That's right folks. Iceland in November. This picture might not express how insanely cold this place was because there isn't any snow...but I don't look like a lumber-jacking oompa loompa on a regular basis, I swear. I was greeted by Iceland with a pleasant 55mph wind storm (courtesy of Hurricane Sandy), which was lovely considering my hostel was right on the water. Every time I walked out the front door, at least for the first couple of days, I would literally be blown off of my feet. But hey? I should've expected crazy weather. It is Iceland after all... and at least it wasn't raining, right?
Honestly, the weather was doable (after putting on 8 layers) and despite having no protection from the wind, I don't think I could've picked a better hostel. KEX Hostel was absolutely fantastic. It is everything you expect and want a hostel to be: great people, awesome breakfast, great location, cool/hip atmosphere, and a fun bar and music venue!
Concert stage in the hostel
View of the hostel at dawn
I'm not quite sure if concerts are a normal occurrence at KEX (which is Icelandic for "biscuit" because it used to be a biscuit factory...), but I happened to be in Reykjavik during the Iceland Airwaves Festival!! There were sooo many indie-rock bands performing from Iceland and all over the world, including the headliner Sigur Ros and Of Monsters and Men (who's from Iceland!!). Most of the bigger name bands you had to have a ticket to see, but there were so many performers that had FREE shows, like the ones at my hostel.
There's a band performing in there...
Concert line-up for the day!!
Basically Reykjavik was invaded by hipsters for the weekend...and I was loving it. I also spent a day doing the Golden Circle Tour where I got to get out of the city and explore the REAL Iceland.
A "small" waterfall to start things off...
Before the Geysir erupted...
BOOM! Fun fact: "geysir" is the only Icelandic word to contribute to the English language
Gulfoss or "Golden Falls"
Feeding the Icelandic horses! Whatever you do, don't call them ponies...they're just "petite"
The rough, uninhibited inner terrain of Iceland. Looks pretty intimidating...I now understand why Icelanders believe in trolls. There has got to be something magical living out there...
The North American ridge meeting up with the European Plate
A little bit of green and sunshine to end the day
Reykjavik is an amazing city, or rather a quaint seaside town. Iceland only has a population of 350,000 people, so when I say "quaint" I really mean it.
Leif Eriksson...the REAL first man to discover America, about 500 years before Columbus, and he called it Vinland (The land of wine)
Reykjavik as seen from atop the church. So many colorful rooftops
I had to try some Icelandic "delicacies": fermented shark and dried fish. They actually weren't that bad... **gag**
Of course I had to try the sweet delicacies as well: traditional Icelandic caramel cinnamon roll, and a hot chocolate just because :)
My last day in Iceland, I woke up very early to get to the Blue Lagoon. I could get used to waking up to this every day.
The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot springs that has been turned into a spa of sorts. I felt like a relaxing princess gliding through the mineral waters, lounging in saunas, and pasting on mud masks. Ahhh, what a life.
I am being completely serious when I say that I could absolutely, positively, 100% for a fact live in Iceland. The people, the landscape, the culture...everything just oozes wonder, while at the same time, it felt like home.
So maybe I'm not that crazy for going to Iceland...you never know what random place could change your life.
Go to Iceland.