We were just in Reykjavik, Iceland, enjoying our 4 day trip, I wrote a lot of this post from the airport awaiting our flight to JFK New York airport.
Since we had the hardest time figuring out how to pronounce Reykjavik, /ˈrā-kyə-ˌvik, -ˌvēk/ (Ray-clay-vick). We heard about 4 different pronunciations prior to arriving but only one when there in Iceland.
There was a lot of expected and unexpected adventure. The expected that came true:
- It was raining, sleeting, snowing, overcast everyday.
- The outside in January 2017 was as cold as in Detroit, MI. 30-40degrees each day.
- The seafood was very fresh and tasty. So we ate as much as possible.
- There was so much to see and do the 4 days was not enough. The Golden circle tour was overwhelming beautiful.
- We loved every minute of it & would go again for longer, but after we travel many other places first.
- Our tour group thru Gate One was Great, we heard from others they do a wonderful Peru trip as well.
The unexpected and what we saw:
- The inside of all buildings were very warm/hot – this was due to the almost free geothermic (Volcanic) heat on the island. We were told the average household could be heated and provided as much hot water as they want for only $100 per month, so they crank the heat. So bring layers so you can take them off to prevent you from overheating inside.
- Our dream trip to the Blue Lagoon was a fail, it was booked everyday we were there until after 7pm/dark (booking ahead would have been smart). So we didn’t give up and instead traveled to the secret lagoon. The secret lagoon, was much smaller with only about 25people visitors during our visit. We booked our tour for ~$90 US/person the night before in our hotel lobby, the next morning a van picked us up from our hotel and they drove thru sleet, 1hr 20mins to the lagoon, for a 2hr dip. We loved this, and could have gone everyday, if it were closer. The lagoon water was so hot near the edges it felt like we were starting to cook, but in the middle it was extremely relaxing. We loved the apple and pear alcoholic beverages, we recommend buying these before changing. David walked the pathway surrounding the lagoon, he said it was very slick so I stayed put. We cannot compare this to the Blue Lagoon, but everyone in our Gate One travel group did say they thought it sounded better, and the Blue Lagoon was super touristy.
- While we did read the food was very expensive, it was still way over what we were expecting. A small bag of chips from the local market was $5 US, a single soda was $5 US, a bowl of soup was $10 US, and a sit down dinner anywhere with one alcoholic beverage each was at least $200 US. Alcohol was about $7-22 US per drink, with most single drinks or a glass of house wine in the $11 US range. We wish we would have stopped at duty free and got a single bottle of liquor, and drank before we went out. You can purchase an entire bottle at duty free for the price of a single drink in town. We did pack snacks and ate them on the excursions, we were glad to have them. We did have a Hot Dog House, plain hot dog for $4.70 US, which was extremely tasty.
- We stayed at Hotel Klettur in downtown. It was clean, respectful, nice, with small minimal rooms – but who cared, we were out all day, and slept at night. They had all the amenities we needed and a free breakfast buffet. It did take us about 10mins to figure out how to turn work the room lights. Turns out you have stick you room key (or other ccard) in the slot next to the door above the light switch. Also if you take this out when you leave, your left behind electronics will not charge.
- We did see the Northern lights, but they were not spectacular, in fact it just looked like a green smoke cloud and we only saw them for maybe 1-5minutes. We were told when booking the package that you might not see the Northern lights so we felt lucky to get one good photo below. We drove from site to site for over 5 hrs at this first site below, we visited a church (in the pouring rain of course), and I took these pictures, because we saw no northern lights at this location, but thought it was pretty.
- NOTE*** You will never get a picture of the northern lights with your cell phone, you need a higher end camera with a 30second time set, and a stand. Your in a field in the dark, there will be no where to prop your camera, you need the stand.
- We visited an Icelandic Horse Farm Tour. It had a short presentation with time to pet the horses. I really enjoyed this, especially since it was POURING sleet outside, and we were inside. We learned the Vikings brought over the best horses they had and to this day any new horses are forbidden to be imported to Iceland to preserve the purity of this breed. David thought it was OK, he was more interested in the landscape viewing, which was still to come.
We also visited the Hallgrímskirkja a Lutheran parish and largest church on the hill in Reykjavik, Iceland. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrimur Petursson (1614-1674). My boss said I had to go, because he had been to Iceland twice and both times it was under construction and he could not see it – it was part of our Gate One downtown tour, but I took these pictures for my boss, Ray Carlson. It reminded me of a smaller version of Gaudi’s church in Barcelona, Spain – BUT, all while no color.
My favorite part of the trip, other than getting David to myself for fours days was the Golden Circle stop at the Volcano, Kerio. It was POURING sleet and so windy I was cautious not to fall down into the volcano. I am more of an inside type of girl, but I just loved this, I wish we could have walked down the stairs to the crater, but we only have a 15min window. I read in the summer you can swim in this crater, and it looked so beautiful I pictured myself summer swimming even in this ice storm.
Because I could go on for more than any one person would want to read. I included a few more pictures with captions to explain the beauty and awesome of Iceland. So we would recommend you visiting for sure. I did want to note, to visit most of the best of nature – you will have to first take a long bus ride, then walk – up hills, down stairs, often longer distances and in the extreme Iceland weather. Many of our tour group decided to skip most of the tour – they were not interested in walking, or leaving the vehicle, for anything other than a quick looksee, then straight to the food area of the stop. Therefore I recommend you go to Iceland before you cannot, why fly so far for a bus ride to a periphery view. Another reason we are sure 52years old is our goal to retire.
Next Travel – David’s close friend is getting married in India in March, still not sure of those details, but we are going – that should be fun. Then spring break with our 20 year old twins in Cancun Mexico at an Eco friendly resort – Sandos Caracol Eco Resort