Iceland Part 2: the southwest

Sooo, on our second full day in Iceland, we left Reykjavík and headed South to the town of Hveragerði....only about an hour's drive - but a drive filled with SUCH dramatic landscapes, as all Icelandic drives are!  Hveragerði is considered the "gateway to the South" and conveniently located for a number of sights/adventures, but our main draw was the Frost and Fire hotel (Frost og Funi) and the geothermally heated river (the Varma River) that runs right behind it. Much of the hotel's food was prepared using geothermal heat, as well (see the picture, below, of Ted cooking an egg one morning using this technique, right beside the big pots of soups and whatever else was on the menu for that night's dinner). 

We stayed at the Frost and Fire for 3 nights and on the first full day in Hveragerði, we hiked  through the Reykjadalur Valley to the hot springs - which was as amazing as it sounds. The spring was SO hot at the top, towards the source and cooled off as it flowed further down. - felt like hot bath water.  The hike wasn't too difficult (about 2 miles each way) - more amazing landscapes (geysers, cliffs, waterfalls, lots of grazing sheep...a beautiful sunset) and if we were to go back, I'd pack picnic lunches and some beer and plan on staying at the hot springs much longer. It was so, so nice....

On our second full day in Hveragerði, we drove northeast 45 minutes to the nearby town of Reykholt to Friðheimar, the largest tomato producing greenhouse in Iceland!  They literally harvest a ton of tomatoes every single day at this place - over 370 tons a year. This region is one of the most fertile  for growing in the entire country. The greenhouses are all geothermally heated (seeing a theme here?), the water is super pure, and the space-saving pully system they use for the tomato vines was amazing to witness (we got a tour).    Only the most efficient breed of bees are used for pollinating and they are brought in, in cardboard boxes (see picture above, taken through the clear plastic window into one of the boxes that was on display).  Annnnd, there is a restaurant within the greenhouse that is off-the-charts delicious - a small lunch menu with everything on it having some sort of tomato aspect to it - and delicious tomato cocktails (I had a Happy Mary, gin + green tomato juice : ) and Ted got a shot of tomato schnapps served in a hollowed out cherry tomato!) This was hands-down one of my very favorite meals we ate in the two weeks we spent in Iceland.  Later that evening, we hiked around the hills near the hotel, had a grocery store picnic in bed, and sat in the hot tub that night hoping to see a glimpse of the northern lights (but it was overcast).  The next morning we had plans for an all day horseback ride to the beach - one of the biggest days of my life!! 

More to come in the next Iceland Installment : )


Iceland Part 1: Reykjavík

Soooooo, back in September, Ted and I went on an incredible two week adventure in Iceland.....with way too many pictures for just one post, here are pictures from our first few days in Reykjavik ....

And a little narration: 

Leaving the Carolina's/flying into Keflavík, stopping by the Blue Lagoon (we assumed we could stop by for a soak on our way to Reykjavík from the airport, but were wrong since the place books up weeks in advance, so we made a reservation and ended up stopping again at the very end of our trip).  

Next stop: Reykjavik.  We camped out at a cafe with croissants, beer and (most importantly) wifi,  while we waited on our Airbnb host to get in touch, and for the apartment to be ready - delirious after the red eye ..... we spent the afternoon walking along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, down to the harbor - eating a delicious dinner of mussels and langoustine (= small lobster) soup at Höfnin and watching the sun set on the water.  We wandered the city again the next morning, stopping for coffee, having hot dogs for lunch at Bæjarins beztu (a super popular hot dog stand in central Reykjavík), and checking out a few landmarks along the way: Reykjavík City Hall, an impressive building on the northern shore of the Lake Tjörnin and Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland.  

Reykjavík is such a fun, friendly, walkable city - a lot like Charleston - I wished we had planned for another day or two there, but I knew we would be back for at least a day and night at the end of the trip.

Next up ----> Part 2: Hveragerði and the Southwest coming soon.....


As Ted and I gear up for a trip to Iceland in September(!!), I've been doing a bit of research and stumbled upon this Bon Iver video that was filmed in Iceland - those landscapes!  Bon Iver is one of my go-to's when I paint, all of their albums feel so calm and introspective. Very grounding for hectic days.