I had such an AMAZING time in Iceland. I really want to go back. Immediately. I don’t even know how to begin to describe all the wonderful things I experienced there. One of our first days there we did the Golden Circle tour, which showed us some of the main site right outside of Reykjavik. We saw Thingvellir, Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and Skalholt. Thingvellir is now a national park, but it’s where the vikings used to meet to discuss and read the law code. It was cool to be in a place of so much history, even if there wasn’t much left to see. Although we did get to see the continental divide here. It’s where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe meet.
Gullfoss waterfall was AMAZING. It’s the biggest waterfall I’ve seen so far, although I haven’t seen many. It was so beautiful I stood there taking photos forever.
We also saw Geysir, yes the original one. We saw it erupt about 6 times and it was amazing. We also waited around to get a photo in front of it pretending to look terrified, but we waited so long that we were actually scared when it erupted. Here’s the best photo of the bunch:
The next day was mostly academic so it wasn’t at fun, but we were still able to see some cool stuff and learn some things. We had a bunch of presentations at the hotel then went to a few museums. In the evening we had dinner with a few Icelandic students. We sat near a girl named Olöf, who was in school but was also married and had 3 kids. It was interesting to hear about her life and how school was different in Iceland that in the US.
On Friday we took a Saga tour around the area, which was cool. We got to see some of the places where the sagas supposedly took place. When we returned to the city we had the rest of the evening on our own. Jessica, Imogene, and I found this cozy cafe that also served sushi. It played the best music and the food was delicious. I had possibly the best sushi of my life there. It had mango, bell peppers, avocado, cucumber, and lettuce in it, with spicy mayo drizzled on top. I know it sounds weird, but I’m in love. After our long, cozy dinner we went with our tour guide to try to see the Northern Lights. We got to see them a little bit, but not in full color so I’m not crossing that off my bucket list yet. We only saw a few white streaks in the sky, so it wasn’t too exciting. I guess I’ll just have to go back. 🙂
On Saturday we went horseback riding through the lava fields, which was awesome. Icelandic horses are so different from other horses. I’ve ridden a few times before, but I definitely wouldn’t call myself an expert. They put me on a temperamental horse, who really just wanted to run the whole time. It was terrifying. And when the horses picked up speed I could barely stay on because of how weirdly they ran. It’s not like riding a normal horse, at all. After that we took a short nap, and went out for lunch. We went to the upstairs part of the cozy cafe from before, which was just a sushi bar. We order tons of those rolls that were so delicious and had an awesome conversation with the two guys working there. One of them was from Sweden and the other was Icelandic. They were telling us all the good places to go out and asking us about Copenhagen and America. If there’s ever a time to use the danish word “hyggeligt” to describe an experience, its now. It was great to be able to meet some of the locals. Then we headed to the flea market. The market was huge and so awesome. There were a lot of secondhand clothes and book stores, which was great. I was able to get a really nice leather jacket for around $140, something that definitely would have been at least $500 in the States. I was really happy since I’ve been looking for a leather jacket for a while. After the market we met for an incredibly painfully touristy dinner, where some inappropriate things were said by the men working there, which features a lamb leg and potatoes. The food wasn’t that great. You were definitely paying for atmosphere considering the waiters were dressed up in Viking gear. At night we went out in Reykjavik to experience the night life, since it’s supposed to be some of the best in the world. Definitely lived up to all of my expectations. Since Reykjavik is so small all the cafes turned into clubs and bars at night. They would push all the chairs out of the way and make it into a dance floor. I even saw a disco ball emerge in a cafe we ate in the day before. I went out with Jessica and Liz, which was an awesome time because we were such a small group. It made it so much more fun not to have to keep track of people. At the first place we went we met these three guys who were studying at the police academy in Reykjavik. Two of them were Norwegian and one was Swedish. They were pretty cool and we bar hopped with them the rest of the night. The bars in Reykjavik were so cool. I’m glad we went to so many. There was literally something for everyone in that city. We went to a few hipster/indie bars, a rock bar, some normal places, and I even saw a heavy metal bar but we didn’t end up going into it. We stayed out until 6am, and the sun started rising around 4:45 am. It was crazy. Needless to say, I got one hour of sleep and was pretty exhausted for our last day.
On Sunday (after taking a 1 hour nap) we got up to leave Reykjavik. We took the bus to the Blue Lagoon, which was amazing! It was so warm and relaxing, exactly what I needed after a long night. There were face masks you could put on there that made your skin feel amazing. But I did put my hair under water and I don’t think I will ever regain the right amount of moisture. My hair continued to fee like straw until today, but it’s still not back to normal.
Overall my experience in Iceland was AMAZING. I never wanted to leave, and I definitely want to go back someday. We didn’t get to see much of the epic landscapes because we stayed around Reykjavik the whole time, so I really need to go back and see that. Reykjavik was such a great city that I want to go back and see that too.
Also, check out my Facebook for more photos, since I couldn’t upload them all here. The landscape was beautiful it’s definitely work looking.