You might say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not. Well, who are we kidding... I am (ten points if you get the movie quote). I'm an intense daydreamer! I have always fancied the idea of traveling around the world, and just a couple of years ago I decided to stop dreaming about it and actually put some action to my dreams.
It wasn't hard to convince me to choose Iceland as my first big trip out of the US: waterfalls every five minutes, giant cliffs overlooking the sea, aurora borealis, Iceberg lagoons, puffins, whales and so much more! Unfortunately, a week wasn't nearly enough time to be able to see everything. That just means I get to go back, right?
Here are some pictures from the amazing trip I took with my mom, her hubby Mark, and one of my dearest friends Abbigail.
We flew right into Reykjavik through Icelandair, got into our rental car and started driving through the prettiest country I've ever seen. A few minutes outside of the city we found a smallish mountain to climb. The path upwards was beautiful, to my right was a stream, with the coldest spring water. The cloud covered hilltops made it feel like we were higher than we actually were. On the way up I made several Lord of the Rings references, "Legolas! What do your elf eyes see?" Mom laughed, she always laughs at my silly jokes. Abbigail and I walked around. We saw the Harpa, a flea market, and went through an art museum.
The next morning, Abbigail and I attended a service at the Lutheran Church called Hallgrimskirkja. The inside was BEAUTIFUL. I had never attended a Lutheran service before, there were large organ pipes above the entrance, they sounded like nothing I've ever heard before. Later we shopped around; I bought a wool sweater and some hand warmers for my sisters. That night we went to a bar called The Drunken Rabbit. As an introvert, conversations with strangers just don't naturally happen easily. To counter this, Abbigail and I played a scavenger hunt game that we created. A few of our goals were as follows: Tell a Viking joke. Learn one Icelandic word. Ask someone to sing a line of a song they liked. Ask a stranger what the last thing they google searched for. Well, my favorite answer came from the cute Polish bartender, his name was JJ. I asked him to sing a line from his favorite song, and he was stalling, of course, but came up with "Yesterday" from The Beetles. Did I mention how dreamy he was? Abbigail and I got up to leave, he then leaned over the bar, looked me dead in the eyes and asked me "Will I ever see you again, Hannah?" SWOON. This was one of the top romantic moments of my life. Moving on...
Leaving Reykjavik and heading to Kirkjubaejarklauster (yes, I actually know how to say this!) to stay in a cabin. On the way, we saw a couple of waterfalls: Seljallandsfoss and Skogafoss (I think foss stands for falls) and LOTS OF SHEEP. Everything was wet and muddy! There was so much exploring to be done, I'm glad I had the right gear.
The cabin we stayed at was in Kirkjubaejarklauster, in the middle of lava fields, right next to nowhere. I was hopeful to see the aurora borealis, or maybe even the stars. Sadly, the moon was too bright, and we weren't able to see much of anything. Guess I'll just have to visit again! The family we rented the cabin from were so sweet. They brought us dinner and crowberries that their kids had picked from the lava fields during the summer. They tasted like a bitter blueberry, or at least that's the closest thing I can think of to describe them. We all went to Jokulsarlon Lagoon, the most peaceful place I've ever been to, seriously. Icebergs from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier quietly float along, making their way to the sea. I really enjoyed the lagoon. Our next destination was fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, another beautiful location! There is so much to see in Iceland, you'd need a good two weeks at least to be able to see everything that it has to offer.
Something Iceland is known for is its hot springs. They're all over, but you have to know where to look. Seljavallalaug is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. The water is fed into it from a hot spring in the side of the mountains. The temperature outside was about 40 degrees, not exactly the best to be going for a swim... but we did it anyways! You haven't lived until you've gotten out of a hot spring, froze your tushy off, and then hiked an hour back to your car. It was exhilaratingly fantastic, and I'd do it again! Also took some fun pictures on a cliff in Vik. One of the nights we stayed in Vik my mom and I had planned a paragliding tour with True Adventure Iceland. We almost missed out on it, by some miracle we ran into the guides at the only grocery store in town, and my mom, being the social human that she is, stroke up a conversation with one of the guides. Long story short he was trying to call us all day to tell us that tomorrow wasn't going to work out, the wind wouldn't be right. However, if we could make it to the top of the hill in the next twenty minutes they'd take us for a sunset flight. YES, I'd rather not cancel, thanks! OMG. It was amazing, difficult, but amazing. To take off you have to run off the side of the cliff while the wind is pushing you backward, not terrifyingly difficult at all. I felt like I was a pterodactyl flying over Isla Nublar at the end of Jurassic Park. I may or may not have been singing "Do do do do doooooo" in my head whilst flying. Landing was hard. I fell flat on my face in front of the cute Icelandic guy that I was tandem flying with.
On the sixth day in Iceland, my true love gave to meeeeeeee a 60-minute hike to a crashed DC-3 plane. Sorry. I don't think it was really an hour hike, more like 45 minutes. Maybe it just felt like an hour because we were walking against the cold wind. It was so windy my eyes started watering and a tear froze on my cheek. You know, it's kind of weird, and amazing, that your eyes don't freeze the second you walk outside when it's bitterly cold. Back to the plane... it was so otherworldly seeing a crashed plane sitting out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by black rocks for miles. If you ever find yourself in Iceland, you must visit it! So cool.
As if seeing the brightest rainbows and beautiful majestic Icelandic horses were magical enough, we stayed the night at the Silica Hotel, pure luxury. I have never felt so pampered in my whole life while I was staying there. I was only sad that it was for one night. The hotel is connected to the famous Blue Lagoon that people are raving good things about. Day passes to the lagoon were complimentary, but the hotel also had its own private lagoon. The private lagoon was ten times better than the Blue Lagoon, it was just too crowded. Literally filling up with tourists non stop, however, still worth the free day pass to see it.
Leaving Iceland was really hard for me. This was an adventure that I was dreaming of for over two years before taking my dreams and turning them into plans. I didn't want it to end, but I'm so very thankful that I was able to go and experience the wonderful land of fire and ice that was so beautifully and uniquely designed by God.