Lea, Maggie and I flew to Reykjavik, Iceland on Thursday to find that Iceland is one of the most beautiful (and expensive) countries ever! We all agreed, Iceland is so different than any other country we will likely have the opportunity to visit this semester so we are so thankful we were able to fit it in!
That morning, we caught a 6am flight and arrived in Iceland at 8am so we would have the day to explore. When we landed, we weren’t allowed off of our plane for THREE HOURS (you can’t make this stuff up) because it was “too windy.” At one point I literally thought we were sleeping on that plane because there was no sign of the wind slowing down, it was shaking the plane. I honestly don’t think it was any better when we got off but maybe they just realized that it could last all day.
After we were finally allowed off of our plane, we caught a thirty minute cab straight to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a sulfur filled, man made hot spring with the brightest blue waters I’ve ever seen. It is supposed to have health benefits, but be warned, it makes your hair feel like sandpaper for days. I did a lot of research beforehand and everyone recommended to book your Blue Lagoon tickets in advance as it can fill up quick so we had reservations for noon. This is a bit more of an expensive excursion, but I would say its a definite must if you’re in Iceland. The package we went with included a drink ticket and a face mask. It was extremely cold, windy, and a little rainy the day we went but the water was still so amazing. Maggie and Lea are two of my roommates from a school in Nevada and before London we had never met. As we were sitting there, we all kept looking at each other saying how crazy it is that we are so young, doing something people dream of, with people we literally just met. We’ve already talked about how after this we are going to visit each other and how lucky we are to be paired together because we feel the experience is only that much more amazing doing it with people you love. And its so weird that we already feel so close, and we would never even know each other without study abroad. I know I keep saying it, but every day I am just so incredibly thankful to be here with such incredible people.
After the Blue Lagoon, we took another taxi to Kex Hostel, our accommodations for our stay. It is setup in an old bread factory and has a bar and restaurant downstairs, plus for two nights, it was only $35. This was my second hostel experience, and the girls first, and we all agreed this one was totally awesome. It was super affordable, really nice, and within walking distance of pretty much everything in Reykjavik. We stayed in a shared dorm with three other people and we made some friends which I will share in part two of this experience.
I was sleeping on a top bunk, and Friday morning I had set my alarm for 8am as we were catching a bus to take a tour of the Golden Circle that day. My alarm went off and I was trying to hurry down so I wouldn’t wake anyone else up in our room, and I fell off the bunkbed, ha. Of course I woke everyone else up, and I just tried laughing it off because I’ve rolled my ankle many times in cheer and just assumed it was no big deal, plus I didn’t want to seem like a drama queen and blow it out of proportion. I went out in the hallway and tried walking it off, I could tell pretty immediately this was a little more serious than the ankle rolls I’ve experienced in the past. I sat down, I was still in pain. I finally admit to the girls that I think its a little bit more serious, and Lea, who is a paramedic took a look. She determined pretty quick she thought it was a sprain and I put some ice on it. We went downstairs to eat breakfast, and the pain was getting worse.
When I couldn’t put my boot on without crying, I knew it was worse than I wanted to believe. I didn’t want to ruin Lea and Maggie’s experience so I offered to stay back and they insisted they would carry me around if I needed, they weren’t leaving me behind. I finally managed to get my boot on, and our new friend Paul, insisted on carrying me downstairs. I’m telling you, the people I have met here are freaking amazing. But the hero that really pushed it over the edge, was our cab driver that took us to the bus stop to catch the tour. We talked to him on the way about what happened, he dropped us off and I literally hopped on one foot onto the bus. As we were sitting waiting for the tour to start, our guide walks up to me and hands me a bag and explained that a cab driver had just come back and was looking for a girl with a sprained ankle. This man literally raced to a pharmacy, got me some medicine and a compression sock, and raced back before we left. Things in Iceland are so expensive I’m sure that the stuff he bought cost at least two to three times our cab fare. I cried when she handed it to me, and I never got the chance to thank him but I promise to pay it forward sometime this semester. This is an act of kindness I will never forget. I ended up walking over fourteen miles in Iceland on my bum foot. I’m attaching the pictures, but for those concerned its broken, its been about ten days and its still a bit sore, but mostly healed up!
These pictures were taken four days after it happened.
Despite my sprained foot, our Golden Circle tour was awesome. This is the exact tour we booked with Get Your Guide and we thought it was a wonderful experience. It was a bus tour that took us to Geysir and Stokkur, the Gullfoss waterfall, and Pingvellir National Park. We were pretty much the youngest people on the tour and Maggie said “how lucky are we that most people don’t get to do this until they’re older, and we are so young doing this now.” Wow, talk about perspective. I literally couldn’t even be mad or upset about my foot because we were so immersed in such an amazing experience that few get the chance to see. I went at snail pace all day, but Maggie and Lea were the absolute best sports about it.
And for anyone curious about Icelandic weather: I checked the weather before we left and it was supposed to be in the 40-50s, I almost didn’t bring my big coat. Forties in Iceland is NOT THE SAME as forties anywhere else. I had three layers of sweaters and jackets everyday, a beanie, thick socks, and was still cold. Our tour guide said “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just badly dressed people.” Clearly they don’t live by my “fashion over function” motto, but here they might be onto something!;)