The theme of this trip was definitely “reunion” and of course new friends. Between our group, we were visiting from California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, D.C. and NY.
I started off by getting myself home to NYC to meet up with my family and get some good ol korean food. Then it was off to JFK to find Mel and of course grab a quick beer before take off.
We landed in Reykjavík early morning to find Sussi, Dan, Dave & Victor and we were on our way! (After a quick stop at the impressive bathrooms and a minor mishap at the ATM). We took the flybus to our airbnb at Snorrabraut and Skeggjagata and prioritized our next step… what to eat. We dropped in at Brauð & Co for some pastries and off to brunch at bergsson mathús. Although eating out in Iceland is ridiculously expensive, the food is fresh and delicious.
We spent our first day wandering the main street of Laugavegurinn. We stopped in at flying tiger, a fun trinket store, took some photos by the moon voyager & Hallgrímskirkja church. After all that flying, we had to turn in for a nap.
We had some fun figuring out the hot/cold water situation. Apparently the water is from two separate sources so while the cold water is super clean the hot water smells like sulfur. For dinner, we visited Essensia which was pretty delicious. Ju and I had the roasted bone marrow and the langoustine pizza. Service here is a bit slow so be prepared to sit a while. After that we HAD to end up at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for a hot dog… a yummy, yummy hot dog. It’s crispy, creamy and covered in mustard and layered over fried onions. Mmm.
Stopped by Kiki’s then headed home.
Today was our busy day. A full tour that started with the Secret Lagoon which was amazing. I just love hot springs. We pretty much just relaxed and took a bunch of photos before our bodies got so confused between the cold and warmth that we had to get out.
Next, we explored the Golden Circle. We saw waterfall after waterfall including Gulfoss, watched the geysirs and then stopped by Þingvellir National Park placed between 2 continents. This was a sneak peak of our snorkel spot the next day. We heard that we had to stop by Sægreifinn and absolutely was not disappointed. We had their classic lobster soup, tons of bread and amazing dessert that was so good, we took some to go.
Crazy idea day!
In our group of 7, Dan and I ended up being the only ones who seemed to think snorkeling … in Iceland … in January would be a good idea. Got picked up in the van in the morning and our driver Gretsky did not let the complete white out conditions slow him down one bit. We arrived and changed out of our clothes into our dry suits in the middle of the blizzard. The drysuits and hoods were pretty impossible to get on but afterwards, we felt cozy warm. We walked over to the entry point and were ready to go!
It was surprisingly warm when we took our first steps into the 2 degree celcius water. I think there was so much to distract you that once you’re in the water, you don’t even feel the cold. We got to swim between two tectonic plates through some amazingly crystal clear glacial waters.
It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!!! You would look down at the silfra fissure and pop up to see snow covered landscapes. We took some time afterwards to enjoy hot cocoa and browse the rest of Pinvellir National Park.
We were now craving something warm to eat and headed back to the city and visited Noodle Station. I’m not sure exactly how to describe these noodles, maybe a mix between pho and ramen but it was the perfect post snorkeling meal. We headed back for a little rest.
The rest of the group stopped at Hallgrímskirkja Church and picked up snacks at Sandholt. We regrouped at Lebowski Bar and then got ready for our Northern Lights tour. This tour was painful in every sense. The bus was blazing hot and we ended up driving 4 hours to stand in crazy, windy cold and not see anything. We had the unfortunate luck of being there during the super moon + blue moon meaning it was difficult to see any Northern Lights.
We were on our own today! We rented a van and decided to explore Southern Iceland.
A quick breakfast stop and off to see more gorgeous waterfalls! The country has so many. Today we saw Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss and also a stop at Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The names definitely take a lot of brain power to comprehend but we managed to get by if we understood the first 3 letters. It was chilly but worth it when a beautiful rainbow came out to greet us.
Our next stop was the black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Again, our timing was great because we got some great shots with the sun and waves. It was also nice to see some water. I never feel like I am on vacation until I see some water.
Mel and I got to recreate our amazing poses! It’s so nice to travel with old friends, especially when you are separated for some time. After enjoying some sun and relative “warmth”, we climbed some of the mesmerizing rock formations and got back in our van.
Next, we had to make a roadside stop to see the HORSIES!!! They were not interested in us at first until we got some crackers out and then they were our best friends.
For dinner, we stopped by Icelandic Fish & Chips and got a fix of fried food and beer. We headed over to Pablo Discobar which is at the top floor of Burro. Pablo was unnecessarily expensive. We ordered off their special menu to avoid spending $25 on a drink. Dave found a good place to try to scope out the Northern Lights by the lighthouse that was about 5 minutes from our dinner spot. We didn’t have high hopes since the super moon was out again but we did catch some glimpses. It was beautiful.
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