at summer’s end


even before returning from iceland (heck, even before i went to iceland), i was hopehopehoping that the czech summer still would be in full swing to welcome me back with open (sunny and warm) arms and man, have i not been disappointed in the least! we have been having such a wonderful time since we’ve been back: rafting on the vltava, barbecues, warm summer night gatherings and pool parties, every meal al-fresco out on the balcony… it has really been the third chapter of summer i have been hoping for.

however, i am feeling a bit like phil from wayne’s world today: partied out (again)! with the cool temperatures returning this weekend and the actual approach of fall, it seemed like a great time to post my annual at summer’s end so you can get caught up with what’s been going on with me for the past three months. (see last’ years!) 

here we go…

what did you do this summer?

in the first half of summer,  i had some nice downtime in south bohemia to do a bit of excursions and hanging around town, but also some travels to north bohemia (loket & karlovy vary), three weeks of teaching at summer camps. 

the second half of summer was about adventure, spending almost a month in iceland where we discovered more of reykjavik, spent some quality time in west iceland, worked on a farm, and went on a sweet road trip in a camper van! i went to my thirtieth country at the age of thirty with my stopover in oslo, norway. all in all, it was both very eventful and relaxing – perfect formula!

what was the one thing you were looking forward to this summer?

to be perfectly honest with you, i was super excited to go shopping in reykjavik (haul, pictured above) and also to spend two weeks on a farm in iceland; getting to know the locals and slow traveling.

what did you miss the most this summer?

i would’ve loved to have a proper girls night back home in washington, but you can’t win ‘em all!


best breakfast of the summer?
at hotel flatey, the only hotel i stayed in all summer! what is better than a good hotel breakfast in the north? i believe there were soft-boiled eggs, the most delicious sweet rye bread, yogurt, juice, homemade jam, fresh fruit…. i am in heaven.

song of the summer?

“can’t do without you” (tale of us & mano le tough remix) by caribou
it was featured in the soundtrack of one of my favorite films at KVIFF early on and has pretty much set the tone of the whole season. imagine this song playing as people dance at an outdoor party on the riverside as the sun is coming up – it is a beautiful image.


any festivals/plays/art exhibitions?

i was almost driven to the point of insanity (but in a happy, inspired way) due to five days at this year’s karlovy vary international film festival – it is fully consuming experience like very few other film festivals are. i loved watching the euro cup matches and cheering on iceland and germany, ended up catching an incredible show at melodica festival during our last weekend in reykjavik. there was major fidalgo island (where i’m from, originally) music vibes… i am convinced that fidalgo island and iceland might be musical soul-mates.

best dinner?

all of our dinners from our weekend on flatey were fantastic… local fish, lamb, and mussels prepared in the way that only the hotel restaurant can. i can never forget the cod feast (with guest chef) we attended where all the guests sat family-style in a huge barn turned restaurant! all of the cod eaten this summer was exactly what i needed.


best drink?

maltextraaaaaakt! it’s a soft-drink (not a beer!) that is very popular in iceland, for good reason, too. it’s got a carmelly sort of flavor that is difficult to describe.

funniest memory of the summer? 

when you work with kids, it feels like every day! (above, playing the “happy/sad” game while waiting for the next bus after we missed the first one)

particularly, every day spent with a five year old boy who attended summer camps. he showed up the first day wearing an over-sized david byrne-style grey suit jacket and a tie. (already in love.) then later when we had free play outdoors and the other children were playing football (soccer) or on the structures, he stalked the perimeter of the playground, alone, chanting what sounded like song lyrics at the top of his lungs. (my hero.) 

if that wasn’t enough, when i asked him to draw a picture of himself for his portfolio cover, he drew…. [the nearby] temelin nuclear plant.


favorite garment?

my new lopapeysa (icelandic wool sweater), that i serendipitously found when i wasn’t even looking. i simply went in to a farm shop to pick up a maltextrakt (see above) and saw her hanging there on the wall. 

a strange thing happened soon after i bought it: about five minutes later, a girl came into the shop and asked the manager, "where is that one sweater that was hanging there?” of course she was a bit dismayed to hear that “that girl over there” had bought it such a short time ago. it’s a good lesson to buy immediately if you find exactly what you’re looking for, especially if it is such a one-of-a-kind item like a hand-knit sweater!


best swimming?

i have swum in more pools and places this summer than probably any summer of my life, i am sure… and that makes my water-loving heart so very happy. in iceland, i most enjoyed my experience at reykjadalur (above) – a naturally hot river that is at the absolutely perfect temperature! but my favorite was perhaps playing pool-volleyball at an impromptu pool party at a friend’s house the other day. it was the perfect send-off to this summer that won’t quit, despite being so close to the arctic circle for a month!

what do you wish for next summer?

it was fun to read last year’s wish for next summer and see that it came true! i don’t know what next year will bring, but i’m hoping it will be something like this summer in terms of great weather, relaxing, and a great balance of enjoying summer in south bohemia and travels.  maybe if i’m lucky, perhaps a visit back to our united states homes to see friends and family.

as i learned two years ago (during summer packed with non-stop travel) balance is important for me. scheduling a whole summer of travel sounds glamorous and exciting, but i know that’s not all what i really enjoy and remember.

do you agree with me or do you prefer summers of non-stop activity and travel?

okay, autumn! i’m ready for you. the pumpkin spice, apple, and nutmeg everything may now begin… a fragrant soup is simmering on the stove as i type. happy last days of summer/beginning of autumn, all! xo