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Iceland: Part 2

To travel is to live.

— Hans Christian Andersen

On Day 4 of our journey we decided to do a museum day.  It was a hard decision to make.  See, there are THOUSANDS of things to see in Iceland.  However, most of them require quite lengthy drives.

For example, I had wanted to go to the black sand beach but it was 2.5 hrs from our hotel in downtown Reykjavík.  That would mean to get there and back, we were looking at another day of at least 5 hrs of driving if not more.

And being that there was still SO MUCH I wanted to see across the entire island, I simply came to the realization that I’d just have to come back with Ben 🙂  So, museums it was.

We walked through and around town that day trying to get out of the more touristy downtown and into more small-vibe neighborhoods and local areas.  We did over 7 miles worth of walking when all was said and done!  We stopped at coffee shops along the way for drinks and pastries and detoured into a few local stores here and there to see what living in Iceland was all about.

But the day’s main attractions were: Whales of Iceland and The Perlan.  Both were fascinating, TOTALLY worthwhile museums.  I would highly recommend both if you have a day or afternoon free in the Reykjavík area.

That night we went to a restaurant called Resto and again, we were delighted with our finds.  My mom had Icelandic Soup to start, this time with more of a coconut flare and I had the best scallops of my life.  They were these tiny little things bathed in brown butter, spices, fennel, and fresh apple.  I seriously have no idea how something so simple could be so, so, so, so good!!

For dinner we both had Salted Cod!  Again!!  This time it was paired with chorizo, homemade pesto, Parmesan, and salty olives.  It was truly a meal made for me and my mom!!  We both LOVE salt and could not get over how deliciously salty this entire combination was.  If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, I would surely consider this one…

On our last day in Iceland we headed out to the Reyjanesbar Peninsula to do some more sight seeing and hit up the Blue Lagoon – one of Iceland’s largest tourist attractions.

The Peninsula was unexpectedly awesome!  We went to a bridge that spanned the Eurasian and North American continental plates and although that doesn’t sound super cool, look it up!  Do some research!!  IT IS SUPER COOL!!

It is just incredible how these plates have adjusted overtime to form the world we now know.  And furthermore, as the plates continue to shift, they will form a whole new world known only to future generations.  I just find it fascinating.

To put a cherry on top, we were there with a huge school bus on a field trip for the day!  It was so much fun to watch the kids run around, laugh, play, climb the cliffs, and well, just be kids!!

I can honestly say that if it were an American school field trip, there would have been far more rules.  It was just incredible to see kids have so much fun in nature while learning about the history of our planet.  Seriously rad.

That morning we also went to a beautiful lighthouse outside the fishing town of Grendavik as well as a pelican cliff and made several stops on the Northern Atlantic Ocean including mud springs and more geysers.

Everywhere you look in Iceland there is something stupendous to see, it is mind blowing.

In the afternoon we headed over to the Blue Lagoon.  My mom had decided awhile back that she was going to spoil us both and sign us up for The Retreat.  An exclusive spa area that JUST OPENED at the Blue Lagoon on April 1st, 2018.  Being that it was so new and their website was not yet up to date, we had no idea what to expect.

When we walked into The Retreat we were personally greeted and shown through the lobby of the hotel down into a long, lava rock hallway.  At the end of the hallway there was what appeared to be a huge black wall…a dead end…however, as you approached it, the wall slowly slid open revealing a piece of paradise.

I seriously felt like James Bond.

My mom and I had our own private changing room at the lagoon with showers and all.  We got cleaned off, suited up, and threw on our robes as quickly as we could.  We only had 4 hrs to bask in the luscious lagoon and wanted to soak up every minute of it.

*There were NO cameras allowed in this part of the Blue Lagoon so I have NO photos.  Sorry, not sorry 🙂

In addition to the spa lagoon being way over the top, there was not a cloud in the sky that afternoon.  The sun was smiling down on us.  It was perfect.

The lagoon itself was too cool.  The water was thick, warm, and nearly white.  You couldn’t see your hands in the water – mostly because of the sheer viscosity of the water but also because the sun bouncing off of the water created this unreal brightness.  It was the first time on this trip that I smothered sunscreen all over my face.  It was lovely.

After bathing in the lagoon for a while, we headed over to the bigger lagoon for 30 minute in-water massages.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed!  You lay on this thin but foamy mat, get all cozy, are covered with a warm water blanket, the sun is beating down on you, and there is still a crispness to the air.  On top of all that amazingness, Oskar – a huge Icelandic man – was massaging my back, head, arms, and feet.  Get out of town!!  I could have laid there for hours!!!

Then, as if life could get any better, we ventured back over to the spa lagoon and rubbed ourselves up and down in organic matter.  In other words… keep reading.

First there was a Lava Salt – presumably created from broken down lava rock.  We literally lathered our entire bodies, head to toe.  After this fine exfoliation, we took nice warm showers to wash it off and then moved on to step two.

For this phase, we covered ourselves in a sulphur paste.  It was far creamier than the salt from step one and when we were finished it looked like we had been dipped into a pool of suntan lotion.  We let this soak in for 15 minutes while we enjoyed a delightfully refreshing cup of mango tea.  Seriously, they spoiled us.

After 15 minutes we washed off again, this time under a huge rainforest shower.  It sounded like you were in the middle of a tropical thunderstorm.  I closed my eyes and imagined myself trapped in a beautiful, small bungalow in the middle of the jungle while rain just dumped outside.  It was serene.

The last step in all this crazy was to cover our bodies in an algae goo.  Again, we waited for this to start to dry up and crack on our skin before we washed it off.  Algae are supposed to rehydrate, soften, and detoxify skin.  I cannot attest to what it did and didn’t do from a scientific standpoint but I can say that I was totally, silky smooth from head to toe when all was said and done!

After our epic spa experience and time at the Blue Lagoon, we headed to dinner.

Doing essentially nothing makes you super hungry 🙂

This time we went to a restaurant called Max’s to enjoy another splendid meal in Iceland.  This also happened to be our last meal as we flew out the next morning.

For dinner I had way too much to eat!!  But it was all so good I couldn’t stop!!

Appetizer: Coconut Curry Soup with the BEST gluten bread I have ever had!!

Dinner: Lamb with veggies and a baked potato stuffed with herbed butter.

Dessert: An ooey gooey Chocolate Lava Cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Oh and wine, wine, and more wine!

The funny thing was that as we were sitting down for dinner I told my mom all I was craving was a chocolaty brownie type dessert and sure enough, they had one!  You wish and you shall receive 🙂

The next morning we flew out for Oslo, making one last stop at Joe & The Juice in the airport for a hot cup of joe, given, and some green juices.  Nothing too crazy, just a little nourishment to carry us through.

Iceland to me was an incredible country, one that I will wait anxiously to get back to!  It was cozy, comforting, and inviting.  All restaurants were smaller, tranquil, and filled with candles that brought exceptional warmth to the room.  People were genuine and kind.  Life was slower yet far more adventurous, leaving plenty of moments to just breathe.  To soak in the beauty of all that lies before you.  It all left me speechless, smiling, and yearning for more.

Lick the Bowl – You Only Live Once,

Tara Rylie

 

COMMENTS

  • June 20, 2018
    reply

    Betty

    Need to travel to Iceland, if only for the bread! Actually it sounds amazing. You do a great job describing the beauty of the places you go. ?

    • June 20, 2018
      reply

      Tara Haack

      Thank you Betty!! I would definitely go back for just the food!!! And EVERYONE was so nice! I asked what on the menu was GF and they would just say "Whatever you want, we can make GF." It was magical!!!

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