If you’re thinking to yourself that it has been pretty quiet here in the blog world this month, then you would be right! I’ve traveled for what seems like half of February, but am stationary here for a while…but you never know! One trip for business and one for fun! I feel like I should start this Monday off with the fun one first!
Last week, a couple of friends and I had a 3 day, whirlwind of an adventure in Iceland! For my warm weather friends, you may be thinking, “Why Iceland?!” If this is you, then by the end of this, I think you’ll have a change of heart. Iceland has been a secret top contender of places to visit on my bucket list. And if I’m being honest, it’s on there twice – once in the winter and once in the summer. However, with just recently returning, I’m determined to do another winter trip! So, I’m thinking I should just go ahead and buy a little house over there – at the whopping price of at least 5,000,000. Haha, okay, so that’s in ISK – but their exchange rate had us constantly cracking up at our purchases. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to visit this mysterious country for years now. So when Kate asked me back in the fall if I had any travel plans coming up, I told her no, but that I wanted to visit Iceland. She said she was in, and it would be a little while before we talked about it again. Right before Christmas, we started really talking about trying to make it happen, and that’s when Amy randomly said that she wanted to take a girl’s trip. I told her what we were thinking, and after showing her just one picture, she was in! Our schedules aligned perfectly for just one weekend which is crazy since we’re all in the wedding industry!
Let’s just get one thing straight first: I’m addicted to looking at vacations. Somedays I’m convinced that I should be a travel agent. I think I could really rock that job!! I love daydreaming and researching new places. I booked our flights and began getting my map together, which you’ll see below. Okay, so let’s be honest, I’m a secret nerd! Or maybe I’m an obvious nerd, but either way, I do nerdy things from time to time. This map is clearly one of them – and it’s awesome! I needed to physically see where all of our sights were so that I could find places to stay nearby. Just for the record, if you visit this country, you’ll be staying in quaint little guesthouses for the most part, not many chain hotels here. Once I figured out our locations, I started finding our places to stay. I’m definitely that person who reads reviews and prices around and sometimes takes a little bit of time to make a final decision. Our first night, which was about a 6 hour drive from the airport in Reykjavik, I snagged us the last room that was a 10 minute drive from the Glacier Lagoon, which is where we met Monday morning for our Ice Cave Excursion. This was the only excursion that we paid for. Everything else that we saw was on our own since we rented a car. Our second night we stayed right in front of the Skogafoss Waterfall. Literally. This was a surprise for the girls. I tried booking it at one point and it was sold out, then I randomly checked again the next week and they had one room open up, so I booked it immediately. It was a loud, emotion filled booking too – just ask my friend Candice who I was with at the time! Our last night’s stay though was darling. We stayed in this little snow filled split cabin in Selfoss. The icing though was this was the night that we were able to see the Northern Lights!!
Over the course of three days, we drove almost the complete Southside of the Island along the Ring Road, Route 1. We saw three major waterfalls, countless little falls, multiple glaciers and an ice cave, the DC3 plane wreck, black sand beaches, geysers and honestly the most beautiful scenery. I personally crossed off a small handful of bucket list items: visiting Iceland, seeing the Northern Lights and seeing snow for the first time. Side tip for Northern Lights: do not be afraid to chase them. We got in our car and hunted for them 2 out of 3 nights…leaving our hotel at 11:00 each night. You have to go North on the island and be free of cloud coverage. There was not one part of this short lived trip that wasn’t incredible [well, except maybe the rotten-egg-smelling-water]. I would definitely suggest that if you go in the Winter, that you go for more time. Days are short, and there’s so much to see! We accomplished most of the sights on the map! The only thing we didn’t do was one waterfall/glacier but that’s because it would’ve taken us at least 3 hours and we were pressed for time – plus it was a last minute addition. We also didn’t do the hot spring in Seljavallalaug, again, another time constraint, plus it was 20 degrees and like 75% humidity [cold to the bone] that day. Also, I would have to say, if you are good to bypass, I would skip the Blue Lagoon. It’s pretty, we stopped by because we weren’t able to purchase tickets in advance. And honestly, I think all of us were glad that we didn’t. It’s very touristy. I know it’s one of the top attractions, but if you’re not into the touristy things, find another local hot spring. If it is on your “I must do this” list, then go! It’s pretty and I’m sure you’ll love it!
There’s really so much I could say about this country and trip that I know I’m not mentioning. It was incredibly incredible and I loved every minute of it! I do not even know what to say or how to end. A couple of things, especially for visiting during the winter: bookmark these two sites! Aurora Forecast for Iceland and Road Conditions in Iceland. The first site will help you know the cloud coverage for the Northern Lights and the second site will show you all of the roads in Iceland and how they are being affected during winter. Thankfully we did not have any issues on the roads we traveled, however, two days after we left they began seeing the biggest snow that they’ve had since 1952 and roads were closed!!
If you’ve been on the fence about visiting this magnificent country, just do it! You won’t regret it!! If you’re going soon, please take me with you!! You know you want your whole trip documented! I’m happy to answer any questions about going if you want to shoot me a message! In the meantime, here’s a handful of images from our trip! I hope you enjoy them!!