Right now I’m drinking hot chocolate, watching the 6th Harry Potter movie, and making lists. This is my zen place, it’s where all of the swirling stops and I start to feel like I know what the future looks like, and for me, right in this moment, my future holds the promise of Iceland.
It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been outside of North America, and it is way past time. My husband (Erik, to you) and I will be going on a long-awaited honeymoon almost a year after getting married and we decided on Iceland only after ruminating on Greece for a good six months. Ultimately, it was a question of timing. If we went to Greece, I would insist on swimming, and I hear the swimming in Greece in February is not so great.
Right, the lists. When there are too many ways to split my time I like to make lists to make sure I’m not overlooking anything huge. Tonight I’m making sure we’re not forgetting any quintessential Icelandic experience, and so far it feels like we’ve got it all on lock. Here it is:
Within Reykjavik (where we are staying):
- Harpa Concert Hall
Cool architecture, and great events! It’s totally possible to enjoy this place without even catching a show. I’m looking forward to wandering the perimeter of this place.
- Hallgrimskirkja Church This building is the largest church in Iceland. There’s a lift that you can take to the top, as Hallgrimskirkja is also used as an observation tower to look out at the surrounding city!
- Einar Jonsson MuseumA spectacular place to take in an entirely different kind of art of the sculpture variety.
- Checkin’ out the nightlife / Going to a few local shows / Sonar Reykjavik 2016
(ERIK FOUND A MUSIC FESTIVAL IN REYKJAVIK THAT JUST HAPPENS TO BE WHILE WE’RE IN TOWN)
- So much walking around
(I found a really specific blog post on street art in Reykjavik and would love to catch some of it. It even includes a playlist and a map!)
Outside of the city (tours and things):
- Blue LagoonI’ve read a lot about this place, and it sounds like a tourist trap, but the kind that remains popular because there’s substance behind the prices and sheer number of visitors. It looks like a beautiful place and I can’t wait to soak in the hot springs there!The recommendations are to stop by on your way in or out of Iceland because its on the way when you’re traveling between the airport and Reykjavik, and to put conditioner in your hair before you take a dip, because that water will have your hair feeling seriously funky otherwise.
- See the Northern LightsIn the winter, when the daylight hours are shorter (in February sunrise is around 10am and sunset is around 5:30pm) there is more of a chance to see the Northern Lights. In my opinion, of all of the things on this list, this is the one absolute definite have-to-see natural wonder.
- Take a tour of The Golden Circle(several waterfalls, a geyser, and a visit to the meeting of two tectonic plates) There are plenty of bus tours available, smaller ones and larger ones, longer ones and shorter ones. These tours cover a lot of ground and typically are the better part of a day, but considering they include so much in one trip, it’s definitely worth the extra cash to take part!
- Walk on a freaking glacier There are quite a few tours available in Iceland focusing on glacier hikes, and its not hard to see why they’re so popular. Who wouldn’t want to spend time walking on something so old and massive? It’s like taking a dip in the ocean off the back of an ocean-bound ship.
- Whale watchingIf you have not yet felt your smallness what better way to tap into it than by spending an afternoon hanging out with whales? This activity is probably something I wont pursue because its typically a summer months activity, but its worth mentioning here for the sake of a complete list.
- The Gateway to Hell AKA Hekla I’m not sure why anyone would pass up the opportunity to see a volcano. In my opinion, it’s dinosaur-adjacent in coolness. This is a volcano located in the south of Iceland, and it is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes.
- Possibly a pilgrimage to the necropants. Really, there is a Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft a three hour drive from Reykjavik, and if Erik and I can muster the determination to brave driving in crazy Icelandic weather then we may have to check it out. I’ll let you google a photo of those necropants yourself. You wont be disappointed.
I’m not sure if we’re going to hit everything on the list. I don’t like to nail everything down too much. Its not that I’m a spontaneous person, quite the opposite. But once I get a plan in my head I tend to get really thrown off if everything doesn’t go exactly as it was supposed to. Counter-intuitive, but because I need to follow my plans to the T, I’m happier when I just don’t have one. I guess let’s see what we can check off the list!
This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later,