Hello! If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you probably noticed that there have been some different scenes - first Iceland, now London! That’s because Tommy and I are on quite the adventure for our honeymoon (click here to check out our saga from proposal to now), which started in Iceland! It’s going to be a trip longer than a month, which I will give you in doses, starting with our short stopover in Iceland!
If you are not interested in all of the details, here are the highlights from my instagram story from days one and two! We were barely there on days one and three, so if you’re just going to be there for an extended layover in Iceland, I can give some recommendations!
My main tips:
1. Our flight to Iceland was really inexpensive, which is often the case with airlines like WOW airlines… But everything else won’t be inexpensive, so plan accordingly. WOW is much like Spirit, where the initial cost is low, but the extras add up. Make sure that you bring a water bottle and fill it right before your flight. It was also helpful that Tommy had bought a bunch of snacks for us (and greens and Shakeology) to eat during the brief moments we were awake on the flight, and once we landed!
2. Sign up for the excursions through www.re.is - they are great! One particular employee in particular was INCREDIBLY helpful - above and beyond - and we appreciated her! I believe if you book these either online or on the plane, you get an even deeper discount! I strongly recommend the Blue Lagoon, and we loved the Golden Circle Direct tour as well!
3. Depending on when you go, it’ll either basically be light almost all the time, or dark almost all the time. We got the former (because we are not trying to go for an extreme Winter trip at this time), so it was necessary to have an eyemask*. It’s funny to lie down for bed when it looks like daytime outside. It’s also funny to go out for a couple drinks and stay out late, because you see ladies dressed like they’re going to a club (because they are), but it’s bright out. It makes dramatic makeup look extra dramatic for sure! The reason I share this again is because if you go in the Summer - you need a sleep mask*, or it may be too bright for you to fall asleep!
4. If you’ve never traveled outside the US, you may not know that the whole world doesn’t have the same power outlets as we do. This thing (or this one, if you prefer) is a life saver, and in fact, I intend to use it when we get back to Los Angeles. You can plug so many devices in it! If you’re like me (I’m sitting three feet from my iPad, with my iphone next to me, macbook on my lap and apple watch on my wrist, plus a power block for emergencies while traveling), having one place to plug in just about everything helps a ton!
5. If you’re a meat eater, get the lamb! Iceland is a great place for meat eaters, especially since they only recently learned how to grow more than root vegetables there (and this development is super cool - they use geothermal air pumped into greenhouses to make it warm enough to grow things)! The lamb is one of their main dishes, and is so tender, tasty, and not gamey. We had it in their “meat soup,” which sounds quite a bit sketchier than it is, as well as a lamb dinner at Rustik, and on our last night there at a cart for “Volcano food.” There are also lots of great fish dishes, including another “fish soup,” since Iceland is an island!
6. Drink the water! They mentioned it is the best and cleanest water on earth, and they drink it straight from the streams, or the tap, which is unfamiliar to us in LA! No need to buy bottled water. Bring a water bottle and fill it up all over the place!
We knew we just had a short stopover in Iceland, so we were somewhat scouting to see if we’d want to go back again, and if so, what we’d do differently. We didn’t get to see a glacier directly or the lava tunnel, and what I missed the most is the Northern Lights, so we do want to come back and in Winter to see that! We may look into these cool campers for that trip, which have kitchens on them, which would save us lots of money!
We felt like we should have rented a car. That one piece of advice I’d offer. We highly recommend the Blue Lagoon and other excursions, like the Golden Circle tour, too!
Ok, so here’s the play-by-play of our short stopover in Iceland! First we landed at Keflavic, then took a bus to BSI which is the main bus station in Iceland. We then took a local bus to our Airbnb and unpacked a bit and took a nap.
When we woke up from our nap, we went downtown and checked it out (in the rain). This weather was perfect for soup, so we went to a pub and got a bowl of meat stew!
After that, we walked around a little more, and grabbed a drink at ____. I was hoping for a cocktail native to Iceland, but there isn’t really anything specific. Brennevin is an Icelandic drink that tastes like cumin, but it seems to be only drank as a shot! There were also a variety of schnapps, which I did get, as well as local beer, which Tommy tried. Did you know that beer was illegal in Iceland until the late 80s? Crazy!
After this, we went to Rustik for their lamb, and it was divine! We felt like it was one of the most reasonably-priced things we bought on the island, because it was around $35 for a fine-dining meal we split!
After this dinner, we were pretty tired, so we put our eye masks on and went to bed!
The next day, we woke up and made our way back to BSI to get the Golden Circle excursion, and we had a snack in the bus station.
The Golden Circle was gorgeous! The first place we stopped was to see the Geysir, which is exactly what it sounds like, but is inactive, as well as its younger brother, Strokker, which goes off about every 8-10 minutes!
I didn’t get it straight on, because I couldn’t remember EXACTLY where it was spouting from! It was at a restaurant at this stop that we had our fish soup, which tasted great!
The next stop was a beautiful waterfall at Gulfoss. It was so stunning, and it included a rainbow!
The final place on the tour was the stop for Thingvellir, which is where the tectonic plate boundaries between the European plate and the North American plate lied! It was cool to walk between them, and think about the forces that pushed all that lava there! I guess the plates are separating at a rate of 2cm per year! And if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, many scenes are filmed in Iceland!
After this, we went back to BSI and then took another bus to the Blue Lagoon, which was the highlight of our trip!
If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a result of a geothermal power plant pushing water heated in the earth and mixed with silica into pools that are naturally heated. New water is circulated in every 40 hours, and the water naturally has many benefits to your skin! Here’s a video I took from inside looking at where I had just left!
We upgraded our access to get an additional mud mask (and a personal victory for me was that the girl working there said it was for people 30 and over - which I FOR SURE am), as well as towel usage, and the ability to skip a HUGE line. I recommend this!
We also got a complimentary drink of choice with our entry!
Though I joked in the video that the sun only “allegedly” set, we got to see what is likely the most stunning sunset I have ever seen - which is saying a lot coming from someone who lives in Southern California! Here are a couple shots of that!
It was so magical!
After we left the Blue Lagoon, we decided we were up for going out, so we had the bus drop us of in downtown Reykjavik. Before grabbing a drink, we decided to try their Icelandic hotdog, which had lamb meat in it (of course) and was served with ketchup, mustard, mayo, and had both raw and crispy fried onions on the bottom. I really liked it!
After our hotdogs, we went to Prikid, which was an interesting experience! It looked like a dive bar, but was playing hiphop with a DJ. Everyone was so nice! From there, we went to a an Irish pub, since we knew we wouldn’t be visiting Ireland this trip, and wanted somewhere a little more chill and easy to talk! It was a blast!
We had one drink there, and I was hungry still/again, so I got the volcano food (lamb crepe in a cone), and then decided to take the bus home. The bus routes are different at night (this was 3am) than during the day, so make sure you do your research if you’re not staying in downtown Reykjavik! Again - it is really funny to see people in “going out” attire when it looks like broad daylight!
One thing to note is the EXTREMELY low crime rate. They were disappointed to note that they DO have a murder rate, and that it has recently doubled… from one every two years to one murder per year. After spending time with the friendly people there, I am not surprised that they generally aren’t violent to one another! Long story short - we felt comfortable walking around at night - because the people were great, we knew it was safe, and it felt like daytime anyway!
When we got home, we used our trusty sleep masks again, and went to bed! The next morning, we got up and went to a bakery right near our Airbnb, and then boarded the bus back to BSI, and then to the airport, to make our way to London. Stay tuned for that - our trip to London that we’re finishing up, right after our short stopover in Iceland!
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