This time of the year always seems insanely busy. I’m a month overdue, but I’m finally getting around to sharing pictures from our Iceland trip (our sort-of-a-honeymoon)!
This is the view from our room at the Hilton in Reykjavík. This was taken at about 10:30AM and the sun is only just rising... it sets that time of the year around 4:30PM. This area of Reykjavík reminds me a little of Reston VA but with more Scandinavian architecture... and fewer trees.
Our room... Very modern and Ikea-like
Iceland is what the earth was like when it was young. Much of the landscape is created by volcanic activity and is covered with jaggad lava rocks. Only moss and lichen can grow on these rocks creating vast fields of chartreuse.
Our first day in Iceland we went "cave crawling" through one of the many lava tubes throughout the country. We had to wear these jumpsuits to protect us from the jagged lava rocks.
The opening to the cave.
Our next excursion was hiking a glacier! In this picture you can see the glacier carving through the valley. This is Eyjafjallajökull which means island mountain glacier because you can see a small offshore island from the mountain.
ready to hike with pick axes and everything!
Wearing spikey crampons for stomping on ice.
All that black stuff is soot left over from last year's volcanic eruption
The ice turns blue where it is most dense. Beautiful!
A shot looking back at the valley where we parked.
Melting ice creates many interesting tunnels and pits
They have a saying in Iceland that if you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes. The weather was constantly changing and we'd get random spurts of hail storms. Unfortunately, the stormy weather also prevented us from seeing the aurora borealis
After the glacier we stopped by a neighboring waterfall (yay manual settings on the S95). Our guide told us that it is called Skógafoss.
Our tour included a lobster soup dinner and an aurora viewing. We didn't get to see the aurora because the skies were too cloudy, but they did clear up long enough for me to take this pic of the milky way. Seeing this many stars was almost just as exciting as seeing the aurora, and I got to use the "Star Walk" app.
We gave ourselves a free day to explore tiny downtown Reykjavík
I'm not sure what this is, but I like it.
Lunch at a yummy place called Salon. I love this pic of Joe.
I was really tired so I ordered and "americano" which is just like the coffee I had in Paris. Those who know me know I hate coffee so this was a very unpleasant experience for me. So bitter and sludge-like.
Icelandic cuisine includes a lot of fish, lamb, and curry flavors.
I saw these in the window of a shop and fell in love. I was about to buy them when i realized they are polyurethane. Sigh. Everything in Iceland is ridiculously expensive. I think its because everything is imported. Even a cheap meal there is at least $20 per person.
This is the tallest building in Reykjavík. Hallgrímskirkja (The Church of Hallgrimur.)
They love 66 North in Iceland.
Many shops sold these reindeer pelts and sheepskins.
This was my FAVORITE part of the trip. Riding the viking horses! Soooo fun, soooo cute!
This is me with my horse, Freya! They paired each person with their horse according to personality. Mine was supposed to be very sweet and she was =)
This is Joe's horse but he doesn't remember his name. His horse was hilarious because he never let Joe pet him (would turn away when Joe tried). He also always stubbornly tried to walk in the opposite direction that Joe directed him towards.
Icelandic horses are a very special breed of horse. They just barely meet the size restrictions to be considered a horse (any smaller and they would be a pony). They are very gentle and docile and exist in a predator free environment. There are also very few diseases in Iceland so they do not import other horses into the country, and are very strict about what you wear riding them if you have been in contact with horses from other countries.
Freya! Stop eating poop and look at the camera!
They grow a long wooly coat in the winter which makes them especially adorable, haha.
Our last big excursion was visiting the Blue Lagoon. Its a man made hot spring created from runoff from their geo thermal plants that power most of the country.
We didn't get to take pictures while we were bathing in it, but this is what it looked like. It smelled very sulfurous as I'm told most hot springs do, but I don't think this experience was for us. Most of the workers above the water were wearing ski gear because it was so cold, and when you are in the water you are afraid to go above chin level because of the cold. After you leave and shower the smell still sticks to you. We were hanging out at the hotel after showering and Joe was like, "what smells like ass?" He leaned over to me and realized it was my hair. Yuck.
These last couple pics are random. Look!! Black currant Gatorade!!!!!
One thing I'll say is that there is some good design in Iceland. It must be that Scandinavian influence. Check out these local vodka bottles!! Darn good graphic design!!! I didn't try any, but the design alone made it worthy of a picture.