On June 21, 2012, we took off from JFK to the first stop on our 2012 European trip! First stop: Iceland!
Iceland was amazing!! If you love nature, good people and 24 hours of daylight during the summer, then don’t miss a trip to Iceland!
We booked a private tour ahead of time through Pink Iceland. Turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. On arrival on the morning of June 22nd, we stopped by their offices where we met Eva and Birna. They own Pink Iceland and were so nice and helpful. They got us all setup up and connected us with Gu∂ni for a private Jeep tour the next day. More on that later…
For accommodations we decided to give AirBnB a try. Turned out to be a great decision. Instead of staying in a small, overpriced hotel room, we stayed at Lilja’s apartment (our host) while she was on a cruise in Russia with her girlfriend. The apartment was perfect. Lots of room, fast WiFi and located right by one of the gay bars that we ended up hanging out at every night (well, day – no “night” during the summer in Iceland)! Lilja left us some local treats and everything we needed to make our stay comfortable! Having a living room and private balcony sure beat what you would get at a local hotel! The bedroom was so nice and relaxing after a day of exploring Iceland!
Once we got settled in, we went out and about and explored Reykjavik and its restaurants and bars. If you’ve never been to a place with 24 hours of daylight, let me tell you… it really throws your sense of time off. Before you realize it, you’re at the bar thinking about where to go for dinner, only to find out it’s already 4am and the restaurants are all closed!
The next morning, we met with Gu∂ni, our private, gay tour guide. It just so happened that we lived in the apartment building right next door to where we were staying. He and his boyfriend, Jón, were great and we look forward to visiting them for New Year’s Eve.
We headed out of Reykjavik around 10am and headed for the Golden Circle route, which takes you through some of the country’s most beautiful sites!
We stopped along the way to take pictures and hike/walk around. We thought it was so expansive and pretty…little did we know that this was nothing compared to what we would see over the next couple of days!
We also stopped at one of Gu∂ni’s mom’s summer house along the way. The house was along side a mountain where falling rock was a common thing (check out the pics below).
We stopped at some craters along the way (some water-filled). We then made our way to Gullfoss. The pictures don’t do it any justice… it was awesome!
It was crazy to see how much heat comes up from underground. There were hot pools and springs everywhere! They actually use geothermal heated water for energy and for hot water throughout the country. Random holes in the ground with hot water coming up.
We finished the day off with cocktails with our guide, Gu∂ni and his friends.
The next morning was a rough one (hangover), but we got going and made it to the Blue Lagoon. A bit touristy, but everyone has to go at least once or twice. The water is so blue and nice and warm. We got massages and then spent an hour or two in the lagoon with mud on our faces!
After the Blue Lagoon we took the very long way back to Reykjavik. Got to see volcanoes and glaciers along the way! Had dinner at the seashore in a small town. Tony and Gu∂ni had langoustines and Junot had a ham and cheese sandwich. 🙂
We made our way back to Reykjavik where we were planning on staying in for the night. Ended up out at the bars until 3am again.
Next day we met up with Gu∂ni and we made our way to the highlands. It was amazing! The scenery changes so dramatically every 20-30 minutes. One second it’s miles and miles of black sand and lava rock, the next second it’s lush green mountains. Luckily, we were in a 4×4… almost all dirts roads. Even had to cross a couple of small streams in the car!
After a great day exploring the highlands, we made our way back to Reykjavik. Took a shower and went over to meet up with Gu∂ni and his boyfriend, Jón. We went out to dinner at a great place (forgot the name…lol), then back to their place for cocktails. Again, having daylight 24 hours a day really messes with your body’s clock. Next thing you know it’s 6am and my phone alarm is going off to “wake up” and be ready for our taxi to the airport.
Luckily the guys helped us pack and we had time for one for drink before we said our good-byes. They were great hosts and can’t wait to see them again soon!
Off we went to the airport to catch our flight to Copenhagen!