineyards, mountains, rainforest, beautiful beaches, glaciers, and valleys. You can spend weeks and never get bored! #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

New Zealand’s cuisine could be described as Pacific Rim, with influences from Asia, Polynesia, as well as Europe. The abundance of fresh food, as well as the mix of traditional Maori culture with European influences makes for hugely diversified food experience. With the laid-back Kiwi attitude, dining experiences generally have a more casual feel. Picture fresh farm to table food combined with fantastic local wines in a relaxed atmosphere.

Take a little bit of that:

and add a little bit of this:

And you’ll have an better idea of what to expect.

Anxious to try a recipe at home? How about Kiwi Pavlova?

Recipe and video courtesy of Carina. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1½ Cups | 250g Castor Sugar or Super Fine Sugar
  • 2 tsp Corn Flour | Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • Whipped Cream and Fruit to serve

Instructions:

  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
  • Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is on high speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Beat the meringue for a further 5-7 minutes on high speed.
  • Add the cornflour and vinegar and mix for 30 seconds or so until incorporated.
  • Turn the pavlova out on a lined baking sheet and shape it into a 9inch or 23cm disc. Bake in a 130C|260F oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. When the pavlova has finished baking, cool it in the oven without opening the door for 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Serve the pavlova topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Watch the video for hands-on instructions:


Copy of taste!

Lorde is likely one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular exports, but there are a lot of different bands and artists, as versatile as the country’s landscape. Check out our playlist and listen to some well-established artists, as well as some new and emerging ones.

Capture


experience!

Whether you want to delve into New Zealand history, escape to a dream world, or drool over beautiful landscapes, here is a selection of six movies to get you started.

  • Whale Rider: Watch 12-year-old Pai, fight against ancient Maori traditions, which prevent females from being clan chiefs.
  • The Piano: Scottish Ada and her daughter are sold into marriage and left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a desolate New Zealand beach. This is a deep and amazing movie, no light feat but utterly rewarding.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: The story of two bullied adolescents that create an imaginary world, Terabithia, which they rule as king and queen.
  • The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey: Bilbo and his hobbit friends are on a quest to reclaim Erebor. Most of the movie is filmed in the hobbit village, which you can visit one hour outside of Auckland.
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A boy and his foster father become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness. This is a fun movie!
  • The Insatiable Moon: This 2010 New Zealand drama tells the story of Arthur, a Maori man who sees himself as the second son of a god. He sets off on a mission to find the Queen of Heaven.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, check New Zealand’s lovely plea.

This video by Pure New Zealand does a fantastic job capturing New Zealand’s people, their spirit, and the country’s beauty.



Read!

If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

A Good Keen Man by Barry Crump
Set against the rugged beauty of the New Zealand backcountry, this is the tale of a young man’s introduction to the art of deer culling and follows the exploits of a good keen man as he learns the skills necessary to become a good bushman. For more…

Pounanu Pounanu by Witi Ihimaera

A collection of original stories that showed how crucial Maori identity is for all New Zealanders. For more…

The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King
New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth.

The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its color and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonizing New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a ‘fatal impact’, coped heroically with colonization and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer. For more… 

A Kiwi Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New Zealand Kids by Tania Mccartney
A multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies our amazing country. They’ll take you through a year in the life of New Zealand’s kids, from celebrations, traditions, and events, to our everyday way of life and the little things that make childhood so memorable. For more…

Do They Speak English Down There? by Susan Tunney
Read how one family transformed fantasy into reality when they traded in their San Diego lifestyle to move to rural New Zealand along with the challenges it presented, adapting to a new culture. From duct tape to #8 wire, its been one helluva journey. For more…

Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale
Ten years after returning from the New Zealand outback, Jon receives a mysterious manuscript in the post. Narrated by Jon’s former home, the lone caravan, Squashed Possums, reveals what it’s like to live in the wild through four seasons, including New Zealand’s coldest winter in decades. For more…



HappyHour!

Since New Zealand is home to many excellent vineyards, how about a wine tasting?

75 % of all grapes harvested are picked on the South Island in the Marlborough region. Hawke’s Bay is located on the North Island, South of Auckland, and makes up for 12 % of the harvest.

The majority of the wines are white, so why not compare a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, with one from Hawke’s Bay?

 


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Daydream Series: Ireland – The Emerald Isle!

Ireland (1)

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

Ireland is likely one of the most loved and cherished European countries, particularly by Americans. This post celebrates a nation with plenty of history, heart, culture, and passion!  #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

Irish food needs no introduction! Meat, potato, milk, and dairy have shaped Ireland’s food culture since the middle ages. Surrounded by the sea with many rivers and lakes, seafood naturally plays an important role as well. Today, Ireland has a thriving food scene, which combines the traditional with a more modern approach.

Galway hosts the Irish food festival each year, celebrating the areas rich culinary landscape and is also home to some incredible food tour operators. I particularly enjoy working with Padraic when creating itineraries around Galway. He takes clients to the Aran Islands, or all across Connemara for food as well as pub tours.

Another fantastic area for foodies is the Coastal Causeway in Northern Ireland. At AAV Travel,  we love it when females take action and happily send our clients to explore the region with Portia, the founder of Toast to Coast food tours.

There are, of course, many reasons to visit Ireland, but you wish, you can make your visit all about food and drink.

Are you ready to try a winter recipe at home?

Irish Leek & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 large leeks trimmed, sliced, thoroughly rinsed, and dried
  • 3 spuds diced (russet potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 liters of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Easy to follow instructions, courtesy of the Happy Pear and Melanie Murphy.


Copy of taste!

Irish music is as varied as Ireland’s weather. From rock to traditional folk music, there is something for everyone. Our playlist highlights many of the country’s favorites, but there are more, so many more.

Capture


experience!

Whether you want to delve into Ireland’s history, enjoy some Irish music, or drool over the gorgeous landscapes, there are many movies to pick from. Here is a selection of six to get you started.

  • Michael Collins: The story of Michael Collins and the Irish Republican Army fighting for Ireland’s independence from the British.
  • The Quiet Man: Irish-American boxer John Wayne, accidentally kills a man in the ring and returns to the Irish village where he was born. Hoping for a tranquil life, Wayne purchases a home that is also coveted by pugnacious squire Victor McLaglen. This 1952 movie is set in the village of Cong in the west of Ireland.
  • Angela’s Ashes: Angela’s Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all the odds to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick.
  • P.S. I love you: Although sad at times, it is a romantic comedy. A grieving widow follows a series of tasks to be revealed in ten monthly messages left by her husband and designed to help her overcome her sorrow while gradually making the transition into a new life.
  • The Commitments: Jimmy Rabbitte, a self-proclaimed promoter, decides to organize an R&B group to fill the musical void in his hometown of Dublin. The band comes together but consists entirely of white musicians who have little experience with R&B.
  • The Secret of Roan Inish: Ten-year-old Fiona is sent to Donegal to live with her grandparents. On the nearby island of Roan Inish, she spies a wild child. Fiona believes that the child is her long-lost brother, who mysteriously disappeared when his cradle floated out on the tide.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, check out this clip about the rugged West Coast.

If you are interested in Dublin, check out N.Y. Times’ 36 Hours in Dublin clip!

Although Ireland appears small in size, it is one of the most varied countries. This clip takes you across the island to explore some of the most stunning landscapes.

 



Read!

If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
TV comedian Tony Hawks tries to win a bet by hitchhiking around the circumference of Ireland in one calendar month, with a fridge. This is the story of Tony’s adventures—the people he meets, the difficulties, the triumphs, and that fridge. For more…

The Pope’s Children by David McWilliams

This is the special generation, the Irish baby boom of the 1970s that peaked nine months to the day after the Pope’s visit. There are 620,000 of them, squeezed into the middle and lifted up by the Expectocracy. Ireland is blurring. Out of this haze has come the Full-on Nation, the most hedonistic generation ever.

David McWilliams’ brilliant research and analysis of Ireland is a celebration of success. In an easy-to-read style, he takes us to Deckland, that suburban state of mind where you will find the Kells Angels, Breakfast Roll Man, Low GI Jane, and RoboPaddy. Come face to face with the You’re a Star generation, Billy Bunker, fair-trade Frank, Carrot Juice Contrarians, and Bouncy Castle Brendan. We also meet the HiCos, Hibernian Cosmopolitans, the new elite whose distance from Deckland is measured by appreciations and cultivations that Deckland’s rampant credit just can’t buy.

Entertaining and informative, The Pope’s Children told of the vast surge of ambition, money, optimism, and hope in Ireland during the boom. For more…

The Treasury of Irish Folklore by Padraic Colum
Everything from Irish myths, superstitions, and even songs of Ireland, are included. From blessings to spells, this book is chocked full of info, ready for you to crack the cover. For more…

Poems by Seamus Heaney
This critically-acclaimed body of work brings together roughly 100 poems culled by Seamus Heaney from nine of his collections. For more…

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more. For more…



HappyHour!

If you watched the 36 Hours in Dublin clip above, you know that the Guinness Brewery’ is one of Ireland’s most visited attractions.

If you have never tasted one before, this might be the moment to try one. Or, if you want to check out one of Ireland’s most popular shots, try a Baby Guinness.

Ingredients:

  • Coffee Liquor
  • Irish Cream


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Daydream Series: Hawai’i – Aloha!

Hawaii

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

Aloha melts love, compassion, kindness, and grace into one welcome!  This post is dedicated to the island nation with the most isolated population center in the world, its people, and their Aloha spirit.  #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

Given Hawai’i’s long history and influences its food traditions and cuisines are plentiful. Thanks to the abundance of seafood as well as fertile soil, the island nation provides plenty of fresh food options. From fine dining to typical Hawai’ian eateries, there is something for everyone.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a local, no-frills, homestyle eaterie, located in Honolulu. Check out Elaine Katuyoshi, talking about Hawai’ian food traditions and how they are to be enjoyed.

An authentic and easy dish to make at home is HAUPIA. The Hawai’ian coconut pudding is a popular dessert staple at Luau’s and can easily be made at home!

Ingredients:

  • One can of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of  sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch

For instructions, check out TabiEats’ video!


Copy of taste!

The idea of Hawaiian music immediately conjures the sounds of paradise. Beautiful, dreamy music that sways you, just like a palm tree in the wind or gently lapping waves. Listening to it instantly transports you to a different world.

Have a listen to our playlist, or check out the Kapa Radio’s live stream for an even more authentic experience.

hawaii playlist aavexperience



experience!

Hawai’i’s incredible landscape makes the perfect backdrop for many movies as well as tv series. Ka’a’awa Valley on O’ahu is the set for over 50 movies, from Jurassic Park to Godzilla, and the series Lost.

If you are up for some aloha spirit, we suggest checking out these movies and shows. They all feature beautiful landscapes and conjure a feel for the islands.

  • The Descendants: The sometimes humorous and sometimes tragic journey for Matt King, an indifferent husband, and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The movie is set in O’ahu as well as Kaua’i.
  • Soul Surfer:  Bethany Hamilton’s story as a surfer and her recovery after a horrific shark attack. The North Shores of both O’ahu and Kaua’i, famous for their big wave surfing, make for spectacular backdrops.
  • Aloha: Dubbed a romantic film comedy, this movie has a very attractive cast and much less drama than one might expect. Although seemingly light, it goes much deeper. Set on O’ahu, it features gorgeous scenery and captures the island’s spirit.
  • Blue Hawaii: This classic musical comedy features Elvis, charming his way through the beautiful islands of Hawai’i. The main filming location is O’ahu, but you’ll also see a few shots from Kaua’i.
  • Hawai’i Five-O: Whether you enjoy the original series or the newer version, Hawai’i Five-O will take you on a whirlwind of spectacular island locations.
  • Magnum PI: Experience 80ies O’ahu with this classic detective series.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, start with National Geographic’s top ten highlights.

Many of our clients wish to skip O’ahu or spend just a day to visit Pearl Harbor. This NY Times – “36 Hours in Honolulu” clip will give you a lovely feel for Honolulu, but also for some other things to do on the island (there are many more). Plus, it features one of my favorite hotels.

One of our older posts highlights the different features each island has and allows you to choose the right island according to your interests.



Read!

If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith
Ku and Hina-man and woman-were the great ancestral gods of heaven and earth for the ancientHawaiians. They were life’s fruitfulness and all the generations of mankind, both those who are to come and those already born.

The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes taking residence in a stone or wooden idol. As years passed, the families of gods grew and included the trickster Maui, who snared the sun, and fiery Pele of the volcano. For more…

Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo
Born in 1795 and raised among chiefs, priests, artisans, and scholars in the court of Kamehameha I, David Malo provides an important and authentic source on the ancient beliefs and practices of Hawaiians. Malo was among the first Hawaiians to study reading and writing with the missionaries. For more…

Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. For more…

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family’s 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world. For more…

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
Beginning with the fateful meeting of a nineteenth-century Yankee sailor and the runaway daughter of a Tahitian chief, and sweeping over a century and a half of passionate, turbulent Hawaiian history, Shark Dialogues takes its place as the first novel to do justice to the rich heritage and cruel conflicts of the beautiful and beleaguered islands and their people. At its center are Pono, the magnificent pure-blooded matriarch and seer, and her four mixed-blood granddaughters seeking to come to terms with the contradictions of their ancestries and the hungers of their hearts. For more…



HappyHour!

The Mai Tai is Hawai’i’s most famous Tiki drink. It’s the islands’ version of a rum punch and each year, Hawai’i Magazin’s Reader’s Choice Best of the Best, awards five bars for being the best places to sip a Mai Tai.

Duke’s Waikiki is one of those bars, and Matthew shares his recipe and explains, how to make the fruity drink.

Ingredients:

  • 0.4 oz Orgeat Syrup
  • 0.5 oz Orange Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Gold Rum
  • 3 oz freshly squeezed POGG juice (pineapple, passion, orange, and guava)
  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • Garnish with a pineapple and parasol


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Daydream Series: Iceland – þetta reddast!

Iceland

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

Iceland is truly unique! Home to 130 volcanos, about 30 of which are still active, this post is dedicated to the coolest nation of them all! #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

Icelandic food is, well, let’s say interesting. Once you’ve visited, it is easier to understand. Iceland has a very drastic climate including the lack of sunlight at times. Not much grows naturally, and fishing and hunting options are limited. Plus, its location under the Arctic Circle didn’t make it any easier to import goods and food, in the past. However, the country has evolved and its use of geothermal energy today, allows Iceland to grow fresh produce. Nowadays, you can find quite an array of food, ranging from more traditional Icelandic dishes to international cuisine. However, fish is an intricate piece of the country’s food culture.

If you would like to try a traditional Icelandic dish at home, we suggest trying out Iceland Food Center’s PLOKKFISKUR.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr pollock, haddock, cod or any other white fish
  • 500gr potatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion (or 2 small, or 3 even smaller)
  • 50gr butter
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 300ml milk (or more if you prefer it thinner)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp white pepper.

For a dairy-free version substitute butter with olive oil and milk with oat milk (or other non-dairy alternatives).

Description:

  • Boil and peel potatoes.
  • Poach your white fish according to instructions.
  • Put aside.
  • Sautée onions in butter at medium heat until translucent.
  • Add flour to the butter and onions and whisk until it becomes a paste.
  • Whisk in milk – a ladle at a time until it’s a thick sauce.
  • Congratulations you made bechamel!
  • Break up the potatoes and fish and add it to the mixture.
  • If you’ve used up all the bechamel and you feel it’s still too thick you can add milk or the poaching water to thin it out.
  • Season to taste!

Copy of taste!

Iceland’s sound is unique. You can feel its landscape, atmosphere, and moods, in many songs. It is not always easy listening, but you will be hard-pressed finding another country that produces music with so much authenticity and personality.  What strikes me the most, is how different it sounds, once you had an opportunity to visit. It’s almost like all of a sudden, you understand where it is coming from and why it is represented like that.

Click the picture for our sample playlist on Spotify. 

iceland



experience!

Iceland’s film industry developed slowly in comparison to other Nordic countries until the establishment of the Icelandic Film Fund (IFF) in 1978. The fund helped the local film industry grow and these days, we have quite a selection of movies that share the country’s unique humor, landscapes, atmosphere, as well as way of life.

  • Rams: An Icelandic farmer (Theodór Júlíusson) and his estranged brother (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) band together to save their flocks of sheep from authorities who want the animals destroyed.
  • Of Horses and Men: Set amidst the majestic splendor of the Icelandic countryside, Icelandic writer-director Benedikt Erlingsson interweaves a series of tales about horse-owners and their steeds.
  • 101 Reykjavik: The story of unemployed and unmotivated Hlynur (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) and Lola (Victoria Abril), a flamenco teacher.
  • Children of Nature: A retired farmer, Thorgeir (Gisli Halldorsson) moves to Reykjavik, and winds up in a retirement home, where he reconnects with Stella (Sigridur Hagalin), an old friend from his childhood.
  • Cold Fever: A Japanese man (Masatoshi Nagase) finds misadventure and eccentric characters while in Iceland to perform a memorial service for his parents.
  • Screaming Masterpiece: Screaming Masterpiece is a 2005 documentary film about the music scene in Iceland.

If you’d like to get an idea of what to expect, have a look at Lonely Planet’s presentation.

And for additional impressions, a video created by Iceland Travel, one of our onsite partners.

Here are also a couple of clips from my winter trip to Iceland.

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Winter is coming! Iceland 🇮🇸 might not be the escape that comes to mind, but it for sure is worth a visit. Amazing light, drastic landscapes with frozen formations, and of course, the best season to see the Northern Lights. It’s also an awesome time for adventure experiences like the one I had the chance to join last January. The Super Jeep Tour with @activityiceland venturing into the unspoiled Thorsmork valley during these icy ❄️ conditions. You are almost guaranteed to get stuck somewhere, so for safety reasons, there are always at least two vehicles. Quite a thrill! #iceland #icelandtravel #valleyofthor #thorsmork #aavexperience #aavtravel #winteriscoming #gameofthrones #thewall #luxurytravel #adventuretravel #bucketlist #offthebeatenpath

A post shared by Stefanie Pichonnat (@aavtravel) on



Read!

If you are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent reads for you!

The Sagas of Icelanders by several authors: In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is also known as the Saga Age. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled in Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west to Greenland and, ultimately, North America. For more…

The Little Book of Icelanders in the Old Days by Alda Sigmundsdottir: Iceland in centuries past was a formidable place to live. Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of the inhabitable world, the nation was both isolated and abjectly poor. Centuries of colonization translated into oppression and subjugation from the colonial overlords, and a hostile climate and repeated natural disasters meant that mere survival was a challenge to even the hardiest of souls. In these 50 miniature essays, Alda Sigmundsdottir writes about the Icelanders in centuries past in a light and humorous way, yet never without admiration and respect for the resilience and strength, they showed in coping with conditions of adversity that are barely imaginable today. For more…

Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss: Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine. Read more… 

The Fish can Sing by Halldor Laxness: Alfgrim was an abandoned child whose mother gave birth to him in the turf cottage of Bjorn of Brekkukot, the fisherman, on the outskirts of Reykjavik. This is the tale of Alfgrim’s boyhood and youth in the home of his grandparents in the early years of the twentieth century. It is a hospitable place, where dignified understatement is the norm and everything from a lumpfish to a Bible has a fixed price that never changes. For more…


HappyHour!

Brennivín (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈprɛnːɪvin]) is a clear, unsweetened schnapps that is considered to be Iceland’s signature distilled beverage. It might be hard to find in the US, but you can always ask your local liquor store to see if they have an option to order it for you.

ARCTIC SOLSTICE – Created in 2014 by Villi K. of B5 Lounge in Reykjavik

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Brennivín
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • 1 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice

Method: Shake with ice and then strain it. Use a Collins glass and top with soda water to fill the glass. Add a mint sprig and a slice of grapefruit to garnish.

Skál! Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com