When Ashley and I sat down to plan this trip, we decided to stop in London first- people speak English, I had a couple options of people who could potentially host us, and we figured we could navigate getting there. After plugging possible dates and seeing a ticket price of $377.79 one way, we were in. We hit buy without considering the airline or any possible layovers we might have to endure. How could we pass up such a great deal??
After receiving our confirmation emails, we saw that we would be flying on IcelandAir and had a 16 hour, overnight, layover. Always read the fine print, my friends.
At first, I figured we would spend the night grabbing a few hours of sleep in the airport and then venture out to explore Iceland for a short time before our next flight. But as you can imagine, after spending 4 plus hours on a flight that felt like a sauna, we wanted out into the world. The first shock came to us when the guy in the ticket booth tried to sell us a bus ticket by saying “That will be 1,500.” I politely asked, “1,500 what?!” Luckily, he laughed and with the conversion rate it was about $14.
We boarded the bus, unsure of whether or not our backpacks were being sent to London or if we had missed our opportunity to pick them up in Reykjavik. Being the adventurers we are, we just hoped for the best. The driver asked us where we needed to be dropped off, and we told him “Downtown!” excited to see what the nightlife of Rekyjavik proved to be.
“You get off here.” We exited the bus onto an empty street at 2:30am. It turns out that things shut down a little earlier than we had expected. So, we bought sandwiches from the 24/7 convenience store (where I swear I saw a famous actor but still can’t figure out his name), and rang the doorbell of the first hostel we could find. Thankfully they had rooms, and we spent the night annoying the two girls we shared a dorm with and trying to sleep.
In the morning, we went exploring and found ourselves looking at one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. I looked at Ashley and said, “Now I feel it.” I felt finally felt the rush of excitement I had been waiting for. I felt nervous, I felt joy, I felt free.
We spent the day exploring the city, wandering around neighborhoods, walking through the most beautiful cemetary I have ever seen, and taking as many non-touristy photos as possible.
Now onto the food!
Breakfast was the only real meal we got to experience in Rekjavik because of how short our stay was (minus the slightly scary but really not bad convenience store sandwiches). We went to a cafe claiming to be the oldest one in Reykjavik. The menu turned out to be pretty similar to American food, but it was just enough to give us the energy we needed.
For breakfast, I got the two biggest pieces of toast I’ve ever seen with cheese and cucumbers, which was delicious, and we shared Skyr. Skyr is an Icelandic cheese that has the consistency and taste of yogurt. Obviously I loved it. I love cheese.
All in all, Iceland was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. If I say that about everywhere I go, I’m sorry in advance. The scenery was gorgeous, the accents were so much fun to listen to, and I can’t wait to go back. See you there on my way back right, Mom????
If you find yourself with a stopover in Iceland, take advantage of it! Icelandair will let you extend your stay for a few nights without any charges, and I would really recommend it. See the glaciers, the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, and take in everything the culture has to offer. But if you’re headed there September- May, bring your jacket. I was wearing flip flops, so as you can imagine I did not fit in with the locals.
Next stop, London!!! If you’ve been to London and have some advice, I would love to hear it! Leave me comments or use some other form of social media that I can see when I steal my next wifi password 🙂