Day 2 in Iceland

Day 2 in Iceland was jam packed. I’ve hardly had the chance to sit down and write about this trip because we’ve done so much each day and I come back to the hotel totally wiped out. I’ll try to keep this short.

After breakfast on day 2 we immediately hopped in the car and headed out. We came across an area that had incredible, flowing turquoise water. All I could think was that it would make for the most perfect lazy river to tube down if only it were warm. Alas, I found it was not when I stepped in a marsh of it hidden by grass and soaked my foot. Womp womp.

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Our next stop was a huge waterfall called Gullfoss. The weather kept changing and I was grateful I brought and additional layer because it was cold there, especially with the water spraying everywhere. It’s a big tourist attraction so it was busy to the point where you most likely will have to crop people out of your pictures but the site was beautiful nonetheless.

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Pro tip – the majority of sites we have been to have required some level of steep climbing and a high chance of getting hurt if you slip and fall. This isn’t to freak anyone out, but flats or booties are definitely out of the question (I say this as someone who has seen others wearing those.) I’ve been alright in my running shoes because they have decent grip/traction but a solid pair of hiking boots wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Gullfoss had an awesome little gift shop and cafe area that had some good hearty sandwiches if you wanted to grab lunch there. There were also bathroom facilities, which cost 200 kr (2ish dollars) took cash or card, and were clean.

From Gullfoss we headed to the geyser right near by. I didn’t get any great pictures of it because it was huge and I’ve been keeping my zoom lens on however, it was really cool, really busy with tourists, and a quick easy stop because the geyser shoots up every 6 minutes or so.

When we left the geyser we were pretty hungry so we stopped by an N1 to get gas and pick up lunch supplies. We got some snacks and sandwich stuff and stopped off in a little trail area to eat. It came to around $51.00 for 4 of us, including a can of beer and a few candy bars in addition to the sandwich supplies.

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Trying the candy here has been fun.

While we were driving we saw a sign for an attraction and decided to check it out. It ended up being an amazingly beautiful crater in the earth with the most unreal lake/pond at the bottom. The sun was shining bright in this area of the island and it really made the colors stand out.

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While we were on the top of the crater we noticed a crazy colored mountain in the distance. We had nothing really pressing on the agenda so we decided to drive around and try to get up to it afterwards.

It took some sleuthing and admittedly, the site had a sign saying it was “under surveillance” but the view was incredible. A few other cars had the same idea as us and we all sort of stood in awe for a few minutes. Thinking back to it, it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve seen. It reminded me of the desert in Disney’s Aladdin.

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We headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner at Minilik, a nearby Ethiopian restaurant. I’d been dying to try Ethiopian food and it did not disappoint. The restaurant was super low key and had great vegetarian options. My only note would be that the portions are a bit small. I’d recommend an appetizer in addition to the entree.

After wine and great food, I was ready for a good nights sleep. Stay tuned for my day 3 recap!

chelsea

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Day 1 in Iceland

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.

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*The higher the pinkies the fancier*

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.

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It said on the flight info screen that the air temp at our altitude was -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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You can’t tell from the photo but those are giant mountains!

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

chelsea