Dress him up and call him Santa. I’d wanted to go to Iceland ever since it erupted…as an easy to get to adventure land. I must have been a good girl this year cause Matthew bought us 2 tickets for Christmas to get it done.
At the end of February, we took a 7 and half hour direct flight (fairly inexpensive) from Denver to Reykjavik on Iceland Air. Note that approaching the trip we got the frequent questions why Iceland and why winter? I’ll say I had some good answers but after going I’ve got even better ones. Keep reading…
Since we landed in Iceland at 6am, we thought we could hop up to Reykjavik (the capital) for breakfast before heading to our first and only planned destination. We had planned our trip to be self-guided, getting around with a rented 4 wheel drive and we banked on the locals and weather to guide the direction we headed each day. In hindsight, our method of planning our days and getting around was 100 percent spot on.
Based on some pre-travel guidance, we stocked up on our individual allotments of booze at duty free in the airport; great advice if you imbibe. Then we hooked up with our rental car (see Travelers Trues) and traveled 45 minutes to the city. Side note, compared to other airports, getting out of Keflavik Airport is a cup of chamomile tea.
Once outside it was obviously cold, but nothing these born and raised Colorado kids couldn’t weather. It was the gradient part of the morning, and the land seemed barren and treeless. Matt was initially disappointed saying, “Trees are my favorite plant!” Iceland was in a season of reduced light, and yet the dawn seemed to eternally rise and rise, presenting the snowy patched land in beautiful gleams of blue, shadow and light.
Arriving in the city, and beginning what would be a fruitless search for breakfast, the place seemed like a very well kept ghost town. Only a handful of tourists wandered the streets with their cameras and extreme winter wear. We parked and walked up to several apparent restaurants only to find everything closed. In the end, and an hour later (9am), only a to-go bakery was open.
This was the point in the trip (sure didn’t take long) when Matthew wondered if he’d made a mistake in taking an unseasoned traveler and coffee addict to a foreign country. I’m skirting the fact that I may have pouted in the bakery and refused to get anything. I won’t defend myself other than to say I was 30 hours without sleep and suffering from visions of grandeur. I had had a very lovely dream of us sitting in a café eating a warm Icelandic breakfast. Not knowing what an “Icelandic” breakfast entailed, I figured it would be our first adventure as we agreed to get cultural.
I took my time to let this go and Matthew, being patient, well-traveled and easily accepting of things don’t always go his way, found a local grocery store. Like a champ, he B-lined to the diary section (I mean who wouldn’t) and found the one food item he remembered was a must try. Skyr. A local yogurt-like food that is straight from heaven and which made it possible for me to put a 30-hours-without-sleep-smile on my face to start the trip off right.
Directly after consuming some Skyr, letting its Icelandic magic impart some energy, we headed to Route 1, The Ring Road. It was a yellow brick road of sorts that led to more than just beautiful sites, pictures and stories; it led to hidden strings we took home to reel in when we need to remember our intangible finds in Iceland.