Iceland: Travel Debrief
Usually, on the last day in a particular location, we sit down and ask a few questions to help ourselves to process our experience. We use the same 12 questions for every country so we know what to expect and can be thinking about it.
This particular stay was a little bit different as we joined our good friends from Hong Kong for the week.
Where did you stay? Did you like it?
We stayed at a great cabin that our friends found on Airbnb about 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik. The cabin was huge and had amazing views of a big lake and the Icelandic countryside. It was nice because everyone had their own space but we could easily all hang out too. Previously we had mostly stayed in cities so it was a fun change of pace to get out away from town.
What do you admire about the people of Iceland?
Everyone that we met was very kind and eager to help with whatever we needed. In particular, there was one sweet older man running a roadside cafe and greenhouse when he noticed our girls loved his little tomatoes he gave them a whole cup full to take with us.
Should I know anything before I visit?
Iceland is ridiculously expensive and everything is far away from everything else. Plan on lots of long drives and make sure to get gas whenever you see a gas station because it might be three hours to the next one. It also might be a good idea to stop by a grocery store while you're in the city and grab some snacks to keep with you, the small convenience stores you can find near the tourist areas are much more expensive.
What was your favorite thing about Iceland?
The landscape is absolutely incredible. There are new and beautiful things to see around every bend and there are little rivers and waterfalls everywhere.
What is something you didn't expect in Iceland?
Two things actually. First, all of the food was amazing! From little roadside cafes to the nicer restaurants every single thing we tried was awesome! Second, there were golf courses everywhere. You'd just be driving in the middle of nowhere and there's a golf course on the side of the road. Interestingly, I never saw anyone actually playing golf.
What were the top three things you saw in Iceland?
The Northern Lights (even though we only caught glimpes a couple nights), the inside of Langjokull glacier was incredible and the lava rocks combined with the blue water and white silica of the Blue Lagoon was super striking.
Was there anything that you didn't get to do but wish you had?
There were quite a few places along the coast that we didn't get to because it was just too far to drive in one day. I think the next time we visit we'll get a camper van and just drive each day to the next site instead of staying in one place and driving to and from one location.
Did you have any experiences that shouldn't be missed?
If you have the chance to go up onto and inside one of the glaciers it really is an incredible experience that you're unlikely to have anywhere else.
If you could bring home some cultural idea, custom or food from Iceland what would it be?
The most obvious for me as a knitwear designer is the iconic Icelandic knitting style. But I've also heard that they read a lot and at Christmastime, they give each other books and spend the evening of Christmas Eve in bed reading their new books and eating chocolate. I could get behind that.
Did you have a favorite food in Iceland?
Any sort of seafood was really great. But my favorite was the fish and chips from this little place right on the water in Reykyavik called Kaffivagninn that claims to be the oldest restaurant in the city. It was a huge portion, the place itself was super cozy and the fish was probably the best I've ever eaten. As an extra bonus, it was probably also the cheapest meal we had all week.
What is something that you disliked in Iceland?
Pretty much everything was a long drive so it was had to see more than one thing in a day unless you were just exploring the city of Reykjavik.
Do you think you'll visit again?
I sure hope so. It was one of the most beautiful and peaceful countries we've ever visited, though next time we'll probably visit a little differently.