After a short layover in Reykjavik when I flew to France in high school, I was desperate to return and actually make it out of the airport.
I decided that, with one last weekend to play before my time in Europe expired, I would fulfil an old dream and explore a country filled with snow, ice, volcanos, rocks, waterfalls, geysers and geothermal pools. And it didn't disappoint.
My plane landed just before midnight on Thursday as the sun dipped below the horizon. I woke up just before the plane dipped below the clouds and let out an audible gasp when I saw a bright red sky, ablaze with the last of the day's dying light.
We drove along curving roads in what had become pure darkness, lost and convinced we would never find our AirBnB, but alas, hidden behind a campground whose name I will never be able to remember or pronounce, our small cabin sat waiting for us.
As all college-aged women would be, the four of us were thrilled to see that our cabin came with bunkbeds and we quickly dove into beds, claiming our spots for the weekend.
We woke up early Friday morning and went to a beach down the road that ran parallel to a quaint church and cemetery before driving into Reykjavik to explore the city, which was whimsical and welcoming. As suggested to us by virtually all of our friends who had previously visited the city, we tried Icelandic hot dogs, which were served with dozens of toppings that came together in what was the best hot dog I've ever had. Thanks for the tip, friends!
Because we are all college students who are nearing the end of a semester abroad, we are virtually penniless, so we made pasta at the campground and watched the sun set over dozens of tents and RVs that surrounded our cabin and duck behind the mountain range.
With only two full days in Iceland, we chose to travel the Golden Circle, which is a route in the Southern part of the country that features many impressive physical features, including glaciers, waterfalls, beaches, hot pools and geysers. By the end of the day, we'd climbed, stumbled and cursed our way through the trails and down the valleys, and we were exhausted. When we got to the last stop of the day and realised that the "45 minute walk" actually meant "two day hike up the side of a mountain," a unanimous "hell no" sent us speeding off in the opposite direction, headed home for more pasta.
It was a short trip, but it was filled with beautiful landscapes and left us in a state of awe countless times.