How to survive your trip to Iceland

I know, I know you hear Iceland and think of snow and cold weather.  Or, maybe you are like the others who were wondering what the hell I would be doing in Iceland.

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Moss for days…don’t step on the moss it takes 100 years to grow back if you destroy it. Lets save what is left of our planet.

This was my absolute first time in Europe so I had no idea what to expect.  I felt nervous/anxious because I wasn’t sure how I would handle the 7 1/2 hour flight.  Chris and I flew on WOW airlines and I must say the customer service the entire trip was amazing.  The flight attendants were polite and attentive to all of our needs.  WOW airlines would be considered as the European version of Spirit airlines due to the affordable prices.  The flight was smooth we had a few turbulences but nothing out of the norm. So if you are considering going to Europe I would definitely check them out to see if you can save some bucks flying with them.  If you do decide to fly with them they only have flights leaving from Miami International Airport at the moment.

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WOW airlines

So we arrived to Iceland at 5 am Sunday morning.  We kind of figured that we would not be able to get our rental until the designated time which was 10 am.  We decided to ask anyways and of course we were denied. Actually, they told us that we could get it a few hours early but it would cost us an additional $250 dollars.  Chris and I decided that we would rather sleep in the airport and wait it out.

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The time difference was five hrs ahead.  I should of been smart like Chris and actually taken a nap in the airport.

So at 9am we ran over to the Europcar to pick up our rental so that we could finally start our trip.  I booked our car and hotel together on Expedia because we got a better deal doing it that way. The hotel on Expedia was $1100 and the car came out to only $100 for the five days.  We even got an upgrade on our car because the one we booked was not in stock at the time. FYI to get around you need a manual 4X4 vehicle to maneuver around those mountains.

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As for our hotel it was pretty basic but honestly speaking they did not offer anything fancy.  All the hotels offered what you needed not what you wanted. For the most part all the hotels offered twin beds (Chris was not too excited about that) but we made it work.  We just put the two beds together when we got our room to give us more bed space.  Our hotel was right next to an airport but the noise didn’t disturb us especially when you are exhausted from exploring all day.  The perks of our hotel was we were only six minutes away from the downtown area.

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Well, to finally answer “The Question” what are you going to do in Iceland?  I came to Iceland to explore.  I did a lot of research on the country and spoke with people who had traveled there prior to booking the trip.  I knew it was a magical place and it was on my list of places to visit.  I was aware that food and transportation were probably going to be the  most expensive things to pay for.

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Icelandic Krona
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Quiznos is alive in Iceland. If you know me well you know that this was the first place I ever worked at.
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If you want to eat for cheap then fast-food will be your best friend.  But don’t get too excited eating here will still be pricey.  Just a burger will probably cost you around $16. That does not include fries or a drink.

So what do you eat when you’re in Iceland…. you eat hotdogs.  I’m not kidding either, they sold hotdogs at fast-food restaurants and gas stations.  I think Chris ate like 50 hotdogs and I had around 20.  You hear hotdog and you think oh that is more affordable.  But that was not the case we would purchase 3 hotdogs and a drink and end up spending $25 US dollars.  We managed to catch dinner at a nice restaurant twice while we were there.  When I say nice restaurant I am talking about they served steak, ribs, etc.  Eating at a fancier restaurant will cost you around $150. What does a $150 meal consist of…two steaks and two potatoes with two drinks.  One of the things that did stand out on the menu was they served Horse as a choice of meat.

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We stopped at this restaurant after we saw the glaciers.  We had a 4 1/2 drive so we decided to stop at any restaurant that looked welcoming to have a meal.  Restaurants close early in Iceland so if you think you will be able to find a good meal after 11pm that probably will not be the case.

Are you interested to know what the gas prices are???? If you rent a car it cost around $20.48 a liter to fill up your tank.  I decided to calculate how much we spent on gas for the five days that we were there.  Altogether Chris and I spent $400 on just gas, sounds crazy….that is crazy.

Now that we’ve gotten past all the informative knowledge lets talk about what there is to explore while visiting Iceland.  Clearly, the Blue Lagoon is probably the first thing that comes to your thoughts.  It was a great experience but note to self, if you do go there you must pre-book the tickets.  Chris and I did not get the memo, luckily I decided to look it up while sitting in the airport and I was able to get us a 9pm slot time. We didn’t really get to see the beauty of the water and everything surrounding because it was night time. It was interesting to be in 100 degree temperature water at night when the temperature in Iceland was 41 degrees.

Day 1: Ytri-Tunga and Blue Lagoon

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I was running on 4hrs of sleep.  We drove 2 1/2 hours to Ytri-Tunga to see the seals.  Clearly from this photo the seals were not close enough to be captured.  I did get to see them sun bathing out in the middle of the ocean. I guess that counts for something.

Day 2: Gullfoss Falls and the Golden Circle/ the Ring Road and Geysir

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Gullfoss Falls
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This photo has zero filter just the sun blessing me with light.

The Golden Circle consist of three popular things: The Ring Road, Pingvellir Park and Geysir

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The Geysir erupts and Christopher was there to capture it.

Day 3: Vik beach, Seljalandsfoss and Jokulsarion

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So this is the beach that Chris and I got stranded on. He decided to off road in the sand and we got stuck.  The AWD system overheated and switched to 2WD which is not ideal for sand so we got stuck thats why the hood is open to help cooling. clutch was burning up too and I thought we were never getting out of here.  Let’s just say I wasn’t the happiest camper.
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Not a happy camper.
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The black sand beach was exactly what I imagined it to be.  If you visit Vik before October you can actually see Puffins on the beach.  I was super pissed that I missed them.

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If you were wondering what Puffins were….this is a Puffin.
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So this is Seljalandsfoss falls Chris and I were not aware that there was another waterfall right next door that you could actually walk into.

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Jokulsarion Glaciers…shout out to the guy who captured this photo with zero pressure.
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Chris- What should I do? Me- Stick your finger in the water lol
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If you go to Iceland you must see the glaciers.

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So I saw this mountain…talking out loud I said, “I wonder what is out there”? So Chris being Chris, he saw a pathway and decided to drive toward this mountain covered in snow.  Thankfully, there was a river blocking his way so we were not able to continue this mission.
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Right across from Jokulsarion was Diamond beach. This beach had washed up ice on the sand.

Day 4: Breakfast/lunch in downtown Reykjavik and Skogafoss falls

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$40 meal
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When I say I was soaked but the best experience. I couldn’t feel my hands or feet but I survived!

Day 5: Pingvellir National Park

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Our last two days in Iceland were super chill. We did not wake up early because we really did not have much left to see.  We were just going with the flow and it was nice to take it slow after three days of running around.

Key things to remember: Gas is expensive, food is expensive and public restrooms will be your best friend when you are out on the road.  As far as activities you can pretty much do everything for free on your own.  The only thing that should be pre-booked is Blue Lagoon.  The weather stated that we would get rain the entire trip but instead we had sunny blue skies.  On our last day when we were heading back to the airport it was pouring rain.

Clothing essentials: Hiking boots, long sleeve sweaters and jeans

DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO CAPTURE THIS MAGICAL PLACE.

 

 

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