Thursday, April 2, 2015

Iceland and the rest of March

The night of my last post, Ben and I went to an amateur theater performance that one of our friends was in. It was a lot of fun; I can't remember the last time I've seen a play live. Well, yes I can. That's a lie. I've seen Lion King and Wicked on the West End. But I'm talking about a local production. Something that doesn't cost 50+ pounds and a train ticket out to London. I've really missed those, and the play we saw was Steampunk. You just can't beat that!

We also FINALLY tried the top rated burgers of Brighton. As self-proclaimed burger connoisseurs and foodies, Ben and I both agree that the BEST burgers live at Burger Brothers:


We then jetted off for a four-day weekend in Iceland, Ben's request and Christmas present! And holy crap was it amazing!! Let me explain via a picture montage!
We got in on Friday and headed straight to Blue Lagoon, a spa/ outdoor pool heated by the geothermal hot springs that are dotted around the country. It was SO WINDY outside. And really cold. But the spa was amazingggggg.
You can see my head in this picture, I'm right in the middle

It was fab and relaxing. But was also the first stop to the "good bye, hair" story that continued throughout our vacation.

The next day, we took a day-long tour of The Golden Circle. It was SO beautiful and now I need to go back in the summertime so we can drive The Golden Circle and spend more time at my favorite spots.
We started at Thingvellir National Park, the site of the first parliament:

I MUST go back for camping. This is also the area where the American and European plates are separating (this is why Iceland exists- its made from volcanic activity at where these tectonic plates meet).
The next stop was Gulfloss waterfall:

We also had our first experience of Icelandic lamb. It is the best lamb in the world. Real story. Which is a big deal, because I live in England and there is some phenomenal lamb here.
The final main stop was Geyser, which all other geysers are named after. Ben got too close to Geyser and got absolutely soaked. It was HILARIOUS. I've added a time lapse photo stream for you all to enjoy the magical moment.
Litl Geyser!!!!

Now starts the amazing time-lapse of Ben getting doused by Geyser:

We hit up a few final stops on the way back to Reykjavik, including a geothermal power plant. Amazingly, something like 95% of Icelandic energy comes from the natural warming that occurs on the island. Which means this probably goes without saying, but this island is SO CLEAN. And amazing. You should go. Now. Go book a flight now.
For those who are looking for tips for Icelandic travel, I'll fill you in quickly on getting out of the city. First, if you go in winter (which we did), public transportation (buses) don't run. So you will either have to be gutsy with your driving, or take coach tours. There are two main tour companies: Reykjavik Excursions and Grayline. There are other, smaller adventure based companies too. But I'd like to say- the two companies are very similar. I would personally give the edge to Reykjavik Excursions, only because the tour guides didn't ask for tips at the end (and that garbage gets old really fast). I'd also like to recommend- the highlights of The Golden Circle are Thingvellir, Gulfloss, and Geyser. You will have A LOT of tour options and I'd recommend a half day tour to see those three as opposed to a day long one where they try to fit in other, non-important things. Ben and I both agreed that we would've rather done a half day Gold Circle and half day to see Reykjavik.
This is similar to an original Icelandic home, built partially into the ground (I can't remember what they're called now).

Geothermal plant

Reykjavik, Sakebarrin

Cocktails and sushi for Ben's birthday! Thanks Mom and Dad!

We also had Reindeer and Whale :)

Beautiful Reykjavik, which we didn't have enough time to properly explore

The next day, we took another day long tour. This time to the South Coast.
We started at a glacier and there were people going glacier hiking!

We then stopped off at the Southern city of Vik:

And moved on to the South Coast (black stone)

We then went to a fantastic little folk museum in the middle of the lowlands

And finally to a couple more waterfalls (and the big ass volcano that shut down air travel in Europe a few years back)


Fat little Icelandic pony!

The volcano

Ben walked behind this waterfall. And got soaked again.

When we got back, we went to Seafood Grill for some fine dining and it was AMAZING

And that night, we went Northern Lights hunting!

Ticked a big bucket list item with this one!

On the final day, we headed back to Thingvellir for some snorkelling between the tectonic plates.

That's Ben!

When we returned, we walked to the Marina and had some fantastic fish. And lobster soup!

Finally, I'm SO happy to say I've finished the writing portion of the thesis. Now I just need to edit, format, double check, finish referencing, etc. And I can't even begin to explain how relieved that makes me feel.

(no food on this post, I don't want to tarnish the Iceland pictures)

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