Sunday, February 7, 2016

Iceland

Reykjavik
January 17th, 2016 - January 21st, 2016



I found myself fortunate to finally be able to afford the trip of my dreams two weeks ago, that's right I went to Iceland! And for those naysayers who say, "Really? You want to go to Iceland? In the winter?" And to that I naturally reply, "Damn right I do!"

Aside from shoulder season prices on airfare and hotels, the prime reason for visiting the land of Ice and Fire in the depths of winter is for the aurora borealis aka the northern lights. And in regard to the Icelandic winter, it's not darkness and subzero temps 24/7, in all actuality the weather is the same if not better than a New York winter and there's about 5 hours of glorious golden hour daylight to be had.

Oh and did I mention that HBO has filmed part of Game of Thrones in Iceland and if you've followed this blog it's then you'll know what a huge Thrones fan I am, so that didn't hurt. Ah, and another deciding factor on my destination, I was turning the big 3-0, and what better way to do so than visiting the worlds only phallological  museum (aka a penis museum), see the northern lights and trek beyond the Wall to see if Jon Snow really doesn't know anything.

Aside from the high prices from everything including food and the amazing selection of hand knit wears, I rang in 30 in the most epic way I knew how: Iceland!

My Icelandic adventure lasted an amazing 5 days, here are a few photos of my journey, and you can always click below for a link to see more photos.








 Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center 

 Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center







Icelandic Phallological Museum 

Icelandic Phallological Center 






Hallgrimskirkja 

Hallgrimskirkja 

The view from Hallgrimskirkja














              



Quick Tips for Your Icelandic Adventure:

* If you really are wary of an Icelandic winter, don't be, especially if you hale from the Hudson Valley   or New England and similar climates, the weather is typically the same and it was actually warmer in   Iceland than it was back home in Kingston, NY during my visit.

* Everything is vastly more expensive than in the United States. At the time of travel 1,000 ISK was
   equivalent to $7.73 USD. Many things including meals (with the exception of the famous hot dog
   stand) start at about 2,000 ISK. You can easily spend a lot without thinking, so be mindful
   when out and about.

* When in Rome... Try the shark, it's an experience to say the least. I also tried puffin from
   Islenski Barinn, it was tasty, but the animal lover in me felt oh so guilty afterwards that I couldn't
   bring myself to try the other Icelandic delicacy, minke whale.

* If you plan on seeing the northern lights and capturing the experience, make sure you have a camera
  that you can set to manual, a tripod and a shutter release (or put your camera on a 5 second timer
  when taking the photograph). To be able to capture what you see in photos, you need to have
  your ISO at around 800-1000, f/4-f/8 and at least a 20 second exposure. Then ta-da, you've captured
  the northern lights!

* If you are leaving the city of Reykjavik through a day tour or are venturing out on your own via a
  rental car in winter, it may be a good idea to pick up a pair of crampons as famed locations such as
  Geysir and Gullfoss have a lot of ice on the ground at this time of year.

* Last but not least find yourself an amazing travel agent like I did, THANK YOU MaryEllen!
  M&M Travel.

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