02.09.2014 - 03.09.2014
After our whale watching tours were cancelled on Monday, we rescheduled for the Tuesday morning tour. We went on the 9 am Elding whale watching tour which lasted 3 long, cold, slightly miserable hours. It turns out we aren't the patient whale watching people. We only saw one whale for one second. Elding offered us free tickets for the next tour which we quickly declined. After sitting on the top deck for 1.5 hours, we were cold and went inside. The interior of the boat was freezing cold too, and we were beyond relieved when we pulled back into Reykjavik's old harbor and got off the boat.
We immediately hauled it to the little food truck called Walk the Plank. The owner cooked us crab cake sliders and potatoes. Not only was he the chef, he was also the fisherman. He caught the crab at 3 that morning. The sliders were scrumptious and a redeeming part of the whale watching debacle.
On our way to the Reykjanes peninsula which is where Keflavik airport and the Blue Lagoon are located, we stopped at Kringlan Mall. Kringlan is the largest mall in Iceland. Most of our souvenir purchases offered a tax refund if we took the time to deal with the hassle of getting the refund. We filled out the paperwork and got our tax refunds which gave us money for dinner.
We checked into our guesthouse Megan found on Airbnb. It was located on a farm by the coast right next to a lighthouse. It was a serene setting. We walked around the farm for a minute, and Erin managed to step into a giant puddle.
We headed to the famous Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is filled with mineral water, rich in silica and sulphur, that is geothermal lay heated. The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant. The water is constantly 37-40 Celsius. The Blue Lagoon offers spa treatments, has a fancy restaurant, and is the most relaxing place I have ever been to.
We splurged for he 65 euro comfort package which includes a trial pack of skin lotion, a towel, a robe, a drink, and a mud mask. It was well worth every dollar. Geothermal pools are a big deal in Iceland. Icelanders love them. Since the water isn't treated with chemicals, you must shower (without a swimsuit) before entering the pool. They have posters showing you where you must wash before entering the lagoon. They are comical. Also, the lagoon water will dry out your hair, so it is suggested you use a lot of conditioner and leave it in. Our hair still feels like straw after very intense conditioning.
We showered, changed, and entered the lagoon for the most relaxing 3 hours of our lives. Around the lagoon, they have free silica masks that we put on for ten minutes. Then we got our drinks ( a strawberry skyr smoothie for me) and put on our mud masks.
Around this time, we saw Abby and Liz (Liz's GoPro made it easy to sight them in the steam cloud above the pool). The last two days, Abby and Liz did a speedy road-trip through the south after they had picked our brains about where to go. It was fun to catch up with them, and once again, it made it seem like a small world.
An employee at the Blue Lagoon passed out samples of lip balm and algae face mask. We talked to the employee whose name was Erla (in Icelandic, it is not pronounced how it looks). Erla studied abroad at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches. We talked about her experience in Texas and how much she loved living in east Texas. Nacogdoches seems like a undesirable location to us, but Erla loved it because it was so different from Iceland.
Liz and Abby headed back to Reykjavik, and Megan, Erin, and I headed to the one restaurant in the nearby town of Vogar. We ordered pizza, and originally wanted to order the 9 inch pizza. The waitress told us Icelandic children usually order the 9 inch pizza, and since we were Americans, we would want to order a larger size. Basically, she said we were fat Americans, so we lived up to her stereotype and ordered the 12 inch pizzas. We didn't want to crush the waitress's belief of American's eating habits, so we ate our pizzas and followed them up with ice cream. The restaurant owner was a cute old man who traveled a lot. He chatted with us for a while, and we learned his favorite place in America was Alaska. He also shut his restaurant down every December and January and traveled to warmer weather. Isn't that the life?
Our Icelandic adventure unfortunately had to come to an end. We woke up early on Wednesday and cooked some eggs that the owner gathered from the chickens who live on the farm. We went back to the Ikea-inspired Keflavik airport, but first, we parted ways with our beloved Skoda Octavia rent car. She did well with our 2,000 kilometers of driving. At the Hertz, we ran into the couple from Weatherford, Texas whom we saw at Thingvellir Park days earlier. After checking our bags, we set out to spend our remaining krona, and we met up with Abby and Liz who were flying out at the same time as we were.
We all headed to our separate flights, and all made it home to our respective locations. All good things, including 12 day trips to Iceland, have to end. Our Icelandic adventure was a once-in-a-lifetime trip on which we made memories to last a lifetime. If you are able bodied and into pretty scenery, I suggest you pack your hiking boots & rain coat and head to Iceland for an adventure you won't forget!
Below are just a few of our memories and accolades we awarded for this trip:
Best meal - Tryggvaskali in Selfoss
Best Icelandic food - NOT SHARK, Smoked trout & mashed fish
Best tour guide - Not creepy Lolli from the walking tour. MIKE from the glacier hiking wins.
Best activity - glacier hiking
Best car sleeper - Erin & Laura
Best Icelandic landscape - lava fields, glacial lagoon, and rolling green hills between Vik & Skogar
Best sightseeing - accidental Glymur hike
Best swimming - Seljavallaug & Silfra
Best mishap - Hertz debacle on day 1, Falling water bottle on the glacier that was rescued by the Spaniards, ram intrusion on our picnic, Erin's attire day 1 (shorts & chacos), Sloppy Skogar (wifi in parking lot, walk to museum before deciding to drive, hostel check in in the restaurant we just ate in, Charlie Mansion, secret waterfalls we never found, shower doors that wouldn't shut, drying out of travelers checks, uncomfortable metal spring bed, my refusal to use a comforter, Erin crawling under the bed to find outlets, expensive laundry that required two rounds of drying, hike to top of Skogafoss that nearly killed us, walk back after swimming, & furnace drying)
Best waterfall - Gljufrabui
Best quote -
Erin: "To whom did you speak to about the wifi?"
Megan: "The wifi master?"
Laura: "Where are we [on the map]?"
Gas station employee: "Iceland"
"STARTTT THE CARRR!"
Best Icelandic stereotype that turned out to be true - Icelanders give general directions (evidence: Hertz fiasco on day 1)
Best Icelandic beer - Vatnajökull & Viking stout,
Best road trip song - "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift o
Best bar - Kex Hostel & Kaldi
Best Megan vocabulary word - promenade & switchback
Best Iceland animal - Erin's choice-puffin, Megan's -sheep, Laura's-horse
Best Iceland word we can pronounce (or at least give it a good effort)- Erin's-Eyjafjallajökull, Laura's- snyrting, Megan's- kaffi
Best little village - Hofn & Selfoss
Best beach - Dyrhólaey & Reynijsfara
Favorite character - Russ (Scottish kid at hostel) & Jane Wei with her puffin hat
Favorite picture - Megan's-sheep selfie, Erin's-scuba sign at Silfra, Laura's- late night wifi in Skogar parking lot
Best awkward moment - Erin's choice- Laura's handshake with Louis/Ross stripping twice, Megan's- saying "hiiiii" to waitress in creepy voice when waiting for her lamb Bernaise at coffee shop on day 1 & Lolli asking us if 18, Laura's- Megan mistakenly poking British girl's butt instead of Erin's during Silfra snorkeling
Best wifi- Hjardarból Hostel
(We were able to flawlessly stream the A&M game from our beds.)
Best bed - Puffin Hostel in Vik & Hafnarnes in Hofn
Best shower - Hjardarból Hostel & Grundarfjörður Hostel
Best toilet - Hafnarnes Hostel
Best overall - Narfokut house
Best water - Grundarfjörður