Yes, Boston winter is cold, but we wanted something colder with a view. Enters Iceland. This is an amazing country that is perfect to visit in all seasons. It is only five hours away by direct flights, and Icelandair’s red-eye flight departing from Logan on Friday night served us well. Here below is our itinerary for the long weekend getaway completed in January 2018.
Saturday: early arrival at Reykjavik, picked up the rental car from the airport around 8am, and drove for about 1 hour to Laugarvatn Fontana for its geothermal bakery tour. We were given a tour of the place (there were a few outdoor hot spring pools, but the highlight was the rye bread baked underground in the backyard that the guide would dig up at the end of the short walk). The bread was included in the tour and tasted good, and there were light snacks available for sale in the reception area as well. After lunch, we drove past Vik to the southeastern part of the country in preparation for the blue ice cave discovery tour the next day.
Sunday: blue ice cave discovery tour organized by Local Guide. We drove to its HQ in Fagurhólsmýri (the confirmation email included the GPS coordinates) and changed to a truck more fitted for the trip’s purpose. After driving for another hour or so, the road got bumpier and we finally stopped at the foot of a small mountain. The driver/guide stopped and we each got a pair of crampons, a helmet, a basic harness and an ice axe. IMO the crampons and helmet are probably the most useful, and the rest are cool for photos (we did not get to use it, and I don’t really see why one would need it). After the a detailed briefing, we started hiking along the edge of the receding glacier. As we went deeper, I could see the ice right under my crampons, and a hole formed by the melting ice here and there. We went into a few big caves, and the crystal clear blue ice put on a dazzling dance show with the sunshine that poked in from the outside. It was all worthwhile. On the way back, the guide made another stop at the beach dotted with remnants of the glacier brushed ashore by the waves. As the sun set down, it was the perfect way to call it a day.
Monday: rode the famous Icelandic horse and appreciated its unique five gaits at Icelandic HorseWorld. Since it was not the high season for horse riding, many farms were not available when we contacted them for a visit in winter. Although I would imagine the summer having a better view, riding through the farm with a guid on a sturdy and strong Icelandic horse made me really happy. We had a tomato-themed lunch at restaurant Friðheimar near the beloved Golden Circle (where all the famous geysers are located) in a greenhouse powered by geothermal energy. Satisfied with the long weekend getaway, we drove back to the airport for our return flight to Boston.