26 April 2014

24-Hours in Iceland!

In 2005 I made it my life goal to travel to a new country every year. Last year I took a well-documented week long trip to Croatia to climb, and this year I visited Norway for a week of backcountry skiing. To start the trip off right, I did a quick stop-over in Iceland for 23.5 crazy hours in Reykjavik and the surrounding countryside.

Oh, and I convinced my friend Nick to come on the trip with just four-week's notice and no passport. We "popped his passport stamp cherry" together in the airport in fact. The customs agent actually gave us an Icelandic "wahoo" when I told him.

My PEOPLE are here! Sadly NOT our rental car.

We left Seattle at 4pm local time and took a 7+ hour flight direct to Reykjavik, landing at 6am local time. I slept on the flight for a few hours and Nick got about 45 mins of shut-eye, so obviously we were wide awake for our rental car pick-up (once we found it - seriously we spent 15 minutes just wandering around looking for the damn car) and EXCITING ski-bag luggage storage excursion.

Our itinerary was basically planned by an experienced Iceland-visitor, so we followed his advice and drove straight to the world famous Blue Lagoon, where we slept in the rental car like vagabonds for two ours until the pools opened. Because we're classy like that. 

Just outside the Blue Lagoon

Nick and kC, rocking the Blue Lagoon like A BOSS!
After our skin was silky smooth from the mud and salt bath, we drove 2 hours north east into the Icelandic interior and saw Geysir, the first original geyser after which all other "geysers" are named.

Geysir. Blew up every 4-7 minutes. Quite impressive.

More Yellowstone-like pools of blue hottness

Another quick 20-minutes in the car heading north and we were at Gullfoss, a rather impressive 2-stage waterfall dropping into a very deep canyon. Being a great traveler, I had read absolutely nothing about this waterfall before the trip, and was completely floored by the beauty and grandness of the rushing water.

Photo by Nick. Enhancements by iPhone ;-)

Grandpa Max was mightily impressed too!

Kristina: Suffers from Shortness. Nearly fell over right after this photo was taken.

We grabbed some surprisingly delicious fried chicken sandwiches from an Icelandic-equivalent gas station (seriously guys, these were like a 7/10 on the sammich scale) and headed out on our 2.5 hour drive back to downtown Reykjavik. I let Nick drive, which was an AWESOME idea because I took a little carnap, AND we made it back in less than 2 hours. Not that he was speeding or anything.

Do I really need to caption this?
Think this town is ready for the TUTU?

In Reykjavik we checked into our hostel and set about drinking our 6-pack acquired at Duty Free.. Seeing as we don't read Icelandic, we selected our beer based on the label and alcohol content. We were not disappointed.

With a map, cameras, and I'll admit it, a little drunk, we walked (stumbled?) to Sabud, a delicious dinner place recommended by more than a few people. We dined on sumptuous lobster bisque, baluga whale (I am sorry - it was mighty tasty), and red fish. My belly was happy :)

Post dinner included wandering actual downtown until Nick tried to get into a fight with a drunk guy  (we successfully broke up a potential domestic violence situation and it was mostly uneventful) and then ending back up at the hostel where they shut down the bar at 11pm so we just went to bed. Here are some of the pictures from our wandering:

Icelandic JUMP!

Icelandic BALLET!
Icelandic SUNSET!
Icelandic SELFIE!

Sunday morning was quite eventful trying to get gas, pick up the ski bags, AND get to the airport in time for our 7:50am flight. It all went smoothly until we got to the airport and waited in a 20-minute baggage check line only to be rerouted to ANOTHER line due to the fact that Nick had a backpack - which is considered "oversize". Really irritating. Once we boarded the plane it started snowing and we sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour waiting for the de-icing machine to save us. I was pretty sure we'd be stranded in Oslo with our already-short layover to go through customs, check in to our new flight, and go back through security....but the travel gods were in our favor and we made it!
Next blog - Norway!

Did we eat Long Bread on our trip? Keep reading to find out! (and seriously read that "long bread" description. Hilarious.

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