The Seaside Calls

One girl's mission to escape monotony

Stone Church Ruins | Eleroy, Illinois

The Old Eleroy Stone Church

You know the best thing about road trips? Besides snacking on beef jerky and slurpees? Finding weird things on the side of the road. Especially abandoned things. If it looks like it’s been forgotten by society, I’m in love. This was one of those discoveries that was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

We were driving from Galena, IL back to my aunt’s home in Chicago, when I noticed this stone church¬†without a roof, and very clear signs of fire damage. Obviously I made my aunt pull over, and I went in to explore. The caution tape did not deter me… in fact, it made my rebellious side come out. I wouldn’t say I break the law often, but I’ve definitely done my fair share of trespassing. I think most photographers have a tendency to do things like that, but it’s totally fine because it’s all in the name of art ūüėČ


After doing¬†a little research, I found out that this building actually hadn’t served as a church for a couple decades, and had recently been utilized as¬†an antique shop. The owner lived inside, so unfortunately he lost both his shop and his home… and possibly his cat, from what the locals¬†were saying on Facebook. The fire had taken place a few weeks before I stumbled upon it.

I tried to go in, but I didn’t get far. From wall to wall, the building was completely full of fallen beams, chairs, and other debris.

The stained glass windows had fallen out and were still laying in small fragments on the ground below. The strong scent of fire still lingered in the air.

I don’t know what is to become of this building, or how long it will sit there in this condition, but getting to explore it in its abandoned splendor was exactly the kind of thing¬†I live for.


First Night In Reykjavik | Iceland

Day 1 in Iceland

Harpa Music Venue

I decided to end the day with a relaxing walk by the water. The Harpa Music Venue is right behind my apartment, so I headed over in that direction. As the sun started to set, the glass walls caught the light and created these beautiful colors.

harpa music hall harpa glass




beam me up
beam me up


Hallgrímskirkja | Iceland

Day 1 In Iceland

Feels Like Home

I finally landed in beautiful Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland! I had booked a room in an idyllic apartment which I found through Airbnb (I ONLY use Airbnb when I travel, and I strongly recommend it to everyone). I reached my apartment on August 1st, after roughly 13 hours of traveling, and I slept all day! When I woke up around 7pm, it appeared to me  that that’s kind of what you’re supposed to do in Iceland! It seems like everyone sleeps in the daytime and then hits the city around midnight and stays out until the bars close at 5 am. All night, from my window, I could hear loud music playing and see people taking walks, and then at 6am, it all stopped and the city was completely silent. A night owl like myself could definitely get used to living in such a city!

This is my roommate’s friend singing from our balcony… Don’t ask me why.

My street (Laugavegur)
My neighborhood
My neighborhood


The next day around noon, I ventured down to Hallgr√≠mskirkja, Reykjavik‚Äôs iconic church. It can be seen throughout most of the city, and my apartment was no exception. Feeling confident in my navigational skills, I decided to just walk towards it until I got there, no map or anything. So what if I got lost? There is no safer city in the world to get lost in! So I grabbed my walking shoes, my lucky scarf, and my camera bag and started walking. One thing I have noticed every time I’ve visited Europe is that people WALK differently than they do in the States. No one ever seems to be in a rush; while we Americans love to speed walk, Europeans love to stroll. So, when in Rome… Even at my leisurely European walking pace, it only took me about 20 minutes to get¬†there, and when I did, it was as breathtaking as I had imagined.

A shot taken about halfway down Sk√≥lav√∂r√įust√≠gur, which intersects Laugavegur about 100 feet away from my apartment.
A shot taken about halfway down Sk√≥lav√∂r√įust√≠gur.


A statue of Lief Erikson, the famous Icelandic explorer
This statue of Lief Erikson, the famous Icelandic explorer, stands in front of the church
The back of the church. I wanted to get some shots of the chapel, but there was a wedding going on.
The back of the church.

After basking in its glory for a few minutes, I went inside and bought my ticket for the elevator (I wanted to get some shots of the chapel first, but there was a wedding going on). Once I reached the top, I waited for the other tourists to clear out of the room, and then I rushed to¬†a vacant window from which I could photograph the beautiful rooftops of Reykjavik. It was a pretty high window, and I’m a pretty short girl, so even though I¬†stood on the stool they had provided, I wouldn’t have been able to see out the window if I hadn’t had my camera on me. For someone who loves color as much as I do, this was truly a wonder to behold. As I stared in awe at the beautiful city, I was rudely awakened from my deep thought by a loud “BONG…BONG…BONG…”, which caused me to fall off of my stool. Turns out the church had a functioning bell tower, which was located directly above where I stood. I took that as the church’s way of saying “give the other tourists a chance, Nena! You’ve been hogging the window for 20 minutes!”

The view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja
The view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja


I honestly could have stayed there all day, taking in the beauty of the city and the cool ocean breeze, but it was time to start making my way to the next location