Icelandic Adventure

Guest Blogger: Rosie Martins

Best advice I ever received, “Spend your money on experiences, not things.” Second best advice, “You don’t have to be good, just be safe.” As you can imagine this has created some very interesting adventures for me and my friends: from foam parties south of the border in Cancun, enjoying “real” Greek salad in Santorini, to bouldering around the Arches in Moab, Utah, where finding an adult beverage after a long day of activities is the real challenge. No matter the destination, there is always a good story to tell, and if your lucky, a scar to go along with it.

My most recent adventure was to the Nordic island of Iceland. With the country's population coming in just above 300,000 you get the feeling that everyone knows eachother. Even though it might not be exactly like Cheers (where everybody knows your name) are they friendly!

We started our adventure with the Blue Lagoon, of course. What better way to say goodbye to sunny San Diego and adjust to the fall weather of Iceland than with a dip in a warm geothermal pool with a Somersby cider?  Definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you ask me.  

Is it a total tourist trap? Duh! Is it worth it after a long flight? Absolutely!

To get our bearings around the city and learn some local history, we felt like a bike tour was necessary.  Seriously, the people there are so nice! Don’t let the graffiti art fool you, this country has almost no crime, a super low unemployment rate, and most of their energy is from renewable resources.

Regardless, it's no wonder Iceland is one of the top 5 happiest countries in the world to live in.  And with hot dog trucks on every corner, there is always food at the ready...especially after a night out on the town (or morning out, as the ruckus doesn’t stop there until early AM hours).

With coffee shops, bars, restaurants and shopping downtown, there was no shortage of places in town to explore. But my favorite day of the trip was outside of town, exploring the Solheimajokull Glacier, hiking up the beautiful Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and walking along the Skogafoss black sand beach.

I won’t lie, I was nervous about this glacier hike. Not only did I have a gnarly back surgery less than 1 year ago (that is an adventure blog all on its own), but I live in sunny San Diego, CA… what the heck do I know about gearing up with crampons and hiking around on a glacier?

The ice was so blue and with the form of the glaciers changing on a weekly basis, you feel like you are literally walking where no man/woman has walked before! The beach and waterfall were amazing as well, with sheep and goats running amuck, the countryside creates a beautiful backdrop to any picture. 

At Skogafoss, we were able to spend some time bouldering up the basalt pillars that surround the caves. Similar to many of the Icelandic folktales, it’s said that they were once trolls coming home late from a fishing trip and turned to rock by the sun. 

Sadly, at this point, my trip was coming to an end. Alex had left for England so I had the last 2 days solo. I know this made my mother nervous (as her only child everything I do makes her nervous), but I found it so empowering!  

After 8 days, I had created a list of my local my hole in the wall coffee shop, street bench to people-watch from, and of course found the best happy hour spot in town. These alone times gave me some time to think about my next adventure before heading back to the chaos of life that I love so much in sunny San Diego. 

-Rosie Martins

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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