Our journey began driving to the city Reykjavik. The drive was an experience within itself. The open roads were filled with breathtaking views of huge mountains and flowing waterfalls. We were blown away by the beauty and eager to explore all the adventures that Iceland had to offer us. We were not disappointed when we arrived in Reykjavik. The simplicity of the city was inviting and tranquil. There were no advertisements to distract from the snow capped mountains that stand just outside of the city.
Our first real adventure was ice climbing. The trip to the glacier was filled with nerve racking excitement that made it difficult to sit still. When we arrived we met our amazing guide, Kitty and two others that were in our group, Lisa and Danielle. Kitty gave each of us boots with ice spikes along with ice picks. We hiked to the glacier and were in awe from the breathtaking scenery that surrounded us, especially the crystal clear water along the black sand beach as it glistened in the sun. While Kitty showed us the safest route to hike on the ice we had to be careful not to trip over the spikes on our feet. At the top the glacier we had a bird’s eye view of the green, rugged slopes of the mountains, the black sand beach, and endless clear skies.
After taking in the view, Kitty taught us the proper climbing techniques, first with our feet, then adding in the ice picks. It felt strange at first, but with a little practice it began to feel natural and our nerves began to simmer. We walked along the glacier to a large opening looking down into the glacier. We were lowered down into the opening where we could explore the icy arches, clear stream, and fresh glacier waterfall where we were able to fill up our water bottles. Being surrounded by the natural beauty the glacier had to offer was unbelievably mystical. Then, finally, it was time to climb! We kicked our spiked boots and ice picks into the thick ice wall over and over again, each time pulling ourselves further from the elegant arches made of ice and up towards the skylight that glimmered above us. By the time we reached the top of the glacier our bodies ached, but not in a bad way. Although yes, we were exhausted, we were also exhilarated. It was sad to see our climbing adventure come to an end, but it sure felt good to get out of those spiked boots and our warm layers!
After the thrilling day of ice climbing left our bodies aching with exhaustion we couldn’t have found a better way to recover than at the Blue lagoon hot springs! Just like in Reykjavik, there were no flashy signs or advertisements to lure people in, the natural beauty of the hot springs was all the advertisement this spa needed. We went in and parted ways to the locker rooms where we got our own locker, towel, and soaps. We put our bathing suits on and headed into the warm salty spring.
After a long day of hiking and climbing, relaxing in the hot springs was everything we needed and more! On top of all that there was a bar that popped up right above the water that you could walk up to without getting out of the spring. We even got our first drink free! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a massage because they were all booked, but we were able to use a natural facemask that the resort provided. With a drink in hand, faces lathered in the white, soothing mask, and floating around in the warm comfort of the spring, we couldn’t have had a more relaxing spa day.
While driving on the open road after sleeping with the coast on one side and the mountains on the other, we saw a rainbow appear. We could see the entire arch of radiant colors stretching out into the sky and curving back down to settle in an open field. The vibrant glow of each color blending into the next was too enchanting to resist.
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We pulled over to bask in its beauty. As we came to a stop we realized that we were not the only ones that came to enjoy the view. A few wild horses stood in the field just next to us! We cut up our last apple and fed the horses as the brilliant arch of colors gleamed above us. We were in no hurry to leave our new friends and the beauty that we got to share with them. Although many of our adventures in Iceland were planned, this remarkable experience taught us that the most magical adventures are the ones we didn’t see coming.
We continued our travels back towards Reykjavik for our last night before catching our plane the next morning. Since we had been camping all week we thought it would be nice to shower and spend some time enjoying the culture of the city. After we showered and got ready to experience the nightlife of Reykjavik, we couldn’t deny the feeling that both of us felt at the pit of our stomachs that our last night in Iceland was meant for someplace else. At the last minute, we decided that camping one last time was what we needed to do. We needed one last night on the land and under the stars, crossing our fingers for just one more magical thing to happen before we had to return home the next day.
We drove to the most open, vacant spot we could find between the city and the Keflavik airport, hoping that we were far enough from civilization that the northern lights would show themselves. After setting up camp we had no doubt in our minds that we had made the right choice to camp one last time. The skies were so clear and full of stars; we couldn’t help feeling antsy as our anticipation grew stronger and stronger. We sat hand in hand on the edge of our van with the doors open, allowing us to search the skies while staying warm. Looking at the stars, I remembered talking to a woman at the blue lagoon about what the Northern lights were like. She had told us that they “danced in the sky.”
This thought only made me more antsy and I could tell Tyler felt the same way as he squeezed my hand tighter. We kept telling each other that even if we couldn’t see the lights, we were still happy with our decision to spend one last night together under the stars. Although we both had a small amount of doubt at the back of our minds, the feeling that the lights would come was too strong. We knew they would come, they had to.
All of a sudden we started to see a green glow appear right in front of our eyes. The lights were here! We were like two kids on Christmas morning jumping for joy when the lights finally appeared. We both yelled and hollered at the sky, unable to contain our excitement. I finally understood what the woman from the Blue lagoon meant as I watched these magical lights flow and change right before my eyes. The lights put on a glimmery green show for us as they danced across the sky. Looking straight ahead, the lights swept across the sky, and when we looked straight up we could see the stars twinkling, almost as if they were honored to share the sky with something so magnificent. We were giddy as we danced along with the lights above us, unable to conceal our grins that stretched across both of our faces. In this moment everything felt so surreal and we were engulfed in bliss. A perfectly magical ending to our Icelandic Escapade.
Alayna & Tyler
Read more: Ilan & Lilach’s Icelandic adventure
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