Monday, February 4, 2013

Iceland

Over the past couple years I've had my (more than fair) share of trips so I'm often asked, "where was your favorite?". The answer is easily Iceland. In 2012, only half a million people visited this magical location. I use the word magical as the Icelandic Tourist Board claims that 80% of Icelanders are willing to believe in fairies or elves. I'm telling you all of this because after going to Iceland, I see where they're coming from.

Iceland is the root of my wanderlust. Before Iceland I had been to a few places but they all felt comfortable and predictable. Iceland was the first experience I had where I was blown away by what I saw. The landscape went from lush to volcanic in only minutes.  Iceland is often overlooked for more exciting and popular locations but I can promise you no time you spend in Iceland will be a waste!

Getting There
We flew IcelandAir into Keflavík International Airport (KEF) and easily booked a seat on the bus to Reykjavík which dropped us off at our hotel, Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura.


we saw the northern lights from the airplane,
unfortunately, that's the only time we saw them =(



Language
One of our guides taught us that the Icelandic languages has its roots in the Viking or Nordic languages. Everyone we interacted with also spoke English so we had little problem communicating with those we met. Actually, one of their biggest touristy slogans is "I don't speak Icelandic". You can purchase it on everything from shirts to shot glasses.



Activities
** I traveled to Iceland in 2011 so unfortunately I don't remember the names of all the tour companies. I can say that all the tours were arranged through the concierge of the Hotel Reykjavik Natura who was extremely helpful.**

After checking into the hotel we made our way down to downtown Reykjavik and mr A took me to what was called the best hot dog (made with lamb!) stand in Europe by The Guardian. I'm a hot dog lover so I couldn't wait to try! I ordered it the classic Icelandic way, with everything (ketchup, remoladi (a mayo-like sauce) sweet mustard, friend and raw onions).

enjoying my hot dog at Bæjarins beztu
view of Reykjavik

Taking a tour of the Golden Circle is one of the most popular tours in Iceland. One of the places you'll go along the tour is Gullfoss (golden falls). You are able to walk extremely close to the edge of the falls which provides for a great photo op!

**pack shoes that provide some traction so you don't have to worry about slipping, and a poncho so you can stay dry!**



On the golden circle you also visit the first Geysir (this is where the english word Geyser comes from, named after the guy in Iceland that found this one)


Another picturesque Iceland spot to visit is Seljalandfoss. I see this waterfall all over the internet now (looking at you pinterest) and smile everytime I see it thinking back to when I was there


I have a weird obsession with stairs ....

The landscape of Iceland is so extremely beautiful and untouched, so I'm gonna let them do the talking

I mean c'mon, can I move here already!?


small town outside the city

fall in Iceland

weird looking beach right?!

walking on the moss was like walking on the moon!

So the one tour company I do remember is Volcano Tours. We booked a volcano tour and found out the night before that it was cancelled. Scrambling, we found volcano tours and they were able to take us on such short notice. It was a little expensive since it was just mr A and I, but that did mean that we got to go wherever we wanted and spend as much time looking around the volcano's (mr A is pretty nerdy) as we wanted.
Does it seem like I'm missing something? You're right, I totally am. And it deserves it's own post, the Blue Lagoon!

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