"Day two" is a relative term in this case because we didn't actually sleep until the end of our day in Iceland, but we definitely took advantage of our waking hours.
When we flew into Reykjavik, it was pitch black so we didn't get to enjoy the island from above. We'd heard about the gorgeous flat views and otherworldly volcanic rock, but we had no idea just how beautiful this country would be. After spending several hours in the airport coffeehouse lounge, we gathered our small amount of luggage (more on how we traveled on a budget later...) and headed for the shuttles. The weather was slightly rainy and cold. Just how we pictured Iceland. We hopped in a small shuttle van and immediately struck up a conversation with our driver. He was in his early 20's and filled us in on their farming culture (beef), troll legends (Think "Troll Hunter"), and their musical exports (Bork, Of Monsters and Men). He was blown away that I knew of hometown heroes Sigur Ros!
The van took us straight to The Blue Lagoon, the biggest tourist attraction in Iceland. As a rule, Allie and I try to avoid overly touristy locations, but this spot was too beautiful to pass up. It's a geothermal spa in the middle of a lavafield that features a massage waterfall, sauna's built into the volcanic rock, a swim up bar, and natural mineral facials. In the interest of saving money we declined the oversized robe, which made the sprint from the dressing room to the pool entrance even more vital. The air was close to 50 degrees (celsius is way too confusing) and misting, but the water hovered around 110 degrees so it was a perfect match. We made a round in the pool (think oversized lazy river). grabbed a drink at the swim up bar (Icelandic pilsner), and ended up taking a short nap in a heated room that overlooked the spa. After donning our traveling clothes again, we explored the grounds which featured a gorgeous pond where the water was almost too blue to be belived. We took pictures in the lava field and before long our driver was back to take us to Keflavik.
It was cold, I had no make up on and it was raining. Still gorgeous Iceland!
Keflavik is a small town (less than 10,000 population) on the bay that is most known for it's fishing industry. We stayed at a small hotel on a pedestrians only street which was the perfect place for experiencing the local culture. We threw our bags down, took a short nap, and then hit the streets to explore. There were plenty of bars and local restaurants, but the most fun stores were art galleries, Icelandic clothing stores, etc. There were even some life-size troll statues to pose with! I must admit, even though I knew they were statues I still approached with caution in case mythical trolls pose as statues to prey on unsuspecting tourists....
Since we spent our anniversary on a plane, we decided to hold off on our traditional celebratory dinner until arriving in Iceland and boy we were glad we did. We walked a few blocks to "Resto" which is famous for their seafood. We found this place after Trip Advisor named it one of the best places to eat in Iceland!
Being only two blocks up the hill from the bay, we were not surprised. For an appetizer we ordered roasted duck breast with horseradish sauce and sliced apples. I ordered a local porter (Myr Kvi Porter no. 13) which was suggested by our server. It was brewed a few blocks away and ended up being my favorite beer of the entire trip! Just wait until you find out how much we payed for one on the return trip home..... For dinner Allie ordered the Honey Salmon and I had Catfish. It was perfectly cooked, full of flavor, and the restaurant atmosphere was very quaint. It was quiet, romantic, and a perfect way to celebrate four years of marriage!
We didn't stay up much longer because we were totally exhausted and had to wake up at 2 AM to catch a shuttle to the airport. Here are a few things we learned on our day in Iceland:
1.) The Icelandic gene pool has to look like the crystal clear waters of the blue lagoon. As far as we can tell 98% of the population are gorgeous, polite, and chiseld out of stone.
2.) Sometimes paying for a private shuttle is worth it. Both to/from the Blue Lagoon we got stuck listening to a retiree traveler recount her month long trip across the world. At one point she was talking, I fell asleep, woke up 45 min later, and she was finishing that same story!
3.) All Icelandic street signs could be Sigur Ros song titles. I want to create a band that sings in a language only a very small amount of people understand. My hit song "Lamp that is shining in my living room" or "Lamp sem skín í lving herberginu mínu", (Icelandic according to freetranslation.com) will be a smash and it will take a few short minutes to write.
Next week on the Strouse House Adventures, we head to London! Stay tuned....
Missed any of our Strouse House Adventures in Europe? Read them here!
Let the Adventure Begin | Strouse House Adventures: Europe
Greenland is Ice. Iceland is Nice. | Strouse House Adventures: Iceland
Welcome to London | Strouse House Adventures: London
Taking a Stroll Down Memory Land | Strouse House Adventures: London
Football and Famous Mummies | Strouse House Adventures: London
Leaving London | Strouse House Adventures: London
Falling in Love with Dublin | Strouse House Adventures: Dublin
Keep up with our other adventures here in our STROUSE HOUSE ADVENTURES!