Final Trip Report: Iceland – Hella, Vik and Surrounding Area – September 2015

We woke up HOURS after breakfast was planned. I blame the hot chocolate 🙂 We had just enough time to pack and get into the car to head toward the airport. After a failed attempt at another wool shop (everything is closed on Mondays it seems), we dropped off our car and ended our second Iceland adventure with smiles on our faces and a “to-do” list of fun stuff that we will do on our next journey. We reflected on this trip and came up with the following summary:

  • We preferred picking one place, making it our home for the stay and really fully exploring the area.
  • While the Nissan Note was fine for this trip, it would have been limiting if our friends had not had a 4×4, therefore, we will spring for the beefier car next time
  • Iceland during September was warmer than March, but had the same amount of daylight. Being here during the regular season offered many additional experiences that were not available during the winter.
  • Hella is a fantastic place. Especially Hotel Stracta. They made our friends Wedding special and made us all feel at home. The grounds are beautiful, amenities are nearby, and it is central to a lot of the fun things that we wanted to do. We were never wanting and still have a long list of things to go back and experience.
  • The food remains amazing. Hotel Ranga provided the most over the top experience and I hope to go back one day to enjoy a full meal!
  • We really loved the not-planned nature of the trip. We were able to enjoy sheep herding, and various other activities because we didn’t have a schedule. We also enjoyed that we had a group of people who did a lot of the planning 🙂
  • Along with Brenevin, which is awesome to watch people experience for their first time with the traditional piece of shark, there is another darker substance that looks like a dark rum and tastes like cough syrup with black licquorish. It burned. We bought some to share with our friends back home.
  • The spices, flavors and food truly follows the seasons. The meals were prepared with care and perfection and helped us to experience what Iceland is like in this new season.
  • Horse steak is still amazing.
  • The things we want to do when we go back:
    ⦁        Hike to the plane wreck on the beach just east of Hella
    ⦁        Do the glacier walk near Hella
    ⦁        Visit the Westman Islands and have a Puffin-centric experience
    ⦁        Plan more time at the hotel to enjoy the sauna, preferably in the morning to watch the sun rise from the steamy warmth – and be up in time for breakfast.
    ⦁        Visit the handmade woolen shops that we missed because of our bad planning.
    ⦁        Experience the volcano exhibit just East of Hella depicting the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.
    ⦁        Have more picnics and try out more grocery store items. We coined a game named “candy roulette” where we grab unidentified bags of sweets and enjoy trying all of the different flavors.
    ⦁        Enjoy more hot dogs. One was not enough.
    ⦁        Try more foods: reindeer, different fish and pumpkin soups are at the top of our list.
    ⦁        Rent a 4×4 and camp in the highlands
    ⦁        Experience 24 hours of sunlight in the summer months

    In summary, we are on the plane excited to pick up our puppy, but at the same time excited to set a price alert for another trip back to Iceland. Two trips are not enough. We were grateful that our friends chose this place for their special day and we feel lucky to have been a part of it. The whole experience helped us understand that Iceland is such a fantastic, unique place that it may take dozens of trips to feel like we have truly experienced a sliver of what it has to offer. Thanks to Iceland for an amazing, quick break from busy life back in the US.

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