Disclaimer: Ok, so this is a wordy post, but keep in mind, I'm trying to fit 5 days of awesomeness into one blog post...
When two of your girlfriends casually mention a trip to Iceland over coffee, you obviously impulse book a trip right then and there...At least that's where my adventure began! Jess had been there before, so she made her sales pitch (she's really good at that!) and within minutes we were all set to go to Iceland! It was really that simple. We picked dates that worked for all of us and with the amazing deals from Wow air, we were set to fly from Boston to Reykjavik! Now I know you're thinking "But Fallon, you live in New Orleans, what about the flight to get to Boston?" And relax my friends, Jet blue had us covered! Sweet deals were all around us, we just had to choose the best ones. The next logical step was to book a place to stay. Insert the cutest little cabin we ever did see, and voila! (Air b&b). Ok, so that seems like a lot of work, but I swear this trip was booked before my almond milk iced vanilla latte was done!
All this happened in October sometime so needless to say, January 17th took forever to get here! I was packed and ready at least a week in advance, and the excitement was palpable. Let me just say, I managed to fit everything I needed into a backpack, and I still over packed for this trip! Granted I opted for the Patagonia black hole 32 Liter pack from Massey's, but now I'm itching for adventure so I'll get my use out of it for sure! For packing tips for a winter Iceland trip, check out these links that I found helpful:
We had arranged to rent a car from Sixt, and we were off!!
Since our cabin was outside the city, we had a bit of a drive, but upon getting there, it was everything we hoped and then some!
our own little winter wonderland!
Sure, I knew Jess and Sarah, but there were 3 other lovely ladies I had the pleasure of meeting for this trip! Even though we were all exhausted from travel, we spent the first moments in the cabin giddy with excitement and getting to know each other. We also knew that with daylight hours limited from about 10:30am to 4:30pm, we had to prioritize our sight seeing and make the most of our daylight. With a game plan in mind, we took naps before setting off for our 1st day of thrills! (Keep in mind we arrived at 4:30 am Iceland time, so with a power nap, we were on the road and off to adventure around 10:30 am)
First stop: Food! We found restaurant Mika, an adorable family owned place, with crazy fresh ingredients! I had the best seafood pasta and Jess and I split the bruschetta.
Before leaving Mika, I also had one of the best hot chocolates that I have ever had in my 31.5 years on this earth (no pictures because I basically inhaled it!)
After lunch is where the real fun begins. Our first stop was the massive Gullfoss waterfall!
Gullfoss was such a beautiful and serene place. I was taken back by the sheer size of this fall and all its power. Words cannot describe what this little southern girl was feeling when I made it up to see the views! The sound of the water crashing will definitely play on repeat in my memories. After Gullfoss, we stopped for coffee. Well the girls stopped for coffee, and I opted for a 15 minute car nap! After my brief rest, we were off to the crater lake. Of course with the temperatures near 26 degrees, the lake was frozen over, but it was stunning nonetheless.
In between going from place to place, we often just pulled the car over to stop and admire the beauty around us. Iceland is known for their native horses. They look like a miniature Clydesdale, but with more luscious locks! I'm not super into horses, but these were so cute and docile. They literally had endless space to roam, and just seemed so happy.
Before we decided to call it a day, pretty early (since we still hadn't really slept yet), we found a little grocery store and headed home where Jess cooked a nice dinner for all of us. We listened to acoustic covers radio on spotify, and attempted our own version of "Name that tune." I feel so fortunate to have been included in this trip and having the opportunity to make new friends. That night I slept so comfortably in my little loft nook.
The theme of day two was "Yes, go chasing waterfalls" We drove south along the highway and stopped at two breathtaking falls. The first was Seljalandsfoss. There were two smaller falls and one main attraction. I didn't think it could get much better, but then we went to Skogafoss. Skogafoss had stairs leading up the side of the fall. Getting all the way to the top was definitely challenging, but so worth it. The views, the sounds of the water, the sheer exhilaration, it was all just too much. I may or may not have shed a few frozen tears at the magnitude of the beauty surrounding me.
The water cascaded into the clearest creek I've ever seen. Adrenaline was pumping through my system and this was definitely the cleanest air I have ever inhaled. Once we made it back down, I was trembling and feeling weak, which is my body's way of telling me that I needed some carbs! Next to the falls there was a restaurant. In all honesty we assumed it would be a tourist trap, but yet again, Iceland was bringing the fresh! I had the best zucchini pesto penne pasta! I literally cleaned my plate and soaked up the remaining pesto with the delicious fresh baked bread. I am not ashamed at all, I earned those carbs!!
Next, we headed even further south to the black sand beaches. Beautiful does not even begin to cover it. The shore went from smooth pebbles to granulated oreo dust looking sand. There were moments I saw patches of snow mixed in with the sand and it definitely made me want cookies and cream...
There were these massive rock formations and caverns that even Batman would envy. I of course did not notice the danger signs and red "x's" so I frolicked closer to the water to get a selfie with the water at my back. Boom, out of nowhere, one minute the water was a safe distance away and in an instant a wave nearly took me down. The sign that I missed referred to them as "sneaker waves" and they are super random and dangerous. Don't worry, I got my picture! After my near death experience, we did a little souvenir shopping before making our drive back to the cabin.
If someone asked me what my favorite moment was of this entire experience, I'm not sure I would have an answer. We continued to see beautiful landscapes, and adorable coffee shops and restaurants. Every moment was special and spectacular. I was like a kid in a candy store at every turn. The entire trip will be memorable for me, but the Blue lagoon is pretty close to the top of the list! We booked our entry to the lagoon at 9am. It was still dark when we first got there, but watching the sun come up as we soaked up the natural minerals in the water was incredible. Everyone gets a free silica mask upon entering the water, but I had to be extra and get a massage. Holy crap, this was definitely the right choice! My spa service was performed in the water by a viking looking Icelandic man. I was in such a state of relaxation that I could have easily drifted to sleep, but I wanted to remember every moment and be able to think about how peaceful I felt in that very moment. It was like being high on life. I came out of that massage feeling rejuvenated and youthful. There really is something magical in that silica. My face felt like a baby seal, there were like NO PORES! If only for the blue lagoon, I will definitely make my way back to Iceland!! Even though the temperature outside was below freezing, the water was as warm as a freshly drawn bath. If this is not on your bucket list, please make an amendment! Treat yourself, you deserve it!! Keep in mind the water is very salty, I was sure to pack a deep conditioner so my hair would not get completely wrecked!
Sadly the day following was our last afternoon. We left in plenty enough time to enjoy the ride back to Kevlavik (where the airport is) and we still got to pull over and see more beauty before we bid Iceland a farewell. Luckily we did not have any issues at the airport. My entire travel experience with WOW air was pleasant and I will definitely use them again in the future! This was the abridged version of my trip so if you have specific questions, please let me know!!
I hope you find your way to this magic land of trolls and vikings!