Iceland: The Finale
For those of you who might think Iceland was an odd addition to our Scandinavia trip, I dare you to check the offerings from Iceland Air at your local airport. The past few years the airline has made it easy to stop over in Iceland on your way to other Euro destinations. These days you can get on a plane in Denver wearing a sundress and flip flops, watch a movie and catch up on email, then land in Reykjavik 7 hours later and be in the middle of a lava fields or looking out over islands of puffins.
The world is a crazy place, is it not?
If Iceland Air was going to make it THIS easy, we had to go. We chose to stop over on our way home, spending 4 days there soaking in our final bits of adventure. The country is stunning. It feels a little Lord of the Rings-ISH. Both the landscape and the language. I felt like if I hung around long enough, I might just pick up Elvish by osmosis. The sea is lined with enormous mountains of green, volcanoes and when we were there, millions upon millions of purple lupine.
Our first afternoon we got caught in a massive swell of soccer fans streaming to the center of town. Iceland was in its first ever Euro 2016 and people were OFF.THE.HOOK. The city broadcast the game in a park on a jumbo tron which was very jolly until the Icelandic team accidentally kicked the ball into their own goal in the 88th minute. Oopps. The rest of the evening was spent listening to drunken tirades outside our hotel room window.
Our time the next few days consisted of:
- A ride on Icelandic horses. The smoothest ride I've ever been on because these horses have a different gait which is similar to...a glide.
- A tour of the south part of the island. Watching a huge geyser spray all over unsuspecting tourists on the wrong side of the wind. Planting ourselves in the middle of a waterfall, a tiny hot springs and the location where the Eurasian tectonic plate separated from the North American plate.
- A whale watching tour during which we saw zero whales, but a pile of porpoises and a hundred puffins.
- A constant string of, "Wow Mom HOW much does that cost?" Because Iceland is both beautiful and outrageously...not cheap.
Our last morning we splurged and went to the Blue Lagoon. Not the version with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The version with real blue water that's apparently one the wonders of the world. The pool is literally blue, the result of being heated by a geothermal plant and laden with silica and sulfur. The kids and I soaked and rubbed mud masks all over our bodies for hours until we were whisked away and deposited back in the kind care of Iceland Air for a trip back to Denver, which apparently had seen 100 degree temperatures while we were holding umbrellas and shivering with Icelandic soccer fans.
Now it's back to America and the way the summer usually looks for us. This involves six weeks in Wisconsin at our tiny place on Elkhart Lake. I make a big stink every year about not wanting to leave the zip code any more than I need to once I arrive. It's enough to remain in a bikini and flip flops for days at a time. I may not learn Elvish there, but it's home, and isn't that the place we all long for?