November 2 – November 5, 2015
I found a great rate for airfare to Iceland. It was $260 round trip from Boston. I showed the deal to some of my adventurous buddies, and they were in! So, Kevin Dennis, Adam Herndon and myself took off early on a Monday morning. We used points for the positioning flights to and from Boston and for the hotel, so this would be a cheap trip. We got to DFW kind of late because of traffic. We got through security, and our flight showed that it was delayed about 15 minutes. The guys went to get coffee and I stayed around our gate. I took a look at my AA app to see if we were still delayed and the app showed that it was cancelled. Right at that moment, they announced that our flight was cancelled. Luckily, I was already rushing up to the gate desk and was 3rd in line. They were able to put us on a flight leaving 30 minutes later. If it were the next flight as most of the people got, we would have missed our flight to Iceland. We arrived in Boston Monday afternoon, had some time to eat lunch/dinner and then boarded our Wow Airlines flight to Boston. Wow is a lowcost airline, similar to Frontier or Spirit, where you have to pay for all the extras. You are only allowed one free carry on bag that weighs 11lbs. So, we all tried to pack light and where our heavy coats onto the plane. They really only weighed it when we checked in for the flight to get our boarding passes. After that, we put our coats and stuff back in our bags.
Wow was actually a very nice airline with great flight attendants. They do charge for everything though, even water. The 5 hour flight was overnight. I got maybe an hour of sleep. Upon arrival, we deplaned, went through customs, and got our compact rental car. We loaded up and drove toward Reykjavik which is about 45 minutes away. We did make a stop at a gas station in Keflavík to look around and buy some snacks, but for the most part, everything was still closed. It was 5 a.m. In Reykjavik, we went to our hotel, the Hilton Nordica and checked in. Our room was ready and the lounge had just opened, so we had breakfast and went to the room. We had reservations for the Blue Lagoon Thermal Geo Spa at 9, so we drove back towards the airport, still in the dark. By the time we got there, it was daylight and the sun was just about to come up. We checked in and went to the locker room. They require that you shower before you get in, so we did and got in our swimsuits. It was about 35 outside, so the walk to the water was really cold. We took a few pictures and then hopped in. The water was warm, around 100 and was causing lots of steam. It was milky white, which makes it look light blue. The bottom was mostly soft, white mud. It felt really good and we soaked in it for almost 3 hours and explored the whole thing. It even rained on us a little bit. As the day went on, it got more and more crowded, but we had it almost to ourselves for a while. We did try out the silica mud on our faces, the hot waterfall and the saunas.
We left around noon and drove around the southside of the island. We could really see the mossy lava landscape, now. We stopped in a little fishing town at a cafe and had lobster soup and meringue cake. Both were really good. We continued our drive and passed a nice golf course. We turned in to take a look. A group of golfers was on the course, but the clubhouse was closed. Adam really wanted to play some holes, but we couldn’t find anyone to pay for the round. Adam did find some golf clubs and we got some balls from the driving range, so we just started playing. We had a great time playing about 5 holes. The course sat close to the beach and was very windy, but nice. One of the holes even had a teebox where you hit your drive over the highway. We returend our clubs and continued around the island towards Reykjavik. The scenery was pretty amazing, especailly towards the coast. It remineded be of Hawaii. We also saw the Bridge Between Continents before the city. Back in town, we went straight to see the big church. It is really the most recognizable structure in town. From the top, we had amazing views. We then walked around town and went in some shops. We had dinner at Icelandic Fish and Chips and then hit some more shops. At this point, it was dark, and we could see the northern lights really good. We rushed back to the car and drove out of town so that we could see them better. They didn’t last long after that, so we went back to the hotel and spent some time in the lounge, before going to bed for the best sleep ever.
The next day, we were going to do the Golden Circle to see many of the sights that were drivable in one day. We had breakfast in the lounge and set off on the drive when it was still dark. The first stop was Pingvellier. It is really a historical site where Iceland had all of their important meetings in history. It was some marshy land, cliffs and some pretty good waterfalls. As we drove further north, the landscape became more icy and we could see snow covered mountains. Along the way, we stopped at a cool little dairy farm called Efstidalur and got some fresh ice cream. The next two stops was for the big Geysers and Gulfoss water fall. Both were pretty spectacular. After that, we stopped at a greenhouse called Fridheimar and had fresh tomato soup and bread. Vegetables don’t grow well in Iceland, so they either import them or grow them in greenhouses. The last stop before we returned to Reykjavik was an old volcano crater. It started snowing on us n the drive back, but we still stopped to feed some horses.
Back at the hotel, we went to the spa to soak in the hot tubs. They were giving free neck/head massages too! Then, we hit up the lounge for snacks. Next, we went into town for more shopping and exploring. The first stop was Baerjarins hot dog stand. Icelanders love their hot dogs. After some shopping, we stopped a bar. Kevin and Adam had the rotten shark and dried fish. They said it tasted like chemical and I think it smelled like feet. I ordered a burger that wasn’t very good. We headed back to the hotel when it appeared everything was pretty much closed.
The next day, our flight was at 1 pm. We had breakfast in the lounge, again, and then packed up the car and left. We wanted to see the fishing boats come in, but we didn’t succeed. Instead, we found a cool outdoor store, like REI, and then did more shopping in town. We also found a cool lighthouse and this weird man made hill that you can climb up and look over the city. They had a fish drying house at the top. The weather was pretty horrible this day. Back towards the airport, we drove around the town and had lunch at KFC. The ride home was pretty uneventful. We did get to see Greenland from the air. It was very icy. The weather in Dallas was bad, though, an our flights didn’t get in until 1:30am.