With a week off in February and a dream of seeing the Northern Lights I joined my sister on an adventure to Iceland.
We met Saturday afternoon at JFK airport and had a bite to eat in the newly renovated terminal 4. Our flight left on time at 9:00 pm and we hoped to catch some shut eye on the 5 hour flight. Our pilot was great and got us to Iceland in only 4 hours. With the time change it was now morning and we had one hour before our bus reservation to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring landmark.
The short drive to the site resembled photos of the moon. As the sun rose on dark lava rocks sprinkled with snow on a treeless landscape we knew we were no longer in the States.
We upgraded to the package that included a robe, flip flops, a fancy mask and a drink. We were guided into a changing room and given a special bracelet. You could spend the day in the lagoon drinking cocktails and when you leave your bracelet will let them know your balance.
Four face masks are available as you swim in the Lagoon. The white silica one is complimentary and the other 3, lava, algae and mineral are offered at additional costs. Not sure how effective they are but fun to try.
Can anyone identify our Viking photo bomber? lol
After about 2 hours we were pruny and ready to move onto the next adventure. We showered and considered going into the restaurant for lunch. 6600 Icelandic krona is $55 so that seemed a bit steep for lunch even considering we were a tad delirious on no sleep. We had a snack and caught the bus that leaves every hour for Reykjavík. We told the bus driver the name of our hotel, and although we did have to change buses at one point, it was relatively easy to get to our hotel.
We checked in and wanted to make the most of the daylight hours so we took a walk down to the waterfront. We were awestruck by the white landscape across the harbor and just about everything on our walk around town.
From all over we could see the peak of the tall church, Hallgrimskirkja. This beautiful structure was only completed in 1986 and dedicated to the most renowned religious Poet from Iceland.
Across from the church is a great little restaurant called Cafe Loki. I tried the Icelandic Plate -Loki. This included rye bread, fish mash, trout, dried fish with butter and a small sample of smelly fermented shark. I tried it all and it was great. I really liked the bread and butter and trout. The trout is pink like salmon. We did not try the rye bread ice cream but may need to go back later this week.
Exhausted we walked back to our hotel and fell fast asleep but woke up around 10 pm excited to look out on the roof for the Aurora Borealis. We think we saw some green in the sky but the lights from the city were too bright.
Staying at the centrally located Kea Storm Hotel we awoke to a nice breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, bread, hard boiled eggs with cold ham, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers. Did I mention the bread and butter is so good here?
With no plan for the day we left to check out some stores on the main road. Around noon we stopped into a tourist office. I thought maybe the on/off double decker bus might be nice for sightseeing. We were advised that we could walk the whole city in 20 minutes.
We had seen lots of pictures of horses so we thought horse riding may be fun. Too late. She suggested whale watching. So we grabbed a to go sandwich at a shop called Sandholt on the Main Street and then headed toward the harbor.
Surprisingly the boat headed along the harbor first to look for humpbacks. Apparently they come into this area to feed. When we didn’t see any the captain took us into the sea where the waves were bigger and the cold winds were strong. The bright sun made for some great photos but the whales took the day off. We were promised a free trip anytime from tomorrow to 5 years from now to watch again. Just have to tell our names to the office. Ok. Maybe we will.
After the boat trip we stopped for lobster soup and bread at Seabaron, one of the small establishments in one of the turquoise buildings near the harbor. They also offer fish kabobs which looked interesting.
We walked back to the hotel in time to meet up with our guide and tour group for the G Adventures tour the next 4 days. I used G Adventures on my solo tripSolo Day to Thailand in 2016 and had such a great time.
We will be heading out to the country tomorrow morning to hike lava caves, see waterfalls and hopefully the Northern Lights!!! Keep your fingers crossed.