Nov 4, 2015

Memories Made in Iceland




I can hear ya'll now...

A trip recap? Is is she freaking kidding us? Didn't she go there like almost two months ago? 

Yup. I have no shame you guys. Or excuses.

Oh and for fun, here's a little Iceland Google+ Story I made. There are videos in there too!

1. The day it didn't stop raining and we didn't let it stop us. 


I think it was the second full day of our trip where we had at least ten stops on the itinerary...all of which, were outdoors. And it was raining. A lot.

The beauty of this is that once you get wet, you actually cannot get any wetter, so you just get over it and keep on. When we found a waterfall inside a cave, we shrugged, pulled up our rain hoods and trekked through the stream to get inside the cave. And it was amazing. The waterfall had to have been over 20 feet high and we savored the moment, wet socks and all. Definitely recommend wellies if you ever go to Iceland. Rookie mistake.

We saw a few more waterfalls that day and some really gorgeous black sand beaches where we faced more rain and wind, but it was such a fun day. We were really pleased that when we check into our hotel in Vik that night (Iceland Air Hotel Vik) that it had heated bathroom floors. It was voted our favorite shower of the whole trip.





2. That time we picked up our first hitchhikers and didn't get murdered. 




Iceland is an extremely safe country and many travelers camp and backpack around the island, getting from place to place via hitchhiking. I'd never do it, but apparently it's common and very safe to do.

So when we turned on a very bumpy gravel road to see a wrecked WWII U.S. Navy plane, we saw a group of people walking...and one limping. I turned to Brandon and said we should pick them up. It was cold, windy, and the road was over two miles to the plane. They actually flagged us down to ask if we'd give them a ride, so we cleared off the backseat of our SUV and let them in. They were a bit more (okay a lot more) adventurous than I am and were backpacking and camping around the island, eating mostly what they could find in the small grocery stores along the way (cheese and bread). It was awesome to hear about their adventures and share our own stories of the trip so far.

3. Showering without curtains or doors. 




It's more common than not for Iceland showers to not have curtains or doors (we also found this to be true of The Netherlands). It's no big deal once you get used to it, but it sometimes makes for hilarious shower antics.

Case in point:

The shower above was in our (free upgrade!) Hotel Ranga room. Brandon went in to take a shower and about three minutes into his endeavor, I hear some choice words ($#@!) coming from the bathroom, followed by "I'm so sorry. So sorry. I'll clean it up! I'll clean it up". Cackling. More cackling. He dropped the shower wand and completely drenched the entire bathroom. Water dripping down the walls, water on the mirror, all over the toilet. Water everywhere. We cleaned it up and I luckily found a dry towel that escaped the water wrath to take my own shower.

I guess it was one of those "had to be there" moments, but we laughed about it the whole trip and swapped strategies for each new shower we encountered (Brandon: so if you crouch down real low and keep the wand in the tub...). I always took a shower first from here on out to ensure I had a dry bathroom from the get-go in case things went south. We are easy to amuse.

4. That time we saw waterfalls...flowing backwards





It's really hard to pick our favorite part of Iceland. When someone asked me, I realized it was like picking your favorite child: there's just no way. But, if I had to choose, the tiny town of Stykkishólmur would be it.

This was the town featured in the Major Tom / helicopter scene of The Secret  Life of Walter Mitty (one of our favorite movies by the way and one of the reasons we just had to experience Iceland). It's there in the background of our selfie. Please note: Brandon is good at many things, smiling on demand is not one of them.

Anyway, waterfalls.


When we were staying in this little town, a really crazy wind storm approached the area. We headed out that morning despite the wind. We had a schedule darnit. We had gone about five miles outside of the town and came up on a giant RV...flipped over on the road. Let me rephrase that; flipped over by the wind. It was insane and yes, a bit scary. The winds were so fierce in fact that these series of waterfalls were flowing backwards! Then a rainbow appeared just to make sure we were paying attention. I mean, really?

5. Celebrating Our Four Year Anniversary with Hjónabandssaela


We celebrated our four year wedding anniversary on this trip and we very excited to have a fancy four star restaurant at one of our (many) hotels.

When we saw "Happy Marriage"/ Wedded Bliss cake (Hjónabandssaela) on the dessert menu, it was a sign.

For two people who aren't crazy about rhubarb, this dessert was incredibly good. It was hot and served with cold vanilla ice cream and it wasn't very sweet, which I liked. As you probably guessed, it's a cake that is often made for weddings in Iceland and they say it is best served after it sits for a few days, as, like marriage, "it only gets better with age". I'll eat to that.



So that's Iceland in a nutshell. We have some absolutely beautiful photos to share of the island, though, it goes without saying, that none of them do the place justice. It was unlike any other country we've been to and I mean that in the best way possible. I'm thisclose to finishing the editing of mine and cannot wait to share. Stay tuned!

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