Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Iceland

While parts of the US have been getting pummeled with winter storms, we spent the week in.... Iceland! Our weather there was actually nicer than the east coast.

Iceland is very stark and beautiful, and the culture is fascinating. They were discovered by the Vikings, colonized by the Norwegians and the Danish, used as a strategic military outpost by the British and the Americans, and finally, given their true independence. The US Navy base closed recently, in 2006, and was turned into what is now their international airport and a university. 


outside the town of Fludir

We did our best to eat local Icelandic food for every single meal. They eat a variety of things that come from the sea, like whale, shellfish (especially langoustine), various local fish such as trout, arctic char, salmon, spotted catfish, and ling cod, and meat, in the form of sea birds (puffin, cormorant, goose, duck), lamb and horse. 

Arctic Char, a local fish. Similar to salmon, but lighter and creamier!

smoked salmon and hardboiled egg on a croissant - ate salmon every day!

minke whale. it tastes just like tender, delicious beef.

The Icelandic horse is one of the cutest horses I've ever seen. They're super friendly, fuzzy,  and come in so many different colors. Once an Icelandic horse leaves Iceland, it can never come back. They are one of the purest breeds in the world. 

Icelandic horses

Mike and I had one day to ourselves where we drove around the island a bit. I got to go to a wool factory and get some yarn and raw wool to bring home for felting and crocheting. 

The wool factory!

We also stopped at this beautiful natural swimming pool - Iceland's first, from 1891. It is filled from a hot spring right next to the pool, so it was extremely warm, like 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole place was quiet, steamy, misty, surrounded by snow, and completely surreal. We got there before it opened and had the whole place to ourselves. It is probably the most romantic thing Mike and I have ever done together. 

The Secret Lagoon
Secret Lagoon GoPro selfie!

We also got married! Our friends and family flew in and spent 5-6 days with us, touring Reykjavik, the Golden Circle, and the Blue Lagoon. It was a little stressful, but thanks to Pink Iceland, and Hannes, our wedding planner, everything ran smoothly and we had a memorable wedding. I am excited to see our Icelandic wedding certificate. We also have my wonderful cousin, Dennis Kwan, to thank for the following pictures documenting our trip!

The Harpa Concert Hall - it is gorgeous!

Me in a vintage 70s Icelandic cape, and Mike in an Icelandic wool handknit sweater.

the cold, windy ceremony. we had all the elements - earth, fire, water, and wind.

toasting!

after the ceremony, under the stars

at Gulfoss waterfall

the Blue Lagoon - like an enormous milky hot tub.

getting in-water massage treatments at the Blue Lagoon.

at Thingvellir National Park, walking between the Eurasian and North American plates.

Hallgrimskirkja church, and that's us, the tiny couple!

Since we've been together so long, we thought the wedding would be sort of anti-climactic, but it was really special. We feel like we've renewed our commitment to each other, and it was really nice to have that break in the middle of the renovation stress.

And now we are back in Bend, refreshed and busy at work on the house again. We'd like to move within the next week or so...it's a rush to the finish! Updates in the next post!