As I sat at work, staring hopelessly at the clock, during one of those dreadful Friday mind-numbing meetings, I thought to myself, “Could this day drag on any longer?” My mind raced around in circles thinking of everything under the sun. Half way through the meeting, I received an email from my beloved friends at Travelzoo – “2 for 1 special from Iceland Air to one or more of your favorite European destinations.” I politely excused myself and raced to my desk. Just like that, I began planning one of the most epic adventures in my book of travel.
Bright and early Saturday morning, I found myself shivering and clenching the leather jacket that seemed useless against the arctic chill. As I desperately shimmied my way through Keflavik Airport, it was only then I realized – wow, I’m in Iceland! The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the odd resemblance to several scenes from the movie Total Recall, which for a moment, had me wondering if I was on planet Mars. The airport was just there… plopped in the middle of nowhere with not a pinch of civilization in sight. It was just weird.
Rest assured that all changed once I arrived in the city center. Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a true winter wonderland. Despite the constant snowfall and minimal hours of sunlight, it’s hard not to fall in love with the city. From the quirky locals to the colorful village, Reykjavik immediately left a lasting impression.
I rented a studio at The Castle House Luxury Apartments right in the heart of the city, just a stones throw away from the nightly pub crawls, cozy cafes, and art galleries.
Despite a very short stay, there are two activities that are essential, through Reykjavik Excursions, to make any visit to Iceland worthwhile.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s popular geo-thermal spa located 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik. The naturally heated blue water against the Icelandic landscape is remarkable. For six hours, I spoiled myself with in-water massages, mud facials, lounging underneath waterfalls, and making frequent, but necessary trips to the wet bar. It’s quite an experience!
If one of the greatest joys of travel is getting beneath the surface, the glaciers of Sólheimajökull is a great place to start. The hike through Sólheimajökull took approximately four hours. The frigid temperatures, lifeless toes, and that leather jacket I assumed would be a fashion statement, made my first 30 minutes unbearable.
What appeared intimidating at first sight, turned out to be the most exciting adventure I’ve been on in a long time. Our tour guide took us through caves and various ice tunnels. Many of us fell through crevasses – thankfully they were shallow. At one point, even the sun and the moon appeared at the same time – something you don’t see on a regular basis.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Iceland. My hope is to return very soon and experience the amazing Northern Lights.
Until next time, travel safe, travel well.