Iceland

You know when you post a few awesome pics on social media of your trip, and then everyone asks about it? Same.

I know I looked like I was having a blast, and I was… I mean I went on an expense covered work trip that was really just familiarizing myself with a new city and country. (Although we did spend some time familiarizing ourselves with the music festival students will be a part of next year… but I’m not going to talk about that)

Everyone was asking how long I went for, and they are shocked when I tell them three days. It was PACKED full and I literally slept a total of 10 hours. (I’m currently home sick as I write this)

Day 1: Arrival and the Golden Circle 

After a 6 hour overnight flight from O’hare to Rekjavikc, I arrived with approximately an hour or two of shut eye… and ready for a FULL day of touring and taking pictures like it was my freaking job.

We started the day with breakfast at a replicated viking ship museum displayed right on the water.

DSC_0009.jpgOff to one of my favorite places of the trip. The Blue Lagoon.

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Volcanic rock everywhere.  Iceland has 30 active volcano’s!
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On my outdoors highDSC_0042.jpgMineral dense waterDSC_0041Swim up to a facial bar and tighten up your pores or to the drink bar for a beverage

 

Next stop: Pingvellir.

This is where the first democracy was established in the year 300.

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They held outdoor hearings where we were standing, using the rock wall behind us to help the projection of sound.

DSC_0117.jpgThis small stream behind me is the only water source that feeds into that huge lake in the above pictures! As I was getting this photo taken, we were told the story of how this was the place where they would drown women… whoops.

Next stop:

The Geysir Area.  These geysers give the name to the rest of the geysers across the world.

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You have every 6 minutes to get a good shot or take the perfect slow-mo video
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an inactieve geyser

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THE GULLFOSS IS NEXT. It was my favorite.

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Sans makeup all week! Too much beauty everywhere to try to add to it 😉
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My boss and I striking a pose

After the Gullfoss we stopped at Frioheimar Farm, which grows the most amazing tomatoes. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this place because it sounded boring.  But, it was a perfect addition to the busy day of touring.

We were greeted in this beautiful space with a virgin bloody mary and humidity from the naturally heated greenhouse.  It uses the hot water from the geothermal activity to produce the humidity it needs for the tomatoes to flourish.

Hearing about how this greenhouse works, the entrepreneurship that developed it, and how Eco-friendly this place is was inspiring.  The quality of their product and their passion behind it, all while making smart choices in their business making makes me want to move away from the poor food culture in the United States.
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We ended the Golden Circle tour at Kerio Volcanic center lake, which is approximately 3,000 years old and 55m deep.

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DSC_0236.jpgWe had 15 minutes here, and I took the opportunity to do a little trail run around it.
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Once we were back in Reykjavik, we checked into the cutest hotel, right downtown, where I had my own room, a cow hide chair, and a deep soaking tub.

Night one: we went to an amazing seaside restaurant, where I ordered cod, and we stayed four a few hours before heading out for more of the city.

A few went to go eat puffin (*gag*), some went to bed, and the fun ones (me) went out to a brewery.  Then the final two of us went to check out more nightlife at a bar where they had a female performer who also did a little rap, and of course I couldn’t understand anything except the English curse words.

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We got a kick out of the last beer listed

Day 2: Reykjavik

We woke early for a day of touring.  We visited a settlement museum, the national museum, and a whale museum.  My favorite part of all of that was getting a coffee at the National Museum.

Here are some pics from our day of touring the city.DSC_0258.jpg

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There were about 15 of us in the group

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Whale Museum

After a mid day power nap, I grabbed a cup of the best lobster bisque I had ever had, went to the indoor flee market, where I bought most of my souvenirs, and enjoyed the sunshine as we walked into more shops and eateries.

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Harpa Hall

We toured Harpa Hall, heard some rehearsals, and attend a concert on day 2 as well. It is pretty amazing architecturally and the performance was great to attend. It is the fastest growing performance venue in the world right now, and the acoustics in each room or hall were designed to match every and any type of performance.

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Following hearing the performances of the choir, orchestra, and band, we went to an amazing 7 course meal.  I was able to try so many different things, even whale.

The restaurant was so cute too, but all I have is a pic of my dessert and a slow-mo video of them melting chocolate over it.
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Sunday night we followed our dinner with some live music at a jazz bar, where everyone was too upset that it closed at 1am.  We took the party back to the hotel and waited for the time when the Northern Lights were predicted to happen.

2am rolls around and three of us walk to where Harpa Hall is on the sea, and hope to see some type of light action.  There was still sunlight on the horizon, as it is Iceland’s summer now, but we could see the ring of white clouds that is the band where the lights happen.

After waiting for a half an hour, we start see the band getting thicker and more visible, so I approached the one other person who was out waiting to see it. Our group grew a fourth person, and Daniel from Scotland was a photographer who helped me set up my camera to be able to capture the lights.  Yay!

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We headed back to the hotel at 3:30am stoked to have seen it, freezing, and tired.

Day 3: Sightseeing and the flight home

I started my morning off with another amazing breakfast consisting of fresh salmon, pastries, and skur (Scandinavian yogurt), and after grabbing another latte from a cute local coffee shop, we headed off in the bus again.

First stop:  Lake Kleifarvatn

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This gorgeous lake was massive. People swim in it, and it’s very like to find some pockets of hot springs throughout.

The next stop was just as gorgeous, the Gunnhuver.  We walked on a path up and around the geothermal activity happening here.  I was memorized with the beauty and contrast of the colors.  (p.s. you can see Lake Kleifarvatn in the background)

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The Gunnhuver. Lots of Geothermal activity happening here.

A short drive later and we were at lunch with another fresh cod dish that was out of this world.  Some of the music festival kids arrived at the same time as us and were served french fries… I’m so glad I’m an adult.IMG_3210.JPG

Last two stops were the Reykjanes light house and the bridge between two continents.

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The rugged beauty and open space is all over this country.
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To the left is the Eurasian plates and the right is the North American tectonic plates

I ended my trip with the 6 and half hour flight back watching La La Land, listening to jazz on the plane, and journaling before arriving back to Chicago.  It was an amazing three day trip.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sky, outdoor and nature

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