The Traveling Bagpiper

Leave a comment

Seven Days In Iceland

First let me start by saying that we got a fabulous deal. Round trip airfare, 6 nights in a hotel with breakfast, and round trip bus transfer airport to hotel and back for $718 (USA dollars) each. I found this on Icelandair website and all I did was click on vacation package and “Build your own”.  As I look now, a couple could go March 10, 2017 for 5 nights with hotel and breakfast for $616 each.  Icelandair    <<There is a link for you

BTW If you are looking for a blog with drunken twenty year olds making duck face in Reykjavic….wrong blog. This is more like Thelma and Louise 🙂

Someone warned my friend Connie that seven days was too long. Trust me there is plenty to do. On our arrival day we explored the Capital city Reykjavik. We found a bar with beer and bread bowl soup. Yummy and reasonably priced.  Svarta Kaffid at Laugavegi 54


There were six women in our group. We made a stop at guide to Iceland and set up day trips for each of the following days. We didn’t all want to do the same things. Oddly enough i couldn’t talk four of them into snorkeling in Iceland! Francisco was very helpful. He probably needs Prozac now though.

Friday September 9, 2016                                                                                   Landmannalaugar on Big Wheels – Mountain Adventure

  click here for itinerary and details


Me and the Super Jeep

Some of the scenery


View while hiking Langmannalaugar


Natural Geothermal Pool

After our hike we swam in a natural geothermal pool.  Bring your own towel fyi

Saturday September 10, 2016

Golden Circle & Snorkeling

 Click here for more info

And here we had a small snafu.  It pays to double check your documents. Connie and I sat and waited for our bus to get us for the Circle tour at 8:30 am and we waited in vain. They completely made it up to us. After we finished snorkeling Guide to Iceland sent a private car and driver and Connie and I saw everything (and more) that the bus tour saw. But in a car with just the two of us and a driver who suggested stopping for ice cream at a local farm. Absolutely happy with that outcome.


Getting Stuffed Into A Dry Suit


Snorkeling Between Two Tectonic Plates


The Eurasian and North American Plates From Underwater

I still can’t believe I talked Connie into snorkeling in  36° water : D


Sporting My Sloth Sweatshirt at Gullfoss Waterfal

Sunday September 11, 2016

South Shore Adventure

more info click here


wp-image-1966668691jpg.jpgSólheimajökull glacier


Don’t Stand Where?

Monday September 12, 2016

The Blue Lagoon

Info here


Yep It Doesn’t Suck

Tuesday September 13, 2016

Inside The Volcano Tour

more info


First we hiked about two miles.

Then we killed some some and explored this.


Then we hiked up that ^    The buildings are base camp where we were rewarded with lamb stew after our trip 400 feet into the volcano.

Connie Getting Her Harness On

Going down.


At The Bottom Of Thrihnukagigur Volcano

Porcupine Quill Earrings Made In Iceland. I brought them to the bottom of the volcano to make them extra special. I will have to go back and make more. Sold out!

Wednesday September 14, 2016

Reykjavik Exploring                                                                         Hallgrímskirkja Church and The Penis Museum  

                   Yes, in that order.



The Penis Museum…You know you wanna click it

Bye bye Reykjavik for now.


1 Comment

Adventures of Madge the Mannequin


Madge the Beauty School Mannequin

I am Gypsy Piper Girl. I travel around making and selling porcupine quill jewelry and I play the bagpipe. So I play with loud and sharp things!. Recently I traveled to Montana from Northern Illinois.  After having just read Highway by CJ Banks and scaring the poop out of myself (serial killer targeting women drivers in Montana and Wyoming) I decided the heck with driving solo….per se. So I recruited Madge the mannequin to travel with me. My usual travel partner, Granola Barbie, wasn’t available. What you can’t see in this picture is that Madge has only a head and neck. Granola Barbie (Christyn) teaches Fijian Massage. I wouldn’t want to hurt Madge’s feelings but a bodyless mannequin really doesn’t compare to a pal that can massage you into a coma. Se la vie.

Before we left I had a quick gig with the band at Alpacapalooza.


Yep that’s me wearing my ex-boyfriends band t-shirt – both from the 80’s.

“What? Your band t-shirt? Nope haven’t seen it.”

On Saturday we traveled to Rochester Minnesota from Northern Illinois and crashed for the night. In the morning we got a few giggles from at the McDonalds drive thru while getting my coffee for the road.

Madge Blatantly Ignoring the Magnificent Scenery

Madge Blatantly Ignoring the Magnificent Scenery

From Rochester we headed to the Badlands of South Dakota. We camped in my new pop up tent.


Yes that is an electric burner. I was not roughing it. Look, I have dragged a backpack over four coastal mountains in Alaska and lost five toenails in the process so you bad asses can just stuff it. I was traveling frugally not masochistically.

After setting up I made some quill jewelry while watching the Lakota Indians do dance demonstrations right next to my IMG_20150823_174515[1]campsite. How cool was that?

After a while you can forget that you are sitting next to a bodyless dummy. I have traveled with worse companions. In the morning I stopped in Interior South Dakota to get fuel. A policeman was administering a sobriety test to another motorist. Normally I would have passed that drama by but there were not a lot of options. So I parked and went inside the gas station to pay. I got some mighty odd looks. Someone asked me “How ya doin’?”  I said I was better than some people. That got a chuckle. I pumped my gas and started to leave. Mr. Policeman gave me a really hard look. And then I remembered Madge. The policeman had a for sure thing with the DUI but he looked mighty torn about letting me drive off.   And maybe that explains the quizzical looks from the locals inside the gas station.

From the Badlands we headed northwest. We stopped in Medicine Rocks State Park in Montana for a leg stretch and to create a few more porcupine quill earrings.


Dragonfly Porcupine Quill Earrings Created in Medicine Rocks State Park

Here’s our selfie!


From Medicine Rocks we traveled onto our next camp site in Miles City Montana. Big Sky Campground. Madge was a bit grumpy. The state highway was not real smooth. I stopped rather abruptly. She complained of a headache after she rolled off of the cooler she sits on and hit her head on the dashboard. Hmmm duck tape or a bungee cord….

We had a feline visitor as I set up. Luckily he did not leave any presents for me to clean up.


This Tent Sets Up In 10 Seconds –  Good Luck Getting It Back In Its Case

We arrived in Livingston Montana on Tuesday and what’s the first thing I did? I rode a camel! But don’t bring it up around Madge. She is still a little upset about having to watch from the car.


A Camel Named Doug

And on Wednesday I sold jewelry at the Western Sustainability Market. Fun!


Check out the Absaroka Mountain range in the background!

On Thursday my friend Jeanine and I kayaked eleven miles of the Yellowstone River. Madge can’t swim so she stayed home. The smoke from the forest fires is evident in our pictures.

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

On Friday we had to start heading back to Illinois. So we stopped at a Prairie Dog Village. Madge really wanted to see a prairie dog up close but they were having none of that.

Greycliff Prairie Dog Town

Prairie Dog Den At Greycliff Prairie Dog Town



We wanted to camp at Camel Hump Campground but my Garmin is a lying bitch and not only wanted me to drive thru someone’s ranch in North Dakota but also expected me to pull off some Chitty Chitty Bang Bang maneuver. I’m driving a Honda for craps sake. I turned around once it became apparent that I would have had to take on a bull to do so. Madge thinks we could have taken him. I told her to go ahead. Funny how cocky someone without a body can be.  hmph

My Garmin Is A Lying Bitch

My Garmin Is A Lying Bitch

Here’s Madge checking out my mad cooking skills in Minnesota. Ironically not one other camper set up near us. We had spots 1-6 all to ourselves. Weird right?


We swung thru Fargo for kicks and made a few more pieces of jewelry before reaching that campground.

Madge Enjoying A Nice Cold Tecate

Madge Enjoying A Nice Cold Tecate

We arrived home Sunday night. Kicked back and had a beer. On Tuesday we left for Louisville. Cuz that’s how we roll. Actually Madge rolls kind of awkwardly.


Madge in Louisville

I’m pretty sure I heard Madge muttering something about taking my pop up tent and stuffing it somewhere. I guess she is more of a Best Western Kind of Mannequin.

We enjoyed visiting the Peddlers Mall in Clarksville Indiana. I found a bagpiper sculpture!  Madge donned my Glengarry in its honor.


By Friday night we were back in Northern Illinois.

For now Madge is helping me with some chickens while their owners are on holiday.

ACK! Do I Have Chicken Dookie On My Neck? Do I????

ACK! Do I Have Chicken Dookie On My Neck?

Stay tuned. Next up is a burial at sea for my Aunt Suzi. And some other adventures along the way.

Leave a comment

Gypsy Piper Girl On Location


It was another busy St Patrick’s day but Gypsy Piper Girl wasn’t too busy to pick up her grandkids (two kids on the right) on her way to the first bar gig. Note – I did drop them off somewhere other than a pub. Haha
So now I’m on location in Minnesota.  I’ll be busy creating more inventory for this summer’s festivals and of course Etsy.


Just added to my Etsy shop
Seahorse earrings!

On my way to Minnesota I detoured thru Dubuque Iowa to visit the Mississippi River Museum.  I wanted to see the river otters. I was there for a few hours and all I can tell you is that they are lazy buggers. They napped the whole time I was there.


So I petted a sturgeon instead.

And along the way thru Iowa I stalked the Amish buggies. My friend in Juneau was quite intrigued by the culture.  Apparently not too many up there. 



Recycling Roadkill and Porcupine Quill Jewelry


I make jewelry with porcupine quills. I started in 20012 while house sitting for my friends in the Alaskan Interior. He is a bush pilot and she is a teacher. Since her summer was free she decided to join him on a goose banding mission. I stayed in their home on top of Becker Ridge with two hunting dogs. After a while one can run out of things to do all alone. So I acquired some quills and began making jewelry. I was inspired by the jewelry the native Athabascans make but my designs are my own.

Every once in a while I get a snarky comment or email about killing porcupines. (Insert eye roll)  I am not a hunter. The last quills I acquired I gathered myself. It is certainly not my fault Porkie did not successfully cross the road in Juneau. But since he met the Grim Reaper that sunny day last summer I made use of his quills.


Here I am trying to be nonchalant while someone else is heading ‘out the road’ in Juneau and driving by. “Don’t mind me, I’m just standing by roadkill.”   And on the right I am trying to neatly extract some quills so I can make more of the jewelry without yaking while doing so.  At the last Art Scene I was armed with these pictures. If anyone dared to inquire I showed them these. Yes i did. hmph

The only dangerous weapon I own is a bagpipe. hahaha


IMG_20140826_031004Porcupine quills and an Inuit pendant I got in Juneau on a hoop necklace

So there you have it, I am not a porcupine assassin.

and note I did try to blur the pics of the deceased porkie so no whining.