I must apologize for how late this weekly recap is. I spent last week in Iceland and when I came home Sunday evening (actually a bit later than that, approximately 3:30 am Monday) I came down with a nasty case of food poisoning… or a stomach bug or something. Whatever it was LAID ME OUT. (For real, take my word for it, it was awful.) I finally had a little bit of time to sort through the pictures from last week, which you should so totally look at because I WAS IN ICELAND.
THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 6th, 2017
After a productive weekend doing laundry and loosing all faith in humanity while watching the Super Bowl, Monday night was my main chance to pack. I rushed around to make sure I had everything ready to go and that the house was clean. I insist on cleaning everything before any trip we take because it just sucks coming home to a mess.
By the end of the night I was ready!
I had just enough time after work to walk the dog and load up the backpacks before heading out to the airport. With the time difference, the flight was technically “overnight” even though the actual fly-time was only 6 hours. We had dinner at “Passports” aka the only restaurant in the BWI international terminal and made sure we downloaded a load of podcasts for the flight.
We arrived in Iceland at 5:00 am so we decided to grab a quick bite while we waited to pick up our rental car.
We chatted for a while, strolled through the airport for goodies and bought a bunch of tax-free alcohol. When we went to pick up our rental car, the weather had reached hurricane level winds! The car rental agency advised us that it might be smart to wait a little before heading out on the roads which was fine by us because we were still pretty exhausted. We took a nap in the car and an hour later the wind and rain was practically non existent. This was our first confirmation that the weather in Iceland truly changes on an hourly basis.
We stopped at the grocery store to pick up some essentials and then headed straight for our cabin, which was located about two hours East of the capital area.
I was pretty excited to get to the cabin. The drive out there was so scenic and impressive that I was dreaming our cabin would look half as beautiful. We fell in love immediately.
I mean this was the view from the front:
And this was the view from the back:
How do you not fall in love??
We took turns napping and showering and taking a ton of photos around the property. In the evening, we made our first dinner – Swedish meatballs (because we are so imaginative!) But it tasted great 🙂
Coffee and cabin life are what dreams are made of (or at least my dreams) so this was the perfect way to wake up.
We got ourselves moving and planned to hit up a few scenic spots. Our first destination was the Bruarfoss Waterfall. It was a short little hike to the waterfall from where we parked and it was quite the introduction to Iceland.
Yes, the water is that blue. It’s amazingly beautiful. We seemed to have made it to the waterfall in between other visitors, so we had a fantastic 20 minute gap where we were able to enjoy the area uninterrupted.
The next stop on our list was another magnificent waterfall, Gullfoss. Behold:
Then it was off to the famous Strokkur Geysir which erupts every 10 minutes. The land is wonderful and other-worldly but it’s rather difficult to get a prime shot of the actual geyser eruption. We watched it go off twice before deciding that it was okay if we didn’t get a clear photo.
Directly across the street, you can check out the information center and get a little grub. How gorgeous is this funky building?
We stopped at the supermarket on our way back home to grab something for dinner. We had initially thought about heading to a spa and having a fancy dinner out but decided instead to kick back at the cabin in the geothermal hot tub. We grilled some meat and enjoyed the beautiful blue light of dusk.
We were treated to a light dusting of snow Friday morning but the rest of the day was bright and sunny because that’s how Iceland rolls.
Our plan for the day was to drive down to the South coast which included plenty of waterfall pit stops and amazing scenic views.
First was Seljalandsfoss, a dynamic, dreamy waterfall that you can walk completely behind.
The whole mountainside has many smaller waterfalls as well.
The next waterfall – Skógafoss – is massive and you can even climb to the top for an entirely different perspective.
The mountain views in this area are spectacular.
Before leaving, we grabbed a quick bite of fish and chips from a local food truck.
For the last leg of the trip, we were headed towards the beach. I mentioned a spot that I had listed on my map was on the way but I didn’t know if we would have enough time to make it out. Jason assured me that we could do it and convinced me that we should try to see both. It didn’t take much to persuade me so we headed to Dyrhólaey. I’m so glad we stopped because it was one of my favorite sights from the trip.
Dyrhólaey is peninsula near the black sand beaches of Vik. You can drive up to the top of the mountain side and see 360 degree views featuring the mountains and beaches. It was incredible.
Finally, it was just a short drive to the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. A popular tourist spot but nonetheless beautiful at sunset.
It was time to check out of our cabin and head into the city but neither of us were very excited to do. I would have enjoyed spending the entire time out in the cabin or even touring the country in a camper. But those feelings didn’t change the fact that it was time to move on.
Driving the day before, we constantly mentioned how tempting it was to pull over and take picture every 10 minutes. The scenery and weather is constantly changing so you are always treated to a new view of the country. So on our way to Reykjavik, we basically did just that. This is a shot from when we pulled over to a dumpster to empty our trash.
We also drove through Thingvellier National Park which is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet!
Eventually we made it into town and decided that our first stop would be to Don’s Donuts. Unfortunately, Don’s (a food truck) had recently changed their schedule and according to their Facebook page, weren’t planning on opening in the the location near us until the evening. No biggie, we’ll just grab some coffee from Reykjavik Roasters.
We wandered the streets a bit, checking out the street art and some thrift stores. PRO TIP: if you want to find a great deal on an Icelandic wool sweater, check out the thrift stores!
We walked a bit more after dinner until eventually escaping the rain at Cafe Babalu. BECAUSE OF YEAH, DON’ DONUTS NEVER SHOWED UP. THANKS DON.
We went to a few bars afterwards but we were feeling maxed out. Overall, we didn’t really have a notable food or coffee experience in Reykjavik. Perhaps the enchanting elements of cabin life had just soured us to the city.
It was time to head home already! We were bummed to be leaving Iceland but I knew since I started planning the trip that we would want to come back again.
Thankfully, I love the airport in Keflavik. You gotta hit up Joe & the Juice for your coffee and unedited rap jams. Nothing like getting down to Bad and Boujee while eating breakfast.
Iceland is so beautiful and it’s easy to see why everyone falls in love. I can’t wait to go back again, maybe in another season and hopefully long enough to tour the whole island.
I have about 10,000 more photos of everything in Iceland that I will eventually post in a future recap so if you enjoyed this post, just keep an eye out for more.
What was the highlight of your week?