Iceland for a Weekend

I really never thought I’d be able to say I’ve been to Iceland. It always seemed like one of those places that only hardcore travelers make it to. Well, I guess I can consider myself a hardcore traveler and basically and eskimo after this weekend. I met my good friend from home, Neely, at a hostel in the middle of downtown Reykjavik, and let’s just say we made some memories. This was my first experience in a hostel and I was honestly pleasantly surprised. Neely and I were in a six person, all women room, where we slept in bunkbeds and shared a bathroom with the hall. Our roommates consisted of solo-travelers from Germany, Scottland, and London and they were all extremely easy to live with for the weekend. Overall I’d rate the hostel experience an 8/10 (-2 for waking up to roommate’s alarms).

I arrived in Iceland Thursday night and immediately started exploring. Neely and I went to dinner where we got burgers and truffle fries, then went straight to the bars after. We found ourselves at a few hole in the wall places before ending up at a live music whiskey bar. I was by far the youngest person there, but it was fun nevertheless. Neely and I were shocked to hear the band in a small Iceland bar playing old country music we had grown up listening to in Texas. I mean I can’t blame the Icelandic people for loving country music, but it was a little ironic to travel across the world and hear songs we were so familiar with.

For our first full day, we spent the morning exploring downtown Reykjavik and the afternoon at the Blue Lagoon. Considering it’s one of the 25 wonders of the world, I had high expectations and let’s just say I was not disappointed. The water was naturally hot, flooded with steam, and surrounded by volcanic rock. Definitely lived up to its title of wonder of the world. The only thing that was less than perfect was the repercussion of the Blue Lagoon water in my hair. Neely and I are both pretty good about listening to directions, but we must have missed the part where they told us to put our hair up before getting in the water. I’m sure everything will be fine in a few weeks, but for now I just have to deal with the dry, brittle, sulfur-filled Blue Lagoon hair.

The next day started out a little rough with an early wake up just to find out our full-day beach/glacier/waterfall tour was cancelled due to bad weather. Our tour guide ended up taking us to a whale museum instead, which I admit I was not a huge fan of. I’m sure if I had gotten more than four hours of sleep I might have been more interested in the different whale species of Iceland. Later that day Neely and I went to Sky Lagoon which in my opinion, was better than the Blue Lagoon. We did the “seven step ritual” which was basically just alternating from hot to cold temperatures in various ways. Apparently it’s great for anti-aging so if I look any younger than 20 years old, you know why.

That night I convinced Neely to have a fancy dinner with me before attempting to see the northern lights. At 8pm, we got on a tour bus and set out to the countryside about an hour from the city of Reykjavik. We were told there was a 70% chance that we would be able to see the lights, but I guess we happened to be the 30%. After standing in the 14° cold for an hour and a half, I wasn’t sure I would leave Iceland with all of my toes. Even though we didn’t see the northern lights, the sky was still clear enough to stargaze and take some cool pictures, so the I guess tour wasn’t a complete bust.

Neely and I left for the airport at 2:30am the next morning, and caught our early flights home with plenty of time to spare. Despite the cancelled tour and lack of northern lights, this trip was nothing less than extraordinary. It really was a once in a lifetime experience to travel across the world with one of my best childhood friends. They always say you should leave something for next time, so I’ll plan on seeing the northern lights and black sand beaches on my next Iceland adventure.

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