Iceland Part II

Hello everyone! It has been 2 weeks since I spent my Spring Break in Iceland and goodness do I miss it! I seriously and contemplating..dreaming of moving over there for a month. Who knows? I for sure know that I will return to Iceland again and continue my odyssey in exploring the whole island. For those of you that don't know, I went on a mission trip to Iceland, you could read my blog post about that here, but on our off times we got to explore the beautiful city of Reykjavik and the undisturbed nature of this island. 

The odyssey: The location of where we were staying at was right in the heart of Reykjavik, which was so convenient since we had to walk everywhere. There was a plethora of coffee shops, stores, restaurants, and people on the strip that it felt like we (team members and I),  were just thrown right into the heart of such culture. The thought of a hostel was quite interesting to me, since it was my first experience staying at one, but let me just say that it was a phenomenal experience. The place's decor was unbelievable, the people and staff were so friendly, and food there was so delicious. Every corner that you turned into was breathtaking, from the colorful buildings, to the ocean and snowy mountains in the backdrop. Iceland has such a minimalistic chic style that translates from the architecture to the people. The people's style is monochromatic with pops of color, loved it! You could totally tell the tourist and the natives apart by our puffy jackets and fur boots to them in trench coats or oversized sweaters and chelsea boots. The weather wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it would be in the negatives, to my pleasant surprise it was usually in the mid to high 30's F. The cool thing was to experience the crazy weather change. One moment it was so still and cold,  five minutes later the wind was throwing people off of their bikes and slapping you in the face. One minute it was snowing, the next it was raining and the air became frigid. Luckily for us, that only occurred on one day. The rest were calm, bright, and crisp. 

Our daily walk to the church consisted of beautiful buildings with the Hallgrimskirkja Church in the background, which we did walk to another day and watched the sunrise. The Hofdi House, where the 1986 summit meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov took place, which marked the end of the Cold War, that was also see everyday on our walk to church! We also took a detour one day and walked to the Reykjavik Harbor, which was amazing! This modern city was surrounded by tall mountains which overlooked the brutally cold ocean. Totally breathtaking. On our designated free day we took at tour to the Golden Circle. 

The Golden Circle was my favorite! We had the best tour guide and those 8 hours of my life were pure bliss. We started out trek at Pingvellir National Park, where you could see the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates shifting! I walked through them, how crazy! After hiking through there, our next stop was the Geysir Hot Springs to have some lunch and to see Strokkur. After that we were on our way to Gullfoss, Iceland's most iconic waterfall with running glacier water. It was so breathtaking to see it in the winter because parts of it were frozen but then other parts where so powerful and flowing. As we drove to our last stop it was so tranquil and pure. The nature of Iceland is so pristine and untouched that the natives hold it at such high regards. From the tour bus windows all we could see was a sea of white, with roaring mountains, sporadic towns, and Icelandic horses. One road to go and one road to come back. So raw. Our last stop was The Secret Lagoon. This tucked away spot was so untouched and really allowed me to experience true Icelandic culture. It was the perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring. When we got back from our tour, we had one more surprise: we were going on another tour to see the Northern Lights! OMGSH! I about died. We had one hour to eat and get bundled up, we were all super exhausted but that didn't matter because we were going to see the Northern Lights! This was an item on my bucket list and let me tell you that I cried when I saw them, but the tears froze since it was so cold, ha! This was obviously a night tour so I had no idea where we were for all of the stops that we made. It was like Storm Chasers except Northern Lights Edition. Unfortunately, I didn't have a tripod on this trip so the pictures didnt come out so great, but the Aurora still showed up! One of my favorite memories was when we made a stop at a frozen crater and we saw them light up the sky! My friends and I hiked up to the top of the crater and laid down in the snow and held the camera so close and still to try to capture this moment of pure beauty and wonder. We all looked at each other and said," no, let's just take it all in!" This my friends, was our Sean Penn moment, right out of the script from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I will never forget that moment. We then had hot chocolate and watched the stars and the lights intertwine in their own performance, just for us, surrounded by a sea of glimmering white snow and roaring mountains. Wow! I crossed off that one off of my bucket list! 

My time is Iceland will be one forever etched on my heart. The country might be ice cold but the people and the cities are so lively and colorful. The regard and respect for their untouched nature is so beautiful and admirable, I definitely want to come back and rent a Jeep and drive around the rest of the island to discover the other hidden natural wonders. Needless to say, when the time came for us to leave, 10 days just didn't seem enough. I am so humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to serve and love the people of Iceland. Thank you once again for everyone that allowed this dream to become a reality. Iceland, I am coming for you again! 

If you have any questions or would like any tips, ask away!  During this trip I crossed two items off of my bucket list, I can't wait to continue to travel and cross more items off! 

Enjoy the photo overload and live vicariously through them! Until the next time Iceland!

xo,

Raiza 

share your pictures on IG with me using #wandercreates & check out our team pictures on IG with #myseustopover

 

Thank you Sperry, Emu Australia , and Tobi for sending me lovelies for this trip!

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