How I Survived Iceland....BARELY
Every trip has it's tipping point... A time where things are bitter sweet with the potential to crash & burn or an opportunity to see the silver lining. Sometimes it comes in the form of excessive food comas (tbt to L.A.) and other times it can be due to conflict among travel partners...cough Paris summer '17.
In Iceland the source of my tipping point was due to mother nature, and some crazy weather. BUT before we dive into that story, here are a couple highlights/details for anyone planning a trip to Reykjavik.
1. RENT A CAR. We landed in Iceland at 5 am and immediately found our way to the AirBnB. Driving in Iceland was a good call from a monetary stand point with such a large group. S/O to my boys Foxy and Gallagher for driving manual transmission during our trip.
2. TAKE A TOUR. Our first activity was to explore Reykjavik on a two hour walking tour. The town was smaller than I imagined and pretty easy to cover in that short time (that is if you don’t mind a bit of wind and intermittent snow during winter time). After our walking tour with Johannes, we made our way to...
3. BLUE LAGOON. Blue Lagoon is a hot spring bath about an hour drive out of the city. As one can imagine, a hot spring in the middle of snow covered mountains was absolutely breathtaking.
4. JOE AND THE JUICE. There's not too much to be said here other than I think the country of Iceland is OBSESSED with Joe & the Juice. I saw 3 in the airport alone! If you have yet to try these delicious pressed/blended juices or need a cup of coffee. Have no fear, a J&J is probably right around the corner.
Iceland is a beautiful country, nearly otherworldly. Most of the activities around Reykjavik include walking, mild hiking, swimming, and if you’re up for it some type of climbing. Some of my favorite sights in Iceland were seeing the sun rise around 9 AM over the snow and watching the geyser in action during our Golden Circle tour.
The Golden Circle tour began at the Diocese Catholic Church. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the church still stands today as one of the oldest structures in the area. From there we headed to the Gullfoss waterfall which left us in awe.
The next stop was the geyser...just in time to get a few action shots. The water reaches temperatures of 90-100 degrees Celsius which made it transfer into a gaseous form as soon as it made contact with the -5 degree Celsius surrounding air. From the geyser we made our way to the last stop of day two, the historical parliament site of Iceland. Located in Pingvellir, a national park, Iceland’s parliament would meet here from the 10th to the 18th centuries. This was also the sight where court cases would be heard and executions would take place. Despite the tragic stories told to us by our tour guide, we enjoyed this spot both for its general beauty and with a little snowball fight.
On our last PLANNED day for the trip, our waterfall and glacier tour was canceled due to bad weather, so we took this as an opportunity to discover the city more. Going from one store to the next and stopping at local cafes as well as pubs we made our way through Reykjavik. Little did we know that half the group would get stuck in Iceland for two more days due to flight cancellations. And that my friends was not a fun as you would imagine.
The snow and wind were harsh, I was panicking about how to tell my boss I was stuck in Iceland (without planned PTO), and to top it all off...I got sick. But like every trips tipping point, I had a choice to make. And you better believe I found the silver lining. In a little Reykjavik coffee shop of all places I met one of my favorite British actors, James Norton!! I saw him not once, but twice that day and could not have been more excited. So what Iceland what I expected...not at all. It was frustrating at times (questionable airport staff) but it was also beautiful, historic, exciting, and full of surprises.