Random Events Goes to Iceland

It was by luck that I was able to join Random Events on their first International Excursion to Reykjavik, Iceland. A spot opened up at the last minute and I was very excited to go.  You would never know that it was the first International trip that Random Events had organized.  Everything ran smoothly from beginning to end.  It was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.

Everyone met up at JFK airport for some time to mix and mingle at the bar before we made our conga line entry onto our direct flight to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital.  With the time difference, our flight landed at approximately 6:30am.  From there we had a few hours to get breakfast and take a power nap before a full day of touring began.

Day 1:

The first full day tour was to explore the city of Reykjavik.  I loved the colorful houses and majestic mountainside that could be seen towering behind them in the distance. We got a fantastic view of the entire city when we went to the top of Hallgrim’s Church, which is the tallest building in Iceland.  After the city tour ended, we got to further familiarize ourselves with Reykjavik during a group dinner later that evening.  Icelandic nightlife is very active and the party goes on until dawn breaks or maybe until all the glasses are broken since there is lots of broken glass found on the street after nights of partying.  This evening we went on our first Northern Lights tour but sadly we did not see anything that night.

Day 2:

One of our most adventurous days was the second day of the trip.  Our group was driven in super jeeps to a scenic overview, where we got to walk around through tall cavernous rocks before driving to view the magnificent Gullfoss (Golden Falls).  Next it was time to drive to the Langjokull Glacier. As we got closer and closer to the glacier it almost looked as if we were on another planet since there was so many lava rocks and open space between mountains. Once dressed in the helmets and snow suits provided, we got the chance to jump on some snow mobiles and ride further out onto the glacier.  After a playful snowball fight and some group photos it was time to ride back to the jeeps.  Our last stop of the day was a visit to the Strokkur geyser that still actively erupts with frequency.  What an amazing day of adventure, sightseeing and fun!

Day 3:

For those not returning on the shorter trip that was offered, day three was a tour of West Iceland.  As was our routine by now, we all piled into a van and began a full day of sightseeing.  On this day we started with the Whale Bay Fjord.  From there we went up into the mountains on an unpaved mountain road into the Skorradalur Valley.  I loved seeing all the Icelandic horses as we drove by surrounding farms.  One of the stops on our tour was a visit to Iceland‘s largest natural hot spring, called Dieldartunghuver.  You can smell the sulfur in the steam that rises from the extremely hot water.  (You can also smell the sulfur when you wash your hands or take a shower in Iceland, something I never quite got used to when I was there).  Next we arrived at what is known as the Children‘s Falls, as it was named for the three children that perished there while trying to cross a slippery bridge. I could not imagine someone trying to walk across these falls as they looked very treacherous and I am relieved they tore down the faulty crossing.  Not far from the Children’s Falls is Iceland‘s most mysterious waterfall where the water comes from under the ground and the source of it is actually melt off from a glacier. On our way back from these waterfalls we paid a visit to Snorri’s historical home and took a look at the geothermal outdoor hot tub which is rumored to be the world‘s first.  Then it was time to enjoy the scenery on our drive back to Reykjavik for another delicious meal and night out.

Day 4:

On our forth day we made our journey to the southernmost tip of Iceland before returning to Reykjavik.  On the way we were able to see two beautiful waterfalls – one where you could climb on an icy path to go around behind it (Seljalandsfoss) and another where you were able to climb up the hillside to view it from above if you wished (Skogarfoss).  The lava ash was visible in the mud along the water from the recent eruption of the nearby Eyjafallajoekull volcano.  We had a lovely lunch stop in the town of Vik (pictured above) and then we traveled to the other side of the view pictured above to explore Reynisfjara beach.  There we were able to walk over for a closer look at the immense basalt columns and the three rock formations in the water (these are rumored in Icelandic folklore to be frozen trolls).  The sand on this beach was made up of tiny round black pebbles and there were many larger lava rocks along the way.  Our last stop of the day was a visit to the Solheimurjokull glacier.  We walked right up to the many ice formations and could even sit right on the tip of the glacier.  Later that evening, we had our last chance to see the Northern Lights before our return to New York.  Sadly it was a really foggy night so we did not get to seen them on this night either.  We still made the night a fun one anyway though.

 

Day 5

The last day of the trip ended in the best possible way – with a visit to the Blue Lagoon. With the soothing geothermal blue water and the mineral clay that you can put on your face to make a mud mask, I loved the Blue Lagoon.  One thing I highly recommend is getting one of the floating massages that are offered – what a relaxing experience! After a tranquil afternoon, it was time to head to the airport. I will admit that it was so hard to leave though!  I wouldn’t get out of the water until the last possible moment knowing that I could get lunch at the airport later.

During each day of the trip we had wonderful tour guides who really helped to liven up the long drives with information and stories of Icelandic folklore.  I really enjoyed hearing tales of trolls, elves and hidden people.  Once we learned of the 13 Christmas lads on one of our tours, we started noticing little figurines of them placed everywhere in shops and windows – there was even a large display of them at the Reykjavik airport.  The drives to some of our destinations may have been long but there was so much to look at in the surrounding scenery that I did not notice the time and each destination made any effort to get there worth it.  Our days and nights were jam packed with activities but I wouldn’t have it any other way because we got to see so much.  I would consider another visit to Iceland to see what other seasons have to offer as I know there is still so much to experience there.

As I have said, Iceland couldn’t be more breathtaking, but what really made the trip fantastic was how well organized it was, our Random Events hosts Will and Cecilia, and the other wonderful people who signed up to go on this journey along with me. What a phenomenal trip!!! As I’ve said before, I highly recommend doing anything with Random Events and now I can say, based on this experience, that their international trips are just as well done as their local ones.  I hope to travel with them again soon.  You can visit www.randomeventsny.com to see their upcoming events schedule.

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