Cheers to taking chances. Cheers that it actually worked out well! The quickest way to get to know someone better is to take a trip with them. In my case, I went to Iceland.
WOW Air had a really good flight deal going on and despite the fact that it sounded like the sketchiest airline on earth, Tony and I decided to go for it. We had a lot of suggestions on where to go, so this took some detailed planning on our part to fit everything in four days. Tony was excited for the Golden Circle Tour of the National Park. For me, there was a 50/50 chance of actually seeing it, but I was hoping to catch the Northern Lights!
Day 1: Exploring Reykjavik
We landed at 5:00 am. It was rainy, cold and depressing. I hate the cold. I was tired. We were off to a great start. Our airport shuttle driver dropped us off on the side of a random street and pointed us to the general direction of where our hotel should be. No sign of a welcoming hotel anywhere. We wandered into a restaurant asking where we were. We were greeted by a tall, skinny man who told us we were in the right place and insisted on carrying our suitcases up and down four flights of stairs. We asked him why he was doing this. He told us that he needed exercise. He then proceeded to check us in. Tony decided to make jokes because he thinks he is funny. Skinny tall man points out where all of the amenities were located in the hotel, including the gym. Tony asks how he would know since he never goes. Skinny man was not amused. Tony then asks where we would be able to find some mimosas to get the day started. He looks at us like we are crazed alcoholics.
We had a bit of breakfast and took a power nap. It was already time for lunch. We stopped by a small restaurant called Saegreifinn and decided to try their lobster soup, a scallop kebab and...whale. One does not sound as normal as the others. Surprisingly, the whale wasn't bad at all! It tasted like a very tender steak.
We decided to have a few gin and tonics and then it was time for dinner. We decided to try another restaurant called Tapas Barinn, which had a few courses to sample Icelandic foods: lamb, lobster, salmon, tuna…and PUFFIN. You would think since it is a bird, it would taste more like chicken. Wrong. It tasted like blubber. I liked it. Tony made a strange face. We finished the night with a nice bottle of wine and ice cream.
Day 2: National Park
Adventure day. We snuck a a few bottles of gin and and few cans of tonic water on the bus even though we weren't supposed to. Our tour group guide had the voice that could put anyone to sleep, so we had to make the most of it. Our itinerary consisted of geysers, glaciers and waterfalls. We made a few random stops off the bus. I pet a horse. I kept calling the geysers, geezers. Tony was looking for moose. We giggled the whole tour and annoyed everyone sitting around us.
That night was a very special night for me. I finally got to see what I wanted to see: The Northern Lights. We took a bottle of wine up to the rooftop of our hotel and watched the green light flickering in the sky. My DSLR camera somehow decided that it didn't want to work on me, so all I have from that night is a blurry iPhone photo (see below). Pictures did not do any justice from witnessing this phenomenon.
Day 3: Blue Lagoon
I was very excited for this day. We took a bus to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The light blue water consisted of silica and sulfur minerals and was between 99-102 degrees in temperature. The spa had fancy tracking devices for our wrists to track how many drinks were allowed per person. We found out very quickly it was a three drink limit. The spa guides also advised us to saturate our hair with conditioner to keep our hair from turning into rock. Mine did anyway.
That night, we went to a really nice dinner at the Lobster House (also called Torfan). Tony was craving lobster and steak and I was craving duck. We went back to the hotel to get drunk have a dance party that night. Then we decided we should be social and head to the bars. We also decided to sneak in our own Red Bulls to the bar and pretend we were bartenders.
Day 4: Flight Home
We only had a limited time in the morning before we had to head to the airport, so we did some last minute gift shopping before making our way back home. After trying all the outrageous foods from that trip, all we wanted was a good old cheeseburger.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend going to Iceland. It was an amazing experience. You truly feel like you are on a different planet. That, and having a travel partner to explore things with.