I had the opportunity to visit Iceland last month. I went with a tour group called EF Ultimate break. There was 45 other people in my group. If you’re vaccinated or previous had COVID, you do not need a negative COVID test or have to quarantine to visit Iceland (This has changed). I arrived in Reykjavik on Saturday July 17th at 6 AM. The first thing we did was explore Reykjavik. The city is beautiful and has a lot to do. Keep in mind that stores and restaurants close early and bars close early on the weekdays. My lunch was from a famous hot dog stand called Bæjarins beztu pylsur. I recommend getting it with everything. It includes ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remoladi, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. It was really good, probably one of the best hot dogs, I have ever had. After, exploring Reykjavik, we had our welcome dinner. At the welcome dinner I got to meet my whole tour group. We all introduce ourselves and said why we chose Iceland. I had the cod and a beer. The cod was fresh and delicious. We also had dessert, it was a chocolate mousse. After, We went out for beers at Einstok.
The second day we traveled to the Golden Circle. First, we visited Thingvellir National Park, the boundary between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. We got to see the Oxarafoss waterfall and walked between two tectonic plates. Then, we got explore explore the Great Geysir Geothermal area and had lunch. It was the first time I saw a geyser and also see it erupt. It was unbelievable but it did smell like rotten eggs. That day I hurt my foot by stepping on it wrong. It was after visiting Thingvellir National Park. It did not hurt when I saw the geyser but after we stopped by to see a cute Icelandic horse, my foot was in pain. I did not want this to ruin my trip, so I kept going. After the Icelandic horse, we saw Gullfoss waterfall. However, to get close to the waterfall you had to climb stairs and hike rocks. My foot was in pain but I wanted to get closer to waterfall. People in my group helped me walk and I was able to get close to the waterfall. The people in my EF tour group were amazing, they gave me Advil, helped me walk, and asked how I was. After taking Advil, my foot felt better and I took it slow to the next waterfall. After the waterfalls and the geyser, we went back to hotel to sign up for our COVID test. To get back to the United States, you have to take a COVID test (Rapid or PCR) 72 hours before your flight. Our tour director wanted us to sign us up early to get our test results quicker. After, I signed up I had a nurse in my group in my foot. She told me it was swollen and I should rest and ice it. I had a couple of hours to rest my foot before whale watching. I got some ice from the hotel and rested my foot. Whale watching, I sat on the boat and watched the whales and dolphins. I did get a little sea sick but I’m happy I got to see some whales and dolphins on my tour. After, I wanted to get something to eat with some of my group but a lot restaurants were closed. However, I think hot dogs are still open. I went back to the hotel to get ready for the next day.
The 3rd day we explored the the south coast. First, we went to get our covid test. There was a line but it moved pretty fast. Everyone in my group got a negative covid test. They emailed or test you the results. After, we went to Skogafoss and my foot was feeling so much better. However, I didn’t climb to the top to get another view of the waterfall. I really think, I got a good view on the bottom. Then we had lunch and went to Reynisfjara, the black sand beach. For lunch I had a vegetarian sandwich and a latte with rice milk. My meal was delicious. Finally, we to Seljalandsfoss, you can go under this waterfall. I was able to get a good picture, under the waterfall. After this I wanted to rest my foot because it was volcano time, This was not set up by EF but our tour guide found us a place that does tours of the volcano. It was really foggy that day and I didn’t want to make my foot worse, so I didn’t climb as much to see more of the volcano. I sat down with two girls from my group and enjoyed the melted lava and we sat and talked. Later, more people from the group joined us. For dinner, I had Doritos and a protein bar. Even though, I had a sandwich at the hotel I was too tired to eat it.
The last day, I got to explore Reykjavik with my roommate and two other people from my group. I finally tried the bread from Brauo and Co. Its really hard to miss this place because the building is really colorful. The most popular item is the morning bun. It went so well with my chai latte. We walked around with our bread and drinks and went shopping. I got a wool Icelandic blanket for 130 dollars, so worth it. A lava necklace for my dad, lava salts, and a Christmas ornament for my mom. We got to go to Hallgrímskirkja church and a punk rock museum that use to be an old public restroom. Then we went to the blue lagoon, it was a prefect way to end of the trip. We had been walking so much and my foot needed it. I got a drink, my mask, and relaxed and enjoyed being with the group. The Blue Lagoon was packed but it was worth it. The water is so beautiful and relaxing. You can choose different masks to wear and get a variety drinks. I could probably stay at the blue lagoon for a couple of hours. I also recommend visiting the sky lagoon. We had our Farwell dinner, I had lamb and it was delicious. I kept hearing recommendations about the lamb and it was amazing. The meat is soft with so much flavor, I ate my whole plate. On our last day we all talked about our trip and said our goodbyes to our tour director. It was a sentimental moment, I really feel our group got really close. We all looked out for each other and had fun. My group really helped me with my foot and I rarely felt left out. I don’t know if its because of the pandemic why we got so close but it really made the trip. The last thing we did was go out in Reykjavik, we went to a couple bars and just played drinking games. The bars closed at 1 AM on the weekdays but we made the best of it.
Iceland is worth visiting because it feels surreal. I felt like I was on a different planet. I have feeling that Hawaii gives the same feeling. Everything in Iceland is beautiful and Iceland scenery is very unique. I got to experience a lot things I hadn’t seen, a black send beach, a geyser, seeing lava, volcanos, and magical waterfalls. Also, Icelandaic people are really nice and they will go above and beyond to help you. A girl in my group lost her GoPro in the blue lagoon. The people that worked there brought it back to our hotel. They even created a little video saying that they found it. Iceland feels very peaceful and relaxing and I understand why people move there. It’s a really romantic place, I hope my future husband will go on a trip with me to Iceland. Lastly, their tap water is amazing. The best I have ever had! They also have the best yogurt, Skyr. It is a thick consistency and not sugary tasting and very flavorful.