First off — Just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who bought my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones and for your encouragement and support! You guys absolutely rock 🙂
And there are definitely still copies available…wink wink. 🙂
OK, so I just wanted to wrap up my Iceland adventure tonight with THE COOLEST things I did while I was there.
So. Allow me to set the stage. There are a couple things you should know about me.
#1: I hate nature.
#2: I hate being outside.
#3: I hate being cold.
#4: I hate lake/ocean water.
So. Knowing this..you’re probably thinking…then why the heck did’ja go to Iceland!!?
Let’s just say…it was a trip that was 100% out of my comfort zone. But honestly, that made it all the more sweeter!!
One of the most amazing things we did was go snorkeling in the glacial waters of Silfra, between the tectonic plates! The water was literally 34 degrees F, and these tectonic plates are active!
I’m gonna keep it real…I was straight up scared to go. We took the bus out there, got all geared up in these Power Ranger-esq dry suits, and even with my flippers on I still wasn’t sure if I was going to take the plunge.
Our guides were like, “It’ll be uncomfortable for the first 2 1/2 minutes, but then you’ll go numb and won’t feel it after that.”
Long story short, I went. So glad I did. It was incredible. Truly. The water is SO clear, albeit cold as all get out. And it’s so clean they even told us to drink as much as we wanted! It was absolutely breathtaking.
And here’s a little doosey for ya — we actually met up with the cute Icelandic guys who were our snorkle-guides for drinks later that night! haha #AlwaysHusbandHunting
OK. And then I’d say the most jaw dropping thing we did was boating between the icebergs to the glacier. That was, hands down, the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my life. And the drive out to the glacier was such a visual extravaganza, looking out the window and seeing everything from sheep, to farms, to water falls, to hidden hot springs – wow.
But being next to the 12,000 year old glacier, I truly felt the magnitude of God’s creation.
And finally, horseback riding on the black sand beaches gave me such a connection with the outdoors. For a girl who has a love/hate relationship with nature, this was one of my favorite memories. We rode for 3 1/2 hours – in the rain – and we got to this stunning black sand beach. The arctic waves were just crashing on the shore, and we got to gallop on horseback and feel the athletic magnificence of these beautiful creatures.
After all that adventuring, I was so ready to take a warm shower and crash that night at Hotel Klettur in Reykjavik.
It’s funny: the four nights that we were in Iceland, we slept a TOTAL of about 12 hours. Between going out to the clubs and getting up early for rental car pick ups and road trips, we just decided that sleeping would be the last thing on the totem pole.
But dang, what a beautiful hotel. It’s located just a short walk (read: 7 minutes) to the heart of Reykjavik. But honestly, that walk was our favorite thing we did in the city. You walk past so many cute little shops and houses and restaurants. It was a cultural education.
And the view out our window was so beautiful – the last morning there was a rainbow stretching from the Harpa Concert Hall to the water.
Here’s what I loved about Iceland: the hospitality was SO AMAZING. Every restaurant I went to, the chefs would create a delicious meal to meet my food allergy needs. The tour guides, shop/rental car owners/gas station attendees/hotel concierges/waiters — all SO ACCOMMODATING! Everyone speaks perfect english, and really makes you feel welcome, and goes above and beyond to make your stay positive and memorable.
Now…for my TOP 5 TIPS — or rather, What I Wish I Would Have Known:
- WATERPROOF SHOES ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL — The morning of my flight, I decided on a whim to get a pair of rain boots “just in case.” And boy, am I glad I did. It would have been a different trip without them. Not only did it rain the entire time, but you’re walking through nature – over creeks, in the mud..you get the picture. Don’t let your feet ruin your trip. And bring 4 more pairs of socks than you think you need.
- ICELAND IS PRACTICALLY CASHLESS — Everywhere takes credit cards. Yeah, take out a little cash for tips (see below) — but you’ll just end up spending most of your unused cash at Duty Free at the airport to “get rid of it” at the end of your trip.
- TIPPING: Tipping isn’t a thing there, however, if the service was “above and beyond”, it is appreciated. So for example, I would always tip 20% at dinners because the chefs would literally make me a special meal to meet my dietary needs.
- ICELAND IS EXPENSIVE. THINK LIKE A COLLEGE STUDENT. — So the flights to Iceland are dirt cheap. but once you get there, things are…expensive. SO…
- GO GROCERY SHOPPING AT “BONUS:” This was the first thing we did. “BONUS” is a discount grocery chain throughout the country. We stocked up. And got alcohol at Duty Free so we could drink before we went out and not have to order a bunch of cocktails — (which are weak because they conservatively measure their pours every time.)
- EAT BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL!! Hotel Klettur had an amazing breakfast buffet. Even I — with my laundry list of food allergies — had one of the best breakfasts of my life. They have gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables — whole kiwis, pineapple, melon, whole tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers — it was so delicious. And then all kinds of cereals and a yogurt bar, and hot food, and meats and cheeses and pastries. Breakfast of dreams. So eat a big breakfast. Pack a lunch from BONUS. And then go out to dinner. My vegetarian dinners with one cocktail were typically around $60.
- RENT A CAR, AND DO IT EARLY. Seriously. This was the best decision. If you rent ahead of time, it’s about half the price than if you wait and do a “walk in.” The worker at the car rental (another cute Icelandic gentleman) even told us that the rental car industry is “F-ed up” with how they charge people so steeply. But it’s so worth it. There’s a spontaneousness with a rental car that you just don’t get with a tour bus.
So there you have it. Thank you Hotel Klettur, for such wonderful hospitality. Iceland, you stole my heart. My friends and I are going to cherish these memories forever!
Now go book your flight! Book your stay with Hotel Klettur. And book it to Iceland! It’s waiting for you!!
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