Not too long ago, I started a new tradition of creating a “snapshot” post from our travels with a list of superlatives to sum up our bigger trips. It’s a fun way to me to reflect back on specific moments, so to continue that tradition here is my Iceland snapshot!
Ah, right off the bat this is the toughest choice to make, but I think I was the most elated when we received the phone call from the hotel front desk at 1:30am to see the Northern Lights in Borgarnes. It’s just not something I expected to get to see and it was a wonderful surprise.
The trip started off on the wrong foot when our original flight was canceled and we lost an entire day of our itinerary. We sat at the gate for hours past our departure time before Icelandair announced that they needed to cancel due to mechanical issues. This might also be a candidate for the “Best Moment” category though because not getting on a broken plane is a very very good thing indeed. I’m grateful.
This might get filed under “you had to be there,” but one of the funniest moments of the week was a cocktail sauce incident on our third night. We stopped into a random restaurant on the way to Höfn where we decided to order a couple of burgers. The server/owner didn’t speak much English, and we had a bit of a funny miscommunication. I asked if the burger came with mayonnaise on it and his answer was no, to which I replied, “great! That is perfect since I don’t want any mayonnaise.” (Mayo is the One Thing that I just can’t eat, not even if you paid me. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.) After he dropped off our food and left us to enjoy the meal, we discovered that the burgers were completely covered on both sides with a copious amount of pink sauce oozing from the edges. Upon his return to the table, I asked what was on the burger and he explained that it was a house cocktail sauce made from…ketchup mixed with mayonnaise. He left, and Chris and I just dissolved into quiet hysterics. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I didn’t return the burger, but I couldn’t stop giggling for the rest of the meal (that I didn’t eat).
Chris and I both agree that our best meal was, oddly, a pizza that we split at Hotel Höfn. We popped into the hotel restaurant right after we checked in. We had just finished a long, active day and it was 9:30pm so it may just be that we were starving, but man it was delicious and so satisfying. And interestingly enough, it didn’t make me feel terrible like pizza does here at home. I wonder if they use different (better?) ingredients in Iceland. I didn’t get to take a picture of the pie on account of how fast we inhaled it, but I do have pictures of my second and third runner-up favorite meals. Oh, and on the left? That’s fish and chips…served with “cocktail sauce!” When I didn’t touch it, our server asked if I didn’t like cocktail sauce. I politely explained that the rest of the meal was so wonderful but that cocktail sauce isn’t my favorite, and then spent the rest of the afternoon giggling some more.
Something We Learned
Our Iceland trip taught us a bevy of new facts! (But not the word bevy – I already knew that one.) I’m most proud of learning how to correctly pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, but we also learned a lot about Icelandic history and about geology including volcanoes, geysers, and fumaroles.
We’re Thankful We Packed
The first several days would have been miserable without our waterproof layers. I wore my waterproof jacket and shoes every single day actually. For more details, see my post on packing for Iceland in the summer.
We Didn’t Need To Bring
I didn’t end up needing a heavier coat – I was worried about whether or not a waterproof jacket was going to be enough even in August, but it was perfect. Any other time of year I think you’d do well to bring a warmer coat.
I’m writing this post over a month later and I honestly can’t remember anything I regret about our trip. We loved every minute of it. Of course, I would have liked to spend more time in Iceland – I think another week would have been perfect to take our time on the Ring Road and to include some sights along the western coast.
Reasons To Go Back
Puffins! We didn’t get to see a puffin and I’d love to see/photograph those cute little guys.
Chris’s favorite photo from the trip is one that I took (the waterfall photo below), and my favorite photo other than the Northern Lights is one of his (the chunk of ice from Jökulsárlón).
And with that, my Iceland trip series is complete! Until we go back someday, of course. 🙂 I hope the information has been interesting, entertaining, and/or helpful to anyone planning a future trip to the land of fire and ice! (Definitely let me know if you have any questions – I’m happy to help!)