Alright so since we finally took a moment to breathe and attempt some sleep it seemed like a good time to stop, introduce ourselves and let you know what Iceland was like. First of all let me say two days is not enough, so go ahead and put Iceland back on the list of places to visit. That being said I do think we did manage to hit a lot of amazing things (as evidenced by the photo I took above, Aurora Borealis!)
6:30 AM: Arrive in Iceland after a very long flight, where surprisingly on an 8 hour transcontinental flight we got one drink service and that was all. We got to the airport cleared customs and then grabbed our transfer tickets to the Blue Lagoon and on to Reykjavic. Kailey took this opportunity to get some much needed sleep, Sam took pictures of Kailey sleeping which will be a theme throughout this trip.
9:00 AM: Board our bus to the Blue Lagoon, get some impressions of the alien landscape that is Iceland. Volcanic Island is right, Kailey goes back to sleep (see told you).
10:15 AM: It’s time to soak in some geothermal spas, the Blue Lagoon is a fairly amazing place. The review I read before we came described it as the Disney Land of geothermal pools, touristy but a must-see. I would have to agree and also say that its the perfect way to recover from a long cramped flight. The water is so warm and full of silica mud and smells like sulphur. A couple hours of soaking in the water and you feel ready to climb a volcano.
Ok so enough with the time stamps, because everything starts to blur together on day one which was a very very long day. After the Blue Lagoon we finally headed to our hostel in Reykjavic, which was named Our House. It’s a really nice little hostel, with the Owner Bedda a super nice lady who goes at about Mach 4. After not sleeping for close to 30 hours it was agreed that a nap was in order.
We woke up a few hours later we were up and hungry. We went out and got some good noodles from the Noodle Station and then walked around for a little while before deciding that we were freezing cold and needed to get ready since we were getting picked up at 8:30 for our Northern Lights tour. After coming back and getting ready we got bundled up in some warm clothes and headed out to get picked up.
The Northern Lights tour was incredible, it started out fairly slow with some talk about how there was only a 20 percent chance of seeing the lights and how its a natural phenomenon and hard to judge when and where it will happen. After a lot of driving away from the city towards the pitch black night of the mountains we stopped for a while, got out and froze our butts off while seeing nothing. We then picked up and drove to another place, I was fairly convinced that it was going to be a long cold night. Shortly after reaching the second viewing point, a church, the guide came from the back of a small hill and said that the lights were out, and out they were! It was a cascade of green across the sky, however our camera was not cooperating and we didn’t get any photos, thats ok I thought at least we saw them. During the drive onward Kailey and I got the camera working and suddenly one of the passengers said “LIGHTS!”, out the right of the van you could see the ribbons flowing across the sky. We pulled over and got out, it was now close to midnight and we stood, shivering, taking pictures and staring as green ribbons flowed across the night sky. We saw them twice more, though very faint and not as bright as the second stop. We then returned to the hostel and passed out, knowing we had 5 hours before we had to be up again to head out for the Golden Circle Tour.
Wake up after a few short hours of sleep and head out again for the Golden Circle, which consists of the Pingvellir National Park, The Geysir and the Gullfoss (Golden) Waterfall. The tour was a long day of driving, walking and taking photos. The Pinvellir National Park is really nice since it is actually located on the boundry of the North American and Eurasian plates (go ahead geology people you may now oooohhh and ahhhhh). From there we were off to the Geysir and walked around and watched the Geysir erupt. We then ran back as we realized the tiny rope warning you of scalding water was within the splash zone! We then grabbed a bite to eat in the cafeteria and headed back out to the road for a short trip over to the Gullfoss Waterfall. The waterfall is a pretty incredible, beautiful site that allows you to get right up to the falls with a tiny little rope for safety. We were the youngest people on the tour by about 50 years, but it was good since it was a really small group and we had a great guide.
Right as we started our trek back the rain began and we drove, passed out, and watched as the landscape rolled by on our trip back to the city. We returned around 4pm and again fell asleep as we were exhausted since it felt like one really long day since leaving Seattle. We woke up and walked out around the city on our way to a fish and chips place someone in the house recommended. It turned out to be a little organic bistro right on the water that was really good. Fish and chips, mussels, and tomato soup kind of a great way to end a cold windy day! After that we headed back to the hostel for some photo uploading and relaxation since we had been moving nonstop since arriving. We realized that while awesome the pace was pretty hard to keep up.
We got back, downloaded our photos, edited and then played around with photo journal. I am still figuring out all the nuances of putting up albums, but am getting better at it. If you have any other programs that are ipad friendly that make sharing albums really easy it would be great to have suggestions. We stayed up pretty late getting the photos in order then went to sleep, woke up after a real full night of rest and then woke up, packed, had breakfast and packed up our bags. I sat down to write this blog and am now going to grab a ride to the airport. On the way we will try to take some photos of the many Icelandic Horses and sheep that are all over the island, but have eluded our cameras thus far.
A great way to start off the trip, and get underway on our adventure!