If you missed the first half of our trip, you can read it here, Iceland Part 1. The following morning we began the second half of our trip and took in the lagoon during daylight. Just a stone’s throw away from the lagoon is the Diamond Beach. Chunks of ice sit in the black sand. I didn’t think something like that could exist!
It was then time to drive back towards Reykjavik. We stayed at a cottage in Hella. I would highly suggest this AirBnB to anyone traveling to Iceland. This cottage was nestled on a ranch and you get to play with her animals…including Icelandic horses! Klara’s cottage was a home away from home.
We awoke to feed the ponies and play with them then drove all the way back to Reykjavik. We stayed at an AirBnB that was a fifteen minute walk away from the heart of Reykjavik. It was the only thing available and affordable! We finally got to explore Reykjavik with shops open and during daylight. It was a lot bigger than we thought it would be! The pond in the middle of Reykjavik froze over and children were sledding and ice skating. It was like something out of a cheesy Hallmark movie…and I ate it up! The next day was my birthday. We got a good night’s sleep because there was still much to do on our trip!
On my 25th birthday, I decided snorkeling in below freezing water seemed fun! We did the Silfra Fissure snorkeling tour. The water was freezing but our dry suits kept us toasty. The water was delicious and extremely clear, giving over 100 foot visibility. This was a once in a lifetime experience. The only downside was that my hair literally froze. A hot shower was in order before my birthday dinner. We explored more of Reykjavik’s cute stores then headed home.
It was now New Year’s Eve and we decided to be the first wave of ticketed people at the Blue Lagoon. We were set for an 8AM session. This way, less people would be in the water! This experience was unreal. The pools were massive. Despite the floor, stairs, and railing leading into the lagoon being frozen with ice, the water kept you the perfect temperature. Make sure you bring your own high quality conditioner with you and lather your hair with it like crazy before entering the lagoon. My hair still isn’t back to normal. Also, do not wear any jewelry. It can change colors in the water. I suggest going as either the first group entering the lagoon or the last group of the day. If you are coming straight from the airport, there is a room to check your luggage. They also provide you with lockers to store your clothing and personal items.
On our way back to the city, we paid $9 to go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja. This is the highest point in Reykjavik and provides bird’s eye views of the city.
We then went back to our apartment and napped because New Year’s in Iceland is unlike anything I have ever seen. We had our New Year’s dinner at Solon Bistro. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of any of the food in Iceland until this meal. Everything is deliciously prepared and beautifully plated. The pricing also seemed fair for what it was. After dinner, we claimed our spot at Hallgrímskirkja. Since this is the highest spot in Reykjavik, everyone comes here to watch the fireworks. This was a spectacle like no other. Fireworks were exploding hours before New Years. There are no laws on fireworks in Iceland so everyone pitches in to illuminate the sky. On top of the church’s hill, you could see 360 degree firework shows. They were exploding like Disneyland on crack. I felt like a little kid, mesmerized by the experience. Not once did I feel threatened or scared of the fireworks or crowds. I felt united in the country and tourists. Iceland wanted to share its incredible traditions with us. After being a few places for New Year’s, this is currently the most amazing place to bring in the New Year.
Leaving Iceland the following day was not fun. How could this adventure have gone by so quickly!? If you are thinking about going to Iceland, GO! Yes it is expensive and yes it requires a lot of planning but the experiences you will have are irreplaceable. To help you plan your trip to Iceland, read PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO ICELAND.
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Winter White Hymnal-Fleetwood Foxes