I decided to begin my trip abroad a few days early so that I could have some time for site seeing before my rotation starts. After all, it isn’t very often that you get the opportunity to travel abroad. My lovely aunt actually came along to keep me company!
Our first stop was in the land where lava meets ice! The flight had a layover in Iceland, so we extended it to explore for a couple of days. I know this sounds cliché, but words and pictures do not do it justice. Iceland has an incredible variety of landscapes where it is almost difficult to comprehend: volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, fluorescent hot springs, and I’m sure so much more than I was able to see. It’s almost as if you are on another planet. I felt like I couldn’t stare at the scenery long enough to fully absorb the beauty around me.
My aunt and I rented a car rather than partake in a guided tour and it ended up working out really well! Apparently, it isn’t too difficult to find your way around Iceland. If we were able to find our way around without GPS, I’m sure anyone can.
My favorite stops in Iceland were Seljalandsfoss, where you can follow a path up to and behind the waterfall, and this tiny thermal footbath we found in Reykjavik to watch the sunset. I would LOVE to pay Iceland another visit in the future to take advantage of the hiking scene and see the northern lights and some puffins!
Things that I learned in Iceland: words and names are incredibly difficult to pronounce- basically sounds like gibberish; the locals are every helpful and friendly (and speak English!); most of the guided tours are tourist traps (words from the locals); Iceland is expensive!- we bought travel snacks for the long car rides to and from sites (It ended up saving us a lot of time and money!); bottled water is a waste of money- apparently, you can just reuse your bottle and ask for a refill! The tap water is fresher than bottle anyways (more words from the locals); the people believe in the possibility of elves- so much so that they will even reroute roads to avoid them.