Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trip to Iceland - November 2015

Dennis and I went to Iceland for 3 1/2 days in November of 2015. We had a wonderful time - Iceland is a country that captivated me and made me want to return there someday. 

Dennis and I ready to fly to Iceland! 

On the airplane ready for our adventure! 

First time flying Iceland Air

We made it - a 6:45 am arrival!
After we arrived and went through customs, we had a 45 minute bus ride from the airport to our hotel. When we stepped off the bus, the wind was so strong, I was pushed backwards while sleet was pelting me in the face! 

Our room at our hotel FossHotel Reykjavik

A reading spot in our cozy room  

Looking towards the door 

The bathroom. One of the amazing things about Iceland is their endless supply of hot water. Because Iceland is a country with many geysers - water is brought up from the earth and actually has to be cooled down before coming into homes and hotels. 

A hand washing and drying sink in one

The view from our room - we had a peek of the bay of Reykjavik

All bundled up and ready for our walking tour. I had 4 layers on top and 3 layers on the bottom! 

This is the Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. We met here to start our walking tour.

Colorful houses in Iceland. Corregated metal is used on the outsides of the houses and after 3 years, houses can be painted any color the owners choose. Somehow - all the colors fit in nicely together. 

It is encouraged for young people and artists to spray 'graffiti' onto empty, white walls in Reykjavik. It is a way of saying that the area could use some sprucing up. Also - the paintings are changed often. 

A radiant heater - outside - also painted

I met the only polar bear in Iceland! 

Our tour guide

We found a coffee shop to get warmed up in. It reminded me of a smaller version of Barnes & Noble

My latte

We also found the oldest hot dog stand in Iceland - I believe it had been there for 43 years.

Harpa Concert Hall in the evening. The lights were dancing in the windows.

Inside the Harpa Concert hall was so peaceful (probably because it was incredibly windy outside)

The building is made of glass and metal. This building has an interesting story behind it - if you're interested look it up.

Dennis and I inside the Harpa Convert Hall

Our dinner was inside that black door. When walking in, it didn't really seem like a restaurant, rather someone's home. We ordered pizza. 


Our pizza had grapes on it - and it was delicious! 

A closer picture of a slice of pizza 

 And our buffet breakfast at the hotel was incredible! 


Toppings for cereal

Meat, eggs and beans 

Cheese, crackers and marshmallows

Sandwich making station

Fresh fruit

An amazing coffee machine! 

On Tuesday morning, we took ourselves back on another walking tour of Reykjavik:

Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral

Dennis and i outside of the cathedral

Inside the cathedral. It was beautiful! There was someone playing the pipe organ while we were inside and it was so pretty!

We rode an elevator to the top of the cathedral and looked at Reykjavik from above!

Colorful houses

The bay in the distance.

More of Reykjavik from above.

If you line this little statue cut out in the shape of a seal correctly, the cathedral will fit inside. 

Harpa Concert Hall during the day. Because the building is made out of glass, it reflects what they sky is. We've heard that in the summertime, the glass is blue. 

Some fun angles of the building

Inside - see the color difference in the reflective glass panes?

A bike with studded tires

A visit to Reykjavik Roasters. Their coffee was some of the best I have ever tasted! 

I fell in love with this traditional Icelandic sweater. Unfortunately because my skin doesn't like itchy wool - and this sweater was made from itchy wool - we didn't bring this home. That and it cost $150 US.

We found a troll!

More trolls. Actually these trolls are Father and Mother Christmas. Mother Christmas is evil. Icelanders have some fun Christmas traditions like there are 13 Santa Clauses and they come on the 13 days before Christmas. Also, Christmas eve, it's tradition to give new pajamas and a new book. 

Tuesday evening, we went to a hot springs and on a Northern Lights Tour. We did not take any pictures of the hot springs - but it was amazing to be in super warm water while it was snowing outside. And unfortunately, we did not see any Northern Lights. 

Wednesday - we went on the Golden Circle Tour

Tomatoes growing in a greenhouse. 

Outside of the greenhouse

A bubbling pool of hot water near the geyser

Strokkur geyser. It was really fun to watch this shoot up into the air 

The amazing Gullfoss waterfall! 

Part of the rocks were iced over 

This waterfall was so massive, amazing and loud

Dennis and I with Gullfoss in the background! It was super cold this day! 

 Pingvellir National Park. This is the only place on earth where a person can walk between 2 continents. We walked between the European and American Teutonic plates. 

We walked between 2 sides like this - between 2 continents! So strange! 

Still smiling in spite of not being able to feel my nose! 

We found a glove on our way home from dinner and brought it to the single glove speed dating spot! 

Pretending I had lost my glove! 

Our last day in Iceland, we went to the Blue Lagoon. It was incredible! 

I had read to keep my hair out of the water ... well, I didn't listen and my hair was super dry and seemed 4 times thicker than normal! It took me a while to get it back to normal! 

Wearing silica mud! Apparently it is supposed to have healing properties for the skin. We maanged to keep it on for 10 minutes but it sure was hard because of the windy coldness of outside. It even snowed while we were in the pool! 

The water was so blue! It is more blue in the winter than in the summer

Literally 5 minutes before we had to get out to leave for the airport - the sun came out. 

We didn't want to leave but somehow managed to drag ourselves onto the airplane.

Somewhere over Canada

We arrived home to a very yummy prepared Thanksgiving dinner that our dear Uncle Jerry put on for us! 

We are looking forward to our next visit to Iceland - maybe it'll be in the summer and we can see the midnight sun!