Blog co-authored by Steph Wells and Tracey Kaplan
Many moons ago, I asked Steph to visit me in Ireland. She said no. But the promise of knocking 2 countries off her “never been to” list eventually won her over. (Ireland marks country #32 for me!!!)
Fast forward to this past weekend. I hop a plane to London (where I think I get a good deal on breakfast but then realize it’s in pounds and twice the price…damn you, Britain!), and another plane to our meeting point…Reykjavik, Iceland!
I arrived at 4am, but if you had to guess you would have said it was 11am. The sun was out in full force.
First thing we do upon arriving is head to Blue Lagoon, which was a great intro to Iceland:
At the blue lagoon, Tracey purchased at $15 glass of champagne. It was only $10!! I was feeling CRAZY! Then we rubbed
silica mud on each other’s faces. It claimed to have redeeming qualities though I had an acne attack the following days.
After the blue lagoon, we head to Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital, for some authentic Icelandic cuisine. We go to a very authentic restaurant.
It was booked.
We ended up eating tacos, served by a dude from Maine. The host was Canadian. #smh Btw guys, #smh means #shakemyhead…Steph thinks it’s a common term.
I drove us out to our Airbnb, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer (Steph took 2 red-eyes in 2 days + a 3 night musical festival leading up to Iceland #warrior). Then Tracey took over for me, don’t worry, I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. I just about got pulled over…thank goodness the sirens were aiming for the speeding car ahead of us…phew! #130kmph
Upon arriving at our lovely Airbnb at 10:30pm, Steph and I decide to take the “sun never goes down” situation into our own hands.
Tracey and I made our own blackout curtains because it was still entirely daylight outside and we were WIPED. Why doesn’t every Icelandic house have blackout shades??? They know that every summer it will be light for every hour of every day. How do they sleep?! Every morning we woke up in the middle of the night to blaring sunlight and would say “GUESS WHAT TIME IT IS?! 10a? 8a?”
4am… it was always 4am.
The next day we ventured around to all the waterfalls and a gyser and a national park, finding ourselves on a farm along the way where Tracey saved a lamb’s life… ask her about it in person. Then she ate lamb for dinner, so net neutral in lamb lives. Come to think of it, Tracey ate lamb at every opportunity she could, so really net negative in lamb lives.
After we picked up Alix’s luggage from a random gas station in Selfoss (ask Alix about that in person) we went home to our cottage where Tracey prepared us a Texas – Icelandic fusion chili dinner (I literally ate chili for every other meal in college). We sipped on Bailey’s and hot cocoa and figured out how to work the hot tub. Then once again, we fought the sun and tried to sleep. Then we slept very well. Until 10am. Nope, it was 4am.
BUTTER WE LOVE BUTTER!!! Icelandic butter is SO SO GOOD! Jumping ahead to the important stuff…
Okay, the water in Iceland can taste like sulfur (due to all the volcanic activity), aka GROSS. but the butter y’all….the BUTTER. Is unlike anything else weever om omgomgomg ITS SO GOOD SO GOOD ’ve ever experienced. We started by putting butter on bread. Then we progressed to putting butter on cheese. By the end of the trip, we were putting butter on apples. Butter on butter on butter!
I think that Paula Dean is on to something… but strictly the Icelandic version. All other butter pales in comparison
The next day after a delicious homemade breakfast of Tutus (traditional Icelandic bread), BUTTER, eggs, avocado, and coffee with Bailey’s, we set off for….
WATERFALLS! WATERFALLS! We went to so many beautiful amazing waterfalls!!!
We did handstands by waterfalls
We ventured pretty far east towards the Falljökull glacier where we went on a 5 hour Glacier trek expedition. It was super rad.
It was very NICE. <- This is funny because our Icelandic tour guide told us many interesting facts about Iceland and the Glacier. Some were good, some were bad, but at the end of each sentence he said “nice nice.” Global warming… NICE. Chocolate… NICE. Ice ages… NICE. Icelandic Butter.. NICE.
En route to all the waterfalls we drove past lots of animals, mainly sheep and Icelandic Horses (not normal horses… the most majestic amazing perfect horses) And guess what IT’S BABY SEASON. Sooooo all of the sheep and all of the horses had little MINI VERSIONS!!! OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG IT WAS SO CUTE.
Steph was so excited about the sheep she pulled over on the side of the road and got our car stuck and we had to be saved.
That’s dramatic, it wasn’t that bad… I could have gotten us out, that man just happened to be right there and whatever.
See for yourself, y’all….
They don’t capitalize on all the tourists visiting all these waterfalls at all, like they could easily charge admission, but they don’t. But this one place we go, a small crater in the ground, charged us 2 euro a piece to go in… #touristtrap. But they gave us donuts, and (chocolate!!) milk, so like okay fine.
On our second to last night, EVERYTHING was 10xed. We stayed with an amazing family on a farm. We knew they had kids, so when we arrived late we thought everyone might be asleep. NOT the case. We were greeted by the entire family. Four kids, two parents, ALL THE ANIMALS (see list below).
Oh my gosh, y’all….THE FARM….was the highlight of our trip.They had all of the animals. 17 horses, 3 cows, 2 rabbits, 1 hamster, 2 cats, 1 kitten, 1 dog…whom I fell absolutely in love with…#notsurprising
Upon arrival we talked with the youngest daughters for a while (Ages 13 and 15). I played some songs for them on the guitar. Then Steph was one upped, hard, by the youngest daughter, coincidentally the runner up national singing champ of Iceland, who sang traditional Icelandic songs. The whole family chimed in in harmony and huddled around the piano…amazing. Steph’s jaw LITERALLY dropped. Also, there was delicious popcorn, so my jaw was also dropped.
After a bit of singing, the 13 year old, just call her Goony for pronunciation sake (also, we don’t remember her Icelandic name) brings out all of the animals, one by one. First there’s a tiny kitten, and the cats, and the dog, and then a rabbit, and another rabbit, and a hamster (Steph just found out hamster is not spelled “hampster”. She’s been doing it wrong her WHOLE life). It was like WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?? Then she sang more, it was truly amazing. AMAZING.
We went to bed around midnight… the family stayed up laughing and singing until after one.
To illustrate how amazing the farm was, the hot tub wasn’t even utilized.
AND, they had black out shades to help with the whole sun never going down thing!
In the morning, Gooney led Ali and I on a hike up her mountain. We climbed through caves, looked for elves (80% of Icelanders believe in elves), learned the life story of all their previous dogs, and realized Gooney is going to be the next president of Iceland…the girl’s got a plan. She doesn’t just want to be the president though, because the president is just a “figurehead” she wants to be the right hand woman to the president who does all the actual work behind the scenes. When I was 13, I was crashing on my skateboard (which I didn’t even know how to ride; I just sat on it, mostly) and daydreaming about Jennifer Love Hewitt.
After begrudgingly leaving the farm, we head to Reykjavik for our final night, where we are determined to try all the traditional foods.
Such as, fermented shark… GROSS. We were told it was their fav… it’s so so bad. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. I agree – bad. It’s rotten shark, literally. They just let it rot under the earth and then you PAY for it?! WTF
Then we tried dried fish – kind of like fish jerky, dipped in BUTTER. So because it was dipped in butter it wasn’t too bad, but the farm family said it was “like candy” it was so good…. But I wouldn’t go thattttt far. It was decent at best.
THE END. Here, have some more pictures: