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10.12.2016

ICELAND

When Kev and I go on fun trips like this I have to write every detail so we never forget our fun memories! When we got married we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon and ever since then we decided to make it a priority to go on a fun vacation every year on our anniversary! For our second year we chose Iceland. Every time we told people we were going to Iceland most people’s reactions were “Ohhhh... cool? Random? Why’d you choose that?” We didn’t want to do a basic beach/relaxing vacation. We wanted to go on an adventure! We also love the movie Secret Life of Walter Mitty and that movie was all filmed in Iceland so we were determined to go and see what it had in store. I just have to say this was the best money we ever spent! It was so beautiful, in fact, so beautiful that both me and Kev almost started crying because it was breathtaking. (oops don’t tell him I told you) I did A TON of research on this country before we came and planned out every little thing I wanted to see. I feel like I’m now an Iceland expert. I seriously beg every single one of you to put Iceland on your bucket list!! It was absolutely unreal.

We flew to NYC for a couple days before we left for Iceland. From NYC to Iceland the flight was only 4 ½ hours! Not bad at all. However, coming from PHX, to NYC, and now to Iceland our sleep was SO messed up. We got to Iceland at 6 am their time but in NYC it was like 2 am! I don’t run well on no sleep so I was about to be in for it. Once we got there we had planned on taking a taxi to our hotel but it would have cost us just as much to rent a car. We were always going to rent a car for two of the days we were going to be there but it came out to be cheaper to rent the car for the whole time we were there. So we didn’t have any cars booked obviously so it took us like two hours to find the best car rental place with the best deals. Store after store, no cars were available. It was 7 am in Iceland, pouring rain, freezing, my jacket was packed away, and we had no form of transportation. I was a little stressed. And for one split second thought “what are we doing in Iceland” HAHAHA.
But that thought literally lasted for less than 30 seconds. We found a car but it was a stick shift, luckily Kev knows how to drive stick! And lucky for me I didn’t have to drive the whole entire time.
We got in the car and drove from the airport to Reykjavík which was about 40 min. The drive there (from what I was awake through) was so beyond beautiful. Lava rock fields everywhere, rolling hills, and colorful houses, it was so beautiful!
We stayed at the Center Hotel Arnarhvoll (https://www.centerhotels.com/hotel-arnarhvoll/) and we loved it! It was right on the coast, pretty central to everything and was the perfect stay for us. After we got settled we explored the city of Reykjavík. The city was so, so, so cute. It felt very Switzerland/Norway like to me. Very colorful roof tops, and cute shops everywhere. One of my favorite parts about Reykjavík (side note: Reykjavík is literally the only Icelandic word I can even begin to try to say) is the church Hallgrímskirkja. This church was so pretty and had the BEST view of the entire city.

With the deal we booked we bought a northern light excursion. So at 10 pm a bus picked us up and drove us out literally in the middle of nowhere in hopes that the lights would dance for us. September is said to be one of the best months to see the lights so we were hopeful.  You can only see the lights if there are no clouds in the sky, and that’s the tricky part for Iceland there are ALWAYS clouds, and most of them are rain clouds. After waiting around for about an hour I was getting nervous we weren’t going to see them. As people started loading in the bus to head back our tour guide quickly yelled “GET OFF! THEY’RE HERE!” and there they were. The prettiest things I’ve ever seen. Until this trip I had literally never done night photography. I had done a lot of research on it so I felt pretty confident. Our bus driver also was a photographer so him and I stuck together and shot those bad boys. For a while our cameras were able to see the lights much better than we could so everyone in our group gathered around my camera and watched the lights through my pictures! I could literally have watched those lights dance above us allllll night. I am in complete awe at all of Heavenly Fathers beautiful creations, especially the Northern Lights! It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I feel so lucky to be able to check that off my bucket list!

Our second day we had another excursion booked to go to the Blue Lagoon. The http://www.bluelagoon.com is said to be the “Eiffel tower” of Iceland. It is also one of the 25 wonders of the world! I have absolutely no words to explain it. The water was so milky blue. SOOOO soft and silky. It’s weird to say the water was soft but truly if you brushed the back of your hand against the water it was so soft. The water was between 90-100 degrees! You think it would be absolutely unbearable but it felt heavenly with it being so cold outside. It was a pretty touristy spot but, it’s so big Kev and I were able to find our favorite spots. It was so good for our skin, and so relaxing. Apparently people come from all over the world to go in it just to help their skin. Definitely one of my favorite parts about the trip.

Right after we got back from the Blue Lagoon we bundled up and hopped in our car. Everyone says in my photos I looked freezing which is mainly true! But I was freezing because of how rainy and windy it was. If it wasn’t rainy or windy the weather was pretty decent. We picked up a domino’s pizza because we missed American food and drove to Gulfoss it is a GIANT waterfall. The best decision we ever made was to rent a car. I felt like we were able to see the whole country through that little thing. The drive to the waterfall was about an hour and a half but I seriously wanted to stop and get out every 5 minutes because it was so beautiful.

Our third day was our big adventure day. We woke up early and hit the road. We wanted to hit Seljalandsfoss, skogafoss, vik, a glacier and Sólheimasandur. These were all about a two and half our drive away but they were all pretty close to each other which made it helpful. Our first stop was Seljalandsfoss. This was a waterfall that you could walk behind and it was amazing! We then drove to skogafoss which was my favorite waterfall. It was absolutely GIANT. If you look at the pictures of me and Kevin under it you can tell how tiny we are look compared to this giant water fall. After we explored skogafoss we ate at the cutest café that had the best view of rolling hills will millions of little sheep on it. It actually felt like a movie.

After we saw the falls we headed to Sólheimasandur. Sólheimasandur is a US Navy plane that crashed on Iceland’s black sand beach. We had to park our car on the side of the road and then literally walk like 3.5 miles to the plane. In pouring rain. No big deal. Haha. But it was worth it (I don’t think Kevin though it was worth it lol)! This plane was so cool to see. Especially for a photographer. It was a photographers dream. And we got a good work out doing it so it was fine. Kevin was obsessed with all of the glaciers and volcanoes so after Sólheimasandur we headed up to a glacier close by so Kev could see it! After our long day of adventure, we drove back to Reykjavík.

We spent about 5 days in Iceland including travel time and I felt like it was the perfect amount time. I mean obviously there are probably so many more things we could have done and seen but I felt like I was able to experience everything I really wanted to! There is seriously nothing greater than traveling with your best friend and seeing the world together. I’m so lucky to have this adventure buddy by my side. I never want to forget these memories. If anyone has any questions about  Iceland travel or the best places to go i'm happy to answer them! I have had so many people tell me that they want to go so seriously don't hesitate to ask! Email me at sydneyaylesworth@gmail.com 



























































4 comments:

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