AK Monthly Recap: August 2022

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August was a HUGE month. This month I turned 38, had a lot of fun times in Prague, and then went to Iceland for 13 days with my friend Amanda of A Dangerous Business.

But those 13 days — did we EVER make them count. In blogger style, we moved fast, did SO much, and photographed it all — 20+ waterfalls, eight hot springs and swimming pools, two Hobbit House-type stays, plus whale watching, horseback riding, a wild RIB boat journey, and one epic volcano hike.

Yep, this trip would run most people into the ground (and at one point we joked how much our partners would have hated the pace of the trip). But we got material for SO many blog posts. I can’t wait to start writing.

Add in some good times in Prague and it made for one truly excellent month!

Kate takes a smiling selfie in sunglasses and a red pullover. Behind her is a smoking volcano with a crater full of bubbling red lava. You can see a bunch of people sitting on a hill watching the volcano spew.
Witnessing Fagradalsfjall Volcano up close was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Destinations Visited

Prague, Czech Republic

Kopavagur, Grindavik, Mosfellsbaer, Grundarfjordur, Olafsvik, Snaefellsjokull National Park, Arnastapi, Helena, Budir, Bjarnarhofn, Stykkisholmur, Reykholt, Bifrost, Vididalstunga, Vatsnes, Undirfell, Blonduos, Varmahlid, Vindheimamdar, Saudarkrokur, Hofsos, Siglufjordur, Akureyri, Husavik, Fosholl, Myvatn, Reykjalid, Dettifoss, Vidhidalur, Egilsstadir, Seydisfjordur, Stodvarfjordur, Berufjordur, Djupivogur, Stokksnesvegur, Hofn, Jokulsarlon, Oraefi, Nordausturvegur, Skaftafell, Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Vik, Heimaey, Skogar, Storidalur, Selfoss, and Klausterholar, Iceland

An in-car selfie of Kate and Amanda in the front seats, and a girl in the backseat. All three are wearing brightly colored raincoats and grinning.
Amanda and I had a great trip to Iceland — and even picked up our first hitchhiker!

Highlights

Turning 38 with friends in Prague. We celebrated with a backyard barbecue and finished the evening eating my friend’s fabulous tiramisu straight out of the pan, in pitch darkness, after midnight.

Finding our wedding venues! After checking out a lot of places and feeling less than enthused, finally Charlie and I found two great spots for the ceremony and reception of our May wedding!

SO MUCH IN ICELAND. Iceland was such a fantastic trip, and we did way too much to summarize here. So I’ll list a few of the top highlights.

Hiking to Fagradalsfjall Volcano was an all-time adventure. This volcano began erupting on August 3, and we decided to hike it on our first full day in Iceland, August 13. We joined the masses hiking a newly created path before hopping though lava fields. The hike was about two hours each way, longer and more uphill on the way there.

And then the volcano. NOTHING prepares you for seeing wild lava like this up close. Not even Stromboli. We were laughing with delight! We then sat down to enjoy a protein bar picnic and watch the lava for about an hour before heading back.

The volcano has since stopped spewing, but keep paying attention — the Reykjanes peninsula could very likely have similar eruptions in the future. If another one erupts and it’s safe to visit, GO. You will not regret it.

Múlagljúfur Canyon became my favorite place in Iceland. This stunning canyon is a bit offbeat and hard to reach, but SO worth the effort. Imagine a craggy canyon filled with mist and covered with moss, skinny waterfalls bursting out of the rock. I can’t do it justice, but trust me, this place is magical.

A craggy stone canyon covered with tons of green moss. A river runs through it and there are three skinny waterfalls. Clouds hang in the air.
Even this photo of Múlagljúfur Canyon can’t hold a candle to the real thing.

Visiting SO many hot springs in Iceland to find the best. There are so many great ones. Overall, my personal favorite was the Vök Baths in Egilsstadir, East Iceland, with gorgeous geometric baths perched on a lake you can actually jump into mid-spa.

Beyond that, Hvammsvik, a brand new natural spa built on the edge of a gorgeous fjord 45 minutes outside Iceland was my second-place spot, with GeoSea in Husavík and the Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik rounding out my top 4.

The Westman Islands were a delight. We added this archipelago off the South Coast a bit on a whim, and were treated to an absolutely stunning place filled with volcanic scenery, unforgettable history, puffins, black sand beaches, surprisingly good restaurants, and a swimming pool with a trampoline waterslide (seriously).

The Snaefellsness Peninsula was another delight. This peninsula in West Iceland is known as “Iceland in miniature” because it has everything — volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers, etc. — and it’s all close together. In retrospect I was shocked how few visitors there were compared to other parts of Iceland.

Húsavík was hilarious in all the right ways. Yes, the town from the Eurovision movie is a real place! Here we went whale watching and horseback riding (success on both counts!) and visited a bar named, you guessed it, Jaja Ding Dong, which also holds a Eurovision museum with props from the movie!

The Eastfjords are spectacular. Easily the best driving was along the stunning Eastfjords, plus the town of Seydisfjordur was so lovely!

A square with a garden in Prague. You can see warm-colored residential apartments and behind them, the futuristic silver blocky TV tower.
The photo I took right after falling on my face in Prague.

Challenges

I took a really hard fall in Prague. While walking in Žižkov, my feet caught on a circular piece of packing ribbon and I topped forward on the cement, landing right below my left knee. It hurt for weeks.

I actually LEFT MY PURSE BEHIND at a restaurant. Cannot remember the last time I did that! And of course I noticed after being on the tram for five minutes…it was fine, though!

A nail polish disaster. I got my nails done in London in July, but when I went to get them redone in Prague the day before Iceland, the technicians told me they could not remove the polish — the London manicure hadn’t been done properly and they couldn’t remove it safely.

I freaked out — would I be stuck with awful half-grown-out blue glitter nails for Very Important Events coming up?

Well, a few days ago I was back in the same London neighborhood, so I went back to the salon and told them to remove it, which they did with ease. Phew. Last time I go there.

Getting an ear infection, like a child. I’ve been swimming a few times this month, and I guess that translates into getting ear infections again. Got to experience Czech urgent care, which is basically going to the hospital, but the non-emergency area (it’s free, but very tough if you don’t speak Czech).

Kate wears a bright yellow raincoat and gestures behind her, but all you can see is fog.
I swear the waterfall is right behind me.

Getting fogged out at Dettifoss. Amanda and I were so excited to see Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, as well as two more nearby waterfalls, Selfoss and Hafragillsfoss. We even decided to take a gravel road to the more remote eastern side of the falls.

We drove 45 minutes along that gravel road…and it was so foggy we couldn’t see A THING. We walked around a bit, but there was no point. Oh well.

Rain, rain, rain, and mud at Studlagil Canyon. Studlagil Canyon in East Iceland is a recently discovered and very unusual destination — a canyon of basalt columns, filled with bright teal water. It was about an hour’s hike each way (there is also a platform you can drive to on the west side if you want to see it but not hike it).

Unfortunately it began raining hard about halfway through, and I had worn rain gear but not my rain boots. Once we got to the canyon, it was SOLID MUD. I soaked in mud up to the tops of my shoes, getting my feet wet. Amanda made it down to the canyon’s edge; I couldn’t make it through the mud. And it was still POURING.

We hiked back in miffed silence, then the rain stopped about halfway through once again. (Oh, did I mention we both REALLY had to pee this whole time? That added to the fun!)

Studlagil Canyon was REALLY cool and we’re so glad that we went — but it wasn’t very fun in the moment!

A scary moment in Tröllaskagi. Iceland is full of one-way tunnels and bridges. When we were on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, a gorgeous but at-times treacherous drive, we entered a one-way tunnel where our side had the right of way.

Wouldn’t you know that THREE cars were simultaneously coming through the other way and wouldn’t pull over into the pull-outs! (We had no pull-outs because WE had the right of way!) Amanda was driving, and we decided to back up through the whole tunnel, which she did amazingly. I’m still mad at those people, though.

Several people sitting in a hot thermal spring overlooking the ocean and snow-covered mountains in the distance.
Of all Iceland’s hot springs, GeoSea in Húsavík has one of the best views!

Blog Posts of the Month

Turning 38 and Two Exciting New Developments — My annual birthday post, all about our engagement and my new foray into New Hampshire Way!

The 16 Towns of Cape Cod — Which One is Best for You? — The Cape is much bigger than you think, and every town has its own personality. Here’s how to find the right one for you.

21 Best Museums in Boston (for every kind of mood!) — A guide to the best museums in my home city.

Kate standing in a cave with a waterfall falling through it, wearing a yellow raincoat and holding her arms up in joy.
Gljúfrabúi Waterfall was amazing — and you WILL get wet!

This Month on Patreon

On the Adventurous Kate Patreon, I publish exclusive content and never-told stories that you can access for $6 per month. We also have a private Facebook group and members get free access to the Book Club each month.

This month’s big monthly post is about figuring out where to go on our honeymoon! Charlie and I want to go in December 2023 (December is a slow work month for us both) and visit a new country with fabulous scenery, splurging out on nice accommodation.

I narrowed down some of the places we’re considering, and the pros and cons — and everybody joined in with more awesome ideas!

For September on Patreon, I’m planning out more content around the Iceland trip — like the absolute best places we visited and tips for visiting them.

Lewis and Murray, two gray tabby cats with white bellies and white paws, standing on top of the TV and looking at the ceiling.
When I say my cats are on TV, my cats are ON TV!

Book Club This Month

Our next Book Club will be on Sunday, October 2, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time! We will be reading Of Women and Salt, a novel by Cuban- and Mexican-American author Gabriela Garcia.

“Five generations of women, linked by blood and circumstance, by the secrets they share, and by a single book passed down through a family, with an affirmation scrawled in its margins: We are force. We are more than we think we are.

1866, Cuba: Maria Isabel is the only woman employed at a cigar factory, where each day the workers find strength in daily readings of Victor Hugo. But these are dangerous political times, and as Maria begins to see marriage and motherhood as her only options, the sounds of war are approaching.

1959, Cuba: Dolores watches her husband make for the mountains in answer to Fidel Castro’s call to arms. What Dolores knows, though, is that to survive, she must win her own war, and commit an act of violence that threatens to destroy her daughter Carmen’s world.

2016, Miami: Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, is shocked when her daughter Jeanette announces her plans to travel to Cuba to see her grandmother Dolores. In the walls of her crumbling home lies a secret, one that will link Jeanette to her past, and to this fearless line of women.

From nineteenth-century cigar factories to present-day detention centres, from Cuba to the United States to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt follows Latina women of fierce pride, bound by the stories passed between them. It is a haunting meditation on the choices of mothers and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their truth despite those who wish to silence them.”

You can sign up here. Patreon members get access in the private Patreon group.

A big restaurant in a shingled house with a big porch, a Pride flag, and people sitting outside and enjoying beers.
One of my favorite New Hampshire breweries, Rek-Lis Brewing Co in Bethlehem — ran into a reader named Angela here, and she gamely posed for photos in the red sweatshirt!

New Hampshire Way Update

This month, I hit a major milestone on my New Hampshire site, New Hampshire Way — I hit the traffic numbers where I can apply to Mediavine, the display advertising company I use for Adventurous Kate. This is major because while I earn some money through hotel bookings, it’s not enough yet. Display ads will make the site financially sustainable!

I immediately applied to Mediavine that day. Unfortunately, as soon as I applied, the “Thanks for applying!” message read, “By the way, if you use Google Analytics 4, our system can’t read it. You’ll need to get Universal Analytics and 30 new days of data.”

Google has automatically been assigning GA4 to new sites. New Hampshire Way is on GA4. All sites will be on GA4 by mid-2023. Shouldn’t they know how to read it by now? But for now, I have to add new code and wait until September 19 to apply again.

That means I miss an additional 30 days of income during the busiest time of year for New Hampshire travel. I was counting on that big fall foliage money. GRAH!

Here are some newly published posts from New Hampshire Way that I’m excited about:

23 Fantastic Things to Do in New Hampshire in the Fall — New Hampshire is THE fall destination! Here are some awesome ideas for things to do.

21 Cool Things to Do in Keene, NH — I visited Keene for the first time last year and really fell in love with the city and the surrounding Monadnock region. It’s a fun offbeat place worth visiting!

Kate jumping into the air like a goofball, wearing a pink coat, purple leggings, and tall black boots. She's on a rainbow-striped street and behind her is a pale blue church, followed by a steep green mountain.

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

Hello, Seydisfjordur! This small town in East Iceland is famous for its rainbow street and artsy community.

For more live updates from my travels, follow me on Instagram at @adventurouskate.

What I Watched This Month

What We Do in the Shadows is back — and there’s a moment in the first episode that made me laugh almost has hard as “creepy paper.”

Best comedy on TV. If you haven’t watched it yet, you need to!

Beyond that, I haven’t really been watching anything. But excited for the return of many shows this month.

A small city with hundreds of buildings. In the background is a craggy green mountain and in the foreground is rough gray dried lava interspersed with greenery.
I adored the Westman Islands of Iceland — an unexpected highlight!

What I Read This Month

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles (2018) — This historic sweeping epic tells the story of a complicated friendship between two young women in Brazil. Dores is an orphaned kitchen maid; Graça is the daughter of the plantation owner. But their friendship forms and deepens over music. As their story moves to Rio and then Hollywood, both work to become musicians, but only one can become a star.

THIS BOOK. I absolutely adored it. If you’re a fan of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, you will love this book — it gets the complicated, competitive, affectionate, tumultuous friendship so right. And the settings are absolutely magical — my favorite part was when they were making ends meet in the colorful bohemian neighborhood of Lapa in Rio.

Also — if you’re looking for excellent historical fiction where there are plenty of queer people, who have always existed in every time period but are so often overlooked by straight authors — you’ll love this one.

I Was Better Last Night by Harvey Fierstein (2022) — Few people have made as interesting an impact on New York’s theater scene as Harvey Fierstein. (And few people have as distinctive of a voice, which is why of COURSE I had to listen to this as an audiobook.) This book is a story of the evolution of theater, gay rights, and New York culture over more than half a century.

What a great book this is! Thanks to so many of my readers for recommending it! I am a huge fan of work memoirs, talking about all the behind-the-scenes aspects of how things work, but I’ve never really read a theater memoir before. My favorite parts were learning how Harvey would translate a well-known piece of entertainment into a play or musical that an audience would actually love.

And of course he has so many stories of interactions with other celebrities. He has an anecdote about James Taylor that made me SCREAM while on an airplane.

Note that this book is long — but very good. You might need to take some breaks along the way, because it’s very dense stuff.

A garden set on the edge of the sea on Cape Cod.
Looking forward to exploring Orleans, Cape Cod! Via Shutterstock.

Coming Up in September 2022

It’s a busy month of travel ahead. I’m typing this from a rambling historic home in Watford, England, where we celebrated Charlie’s best friend’s milestone birthday this weekend. Charlie and I also dropped in on Brighton, a seaside town where I had never been (and really loved!).

Soon Cailin arrives to visit in Prague, and then the three of us going to Traverse 22, a travel content creator conference in Brno, Czech Republic. (So glad it’s only a few hours’ train ride away!) I’m speaking at the conference on how to blog in the age of TikTok.

Shortly after the conference, Charlie and I fly to Boston to see my family. We’re attending a big family event on Cape Cod, which we’re really looking forward to.

After that, we head to Martha’s Vineyard for a few days (FINALLY, my first time ever!). We finish the month by heading to Maine for the next part of our New England adventure.

What are you getting up to in September? Share away!

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