I was in Iceland was for my best friend's private wedding ceremony! It was truly beautiful. The ceremony took place at a secret waterfall in South Iceland, with two friends, the parents, and the bride and groom. It was perfect and intimate.
While in Iceland, we stayed in Rekyjavík, Vík, and Keflavík. Notice that they all end in Vík? It’s pronounced veek, which had me wondering if the actual pronunciation of Víking is (vee-king). Sorry for the random thought there, it was just always on my mind while in Iceland.
I think we only had one day of sunshine, and that happened to be the wedding day. An Icelandic saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” It changes all the time. Sun, sprinkles, rain, wind.
Another thing that I loved about Iceland was all of the different terrains. The terrain consists of plateaux, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. Almost 80 percent of the country is uninhabited, so the drives to each city were beautiful, to say the least. I definitely recommend renting a car while in Iceland. I don’t recall seeing any public transportation.
Rekyjavík: South West Iceland
Sixty percent of Iceland’s population lives in Rekyjavík, the capital and the most “city life” you’ll find. Surprisingly, there were a lot of Americans in Iceland. It must be a popular destination spot! I think Instagram and reality shows are responsible for that one.
While in Rekyavík, you should definitely check out the Golden Circle. It consists of Gullfoss, a HUGE waterfall, Þingvellir National Park, and Geysir, a crater that erupts boiling hot water into the air. Side note: Foss means waterfall in Icelandic, so you may hear that a lot, since Iceland has about 10,000 of them! I would also recommend spending time with the Icelandic Horse. They are small horses that can sometimes grow to be the size of a pony. The Iceland Horse is bred in Iceland and is never exported or imported.
Vík: South Iceland
Vík is on the most southern point in Iceland. It took us about three hours to drive from Rekyjavík to Vík. It is a scenic drive and we stopped to see Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. While in Vík, I suggest seeing the Abandoned Plane. It took us about 45 minutes to walk there and another 45 minutes to walk back. There is a parking lot at the beginning of the trek. It’s funny because all you see is black gravel, until you're about five minutes away from the plane. Just keep on walking.
Random fact: The United States Navy DC plane crashed in 1973, and all of the passengers survived! I would also recommend seeing Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, which is exactly what it sounds like, a beach with black sand, and Dyrhólaey, a small peninsula that was formerly an island of volcanic origin. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but apparently, a lot of these places were filmed in the series.
Keflavík: South West Iceland
We ended the trip in Keflavík. The International airport is in this city, and it is about 15 minutes from the Blue Lagoon. Other than the ceremony, I was most excited about seeing the infamous geothermal spa, with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually man-made. It was accidentally formed next to the geothermal power plant, Svartsengi. The Blue Lagoon is the excess water from the power plant, that is drilling for steam and hot water. Pro tip: Be sure to buy your tickets in advance. They have time slots and are usually booked a few days in advance.
The day we went to the lagoon, was the windiest day ever! The lady who checked us in said to try to keep our hair out of the water because it dries it out. On the day we went, that was absolutely impossible! Our hair was drenched! She wasn’t lying though. The water does make your hair very dry. It is best to put their conditioner on before you get in, just in case. The Blue Lagoon ticket cost about $100 and includes a mud mask, towel and free drink.
Many old homes and storage structures in Iceland were made out of lava rock, with turf on the roof. These were the product of a difficult climate. The turf houses offer insulation compared to buildings solely made of wood or stone. It was also difficult obtaining materials in sufficient quantities.
Iceland, in general, is very expensive. This is primarily due to the fact that everything is imported. My friend even had to have her flowers imported into the island. A cocktail will cost you between $25 to $30.
Follow Tandya Stewart @simplytandya