After an extremely long day of traveling, I am finally well rested, showered, and about to have breakfast at the hotel.
Chris and I took off from Boston on Saturday around 9pm. There was a slight delay because of some thunderstorms in the area but once we took off the flight was smooth and felt relatively short.
Due to the time difference we were expecting to land in Iceland around 6am the next day. I promise you, I did my very best to sleep on the flight. I woke up early that day. I drank a lot of red wine. I got a work out in. But alas, I was extremely uncomfortable and MAYBE got a max of 90 minutes of sleep. I think it was closer to 45 minutes, honestly.
One thing that I’m glad I caught during the flight was flying over Greenland. The clouds cleared a few times so I could see the terrain and it occurred to me that I would most likely never have seen Greenland in my life otherwise.
We landed in Reykjavik on time and met up with Chris’s parents, who flew from New York and arrived shortly after us. From what I experienced, the airport was very clean and modern. It also had some of the coolest bathrooms I’ve ever been in, just sayin’.
We picked up our car rental and headed out. I’ve never seen such a diverse terrain as I did in our first day driving around. I’ve actually never seen anything like this country ever. Iceland is a volcanic island and as a result there’s a lot of really cool rock formations and unusual lava fields. Suffice to say, it wasn’t long before we pulled the car over to take photos.
We stopped quickly for breakfast at a little cafe and went to Kronan, a local grocery store chain to pick up snacks for the road. I love going to grocery stores in foreign places. It’s interesting to see how people eat and shop.
After that, it was time to hit the road. Our hotel was in Reykholt, a little over an hour’s drive from the airport. Check-in wasn’t until 4pm so we decided to drive around a bit and sightsee. So worth it. We found a road on a map that drove through a valley and it was by far the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.
I don’t even know where to start in explaining it. I read somewhere that when you visit Iceland you want to take pictures of every single thing you see. It’s true. The photos come nowhere close to how genuinely magnificent and vast the landscape is. It was mind blowing. There were miles and miles of land, broken up only by enormous, towering cliffs. Every body of water we encountered was perfectly crystal clear.
The drive on this remote, single road was roughly 3 hours (we had to go slow for a long portion of it because it was unpaved) and we saw no more than 5 other cars throughout it. The landscape was not only vast but varied as well. Some stretches were lush and green and with one turn we would be surrounded by nothing but what seemed like rocky desert.
When we finally made it out of the valley we stopped for a quick bite to eat at gas station/rest stop. The restaurants in Iceland are expensive but the gas stations often have reasonably priced groceries available. We went to the bistro and split a plate of nachos for about $28.00 before heading on our way.
While we were on the road we noticed a lot of cars stopped in one area so we decided to check it out. We couldn’t tell what the attraction was from the parking lot but when we got closer we found that it was an incredible waterfall/stream.
It’s so difficult to relay the true scale of these sites because they’re so massive and look so underwhelming in photos. A good opportunity to just be present and enjoy the matter at hand, I guess.
When we finally got to the hotel after a bit of confusion and a 2 hour detour, I thought I’d be ready for bed. However, after napping intermittently in the car I still had energy to walk around and explore the grounds and I figured if I could stay up later it would help with the jet lag. We settled into our rooms and washed before heading to dinner at Restaurant Mika, where I got the Cheese Dream Pizza. I’ve never had cheese pizza with raspberry chili sauce but it ended up being delicious. The restaurant has been recommended online and I can say after visiting that the service and food were both excellent.
Finally, after we finished dinner around 9pm (still bright as day outside btw,) we were ready for bed. I crawled under the covers and slept like a rock until our alarm went off the next morning for breakfast. All things considered, it was not a bad first day at all.
Stay tuned for my day 2 recap!