22 Nov The Icelandic Travel Series: You’ve read the book, now watch the movie…
All good things must come to an end.
And just like our magical trip to Iceland,
So, must this blog series.
I know, I know,
It is almost as good as “Stranger Things.”
I mean, without all the weird supernatural things but Eleven “El” has similarities to our wild tour guide “Ellen”
so just keep that in mind…
Again, if you haven’t read the first two parts of this series I encourage you to go back, it will make the video at the end of this blog, a little more interesting and exciting.
With that being said,
don’t skip down to the bottom just yet, keep playing by the rules!
All right so let’s jump back into it.
Day three was started with an early alarm. We had to be up and on the bus no later than 8:30am
Ellen made sure we knew this, and repeated it about 12… million times the day before.
As 8:15 rolled around the 6 of us were gathering our things and were hurried onto the bus because we were the last ones.
Iceland sure knows how to run a tight ship.
As we got onto our mini bus we were off on a full day Golden Circle Tour.
But most importantly it was papa John’s birthday!
My travel buddy,
My best friend,
My main man,
And the guy that the whole world could fall in love with.
There is no greater gift in my life than the everlasting and growing relationship I have with my dad.
To say that I could live without him would be ridiculous.
The things I have learned from him can’t be taught.
And the love I have received from him cannot be given.
He is truly one of the most incredible human beings I have ever been in contact with and I’m not saying that because I should.
As an adult, I am even more astounded by his life,
His tribulations and his continuous love for his family, his friends, and strangers.
He lights up a room when he walks in,
His stories, his light-hearted humor and his joyful disposition cannot be faked.
When you are in his presence it is impossible to be in a bad mood.
If there is anything I know, it’s that him and my mom were the greatest blessings I have ever received.
And knowing that with everything he has had to deal with in life, he is still a ray of fucking sunshine.
Means, I have no excuse to be anything but that either.
So, what a day to celebrate, and what a life to live.
We jumped on the bus and were off,
Out of the bus windows I got to witness an Icelandic sunrise.
Pure and so amazing!
We arrived at our first stop, the Hellisheidi Power Plant at the foot of Mt. Hengill Volcano where the earth’s most brutal forces are harnessed and converted to clean energy for space heating. Renewable power sources account for more than 70% of the total primary energy consumption in Iceland, far higher than anywhere else in the world.
Then we were off to an Icelandic Horse Stable. Thank goodness, because Alanna was about to lose her cool if we didn’t see one,
Or 1,000… who knows?
We pulled up and these sweet animals were just eager for a good head massage.
Though the look and size of them are similar to a pony, they are actually full-grown horses and we were informed to NEVER call them ponies.
After taking far too many selfies and being too girly and braiding their mane, we got to see one horse in action.
One of the main characteristics of an Icelandic horse is that they have 5 gaits. The most impressive one was the tolt. It is a soft and easy 4-gait step which is comfortable for the rider for long distances.
We jumped back in the bus and were off to the Gullfoss waterfall, the queen of Iceland’s waterfalls, located in South Iceland on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull.
When we arrived, you could just tell it was going to be breathtaking. We started our trek by walking on a wooden path, with just flat lands and open air, in the distance you could see the mist from the waterfall filling up the sky, with a slight rainbow peeking out. We walked down some flights of stairs and then walked up to the edge of the first lookout.
It was incredible.
You could feel the power from this waterfall.
It raged loud.
Then we continued down a sleek and quick descending path to the base of the waterfall.
The surrounding area was bright green, while the water crashed hard it was so beautiful.
We hung out and took pictures and enjoyed one of the most visited places in Iceland.
Its beauty is so powerful, so, so powerful.
After leaving the rigid cold of the Gullfoss waterfall we traveled through the inlands of Iceland on our way to our next stop.
The scenery was unreal. Every sight looked like a movie.
For the hours we drove I just stared out the window.
There were pure white lambs, puffy and bright, standing on grass that was greener than anything I’ve seen.
There were Icelandic horses running and playing.
Streams would cut through the farmlands,
Trees planted in accordance to little black farm houses.
The little black farmhouses were so unique, I could only imagine how perfect it would look when everything was covered in white snow.
Life there just seemed simple.
There was little traffic and no horns honking or tall huge buildings.
Just acres and acres of what seemed like perfectly placed homes.
The remoteness was nice. Open spaces and so much time to witness untouched beauty.
The stops were amazing, but I could look out a window for hours and not get bored.
With the smell of terrible farts lingering, we had arrived at our next stop
The Geysir geothermal area, home of the famous Strokkur geyser. The Strokkur geyser erupts every 6-10 minutes, making it one of the most active geysers in the world.
We had a chance to watch it erupt, which was really cool… I had 5 min video on my iphone and nothing was happening, so I pressed stop and just as that happened it erupted…
Life is really cool sometimes.
There was a small giftshop and lunch stop so we made our way to the lamb soup and ate a traditional meal.
Then we were off to our last stop, the Thingvellir National Park, for one, a key location in Icelandic history as the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Þingvellir has for this reason been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides being a location of historical significance, Þingvellir is also protected as a national park due to its unique geology and natural features. Almannagjá is a canyon formed between two tectonic plates, a visual representation of continental drift.
We wandered through the gap between the two plates and enjoyed Elleens’ really informative talks.
You could see out for miles, and again, everything just looked so peaceful.
I don’t know about you, but I love that feeling. Of being in a different place, which seems like another world.
But being able to just look and watch.
Watch the trees move in the wind, or the look on other people’s faces as they are talking pictures of things they find beautiful.
I think it’s the simplicity that I love. That adventure doesn’t need a bright neon sign.
Its beauty is easy.
So, unbelievably easy.
We drove about an hour back to Reykjavik where we got ready and had a small hotel party for my dad.
After a few beers we headed into city center for our last night and a big celebration.
The fresh seafood and fish was amazing, the company was even better.
As we left dinner we walked out and looked up,
The sky, for the 3rd night in a row was unreal.
We walked to the shore line and away from the city lights where we were able to all witness another show.
I like to think that the saying third times the charm
(mostly cause I’m the third child)
But also, because we were able to capture these pictures.
I will never.
And I mean never forget this trip.
We finished the night in a few pubs, cheersing, laughing. Dancing and causing chaos.
It was the perfect way to end the trip and I couldn’t imagine anything better.
My life hasn’t always been ideal, and definitely nothing I imagined it to be.
But being able to witness and experience such vast beauty is something I would never trade.
If you ever have the chance to go to Iceland, please do.
And if you ever do, please bring me.
I guess after everything is said and done, I just can’t imagine a different life than the one I’m living right now.
Do I wish things in the past were different? Absolutely.
But this life I’m living right now is so unique and has absolutely made me into the human i am.
This life is sacred,
but it’s mine.
And I cannot believe how lucky I am to live it.
Thank you to my travel buddies for such a surreal and incredible experience.
You all made this trip so much fun!
Iceland, you are truly magnificent.
Thank you for letting me fall in love with life again…
As I always say,
and truly believe,
Choose to fall in love with it all,
since yall read the book,
its time to watch the movie…
Ohhhhhhh and OF COURSE i had to drop into CrossFit Reykavik…
and my two troopers joined me!
such an amazing gym and it was completely humbling to go somewhere were i am usually super confident and comfortable and feel so lost.
Our icelandic CrossFit coach was a pregnant badass and i couldn’t understand anything she said. it was awesome!