We made it! The final part of our amazing trip to Iceland. If you haven't booked your ticket already, this post will convince you.
Picking up from leaving Midgard Base Camp, which again, was the coolest hostel/hotel ever....
The weather was crappy - I mean torrential, ice cold rain coupled with strong winds. This was the day we were going to explore more of the Golden Circle and the day felt anything but golden.
We made an early reservation at The Secret Lagoon and didn't really know what to expect after the gross-ness of Seljiveleudg (the oldest pool in Iceland). When we arrived, they were doing a photoshoot so we got a free beer while we waited for them to finish up. Because the Secret Lagoon is a natural hot spring, the process before you can actually get in is important to conserve the integrity of it. The poster of step by step directions were simple for me to figure out but for these two older ladies who joined me in the locker room, it was just. too. much.
"You got to get completely naked and shower?!"
"I'm not taking off my bathing suit for anybody!"
"Get my hair wet? I just spent 20 minutes at the hotel blow drying it!"
Trying not to laugh, I quickly showered, washed my hair with the special shampoo they provided, slipped back on my bathing suit and headed out to the pool.
The rain was falling but it created such a calming and serene atmosphere. I took a bunch of pictures and to my terror, there seemed to be water in my "waterproof" case, so needless to say I was extremely paranoid the whole rest of the trip.
We were at the spring for close to 2 hours before we headed out to our next stop, Gulfoss Falls. The sheer power of the falls hits you as soon as you park your car. The water was raging and spitting water as far as the parking lot.
The waterfall looks like a slice of pie and slams into a dead end before it shoots out into a fast moving river. The attraction was packed with people and the rain made the walking trails really slippery.
After grabbing a couple million souvenirs at the gift shop we made our way to the Geiysers! Oh ps. Icelandic people loveee coffee, it's at every stop, they basically give it away for free and it's so delicious. This is my kinda country!
Arriving at what I called the geyser farm, were three or four geysers. Some were tiny guys and the main one and my fav was the Strokkur. These lil cuties go off like clock work every 5 - 7 minutes but the sulfur smell lasts every single second you're there haha!
We watched a couple explosions and then headed off to Efstidalur farm. This was one of the first places we knew we wanted to go when planning our trip and it did NOT disappoint.
Similar to the beginning our trip, a cute dog came and greeted us at the farm. In my head I imagined this to be a quaint mom and pop run diner, but oh no, this was a well oiled fine dining machine.The two story restaurant and bar looked out onto the farm where mammoth sized cows were grazing. They had huge windows where you could see the vast agricultural landscape on one side and peer into the barn where calfs had just been born, on the other. The Efstidalur farm is known for its gelato as well as its amazing grass-fed beef, fresh picked veggies and unique spices so we took advantage of all it had to offer.
Completely full and once again our tastebuds minds blown, we headed off to our next stop on the Golden Circle, Kerid Crater. We knew that these couple of stops would be touristy but because the weather was SO windy and rainy, there wasn't much of a crowd. Except! When we got to Kerid, a huge bus of Icelandic high schoolers pulled in behind us so hustled to the path and got a head start on them!
The wind was so strong on the edge of the crater that it threatened to blow me right off the side!! The view of this crater was stunning to say the least.
The contrasting red rocks with the crystal clear tourqiose water in the center confirmed our idea that Iceland is out of this world.
Thingvellir National Park was our final stop of the Circle and this place is VAST! We drove and drove but the rain and wind left us a little deflated about the whole park. The only thing I really wanted to do there was walk across the tectonic plates dividing the continents, but after driving in circles for 40 minutes we couldn't find an easy access point. Getting lost on the roads back there, we eventually found an area that you can walk through them, instead of swimming through them in ice cold water.
How cute is Will forcing a smile for me as he was getting what I equate as a gallon of water being dumped on us via the storm!
Leaving the Golden Circle, we headed into Reykjavik!
We had the cutest Airbnb right downtown and I instantly fell in love with this city. It reminded me of a very small NYC and even though it was raining, everyone was walking around as the night fell.
Our friends told us to run, not walk to the best brewery in Iceland, Mikkeller and Friends. Packed to the brim, this three story cozy and intimate bar made me feel like a local right away.
Despite what you may think, Reykjavik has the coolest fashion scene and I was ogling at the minimal chic clothing while Will ogled at the extensive beer can and draft list.
If you didn't know, my love of green curry is REAL and we headed to the local thai restaurant for dinner. Thus, my face.
We woke up praying for sunshine and JAH BLESS, it was sunny. The thing about Iceland is that the weather changes so often so you always have to be prepared. I wanted to look cute for photo in the city and about 10 minutes into our walk around town, it started to snow. Not wanting to get hypothermia for an instagram pic, we headed home to bundle up more and then headed out to see the Harpa.
This opera house is designed to look like fish scales and inside of the building is the most beautiful lights to accentuate the scales.
Passing on taking a tour of the Harpa for $60 each, we headed to OmNom for a chocolate tour!
For 2 hours we saw the process, start to finish of how to make chocolate and ate about a pound of it ourselves. This company embraces innovation and my favorite was the burnt toast style chocolate!
The rest of our day was full of sightseeing, finding graffiti art, shopping, drinking coffee and eating pastries and overall just soaking up the rich history of the city. We knew we had a travel day impending on us so we packed up and headed off to bed for our last day in Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon is a mixed bag of reviews. People said they didn't like how touristy it was, how it is man-made etc etc but to be honest, it was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It felt semi like Disney land, with wristbands n such but once again, the rain kept most people away.
When you arrive you do the whole, shower off regiment and head to the lagoon. Will and I sprinted into the lagoon and had the silica goop mask on our face within seconds.
We spent the rest of the day there walking through the various waterfalls, taking pictures, going into the steam room caves and lounging in the zen zones.
My only suggestion for future travelers is to heed the warnings for putting your hair up. Again, I forwent the suggestions of haircare and wanted my hair down for the 'gram. While it felt fine for a while, when I showered off to leave, I couldn't even get my fingers through my hair. The silica had coated my hair like glue! So I threw it up in a bun till I got home 24 hours later.
Iceland was the most amazing place I have ever been. Everywhere I looked was unreal and exceeded my wildest expectations. I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into our trip and I can't wait to see your adventures in Iceland!