Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventures in Iceland

Iceland has been on my list of "to go to" places for a very long time. I'm happy to report that it's now moved to my "to visit again" list.
Getting there was quite the adventure. The plan was for Drew and I to meet up in Boston and head to Reykjavik from there. Between him missing his flight and the first leg of my flight nearly being canceled due to weather (the Chicago airport wasn't allowing any air traffic because of terrible thunderstorms), I was worried we wouldn't make it.  Luckily, we both did, met up and then killed nearly five hours in the Boston airport bar. It's amazing how much more fun lay-overs can be when alcohol is involved.

Yes, that is an empty beer glass.

Since we both had early morning flights to Boston on Tuesday, neither of us slept Monday night. And given that our flight to Reykjavik was a red-eye that evening, we didn't sleep Tuesday night either. Perhaps Red Bull would have been a better option than beer.  Luckily, our excitement kept us fairly awake.

When we arrived, we headed straight for the Blue Lagoon. The weather in Iceland was around 50 degrees and rainy, so the warm waters felt particularly great.

Right before the unfortunate realization that in addition to exfoliating your face, silica mud also takes 30+ minutes to remove from your eyes.

After spending a couple hours in the water, our sleep deprivation finally kicked in, so we found some indoor lounge chairs and fell asleep for several hours. Post-annoying countless other spa-goers with our snoring, we boarded a bus for Reykjavik and found our hotel.

Still exhausted, we planned to take a quick nap before venturing out to explore Reykjavik's nightlife.  Said nap turned into 14 hours of sleep.

We woke up the next day and began our quest to eat at all of Reykjavik's vegetarian restaurants.  We found this awesome place called Glo (strangely enough, on our way to finding another veggie place), which was absolutely delicious!

We explored the city for a while (well, not that long, after all, only about 200,000 people live there so it's not terribly huge) before heading to the National Gallery.

 I promise Drew likes modern art more than this picture indicates...well, maybe.

After that, we checked out the famous Hallgrímskirkja church.

And since we were in Europe during World Cup (and because the U.S. was playing), we thought it was imperative that we watch it.  We went to several bars that were absolutely packed before we found an Irish Pub that had some seats available. We met a few other Americans and took advantage of the happy hour specials.

That night, we found another fantastic vegan restaurant (who knew that a country that's national dish is cured shark meat would have such awesome vegetarian cuisine). That raw chocolate cake was nearly $8, but worth every penny.

The next day, we woke up and headed to the Pearl, where we took in some views of the city.  And of course, we had to try on some Viking hats for good measure.

Oh our way back, we stopped by the Penis Museum (I mean, how can you not?). It was no where near as scandalous as one would think, and the most exciting thing in there were probably the bathroom door handles.  But, I can now brag/sheepishly admit (depending on the company) to people that I've been to a penis museum.

In the evening, we did more exploring. It never truly gets dark there in the summer, which makes taking touristy pictures at midnight quite convenient.

Before heading out, we tried (yep, you guessed it) yet another vegetarian restaurant.

While our time in Iceland was short, I had a fantastic time, and I can't wait to go back! The only downfall is, it's REALLY expensive, so I'm currently contemplating starting a kickstarter for my next trip. I dare you to find someone who wouldn't want to contribute to penis museums and chocolate cake.