Friday, November 11, 2011

Adventures in Iceland! Day One.

I'll apologize right now...the next few posts have a lot of pictures, so I'm sorry if this slows your computer down! I promise, I'll make it worth your while. :)

In mid-October, Mark and I took a long weekend and spent a few days in Iceland! We had never been there before and Icelandair offers package deals that include airfare, hotel, and excursions for a ridiculously reasonable price. We left Boston late Monday night and landed in Keflavik at 6:30am local time (which was about 2:30am to us). After a 45 minute bus ride to the hotel, we dumped our stuff in our room, then stumbled back downstairs for...

...some Icelandic breakfast. Mmm...Smjor (Icelandic butter) and mystery fish (that gray blob on the plate). We shoveled the food in our mouths then stumbled back upstairs for a nap. Holy jet lag, Batman!

After a semi-refreshing two (or three, oops) hour nap, we split up the money we had exchanged at the airport. $300USD turns into about 33,000 kronur. We felt rich! That is, until we realized that a cup of soup cost 1900+ kronur, or a soda cost 400 kronur.

Since we had the afternoon free, we decided to hop on a bus to the Blue Lagoon. Once you leave Reykjavik it's like driving on Mars; you pass through miles and miles of rocky hills and lava fields.

Hello, Blue Lagoon!! The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa; the water comes from the output of a nearby power plant and is full of all sorts of minerals. It's some of the most opaque water I've ever seen; you can only see about 6 inches into it. relaxing! They say the water is somewhere between 98-102 degrees, and they have boxes of Icelandic mud that you can goop on your face.

Don't think that it's all warm and toasty outside, though! The staff walks around in heavy winter coats. The worst part is probably right before you get in the water, when you first come out of the locker room. They make you shower before you're allowed into the water, so you're walking out into near-freezing air sopping wet and barefoot. At one point while we were in the water it started snowing!

They have a swim-up bar in the lagoon, too. I had some sort of blue drink and Mark decided on a refreshing cup of Krap. :)

After a while it started to get dark, so we caught a bus back to the hotel, grabbed some dinner, then headed out for our second excursion of the day: a Northern Lights bus tour! Who needs sleep? Apparently not us!

The bus tour basically drives you around to wherever the sky is clear in hopes that if there are lights that night, you can see them. The sky is ridiculously clear; you could even see the craters on the moon.

We didn't see any Northern Lights on our tour, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying! I took this picture around midnight (Iceland time); we're at the base of Eyjafjallajokul, the volcano that erupted last year and disrupted all the flights to Europe. We didn't get back to our hotel until 3am!

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