What comes to mind when you think of Iceland? Ice? Volcanos? Vikings? Before I went to the land of the ice and snow, the first things I thought of were the Saturday Night Live sketches involving the hilarious Kristen Wiig as Icelandic super star, Bjork. After my trip, I learned that it was much, much more. In late October, my mother received an email from the travel website, Travel Zoo, about a trip to Iceland. The deal, provided via the airline, Icelandair, was unbelievable. For less than 700 dollars each we could go to Iceland, stay in a beautiful hotel (with free breakfast by the way), take a tasting/walking tour of the capitol, see a show about the history of Iceland, eat a classic Scandinavian meal at a 5 star restaurant, have free access to all the museums, public transportation and public pools. To top it all off, one of the available dates was during the Martin Luther King Jr. break, meaning that I wouldn't be missing any school! This was a once in a lifetime offer that I could not refuse. After much convincing, my mother decided to book the trip. I could hardly wait. Of course every great deal has to have a catch: we would be going to Iceland during the winter, which means that there is approximately 4 hours of sunlight each day. I was a bit worried, but looking forward to a brand new adventure. The week leading up to three day excursion was filled with excitement. The only thing I could think or talk about was the trip I was about to embark on. When the departure day finally arrived, I could hardly sit still. How often do teenage girls get to go on a three day trip to Iceland with their mothers?
I arrived in Reykjavik, the capitol of Iceland, early Saturday morning. I could hardly believe how positively adorable the city was. Despite it being very dark out, I could see the quaint houses with vibrantly colored roofs, and large windows. We spent to day exploring the city. We went to a local geothermal pool (which featured outdoor hot tubs), a nearby museum about the history of Iceland and on our walking/ tasting tour. One thing that stood out to me was how charming and kind the Icelandic people are. Everyone we met was very accommodating and eager to help. Our tour guide for the evening tour told us all about the Icelandic culture. After just one day, I felt a deep connection and appreciation for the city and its residents. Day two was even more eventful than the first. We went to a flea market, yet another geothermal pool, the National Museum of Iceland, a one women show and a fabulous dinner. The most memorable part of the day was the dinner. What could have been an hour long dinner, turned into two hours thanks to our charming waiter. He spoke to us extensively of his travels, his time with the Boy Scouts, the national heroes and much more. It was fascinating. On our third and final day, we relaxed at the Blue Lagoon spa and reflected on the wonderful journey we had just taken.
All in all, the adventure had been remarkable. I no longer think of the silly SNL sketch when I think of Iceland. I think of the enthralling people I met. I think of how despite all the hardships they have faced these past few years, they made time for a pair of tourists and made Iceland feel like home.
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