Photos: That Time Reykjavík Was Buried In Record Snowfall

Photos- That Time Reykjavík Was Buried In Snowfall

I’m pretty sure this was my fault. After living in Reykjavík for about a month, I was emailing my Grandma and informing her of the weather, as you do. “Oh it’s not too cold, just rainy and cloudy mostly…just like the UK,” I told her. And then that night, bam! 4 feet of snow dropped seemingly in one go. Thor was clearly not happy with being compared to England. Which is fair enough. So, we woke up to snow so thick we could hardly open the front door. This was, as we would discover, the most snowfall Reykjavík had in a single night for about ninety years.

We felt like children, charging into the street, gazing in awe at the sheer crotch-deep amount of powder that was bringing the city to a standstill. That was until all the tourists woke up and found their tours were cancelled, so wandered the streets in droves, in a mixture of delight and frustration. Not only this, but the main road out of Reykjavík was shut, meaning many tourists missed their flights home.

Aside from the tourists clogging the streets, Reykjavík was stunning. The skies were completely clear, the air completely still and the snow completely and utterly beautiful. Take a look for yourself…


Living The Icelandic Dream

We are currently living in one of our favourite cities- Reykjavík. I was offered a chance to intern at The Reykjavík Grapevine, the country’s largest tourist publication, so we hopped on a flight ASAP and headed north.

We will be here for the next few months at least. I am still posting articles on our past adventures, whilst having new ones. For pictures of our beautiful new home, visit our instagram.


Las Vegas’ Neon Boneyard: A Beginners Guide


Anything can go out of fashion, including casino signs. And in Vegas, when something goes out of style, it’s tossed. Fortunately though, many of Vegas’ most famous casinos kept hold of their ‘out of date’ signs and they are now on display at ‘The Neon Boneyard’.

This two-acre outdoor museum is home to almost 200 signs which lean up against each other as a tribute to the glitz and glam of Las Vegas days gone by. At $19 per adult and a short taxi drive from The Strip, it is –in my opinion- a must-see addition to any Vegas holiday.

When should you go?

Self-guided tours are not permitted due to the possibility of broken glass and other potentially dangerous things about the place; you must book a slot with a tour guide. Tours run all day from 10:30-2100, so when is the best time to go? After reading reviews online, we decided against the more expensive ($25) night-time tours. The vast majority of the signs don’t work anymore and are lit up with spotlights on the ground instead. This doesn’t really replicate the original working lights plus you can’t see the characteristic flaking paint and blown bulbs, which is part of the charm of the place- you can see working signs on the strip, after all.


neonboneyard-lostness-co-ukPersonally, I think the signs look best at around sunset. The golden light simply dazzles off the signs and reminds you that you are stood in the middle of the desert. That sepia tone the sun casts and the characteristic ‘run down’ nature of the place is reminiscent of Wild West movies.


History is not something that people usually associate with Las Vegas, but it’s there if you look for it. So if you’re missing a bit of culture, step away from the slot machines and head over to The Neon Boneyard, and make sure you have plenty of memory on your camera, you won’t stop taking pictures.

You can book a tour through the Neon Boneyard’s website here. Or call them on (702) 387-6366.



A Real Page Turner: Tokyo’s Book and Bed Hotel


Capsule hotels are a very Japanese thing. Originally designed as a cheap bed for the drunken salary man who’s missed the last train home, these ‘stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ beds are now becoming a staple part of a tourist trip to Tokyo. The traditional capsule hotels are essentially rows and rows of beds built into a vast wall- a bit like a bed in a morgue, but less cold and with super fast Wi-Fi. The beds will normally be large enough to sit up in, and will often have a TV, personal air-con and ventilation system, and a night-light. If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia then this is a great place to rest your head for the night. Enter Tokyo’s up and coming capsule hotel: The Book and Bed.


Coming out of the elevator on the seventh floor, you are greeted with this reception hatch


Cosy bed nook

A slightly less traditional capsule hotel is the Book and Bed hotel in Tokyo. It’s essentially a fusion between a capsule hotel and a library. Behind an entire wall of books (both Japanese and English) are cosy beds complete with an outlet and night-light, so you can take a book to bed with you. There is also a separate bed space, away from the slightly noisier bookshelf area. The beds here are narrower and less cute, but cheaper and quieter. Surrounding the bookshelves are comfy sofas and large windows so you can look out from the seventh floor onto the glittering skyscrapers of Ikebukuro. There’s even a tea station so you can settle down with a cuppa while you read.


This isn’t the kind of place that you come back to a 3am and pass out. It’s designed as a place to escape the rush, to retreat. You will want to spend the night in. It’s Japanese functionality meets hipster cool. If you love everything cosy and trendy, then you’ll love this place. As they say at the Book and Bed: ‘have a book night!’


The Book and Bed is located on the 7th floor of the Lumiere Building, just a 30 second walk from exit C8 of Ikebukuro station. To reserve a bed, visit their website.

Our Top 5 Travel Apps

There is a lot of debate surrounding technology and travel. Some lament our constant connection to the Internet, and claim that our obsession with social media stops us from truly experiencing travel the good old-fashioned way. Others claim that technology has made travel far more accessible. Our school of thought is somewhere in between. So, for those tech gurus out there about to embark on a trip, here are our top travel apps…

Google photos

If you take lots of photos on your phone, get Google Photos. We were only a third of the way into our trip and I already had to delete everything expendable on my phone in order to take one photo. Google Photos allows you to delete your precious memories off your phone *gasp* and stores them in their handy app. Regardless of what device you’re on, all you have to do is log in, and they’re all there, safe and sound. Get it now and snap to your hearts content.


Ninety per cent of our accommodation was booked through Airbnb. So for us, checking Airbnb for new places to stay, messages and reviews became a daily routine. The app made this so much quicker and easier. It’s much simpler to navigate than their website, so if you plan on using Airbnb regularly, we suggest you download their app.

In Japan we had to go a week without Internet, and boy was it tricky to navigate our way round Tokyo without Google (such is the millennial way of life). In an attempt to look on the bright side I said to Jasper, ‘Christopher Columbus found America without the internet!’ to which he replied, ‘yeah but he was trying to find India’. Needless to say we soon downloaded It’s essentially a sat nav that uses your phone’s GPS, so you can find your way around without being connected to the Internet. It even has lots of off the beaten track trail maps, so you won’t get lost in the depths of a National Park (unless that’s your plan!). We would really recommend this app, especially if you’re road tripping for a long time. In the US for instance, car hire companies will try to charge you an extra $10 a day for a sat nav- that’s $300 for a month! Just download this (free) app and you’re sorted!


When you are travelling long term, you simply cannot carry around months and months worth of cash. The only other option seems to be to use your regular debit card, but most charge a hefty fee for using it abroad, which will add up quickly! So what next? Get a prepaid travel card. There are plenty on the market which will allow you to upload cash at an interbank rate, without fees. But Revolut has an amazing app that makes transferring cash, checking your balance and paying others really easy. Your Revolut card will be accepted most places, as it has a Mastercard logo.


Arguably the more ethical sibling to the infamous app Über, Lyft lets you book a taxi, pay for it online (so no more swindling taxi drivers), track the taxi’s location and rate your driver. You can even car pool. If you are travelling around a big city, and want a safe ride home, Lyft has you covered. Oh and they don’t support Trump, so that’s good too.


Technology generally doesn’t enhance the excitement of travel, but it does make travel easier and much less stressful. And remember you always have the option to disconnect- switch your phone off for a few days and get lost, just like the in the olden days!

Witching Hour: Top Magical Spots in Salem, MA


Salem, Massachusetts is the location of perhaps the most famous witch-hunt in human history and it does not shy away from its dark past. As a result, Salem has become a place of remembrance for those persecuted in the late seventeenth century with many memorials and museums dedicated to the victims of what is often considered one of America’s darkest moments.

A trip to Salem would be incomplete without visiting at least one of the following sites…

Salem Witch Museum

The Witch Trials of 1692 are Salem’s –and possibly one of America’s- most famous historical events. In the space of a few months, mass hysteria gripped this small Puritan town resulting in the executions of 20 residents. Salem’s Witch Museum is a hugely popular museum, which has an interactive display detailing the trials themselves. It is really interesting and informative (though a little corny!). If it’s your first trip to Salem, or you know little of the trials, we suggest you start here.


Memorial Sitesalemgraveyard-lostness-co-uk

Another must-see spot is the Witch Trial memorial site which shows the names of all those persecuted in 1692 etched into large blocks of stone. Many still lay flowers in remembrance. Next to the memorial is a large graveyard, home to graves of many Judges who presided over The Witch Trials. It’s pretty spooky walking through here after dark, that’s for sure.


The House of the Seven Gables

If Salem’s history interests you, visit The House Of The Seven Gables. Originally owned by Judge Hathorne, this beautiful -if bleak- house was also home to his great-great-grandson, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was famously haunted by his grandfather’s involvement in The Witch Trials.

The Witch House

One of the oldest houses in Salem and home of another judge, Jonathathewitchhouse1-lostness-co-ukn Corwin, this house, known as ‘The Witch House’, has been kept by the City of Salem as an example of everyday life in a late seventeenth century Puritan town. Take a self-guided tour through the building and learn about the, let’s face it, bleak lives of the inhabitants of Salem in 1692. Although a simple little museum, this was probably one of the most enjoyable and informative ones we visited. 100% go here.

Witch Shops

Because of its ties with witchcraft (even though imaginary), Salem has become a Mecca for Pagans, herbalists and spiritualists who now call themselves ‘witches’. There are plenty of witch supply shops around the town that provide herbs, crystals and even cauldrons for those who want to practice ‘witchcraft’. Our favourite was a little shop called ‘Hauswitch’. We have to admit that we are a little obsessed with this shop. Not only do they sell beautiful home wear, art, and spell kits, but they run meditation classes and tarot card readings in the evening. It is a feminist heaven and I really want to join their coven.


Salem did not disappoint. Regardless of its busy tourist industry, it hasn’t lost any of its New England charm. If you love architecture, history, or just a good ghost story, it is well worth the trip. There really are few towns out there whose identities are so wrapped up with their own history, but when this happens it creates a place full of intrigue, energy, and…magic!

San Francisco in 36 Hours



From the emergence of the flower power generation in the 60s, to the 21st century’s electronic revolution in Silicon Valley; from the home of Mrs Doubtfire, to Alcatraz, America’s most infamous prison. San Francisco is one of those places that is inexplicably part of social consciousness; everyone has heard of it, and everyone wants to go. It is also, arguably, the coolest city in California (sorry LA).

We spent only a brief time here whilst blasting through Cali up to Yosemite National Park. Of course, you could spend weeks in this vibrant city and not run out of things to do, but unfortunately time was not on our side. So, here is everything we managed to cram into our 36 hours:

Pier 39

Fancy seeing a bunch of wild sea lions sunbathing? Of course you do. Go to Pier 39, full of tourists, expensive food, tacky souvenirs, but totally worth it to see a load of blubbery sea lions clambering over each other to get the best sun spot.

The Painted Ladies

There are few cities in the world in which something as simple as resident housing so encompasses its identity. San Francisco is one of them; you simply can’t visualise San Fran without its beautiful houses on mind-blowing steep streets. ‘The Painted Ladies’ is an affectionate name for a row of houses on Steiner Street. They have that quintessentially San Franciscan ice-cream colour and ornate style. We’re not entirely sure why these houses in particular are such a big deal as almost every house in the area is equally beautiful. But whether or not you want to go out of your way to see the Painted Ladies themselves, you really must take a stroll around the residential areas- they are truly iconic.

The Painted Ladies

More beautiful San Franciscan houses

Lombard Street

Another icon. Lombard street is a perilously windy, and really rather beautiful, road in residential San Francisco. With a gaggle of tourists at the top and bottom, craning over each other to take pictures, and people inching their way down in their cars, it really is a sight to behold. We did brave the drive, and came out unscathed- but others are not so lucky, so drive carefully or your paintwork may suffer!

Castro District

The Castro District is known for its links with the LGBT community and Gay Pride events. For us, this was a must-see spot. It’s a really vibrant part of the city, with huge murals of Harvey Milk -California’s first openly gay elected official and LGBT martyr- painted on the side of buildings, and rainbow coloured crosswalks directing your way to sex shops, book shops and bars.


San Francisco’s Chinatown is home to the largest Chinese community outside of Asia and is the largest of its kind in North America. It has a regrettable history due to California’s anti-Chinese laws, forcing the city’s Chinese population into what was essentially a ghetto. These days though, it is a vibrant place with amazing shops, restaurants and bars and, of course, beautiful Chinese architecture. Chinatown is a core part of San Francisco and an important part of Californian history. It is, in our opinion, a must-see!

Oh, and Golden Gate Bridge

Of course. There’s nothing like seeing an iconic piece of infrastructure. It’s as exciting as seeing a celebrity in the flesh, except instead of getting an autograph and a selfie, you get to pay $7.50 to drive over it. But in all seriousness, you simply can’t visit San Francisco without seeing Golden Gate. After driving over it, we went to the bottom of Fort Point and got a great view:

View from Fort Point

Honourable mentions and pointers:

Before we left San Fran, we stopped by ‘The Mill’ for breakfast. On the surface it seems crazy to be paying $6 for toast, but trust us, it is so much more than toast. It is delicious bready perfection. And their coffee’s not too bad either.

One last thing- Why why why is San Francisco so cold?! Mark Twain apparently once said ‘the coldest winter I ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco’. Mark, we totally get you. Everywhere in California was about 10°c warmer than San Francisco. We went from wearing shorts and flip flops then crossed the San Francisco border and out came the wooly jumpers. So, word to the wise- if you plan on visiting, bring a jumper or two!

San Francisco, it was truly a pleasure. We will be coming back, and we will be spending more than 36 hours next time!

The Pacific Northwest

Words by Jasper

Mysterious, mossy pine forests punctuated with immense boulders. Waterfalls spewing mist through tree covered cliffs. Clear streams that lead to bleak craggy coastlines, dotted with raggedy islands. Ultra-trendy cities nestled in amongst the wilderness. This describes the Pacific Northwest, probably one of our favourite parts of western USA. Here are a few of the best places we checked out.

Portland OR
There was so much to say about the ‘hipster capital of the world’ that it warranted a whole post to itself. Find it here.

Forks, Washington

Ok, we admit it, we came here entirely because of Twilight. But if you’re like us, and thought the best thing about that film was the location, we hope you’ll understand. Forks sits on the edge of Olympic National Park, a huge expanse of temperate rainforest, classified by its high levels of rainfall, but lower average temperatures.

Forks is a small town that has been thrust into popularity by the famous film series, but other than a couple of Twilight shops and location tours, life ticks over like any other small unassuming community.

North West of Forks is La Push, a grey beach with imposing cliffs and brutal waves. We wrapped up and took a stroll on the beach but we left the paddling to the flotilla of hardcore surfers (sadly any vampires out there won’t be able to reach La Push as it is past the werewolf treaty line).

North Bend, WA

Tucked just off the interstate from Seattle toward Montana, this mysterious town is most famous for Laura Palmer’s death and “damn good coffee”. For those of you who missed the reference, North Bend houses many of the shooting locations for David Lynch’s supernatural cult-thriller Twin Peaks, several of which are definitely worth seeing regardless of whether you’ve seen the show or not.

The most iconic spot is probably Twede’s Cafe, which is better known by Twin Peaks fans as the Double R Diner. Peaks Geeks will be pleased to know they do, in fact, serve some damn good coffee, and the cherry pie isn’t too bad either. People who have never seen the show will probably also be pleased to know this.

Just down the road is the Salish Lodge and spa that overlooks the Snoqualmie Falls. It’s a high end place that we could only dream of being able to afford a night at, but when your hotel is perched precariously close to a huge and picturesque waterfall, I guess you can charge what you like. The setting obviously caught David Lynch’s eye as the Salish Lodge serves as the exterior shots for the Great Northern Hotel, yet another crucial TP location.

Vancouver, BC

Just a stone’s throw across the Canadian border is Vancouver, a lively, modern and artsy city. Sadly we only had a day and night to explore it, but what we managed to cram in gave us a good glimpse into life in Vancouver.
The downtown area had a great mix of independent shops, cool eateries and imposing buildings new and old. It also has one of the best libraries we’ve ever been in. Inspired by the colosseum, Vancouver Public Library is almost as impressive, with cosy study areas, modern interior design and dizzyingly high walkways looking down over seven floors of books to explore. Any ancient Roman academic would have been proud to study here. Jo, however, read a book about Finding Nemo.
Tucked underneath the main bridge to downtown is Granville Island, a once industrial area that, like most others in the world, has now been transformed into an arts district, with theatre, music, independent craft retailers and a food market. If this sounds a little too pretentious and grown-up for your taste, have no fear, there’s always the pirate party ship.
Interstate 90, Washington/Montana

This is literally just a motorway, with nothing of interest other than the odd Native American Casino resort. We don’t recommend it as somewhere to visit. It does, however, get a special mention for some of the most spectacular and iconic tumbleweed we’ve ever seen. It’s amazing that in West Washington state you have lush forest, and yet after a few hours driving east toward Montana, it’s barren and prairie like. The only things that weren’t void of life were, ironically, the perfect spheres of dead bush making a dash for freedom across the road.
For us, the Pacific Northwest is a place we’ve wanted to visit for so long for so many reasons, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Each place we visited was worthy of weeks, possibly months, of exploration. As has been the case with most of our travels so far, we will be leaving with more on our bucket list than when we came.


Salt Lake City

Nestled in the Utahan desert is Salt Lake City. Known for -amongst other things- Mormonism, polygamy, and a serious lack of alcohol. We arrived here after failing to find a motel in Jackson, Wyoming and choosing to drive through the night rather than freeze to death in some random car park. These were some lonely, horror movie-esque roads and we were pretty relieved when the sun finally rose over civilisation once more. We rewarded ourselves with some $4 pancakes from Denny’s (it’s become a staple in our road trip diet), and headed out to explore this infamous city.

Over half the population of Utah practice Mormonism, and Salt Lake City- the state capital- is Morman Mecca. We only spent a day here, but it was a really interesting city, and starkly different from the other American cities we’ve visited. The first thing we noticed was how clean it was. Squeaky clean. Like Disneyland. All the buildings looked so new, the pavements were white and there were lots of perfectly cut areas of bright green grass and trimmed trees. It does feel a little odd walking around. It feels almost like a pop-up, artificial city. Like Vegas, but with Mormon missionaries instead of strippers. Unfortunately though we cannot prove any of this, as upon leaving we realised that we didn’t take a single photo. Disclaimer: imaginations/access to google image search will be needed for this post.

The main attraction of the city is, of course, the religious temples. The main Mormon buildings are all within the same square (Temple Square), so you can hop from one to the other and see them all in a few hours. By far the most impressive is Salt Lake Temple which, in terms of size and beauty, would give Notre Dame a run for its money. Only members of the Mormon faith are actually allowed into this temple, so unless you feel compelled to sign up, you’ll have to appreciate the view from the outside- which really is breathtaking.

Across from this is the Salt Lake Tabernacle, a large domed building, with amphitheater seating inside for meetings and, as it’s best known for, choir performances. We didn’t have time to watch one ourselves, but if you get the chance you definitely should- the acoustics are meant to be amazing. Similarly close is the Church History Museum which details the beginnings of the Mormon faith very thoroughly. If non-believers were ever going to be converted, here would be the place.

After wandering around Temple Square for a while, we found ourselves in the Geneology Centre. Mormons believe in praying on behalf of their ancestors who may not have had contact with the Mormon church, in order to help their souls in the afterlife. Because of this, lots of Mormons have a real fascination with ancestry research. The Geneology Centre is a huge library of microfilms, online census databases, and anything else you might need to find your distant family. We went there to quickly poke our heads in. However, what started as a cursory visit soon manifested into us awkwardly sat by a computer on the basement floor with a 70 year old man explaining how to use (very simple FYI), wearing little stickers saying ‘Hi my name’s [Jo/Jasper], today is my FIRST visit!’ Needless to say, our parking meter was suddenly getting very low, and we hurried outta there.

As for polygamy, it is less prevalent in the Mormon faith than people assume. In fact, only certain sects of the LDS church practice it nowadays. However, if you spent some time in the smaller towns on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, you are likely to see some ‘sister wives’ doing their grocery shopping. They are distinguishable by their old fashioned dresses and braided hair.

We were surprised by how friendly the people of Salt Lake City were. If you are anxious about hardcore conversion tactics, don’t be. Although Temple Square is the centre of Mormonism, it is also a tourist attraction, and the missionaries working there appreciate that. So, if you are in the area, we would certainly recommend a stop here. We suspect that there is no other American town quite like Salt Lake City!

A Weekend In Portland: The Essential Itinerary 



Portland, Oregon, a city which boarders Washington state on the northwest coast of America is affectionately known as ‘hipster capital of the world’. We were really intrigued to see how fitting this term actually is, as…to put it in the least snobbish way…the American ideals of ‘cool’ can often differ from the European. But to our pleasant surprise, Portland was awesome. And we think any beard-trimming, vinyl-collecting, succulent-planting European hipster would be proud to call Portland home.

One of the main things that struck us about Portland is that the residents are really friendly. The Portlanders we met had such an obvious love for their city that they were constantly giving us recommendations for coffee shops, bookstores and bars in the hope that we love it just as much them. And it worked.

Unfortunately, as we only have a month to tour the entire west, we were only able to spend two days in this awesome city. We managed to cram in quite a bit though, so here’s a little list of what -in our opinion- a short trip to Portland should include:


Brunch is to Portlanders as afternoon tea is to the English: something to be taken very seriously. The most popular spots can have queues snaking out the door and the options throughout the city seem endless. We chose a place called ‘Mothers Bistro’ in downtown, a Parisian style restaurant which served traditional egg-based dishes and, of course, delicious coffee.

Powell’s Bookstore

A large chunk of our first day was spent in Powell’s Bookstore, the largest independent bookstore in the world. The building pretty much takes up an entire block, with five stories of new and used books. As we found out, is easy to get lost in there and, before you know it, 3 hours has past. Powell’s really is a Portland institution, and a city break here isn’t complete without perusing its many shelves.

Multnomah Falls

One thing that is so special about Portland is that it is surrounded by wilderness; it almost feels like a city built in the middle of a national park. So, a short drive out of town brought us to Multnomah Falls, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by moss-covered evergreens. You can view it from the bottom, or a short hike leads you to the midway bridge. It’s a popular tourist spot, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try to go on a weekday….and not on Labor Day weekend, like we did.


Portland has an awesome shopping scene. Seriously, bring all your money, you will want to buy everything. Southwest 10th Avenue between Stark street and Washington, was a favourite of ours. There was so much to buy on this street: outdoorsy hard wear, über cool home decor, arty jewellery; there was even a shop dedicated solely to feminist fashion brands. Here’s a list of links to our favourite shops:


A lesser known fact about Portland is that Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born here. This perhaps explains the city’s obsession with doughnuts. We went to two different establishments and both had lines out the door. ‘Blue Star’ is the place to go for the more ‘gourmet’ style, with flavours ranging from maple bacon to cayenne spiced PB&J- get here early though, as they can run out by the afternoon. If you want a doughnut fit for Mr Groening however, go to ‘Voodoo’ and ask for ‘The Homer’. Voodoo is to doughnuts as Powell’s is to books: a Portland institution and a must-see.

‘Mmmm doughnut’ *dribbles*


Honourable Mentions and Sidenotes:

  • Outside of downtown, Hawthorne street has loads of cool vintage stores and another (smaller) Powell’s! Portland just can’t get enough of books.
  • Nike Bikes. These are Portland’s much cooler version of London’s ‘Boris Bike’. They are neon orange and named after the infamous sports brand (which originated in Portland), rather than after a floppy-haired fool. But I digress.
  • Unlike most American cities, you won’t require a car to get around. The public transport here is pretty good, with reliable buses to and from town, and a tram service called ‘The Max’, operating city-wide.
  • If you are so inclined, the state of Oregon has legalised the use of recreational marijuana. You can buy pretty much any product you can think of from one of Portland’s many dispensaries. And because it’s Portland, much of the products sold are locally sourced, fair trade and organic. Think salted cacao infused with organic marijuana oils, that sort of thing. But, please note: unlike Amsterdam, public use is prohibited and you have to be 21 to even enter a dispensary.

In conclusion, Portland has stolen our hearts, well and truly. There is so much to see, do, eat, drink and buy; so many kind people to chat to; so much to explore! We definitely plan on coming back….unless it gets too mainstream.