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Published: January 3rd 2015
My flight to Iceland was leaving from DC so I decided to visit my cousin for a few days. She recently bought a house in the District and had a spare bedroom for me to lay my head. I've never been and was pleasantly surprised how much I loved it. Why have I not been before since i love history and it really reminds me of Paris my favorite city.
DC was to be my jumping off point since flight was only 5 hours. I arrived very early in the morning and had to wait a few hours for the van to pick me up for the ride to the Blue Lagoon. I exchanged my money and had a cup of coffee and some skyr (yoghurt). I had the Blue Lagoon trip booked before I left since it is between Reykjavik and the airport and then they will transport you to your hotel.
I booked a single room at the 4th Floor Hotel since most places were already booked because of the music festival. Very good location, at the quiet end of the main shopping street. The woman at the front desk was very helpful in helping to book tours and breakfast was included. Only downside was a shared bathroom but it was always clean and never busy.
One of the reasons I wanted to go to Iceland was to see the Northern Lights which as I understand it are sometimes hard to find. I booked a tour to track them with a small group of 6. We first went to the northern lights museum and had a little taste of whale and some Brennivan (some sort of liquor). The guide had thought we would have to drive quite a bit out of the city before they would appear if at all. Well we spotted them after about a 15 min drive And spent the next two hours watching them which is rare because they can be fleeting. Too bad my camera sucked and I was not able to capture them in pictures since pictures are actually more stunning than what you see with the naked eye. They look like a kind of whitish green haze dancing across the sky but the camera actually picks up the more vibrant colors.
Next day I joined a free walking tour of the city and learned a bit about their history and politics. Unlike the rest of Europe there isn't much in the way of beautiful architecture but the landscape more than makes up for it. Iceland is for people who enjoy the outdoors and things like hiking as it does not have the historical sights like other places in Europe. In fact their most significant historical place, Thingviller is in the middle of nowhere between a bunch of rocks.
I think the best thing I did was hiking on a glacier volcano It was actually pretty warm that day and you could tell the glacier was really melting fast. It might actually disappear in 20 or so years given the rate of warming.
I also took a tour of the Golden Circle which is a kind of tourist circuit hitting the highlights of Iceland just outside of Reykjavik. I ended up on a huge tour bus, not my scene but the scenery definately made up for it. The Gulfloss waterfall was pretty impressive but that day was really windy and cold so not as enjoyable as it could have been.
Although I didn't have tickets to any of the Airwaves shows I still was able to see a few of the bands who played either in the bars or shops along the main shopping road.
All in all a good trip and glad I went
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