Saturday, June 25, 2022

ICELAND Days 1-3: Travel, Reykjavik, and the West!

Hæ hæ from Iceland! We're 5 days into our 12 day adventure and it is clear I will never have time to blog properly so I'm copying my family/Facebook updates into posts because I never ever want to forget every detail of this extraordinary adventure. Also, I have to go to sleep soon because although it's broad daylight, as it is at every hour of the day right now, it's nearly midnight and I went to sleep at 3 am last night (this morning?) because I was drowning in rage and despair and personal insult over the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I donated a whole lot of money here and look forward to finding more ways to help when I return.

So, jumping in to the travelogue:
Days 1 & 2: All the packing, all the travel, and Reykjavik!
I worked until midnight the night before we left (and we closed on the sale of our Fort Worth house!), so we got to start packing the morning we were set to leave. It was mildly chaotic, but I viewed it like a ski trip - all the matters is your outer layer because that's what you're going to wear every day.
Flight one was DFW-MSP and it went perfectly smooth and on time. We had a few hours in Minneapolis to get dinner and then boarded our 6 hour flight to Iceland! The girls were VERY EXCITED about the "free" in-flight comfort package. Too excited to actually sleep until 15 minutes before landing, in fact.
We landed at 8 a.m.? Which is 3 a.m. central time. Customs was a breeze, all our luggage made it (four duffel bags; one solely containing insulated pants, puffer jackets, rain jackets, hats, gloves, and hiking boots x 5), and we boarded our bus to Reykjavik. Claire fell asleep. Cora did not until, once again, the last 10 minutes.
We walked from the bus stop to the lovely Hotel Odinvske, past Hallgrimskirkja, and they were able to check us into our two rooms early. The kids were mildly horrified at being split up, but we explained there was no way a European style hotel room could cram a 5th person in it like we usually do. The boys went to their double room and the girls and I got our pretty fabulous triple. We had planned to push through, but all immediately crashed for an hour. We had a walking food tour at 11 a.m. and waking up Cora did not go well.
But our food tour guide who met us at the hotel was delightful- SO enthusiastic and so knowledgeable and sweet. Cora loved her and LOVED her new hat we bought at a store our guide recommended that is made from authentic Icelandic wool. She's in it for the pom pom. We were in it for the warmth and second wind it gave her.
If you're ever in an unknown, foreign city I highly recommend a guided food tour. We got a three hour private tour of downtown Reykjavik, got to try all her favorite places (pastries, hot beverages, hot dogs, and a fabulous lunch), and learned SO MUCH about this wonderful country.
The kids were so interested and she encouraged any and all questions. We had a blast and it got us up and moving and getting over our jet lag.
Post-tour we'd been awake for about 36(?) hours, so we decided to crash a bit before getting up for dinner. Poor Cora took a while to fall asleep and once again, nodded off about 30 minutes before wakeup time. And it simply broke her.
This poor child has no idea where she is or why, what time it is, why it's cold, why there's so much fish... nothing makes sense except the chocolate muffin we bought to glue her back together.
Dinner was great. Landon ordered way too much food and drank 100 shot glasses of water (the water here is SO GOOD and it is free and everywhere) and Clarie remained so doggedly cheerful. We walked home along the rainbow road, absolutely in love with Iceland and its welcoming and deeply pragmatic people, clean streets, insane alphabet, copious public pools, cinnamon pastries, cool temperatures, and the independent cats who go where they want all day and then go home for dinner at night.
It was broad daylight at 10:30 pm but we tucked ourselves in bed, so excited to start our road trip around the island the next morning!
Day 3: Western Island to Bjarg
We woke up to blue skies in Reykjavik (so weird to wake up at 3 am and see it’s still daylight outside), had breakfast at the hotel, and got the rental car which came with an iPad preloaded with our whole road trip- all the directions and details for each day. I never had time to look up a thing before we left, so every turn is a complete surprise and I love it.
Our first stop was just outside Reykjavik for an hour with a local photographer. I've always wanted real pictures on vacation, particularly since I'm the photographer, so I'm excited to see how these turn out! It was SUPER WINDY and my hair was in my mouth 90% of the time, so I'm not optimistic, but it's the reality of this Martian land we're exploring and I'm here for it.

[pictures coming]

Then it was time to start our road trip, with this leg taking us up the Western coast with a jaunt inland. We stopped first at Deildartunguhver, a hot spring that is literally boiling as it comes up to the surface of the earth.
You get a nice facial full of sulphur filled rotten eggs every time the wind blows. Which is all the time.
There’s a hot house that uses the heat from the ground to grow fresh vegetables.
We bought food and fresh carrots at a little stand and ate inside the hot house (until it got too hot; it was at least 95 inside and then about 40 outside, so we went back and forth).
We continued on to Reykholt for some history and saw many sheep and fluffy Icelandic horses along the way. Next up was Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets of water streaming from the lava field from a volcano that erupted about 1/2 mile away. Barnafoss, another larger waterfall, was a few feet further along the path.
Everything here is SO green and there are mountains and ocean and waterfalls in every view. The weather changes in an instant- a bit of rain, then black to blue skies. I was correct that we'll all be wearing every coat we brought in every picture, so whatever is underneath is never going to matter. Which is good, because laundromats are hard to come by outside the cities.
The whole day was about 2 hours of driving and every bit of it stunning. They have rainbows across the mountains here. Rainbows! I've never seen anything like it and take a picture every time.
We stayed the night in Bjarg, arriving around 5 pm.
The cottage was absolutely beautiful- 2 bedrooms, grass across the roof, seesaws on the side, and a great green lawn and ocean right in front.
The kids ran out to explore our coastline.
Landon announced he was going swimming and then quickly changed his mind.
After some exploring and settling in to our space, we decided to walk to a local pizza place for dinner.
We passed a giant bubble on our way there and had to explore it on the way back. Turns out, as the kids had guessed, it was a giant in-ground trampoline! Just hanging out in a public park behind our cottage. Amazing.
When we got back James and two kids decided to explore the beach at low tide while I sat with a beautiful view and a sleepy Claire, excited about our days ahead!

1 comment:

  1. Iceland looks AMAZING! I really wish you'd adopt me!