I remember learning in middle school geography that Greenland was the blustery, frigid country while Iceland was the greener, warmer spot. Whoever decided to confuse the middle schoolers of the world is in real trouble. Although Iceland is considered to be the “warmer” of the two countries, we still saw our fair share of snow and ice.
On our second day in the country, we drove out into the Icelandic countryside and watched the sunrise over the glaciers. We stopped by Gullfoss as part of the Golden Circle Tour. Standing at the top of the frozen falls was easily one of the coldest moments of my life. We watched Geysir erupt every five minutes and spew white steam into the air. The sun was so beautifully reflected on the solid ice surrounding the pit of boiling water. We soaked in a thermal bath overlooking the snow capped mountains. We ended the day at Café Paris for the most decadent hot chocolate. And I can’t forget about our favorite meal of the trip…tacos and beer. Sorry Iceland, but nobody wants your whale burgers or steamed puffin.
^^The most perfect sunrise from the window of the bus.
^^Standing at the peak of Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss.
^^The bubbling waters of the 10,000 year old Geysir.
^^View from the thermal bath. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon…
^^The most heavenly hot chocolate, European magazines, and baby Milka chocolate bars at Café Paris.
We landed at Keflavik airport at 6am. It was pitch black. The sun didn’t rise until almost 10am and it still felt as if it was the middle of the night to us Americans. We stayed at an ultra modern hotel right off the city center. We spent out first day wandering the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland exploring all that the city had to offer. Our first stop was the Hallgrimskirkja church (don’t ask me to pronounce that) and we were in complete awe of the architecture. It was so intricately designed…nothing like I had ever seen before. We took an elevator to the top of the tower and had a spectacular view of Reykjavik. The sky was so blue and there was not a cloud in sight. Only snowy mountaintops and colorful rooftops.
We popped into different shops. There were stuffed puffins in every store window. Only in Iceland is the national bird revered by locals and also served as a main course at dinnertime. We stopped into a quaint cafe for lunch and ended up with hot chocolate and homemade apple crumble. We ventured to an Icelandic mall, which made American malls look sad and boring. We attempted to take a bus back to the hotel, got lost, wandered across a highway, couldn’t understand the language and eventually got someone to call us a cab. The food was incredibly overpriced and actually pretty terrible so we stuck to ordering alcohol and dessert for most of our meals (along with the mass amount of granola bars that we packed). But day number one came to an end and I was completely in love with this new city that I called home for the next 4 days.