Happy New Year!
I know this blog has been dismal over the past year or so, and truthfully I have no excuse. But, as I was reflecting over the last 12 (or 14) months, I decided there were some things worth sharing, the first of which being our October trip to Iceland.
Visiting Iceland feels like visiting another planet. The beauty found on the island is truly indescribable. Ray and I were lucky enough to visit this amazing place with some of our favorite people, which made the experience that much more enjoyable.
We started off with a bang, arriving at 6am, and headed straight for the famous Blue Lagoon. Some say the Blue Lagoon is too touristy, but we loved it. The silica enriched, milky-blue warm water paired with the rocky landscape was exactly what we needed after a long flight. The Blue Lagoon is on the pricier side, at about $95 per person, but very worth the cost. Our reservation was early, and we were able to avoid huge crowds.
We spent the rest of the day exploring downtown Reykjavik and settling into our airbnb. The highlight for me was visiting the clock tower at Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s largest church. The views from the clock tower are unreal!
The next day we started our journey on the golden circle, an area in south Iceland full of beautiful sights. We visited Kerid crater, Gysyer, Faxi waterfall, and Gullfoss waterfall. We also ate ice cream while watching cows graze.
Our next day started early with some amazing waterfalls, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Skogafoss was our first real view of what Iceland had to offer landscape-wise. Skogafoss is famous for having a path that takes you to the backside of the waterfall. Seljalandsfoss is huge, mighty, and has a (terrifying) staircase to the top. I, being terrified of heights, passed on the staircase, but Ray and Krista climbed to the top and claimed the view was breathtaking.
From there, we made our way to the town of Vik. Vik is on the southernmost point of Iceland and is famous for it’s black sand beach. Right offshore are stacks of basalt rocks, which according to legend, are former trolls. The icelandic people have a rich folklore involving trolls, elves, hidden people, and other mythical beings. This may have been my favorite day of the trip. The sights were indescribably breathtaking. Being from the flat lands of Florida, seeing the literal hundreds of waterfalls, cliffs, mountains, and valleys was a mesmerizing treat.
Our fourth day we took a little easier. We had to switch out one of our rental cars, so a few of the boys went back to Reykjavik to take care of that. Ray, Kristi, Krista, and I went grocery shopping and had famous Icelandic hot dogs. We all spent the afternoon at Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and European tectonic plates meet. We saw a few waterfalls, location shoots from Game of Thrones, and at least 30 rainbows.
Our fifth day was our longest travel day paired with our worst weather. Our first stop was Fjadrargljufur Canyon, which had the most un-Florida like views! Next we made our way to Vatnajokull, Iceland’s largest glacier. This wasn’t something we originally had on our itinerary, but I’m so glad we went!! We were able to hike to the edge of Vatnajokull and taste 1,000 year old ice! We then made our way to diamond beach and the iceberg lagoon. By this point in the day, it was cold and rainy but the dreary weather couldn’t take away from the beauty of the icebergs.
That evening we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights, one of the main sights we were hoping to see while in Iceland. I can’t even describe what an incredible experience it was. We had been checking the forecast all week and were worried we wouldn’t get our chance to see them. I’m so thankful the skies cleared and we saw the Northern Lights dance across the Icelandic sky.
Our last full day was spent searching for breweries, petting Icelandic horses, exploring the countryside, and eating at the famous tomato restaurant. The tomato restaurant is located in one of Iceland’s largest greenhouses. We dined on tomato soup, olive bread, tomato based cocktails, and even tomato ice cream!
Before catching our flight home, we spent our morning in downtown Reykjavik. We spent a few hours checking out museums and shops and bidding Iceland a farewell.
It’s difficult to truly put into words the beauty and magnitude of this trip. Iceland feels like a completely different planet. I encourage everyone to visit this mysterious and breathtaking island if given the opportunity.