Ice Ice Baby

by Colleen Morrow in

Yep, we're heading to Iceland! Cause, you know...  It's not cold enough in Canada, we need to head to a country where Canadians buy hats in the summer to stay warm (true story - a friend was there earlier this year and needed buy a hat cause the wind was so cold!)

Technically, we're going to Copenhagen for a weekend with a one week stopover in Iceland. Icelandair offers this AMAZING option where you can do a stopover of up to 7 days in Reykjavik for no additional cost. A couple of days after we got back from Bavaria, we found a super cheap flight from Toronto to Copenhagen on Icelandair. And we booked it. So now, we're heading to Copenhagen for a weekend with a really long stopover in Reykjavik. We do not plan to stay in the airport the entire time we're there, though.

Like our Bavaria trip, we're renting a car and heading out to travel Iceland's ring road. If you aren't familiar with Iceland, it's a pretty small country and it has this one highway that runs around the entire country. It's the ring road. And it's pretty popular as a road trip. 

We're starting in Reykjavik, where we're taking a day to check out the city before picking up a car and heading off on an adventure filled with waterfalls and lava tubes and volcanoes and fjords and black beaches and caves and lighthouses and geysers and national parks and more.  We're crossing our fingers that we'll get a chance to see the Northern Lights but it may be a bit early in the season for it.  It's not uncommon for hotels for have Aurora alarms to wake you up if the lights are out and we do have one hotel that's quite a bit out of the way so it wouldn't be affected by light pollution.  Keep your fingers crossed!

After our road trip in Iceland, we're popping over to Copenhagen for two days.  Copenhagen is known for their food scene so I think it'll be a tasty couple of days. We have a food tour booked that takes us through one of the food markets so it's a pretty safe bet that it will be.

A lot of the planning is already done, which is good because the trip is just around the corner.  All of the hotels are booked, the car is rented, the itinerary is in good shape.  Now it's just the last minute details like laundry and picking up headlamps and learning Icelandic.  Can't be too much trouble, can it?

Bout of Books

by Colleen Morrow

You know how sometimes, you're reading a book and it just reminds you of a particular song so much that you have to stop, put your book down and choreograph an interpretive dance reflecting your book's plot to that song?  No?  Yeah, me neither...


Seriously, though - sometimes, you can't help but connect a book and a song in some way.  After listening to Goo Goo Dolls on the bus in high school while doing my reading for English class, I can never hear Black Balloon without thinking of Orwell's 1984 (it's a good thingYouTube didn't exist when I was in high school - that video is TERRIFYING.  And very late 90s) .  And even though Anne's Theme was composed for the mini-series, whenever I see my set of Anne of Green Gables books, the song floats into my head (p.s. who else is SUPER excited to see what happens in the CBC/Netflix adaptation?!)

So, you tell me what connections you have between a book and some music.  Anything goes, really.  Some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • Rename your book with a song
  • Give a lyric that sums up the plot of your book
  • A song or album that is forever associated with a particular books in your mind

Post your song connection anywhere you are talking about Bout of Books and post the link here.  Please remember that I have to be able to see your post so make sure your account isn't private.


Really, anything goes...  If you can find a connection between a book and a song, as long as you say what the connection it, you're good.  Post the link and be eligible to win a book of your choosing, up to $10 USD from Book Depository (which is a just under $13 CDN right now!) 

Just remember that you need to be an official Bout of Books participant, having previously signed up earlier this week and limited to one entry per person.  This challenge will be open for 24 hours only and is open to anyone who has an address that Book Depository ships to.  The winner will be chosen randomly using a random number generator and will be verified and contacted on Saturday morning.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond, at which point, a new winner will be drawn.  

UPDATE:  Congrats to Darcus @ Rainy Days and Pajamas for her winning entry.  Hope you enjoy your book!

It's 24in48 Time Again!

by Colleen Morrow in

Time for another 24in48 readathon.  It's so nice when the date gets announced months in advance and then you realize you're free the entire weekend and can blissfully participate without any guilt :)  I've already gotten about an hour of reading in so far today but I want to get back at it so without further ado...  My intro survey:

  1. Where in the world are you reading from this weekend? Same as always - from my house in Southwestern Ontario in Canada.  I often read up in our finished attic but we're suffering a pretty big heat wave right now so while it's somewhat cool right now, I think I'll have to relocate to the main floor by late morning. 
  2. Have you done the 24in48 readathon before? Yes, this is my third time.
  3. Where did you hear about the readathon? I initially heard about it via a tweet from someone I follow but I now follow 24in48 on Twitter and subscribe to the blog's RSS feed.
  4. What book are you most excited about reading this weekend? The Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, I think...  It's my audio pick for the weekend and the book I already started this morning.  I've heard amazing things about it and so far, I'm really enjoying it.
  5. Tell us something about yourself. Oh, I never know what to put here...  I'm travelling to Iceland in September to drive the ring road so if anyone has restaurant suggestions, pass them on!
  6. Remind us where to find you online this weekend. Well, I'll be here when it's time to update progress and I'll be on twitter, instagram, and litsy as janeycanuck in all places.  


  • Finished Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (5 hours, 25 minutes)
  • Finished Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (2 hours, 20 minutes)
  • Finished The Shunning by Marianne Paul (3 hours, 30 minutes)
  • Finished Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (3 hours, 15 minutes)
  • Finished My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (3 hours, 45 minutes)
  • Progress on The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely (5 hours, 5 minutes)
  • Started Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell (40 minutes)

I made it...  I ended up doing just over 24 hours as the last 20 minutes I had planned on doing to carry me to bedtime turned into about 30 or so.  I had thought about only doing about 18 hours at one point but I stuck it out with the help of audios.  So now time for the closing survey:

  1. How many books did you read? Pages? (If you didn’t keep track, tell me that too!) So I finished 3 paper books (628 pages), 2 and a bit audios (just under 12 hours) and made really good progress on an ebook that has been languishing on my Kobo for a really long time (got it to 68% from somewhere around 30, I think...).  
  2. How many hours did you read? The full 24.  And about an extra 10 minutes on top of that.
  3. What do you think worked well in this readathon? I really like the check-in posts - every 6 hours is good, it doesn't make me feel like I need to always be checking in, gives me lots of time to make progress in my books.
  4. What do you think could be done to improve the readathon for next time? This is a purely personal thing but starting Friday night would be an improvement for me.  I could read late into the night on Friday, get up early on Saturday and have just a bit of reading to do Sunday.  I think I'd have better balance to my weekend if I did that cause the Monday morning after is always so hard!
  5. Will you participate in a future 24in48 readathon? Yes, I think so.  I love having an excuse to do nothing but read.


by Colleen Morrow in

For our last day in Germany, we went to Austria.

Not far from the border, there's a town called Werfen. And Werfen has the world's largest ice cave. It seemed a shame to not go.

After the drive down to Werfen, we had a twisty & turny drive up a mountain to the Eisiesenwelt's ticket centre. From there, we walked another 20 minutes up the mountain to a cable car.  The cable car took us another part of the way up the mountain and then we climbed for another 20 minutes or so before getting to the mouth of the cave.  By that point, we were about 1600m from the ground.  

The cave can only been seen with a tour guide and there are no lights in the cave. Armed with a carbide lamp, we were taken into the cave to see the first km of the 42km cave system.  It also involved more climbing.  700 steps up and 700 steps down, to be precise. Our guide led us through the cave, pointing out different ice formations and telling us about the history of the cave (including that the scientist that discovered the cave is buried there.) Even though it was a bright and warm day outside, the cave was hovering around freezing. It was nice having a sweater and proper hiking shoes.  It was very different from the ice cave I saw in France, which had LED lighting and carpeting.  

Then, it was back down to the cable car, back down to the ticket centre and the car and back down the mountain to return to Munich for one last night before catching the plane back to Canada.

All-in-all, it was a great trip with lots of delicious food, wonderful castles & museums, beautiful scenery, and fun adventures. But for now, it's out of the land of fairy tales and back to reality.