We showered with rotten eggs. Then brushed our teeth with them. Well, that’s what it tasted like, anyways.

Before we arrived in Iceland, we didn’t know much about the small island in the North Atlantic. (You know, other than anything we’d learned watching D2: The Mighty Ducks as kids. Gunnar Stahl and the knuckle puck, anyone? Greenland is icy and Iceland is green.)

But, when some of our best friends invited us to join them on their Iceland adventure, we couldn’t say no.

Now, back to the rotten eggs.

we couldn’t say no

We landed in Iceland in the wee hours of the morning after taking a red-eye from New York… and a cross-country flight from Phoenix before that. And. we. were. tired. Side note: if you’re ever going to Europe, do a stopover flight with Icelandair instead. Icelandair allows you to fly to Iceland, stay for a few days, then fly to Europe — all for the same price as you’d pay to fly direct  to Europe once!
By the time we got our rental car, drove in circles near our our Airbnb in the city trying to read parking signs in Viking, Googled conversion rates at the meters, jimmied the key in the door for fifteen minutes (not the door’s fault, probably our own user error due sleep deprivation), carried our 50-pound bags up three flights of steep stairs narrow enough for a fifth grader, we made it.

The first thing we did? Other than running down the street to grab a cheese pizza, two bottles of water, a bar of chocolate and a box of Cheerios (a European vacation staple for us). We set our eyes on the sink and shower — because we hadn’t seen either, unless you count airports and planes, for about 24 hours.

That’s when we turned the faucet on.

And off.

On.

Off again.

Back on.

Let it run for a few minutes, we thought.

Nope. It still smells.

Like ROTTEN EGGS.

Thankfully, we had Wifi, and once we told Google we read English instead of Viking, it let us search something we certainly never thought we would: Why does the water in Iceland smell like rotten eggs? 

Long story short: it has something to do with sulfur, but it’s completely safe and just smells worse in some areas and better in others. Unfortunately, for us, it was like when the rat from Charlotte’s Web feasted at the carnival after hours.

Rancid.

The good news? The smell doesn’t stay on your skin the way it does on your clothes when you leave Subway with a sandwich. When you’re done showering, you don’t smell it anymore. It’s just an in-the-moment kinda thing.

After we bathed, brushed, slept off the jet-lag and started to look like human beings again, we loved (almost) every minute of our time in Iceland. Here are the highlights:

— We muddy-hiked two hours and four miles through pouring rain and near-freezing temperatures to a warm, geothermal river in the middle of nowhere with nothing around us — except some sheep and maybe a few hobbits — and, against all instincts, stripped off our winter clothes in front of complete strangers, changed into bathing suits, then ran as fast as we could into the water… and tried not to think about the hike back… or the fact that our dry clothes were getting rained on.

— We accidentally bought sparkling water at the grocery store because we can’t read Viking and were too tired to notice THE BUBBLES on the label of the bottle. But we felt too embarrassed to ask for our money back. Because the cashier had half her head shaved, Rastafarian dreadlocks on the other and a scowl that looked like, if we asked, it might be our last refund.

— We saw waterfalls. Everywhere. Then made a lot of jokes about sticking to the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to.

— We swam in the Blue Lagoon, a top 25 Natural Wonder of the World. The silica facial wrap is included in the price. It made us feel like Mrs. Doubtfire in the “pie in the tea” scene. I’m melting like a snow cone in the middle of summer! But it was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done.

— The floors in our Airbnb had heated floors, so we laid our outfits out every night before bed, then, each morning, felt like Kramer in the episode of Seinfeld when he puts his pants in Jerry’s oven to warm them up.

— Time with friends. At breakfast in the morning over warm cups of coffee. In the car on long rides to remote places. That was our favorite. Because of all the natural beauty in the world that God created (Iceland being one of His best), we’re most grateful that He gave us such great friends to enjoy it with.

Here are a few of our favorite pictures that we took from the trip (and a few from Katelyn James and The Herrintons too!)
iceland_0002 iceland_0003 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 iceland_0005 iceland_0007 iceland_0008 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 iceland_0010 iceland_0011 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 iceland_0013 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 iceland_0016 iceland_0017 iceland_0018 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 iceland_0020 iceland_0021 iceland_0022 iceland_0023 iceland_0024 iceland_0025 iceland_0026 iceland_0027 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016 View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/iceland-2016
Love seeing new places? Here are links to our other travel adventures!

International: Ireland • England • France • Spain • Italy • Greece & Turkey • Anniversary Photos: Venice • Italy 2.0 • France 2.0 • Vow Renewal: France • Switzerland

Domestic: Nashville • Denver • Phoenix • Vancouver • Seattle • Vegas • Atlanta • Santa Barbara • Florida • Virginia • New England/New York • Sedona • San Diego • Nantucket • Boston • San Diego • Virginia • Arizona • Charleston • Disney Cruise

4 comments
filed in: Personal, Travel

    Tatyana Lee

    Umm... we need to go here STAT!

    Amy & Jordan

    You need to go!!

    Lauren

    Hi! I've been sporadically following your blog for years. We are finalizing our plans for Iceland in the beginning of June and HAD to come back and find these gorgeous pictures! Do you remember where the hot springs were? Anything else I need to know? I'm so intimidated by planning a trip in "Viking"

    Amy & Jordan

    Shoot! So sorry! We didn't plan most of the trip, so we have no idea where the hot springs were :( Definitely hit the Blue Lagoon! Waterfalls are everywhere, so those should be easy to see driving on the side of the road. If you get a chance to find some hot springs, make sure to bring a dry warm set of clothes in a separate bag and something to cover all your stuff in case it rains!