The Elephant House is Overrated and Other Musings from Edinburgh

Thinking I’d be inspired by the place where JK Rowling is said to have written her whimsical Harry Potter stories, I decided to grab breakfast at The Elephant House on my last morning in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House is literally around the corner from the hostel I hunkered down at (Budget Backpackers), so I figured why not stop by!

Tourist mistake numero uno!

The Elephant House is an odd little place. With menus in both Chinese and English, the place screamed ‘Chinese Restaurant.’

But nope, no Chinese. Just gluten-free cakes and a small selection of breakfast items. Which is good since that’s what I went for. However…

…after being seated, I waited at least 15 mins before I could get anyone’s attention to take my order. Eh, it’s busy – fair enough. BUT THEN…about 15 minutes after I’d ordered my eggs, I was told “Sorry, we ran out of eggs!”

It’s 11am!! How are you out of eggs?!

Needless to say, I was not impressed with this place. 😂 Although, kudos to the fresh-squeezed orange juice. I don’t know why that’s not a thing in America.

Also, this sign was cute but didn’t fit the atmosphere of the place at all.

So, I left disappointed, uninspired, and malnourished. 😂 Luckily, the spot literally next door was a cute French place (Patisserie Valerie) and THEY HAD EGGS!

Much more on Edinburgh to come, so stay tuned!!

Next Stop: Copenhagen

Will you run away with me?

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie

A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Howdy, y’all! I’m currently writing from an Airbnb in Grindavik…the same little town of 3,300 that’s home to the popular Blue Lagoon!

Last time I ventured to Iceland, I stayed at the Kex Hostel in the “big city” of Reykjavik. Since I’m only in Iceland for a 20-hour layover this time around, I decided to stay local and not stray too far from KEF airport.

And, since the Blue Lagoon is just a 20-min drive from KEF, I decided to spend the day there after my arrival. Prior to coming here, most of the reviews I had read about BL were from groups or couples…so, here’s my guide for all you fellow solo travelers!

Book in Advance

I booked my ticket for the Blue Lagoon exactly one month in advance of my trip. My flight was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 AM and I wanted to give myself enough time in case of delays, etc. so I booked my Lagoon ticket for 2 PM. I also booked a shuttle in advance through Airport Direct for an added fee (you can actually add this right in when you purchase your BL ticket online). I had about an hour to kill at the airport before my 1 PM shuttle but I didn’t mind! A lot of folks encourage visiting earlier or later in the day, but the lagoon itself is huge and it didn’t feel overwhelmingly crowded at all, even in the middle of a summer afternoon!

Purchase the ‘Comfort’ Package

I read a lot of differing opinions on what type of ticket to buy for the Lagoon. To me, comfort was key. It included admission, a towel, a free drink at the swim-up bar (beer, wine, smoothie, etc.), and unlimited silica masks. The fancier package includes a robe and slippers and another type of mask but those added bits certainly aren’t necessary. Especially the mask part…more on that below.

Being Alone Isn’t Lonely

Ok, admittedly I did feel a little weird going to the Blue Lagoon alone…but I’ve done everything else alone so no big deal. Turns out, it really wasn’t! There were plenty of other solo peeps, and even folks who were with others ended up floating around, doing their own thing. There is plenty of bench seating along the interior of the lagoon, so you can just pop a squat like I did and people watch/meditate/etc.

ALSO…get chatty with the folks who work there! The lifeguards loved to talk, as did the folks doling out the mud masks in the middle of the lagoon. In fact, I struck up a great conversation with one such worker named Stefan who ended up giving me algae and lava masks for free! They were supposed to be like $10 each! Yayay!

The Showers Are NBD

I read so many posts detailing how you have to shower totally naked before entering the lagoon and folks made it sound like the showers were all open and there would be employees watching my every scrub. That wasn’t the case AT ALL. The bathrooms have individual shower stalls, complete with frosted glass, hair conditioner, and body wash. There was nothing weird about it, even for a prude American like myself. 😂

Odds and Ends

Bring a waterproof case for your phone! I bought a cheap one on Amazon that worked perfectly. Plus, I didn’t want to risk damaging my DSLR, but I wanted a few photos to remember this experience by!

There is no limit for how long you can stay at the Blue Lagoon. Once you arrive, you can stay till closing if you want! Plus, there’s a cafe and restaurant inside to keep you satiated.

Also, ladies and gents with long hair — it’s encouraged to keep it tied up and conditioned before entering the Lagoon. The shower stalls offer a bounty of conditioner which I saturated my hair in. I didn’t rinse it out before tying my hair up and going in. My hair ended up getting wet, but it didn’t turn into straw because I had put so much conditioner in — both before and after!

One last note…be careful upon entering the lagoon itself! The floor is actually really slippery and I nearly went completely under after losing my balance walking in! I also had no one to laugh it off with (#solotravelprobs). 😂

Have you been to the Blue Lagoon? What’d you think? Let me know!

Next stop: Edinburgh

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie

A Commitment-Phobe’s Commitment to Travel

Jobs, relationships, apartments, vegetarianism . . . these are all things I struggle to commit to.

Heck, I still even question the college I went to . . . and I graduated 5 years ago! 😂

Always on the hunt for new opportunities and experiences, I fear getting stuck in a rut.

The term “settling down” gives me nightmares.

I recently met up with a fellow traveler I met three years ago during my first solo expedition and we talked about our insatiable need to explore and see the world. I confessed that sometimes I wish I had no desire at all to travel; that I could simply be happy in one spot – stable, committed, and satisfied.

But el oh el then I wouldn’t be RUNAWAY RAPETTI!

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While some people can commit to jobs and places and people for years and years and years, I can commit to something too . . .

TRAVEL!!

Planes, trains, and automobiles – if there’s a ticket in my name, you can bet I’ll be there.

Not only that but it also goes hand in hand with my commitment to always be learning, dreaming, and growing. As much as I loved school, I’ve learned that the best classroom is somewhere right outside of your comfort zone.

I’m a textbook INTJ and yet I choose to travel solo because it gives me two things:

  1. My much-needed alone time. Hallelujah! 😂
  2. The push for ‘extroverted Jackie’ to come out and meet new folks!

Whether you’re a vagabond, a gypsy, or a runaway like me, I hope you enjoy every minute of your journey – and don’t forget to spread kindness and cheer along the way!

Next Stop: Grindavik!

Will you run away with me?!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Picnics and Conflicts: Life at 26

Hi y’all! Rapetti Review had quite the hiatus but is back with a fun rebrand — say hello to the new and improved Runaway Rapetti!

GUYS. My twenty-sixth year around the sun has been a little nuts – from dealing with my first break-up (See? I wasn’t kidding about being a late bloomer…) to moving back home after a short-lived stint in Astoria, I’m still very much figuring out what’s next for me. Life isn’t always the picnic folks make it out to be on Instagram (myself included), but it’s all a learning experience, amiright?!

Recently, I attended my cousin’s Sweet 16 party (sidenote: when did high schooler’s get so grown-up looking?) the other night and couldn’t believe my own was 11-years-ago this September.

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My Sweet 16, circa 2007

If somebody had asked me back then what I’d be doing 11 years from now, my answer probably would’ve been: “Living in NYC, working for a fashion magazine, aspiring to be the next Miranda Priestly.” If you had asked me a year later, during my senior year of high school, my answer would’ve been less fashion-y, more news-y (I became enthralled with Anderson Cooper and had high hopes of working alongside him as a broadcast journalist).

 

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My cousin Jess’ Sweet 16

Since graduating college, I’ve had a number of jobs…from working at Barnes & Noble…to ABC News and NBC News…in and out of NYC…trying to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t.

And there was a lot that I didn’t…😂 

I realized traveling was a true passion of mine and I didn’t want to be another cog in the machine, waiting for my vacation days to accumulate… only to jet off and come back to a dull desk job.

So, last year I decided to ditch the desk and work for myself, full-time! I’m a freelance writer, editor, and so-called ‘Jackie of all trades.’ I have tons of great clients and I occasionally write for travel sites, including The Vacation Times.

I’m always looking for my next gig so if you’re in need of a content creator, check out my ‘Hire Me’ page here

I originally started ‘Rapetti Review’ while working at NBC News back in 2015 and the reviews were to be food-related. That aspect of the blog faded as I traveled more and then turned towards a pescetarian diet in 2016. I’ve always enjoyed a good bite to eat but focusing my blog around it wasn’t me.

So, I welcome you to the new Runaway Rapetti blog! If you’re new here, check out my About page to learn a bit more about the gal behind the words!

I’m excited to share my adventures with y’all … in fact, I’m heading back to Europe this Friday! I’m flying to Scotland (with a 20-hour layover in Iceland) and then I’m off to Copenhagen, London, and wherever else the wind takes me!

Will you run away with me?!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

 

 

Reykjavík Vlog

Hey, y’all!

If you read my last post, then you already know I’m applying for WOW air’s Summer Travel Guide competition. I could not be more excited about this opportunity! The chosen winner will live in Reykjavík from June 1st to mid-August — with their best friend!

Oh, and the pair will travel to not one, not two, but EIGHT WOW air destinations during their time abroad, creating unique and entertaining travel guides along the way!

AND . . . the chosen pair will get to actually PICK where they’d like to go. From Alicante and Amsterdam to Salzburg and Warsaw, WOW air flies to SO many incredible places.

The airline is looking for a “dynamic duo, ideally two content creators” to embark on this journey. While I don’t have a massive YouTube following by any means, I am a content creator by day (mostly written content), but I actually really enjoy video editing.

After editing and uploading my WOW air submission video, my creative juices were still flowing and I put together a short little piece about my time in Reykjavík. I went there for just a couple of days back in Feb. 2016 and fell in love with this quirky little city. If you want to see what I thought of eating fermented shark and sheep’s brain, definitely watch the video for a laugh!

Disclaimer: This was before I chose the vegetarian life!

And, if you haven’t already, please watch my local’s guide to NYC!

Give it a thumbs up, comment, and subscribe to my channel!

I plan on posting some more short vlogs from past travels — and hopefully more from upcoming travels this summer!

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Let me know what you think of my NY local’s guide — did you already know about these hidden gems? What would you recommend folks see in NY or in your own hometown?

Let me know in the comments!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie