Iceland Recap! Travel Diary

The trip where we got engaged!

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Let me start by saying that Iceland is a magical place and I would highly recommend a visit! The terrain is as varied as the weather and there are beautiful sights to be found all over the island. There are rolling green hills, plateaus that seem to pop out of nowhere, snowy mountains, and gorgeous waterfalls all over the place. We loved everywhere we stayed as we traveled from Vogar to Hof over four days. The day we got engaged was truly perfect, which was the sweetest icing on the best cake you could ever imagine.

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We started out by exploring Reykjavik – which was an adorable town with winding roads. There was a lot of cool street art, cute shops, and this frozen lake that you could walk on! Reed took this awesome shot of all of the ducks and geese swimming in the frigid water. Check out his Instagram for more – he’s an amazing photographer.

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We landed at Cafe Paris where we had a delicious brunch of pancakes with bacon and eggs Benedict. It’s true what they say about the food being expensive in Iceland, so be prepared for $60 breakfasts (without drinks). We actually cooked about half of our meals since we were generally in the middle of nowhere and had a full kitchen for two of the days – shopping in an Icelandic grocery store was fun and affordable.

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Then we drove East – for four hours! We stopped plenty of times though because Iceland is seriously picturesque. Our main stop was Reynisfjara – a black sand beach with these cool rock structures. This was the windiest place I have ever been!! The wind was insanely intense to the point where Reed had to hold on to me because it was so strong. The sand was also whipping everywhere, so people were walking backwards and shielding their faces.

We finally ended up at our home for the night – the Magma hotel. The lobby was adorable and we played scrabble and had tea while they prepared our cottage. The cottage itself was quite hard to find at night, but the staff was very helpful and it was worth the trek. The area only has a few little cabins, so it’s quiet and peaceful – I would just recommend ear plugs because the storm that night was so, so windy and loud.

Here’s the inside of the cottage; it was incredibly charming and the golden light in the morning was lovely. While it was quite tiny, it didn’t feel cramped at all and the decor was very cute. I loved reading on this day bed and we made dinner and breakfast in the cute kitchen. There was a full sized bed, closet for all of our winter gear, and nice bathroom as well. I wished we had more time here because it was so nice!

After a relaxing morning, we headed to Vatnajokull National Park to hike to the Skaftafell waterfall. Since it had stormed so badly the night before, the trail was really icy. It started hailing pretty badly about halfway through, but we made it to the lookout point. Then the skies cleared up and we decided to continue to the waterfall. The park ranger didn’t recommend it because we didn’t have crampons, but I’m so glad we went for it, because the view was gorgeous and then this happened…

Reed proposed!! Although we’ve been together for seven years and I knew we would get married eventually, I wasn’t expecting to get engaged on this trip! It was such an amazing surprise and perfect moment that I can hardly even put it into words. I’ll just say that I have the most thoughtful fiancé and I couldn’t be happier – I get to marry my best friend! Telling our families was so fun (even though almost everyone already knew!) and we are so thankful for the amount of love and support in our lives.

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If you’re wondering how we got the proposal on camera, a sweet couple was nearby and I asked if they wanted a photo of the two of them. Then they offered to take a picture of us and ended up capturing the whole thing! There are about 6 photos total and I absolutely love that we captured the moment because it was so special. The photos were also a great way to share the best news with our friends and family. We can’t thank you enough, friendly travelers!! And then we have the ring! It’s more beautiful and meaningful than anything I would have imagined. The sapphire is so, so perfect for me.

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Somehow the day got even better as we continued on to Hof. We saw an entire double rainbow!! It was so vibrant (my photos don’t do it justice) and I’ve never seen both ends of a rainbow! Here’s Reed at one end and me at the other. Notice how we both have our eyes closed? We’re meant to be 😉 But seriously, it was fantastic and we were both so filled with joy at this point.

Next we drove to the Diamond Beach across from Jökulsárlón which was unlike anything I’d seen. There were small and large icebergs all over the black sand beach and they were the most stunning blue shades. It was incredible! I was starting to get cold at this point, which is honestly not that bad because I’m always freezing and my jacket wasn’t waterproof, but before we headed out…

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We saw this!!! As if it couldn’t get any better, we walked down the beach to find three white Icelandic horses running down the beach! It was gorgeous. They were shooting a tourist clip, so this doesn’t ever happen in normal life, but what perfect timing that we were able to catch this!

Then we headed to check in at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. This was such a luxurious retreat after all of the hours of driving and exploring – perfectly planned on Reed’s part! We had the best meal of the entire trip – which my parents treated us to, to celebrate our engagement. The food was so fresh and delicious; I would highly recommend eating at the restaurant even if you’re not staying at the hotel and you want a lovely meal after exploring Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón.

After dinner we were lounging in our room when champagne and dessert arrived from Reed’s parents. It was the perfect ending to a truly fantastic day filled with so much love, thoughtfulness, pure joy, and celebration.

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The next day we went on a Glacier Hike and Ice Cave expedition with Extreme Iceland. It was a three hour trek (plus a 30 minute bus each way to/from Vatnajokull). This was pretty pricey, but it was one of the highlights of the trip. I mean look at these ice caves!! They were so beautiful and filled with stunning blue, white, and black colors. Plus we climbed a glacier!! It was really cool and a nice active hike with crampons and ice picks. This cave would only last another three or so weeks before it would be unsafe to explore, so I’m really glad we were able to get this in.

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Here’s my cute guy in the cave and a little waterfall that we actually drank from! The water was so cold, refreshing, and delicious that we actually filled our water bottles here.

Then we started heading back toward Reykjavik for dinner. It was another four hour drive plus stops, so it was getting late by the time we arrived. We were starving and still had to drive to Vogar, so we grabbed a quick burger at Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar. This place had a fun vibe and the food was delicious. There were plenty of locals eating there too.

That night we arrived at our Airbnb, Narkafot by the Lighthouse, and were welcomed by Dagmar, who was the sweetest host. I sadly don’t have any pictures here because it was nighttime when we arrived and we didn’t have time the next morning, but it was as charming and picturesque as it looks online. I would definitely stay there again because it was very close to the airport, Blue Lagoon, and Reykjavik, but felt cozy and private.

On our last day, we headed to the Blue Lagoon for a very touristy stop. It was actually much nicer than we had heard and there were no lines when we arrived. The receptionist upgraded us to one of the luxury packages with a free robe and slippers, which was so nice. We also had drinks and smoothies while in the lagoon which was fun.

It was still incredibly windy, so we tucked ourselves into corners and little nooks to stay warm. A lovely employee (who was incredibly bundled in the cold and wind – poor guy!) was there to take photos and email them to guests, which was so helpful because we didn’t want to deal with our phones or running back inside. I would definitely recommend going to the Blue Lagoon as you’re heading out for a bit of relaxation before your long flight home – I was glad we did.

If you couldn’t already tell, Iceland was the best trip ever and getting engaged there made it even more amazing. I couldn’t recommend going there enough and loved all of the sites we visited, places we stayed, and food we ate. If you’re heading there and have any questions, let me know!

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