I will forever spend the rest of my days trying to get back to you.
Even with a minor snafu like losing a luggage at the beginning of the trip. And having to get creative for 4 days without a few necessities. Yes, Iceland, I will come back! (Haven't lost a luggage since Peru 2008!)
This is actually our second opportunity to come to the Land of Fire and Ice. The first was a few years ago when a group of friends chose Iceland as our next New Year's travel destination. For some forgotten reason, the hubs and I weren't able to tag along and thus a missed chance to see Iceland in all it's winter wonderment.
Fast forward to July 2015, and Iceland is at its summer's peak. Which is equivalent to a Southeast Texas winter. We've spent 5 days leisurely driving the entire southern coast and back, and honestly, this was one of the funner roadtrips I've had in my life. Living off crackers and cheese, and on the lookout for Icelandic folklore elf homes. And oh! The varied countryside! If you didn't see sheep, you saw horses. If you didn't see horses, you saw sheep. (Oddly enough, it was rare to see them together.) The scenery constantly changed every hour or so, from brown nothingness to fields upon fields of purple lupine to rocky black sand beaches. From miles of moss-covered lava mounds to geothermal hot springs to volatile geysers to pockets of glaciers to majestic waterfalls. The list is endless.
At times it was hard to believe we were still in ONE country.
And that's really the lure of Iceland, it's insanely diverse geology. If you weren't an adventure traveler before, Iceland will have you thinking up camp possibilities. Maybe as far as basic gear you might need. Even if it's just camping from your own van.
At the end of all of the roadtripping, we've spent our last moments in the lively Reykjavik. Met up with a longtime friend, Helga, who lived in the same residencia as me during my Spain 2007 days. She fabulously played tour guide around her beloved hometown, while we comically chatted up stories left and right throughout the mini walking tour. Conversation flowed effortlessly for hours. She's a fun person :
"Have you tried it??"
"Oh, God, no! I heard it's nasty! Bleh!"
"LOL! The heck! You were gonna get us to eat something that you haven't tried yourself??"
"Now you HAVE to try it with us!"
And so we set out to the fish market, with a few tourist stops in between, in search of this fermented-in-pee-rotten shark meat. And we found it. Aptly renamed as Blue Cheese Shark Meat. Perhaps to put it's reputation on more palatable terms. We got the video ready and each grabbed a sample. A moment of hesitation before the big leap. Here goes. OK, not so bad. It really does kinda taste like blue cheese. A few seconds pass ... aaaaand there it is. The rotten shark meat part. Wow. That aftertaste really sneaks up on ya! All phases of our facial expressions gloriously recorded on film.
Welp. Bucket list item - check.
It's crazy how cramming nearly 10 years of friendship into 4 hours of fun really passes in a blink of an eye. It's kinda bittersweet. Especially with friends who live on different continents. When's the next time we'll see each other? Who knows. But we made the promise to next meet somewhere in this big, big world.
And just like the time spent with Helga, our trip to Iceland was way too short. I can see why most people are smitten with this country. It's been a Zen experience.
When: July 2015
Cities: Rekjavik, Southern Tour
Transportation: Rented car
Stay: Kex Hostel in Rekjavik. In all the other cities, because we waited til the last minute to book cheaper options, the only availability left were the expensive hotel stays.
Food: Shark meat, Puffin, Skyr. For our roadtrip, since everything is so expensive, we loaded up on crackers, cheese, and lunch meat from one of the local grocery stores in Rekjavik before embarking on the Southern Tour.
Things To Do in Rekjavik: Hallgrimskirkja Church, Harpa, Fish Market, The Sun Voyager, Downtown, Buy a Lopapeysa (Icelandic sweater, ~$100-$200).
Notable Waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss, Gullfoss, Skogafoss, Godafoss, Svartifoss.
Other Things To See on The Southern Road: Blue Lagoon, Geysers (Most famous is Strokkur), Elf homes, Lava moss fields, Purple lupine fields, Sheeps, Horses, Golden Triangle, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Glacier Hiking.