So Iceland happened. Went for my birthday and boy was it epic! It didn’t start off great, which is pretty typical for me (if you’ve read any of my other stories) as getting to my destinations always tend to have some sort of hiccup.
To start my trip off, I got put on standby upon checking in at the airport. How that happened I don’t know, and apparently neither did IcelandAir but I ended up getting the last seat on the plane. And speaking of that plane, it was so hot on that thing, I threw up about three hours into the flight. I mean it was hotter than 47 hells on that plane! It felt like my head was going to explode.
So, me and my travel buddy make it to Iceland after our overnight flight, check into our room at Bolholt Apartments that we found on Booking.com, caught up on some much needed sleep to recharge being five hours ahead and jet-lagged, then made our first descent into the beautiful, but quaint city of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital. We found endless shops and restaurants. Our first meal was at a Scandinavian restaurant, appropriately named “Scandinavian,” with a particular dish called Black Death and Shark Meat that was their “Special Offer.” Yeah–it was a no for me. I had pasta since I wasn’t quite ready to meet Black Death or anyone’s shark.
Fast forward to when the actual fun began, we visited the Perlan, a museum that features an amazing planetarium, a restaurant, a 360 degree view of the city from its observation deck, as well as an ice cave. And since it was the holidays, I figured it would be fitting to try the infamous Triple Dog dare from A Christmas Story. It didn’t stick! No 911 call was needed.
We then road tripped the Reykjanes Peninsula, which is in southwest Iceland, where there were the most beautiful mountains and lakes I’ve ever seen. We explored geothermal activity, bubbling mud pools that smelled horribly like a million boiled eggs, and trekked across tectonic plates and the Bridge between Continents, which we were told was over a mile short. Go figure!
But, the real fun came on New Year’s Eve. Best birthday ever! We started my birthday off with a banger. We rode ATVs through the snowcapped Hafrafell and Úlfarsfell mountains. If you ever visit Iceland, the Twin Peaks ATV Quad Adventure is a must if you have a need for speed! There’s nothing like it.
To top the night and new year off, we ventured back out for the festivities the city had to offer. Iceland has no regulations for fireworks, so it’s literally the Fourth of July the last few days leading up and into the new year. All you have to do is look up in the sky and someone is shooting off Boston Pops type fireworks somewhere in the city…for days!
Or last adventure was to the Blue Lagoon. Now, the weather had been pretty decent the entire time we were there, but as luck would have it, the winter cold would kick in on the day we had to put on swimsuits. That wind was brutal! After going through all the prerequisites just to get into the pool, the moment I stepped outside (in my bathrobe) I began to question my sanity. I mean it was instant frostbite cold. My friend had already jumped in; she just left me trembling in the cold! As I stood by the racks to hang my robe, I looked around at all of the crazy people in and around the pool, my teeth chattering and all, and realized that I too, was in-fact, certifiably insane. So I backed out; that is until a man came running directly towards me at full speed out of the pool like Carl Lewis in the 1992 Summer Olympics trying to find his robe and towl. I’m staring at him, shaking because I’m cold and scared I’m going to die, while he’s staring at me while shaking because he’s cold and wet and half naked, telling me to, “Just Do It” like Nike. Really dude? While he pranced around the rack searching for his stuff, he kept telling me to just run and jump in and enjoy the experience. So, after quickly pumping myself up and telling myself to stop being a punk, I stripped down to my swimsuit and charged towards the pool while Mr. Just Do It said to hell with his robe and ran back inside in only his swim trunks.
Once I stepped in, it was pure bliss. Despite the vicious wind and ice being blown off the nearby mountains by the wind punching everyone in the face (it felt like needles), it was a very relaxing experience. We got our mud masks and enjoyed the warmth of the saltwater on our skin. I was happy I listened to Mr. Just Do It and decided to jump in. It was definitely something to remember. Iceland was definitely something to remember.
If you haven’t been, I’m hoping you’ll get there one day soon. Be sure to try the famous Icelandic hot dog (Pylsa), it is made with lamb, pork and beef, with diced raw onions, crispy fried onions and the oh so delicious brown mustard called Pylsusinnep. That mustard was soooooo good, I hunted it down and brought multiple bottles of it back home. A must try! You’ll thank me later. 🙂
Here are more photos from our trip. Happy New Year!