Icelandic Adventures

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On Wednesday last week, I took off on a short adventure to sunny Reykjavik, Iceland.

One of the first things I noticed when I landed was that everything was sulfurous. Which makes a lot of sense, as the island is volcanic and deal with a lot of geothermal heating ducts. Hence, the beautiful hot springs, geysers and more. The other first thing I noticed was this display of taxidermy in the airport. I was too bleary to understand why it was there. I didn’t see a single tiger in all of Iceland.

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Secondly, there was only about 6 hours of daylight. We arrived at 7am on Thursday morning after leaving NYC on an 8pm flight, thanks to the time difference. We stumbled around in the dark to eat at Prikid and were staying in a lovely airbnb near the church. Iceland was also extremely cold, as you can imagine.

Over time staying there, I had some of the most interesting and vivid dreams. I’m not sure why, but my traveling companion Nick also reported the same thing. Jet lagged, we spent as much of our spare time sleeping on buses in between doing every possible thing we could sign on for!

Friday we managed to rouse ourselves at 9am (about 4am EST) to get on a bus to visit the horses out at the Viking Horse Tours.

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View from the bus as the sun was rising at 10am.

Icelandic horses are best known for their internet meme – emo horse.

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I rode a lovely pony boy named Seppe. I hadn’t been horseback riding since I was a little girl and I’m *still* feeling it in all my muscles. It also didn’t help that he was a mischievous bastard and kept trying to run as fast as possible, ignoring the fact that I could barely keep my unsensible boots in the stirrups.

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I somehow convinced myself that if it was a 3″ wedge boot that bills itself as a snow boot that this would be the boots I could run around Iceland in.

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By the time we were nearly back at the ranch though, I figured out how to stay on – push your butt as far back into the saddle, try to roll with the movements, grip tight with your thighs. The country side was so beautiful on our trip as we rode around for over an hour in the horse pack. I always say that fall/winter skies are my favourite skies.

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The insane dog who lived on the ranch. Not seen: all the horse shit he rolled around in.

After a long lunch break, we foolishly/brilliantly opted to go on the sightseeing hike instead of visiting the Blue Lagoon hot springs. So it was 6 hours of viewing the amazing sights of Iceland – from the Parliament foundation, to the waterfall to the amazing geysirs. I think the hot spring beds were my favourite place to visit, with their primordial steaming pits of salt water. Nick and I ran around pretending we were dinosaurs until the exhaustion took over.

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Nick also shot this ridiculous video as we were waiting for the big geysir to erupt: it is fantastic.

To end that fun filled day, we hopped on yet another bus after returning to Reykjavik out to hunt down the elusive Northern Lights. Unfortunately, iPhones are no match for proper lenses so no photos. Additionally, it was a rather cloudy night, so while the lights appeared and raced behind the clouds where you could see them, they were fuzzy and not as rich as photos you see online. I’ll get them one day!

Saturday was mostly spent running around to all the bars. I meet up with my friend Bob Cluness, who I know from the Whitechapel forums. Fantastic guy and troublemaker, he covers a lot of the Icelandic music scene in his reviews. While making the rounds, we stopped into Grill Market to sample their puffin & whale burgers. I adore eating cute animals and the whale was surprisingly tasty! I understand why people want to eat them so much now. I’d do delicious whale steaks more often if it was in any way sensible.

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Sunday came all too soon. We took the bus to the Blue Lagoon to float around in the hot springs, relax our weary muscles and put mud on our faces. My skin has not felt so good in a long time and I use a lot of ridiculous organic products on it!

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We ended the adventure with Nick giving me this wonderful little puffin bird to remember the hamburgers country by. Visiting in the winter was a rather fun idea if you’re OK with the limited sunlight. As a basement dwelling freelancer, I’m used to missing out on natural sunlight for a while. Also, while cold (dipping into the 20s at night) there’s a lot of walking around to be done to heat you up, plus delicious food and drink to keep you warm. I’d highly recommend it as a winter time vacation for its beautiful icy vistas. Just beware that you’ll come home smelling like a satanic and sulfurous demon. I know for me, that’s the best part!

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