“In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And there's this strange thing: you're never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well. - Hannah Kent, Australian writer and traveler
This past summer, Ashley, one of our OTBT team members, got to embark on the trip of a lifetime – six amazing, fun-filled days in Iceland with her bestie Karen. This “bucket list trip” consisted of nature tours, horseback riding, whale-watching and so many more wonderful and unique experiences.
“There was something going on everyday,” Ashley said.
Here’s a quick breakdown of their six-day trip and some of the incredible sights they saw and excursions they went on:
Ashley and Karen arrived at their hostel in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, where they stayed for all six days of their trip. Their first day was a long one – 22 hours long.
“There’s no night in Iceland in the summer. Just a brief bit of darkness from 2 to 4 a.m.” Ashley explained.
Using daylight to their advantage, the travelers took their time orienting themselves with the town, walking everywhere and taking in the sights. Realizing they had a unique chance to see the Northern Lights, the girls camped out to see if they could spot them. They didn’t manage to catch a glimpse, but still managed to have a great time taking in the beautiful Iceland scenery on their first day.
The next day, Ashley and Karen went on a guided tour of the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route covering some of Iceland’s most beautiful natural landscapes. They saw the raw power and majesty of Gullfoss Falls, discovered the serenity of the Kerið volcanic crater lake, and experienced the thrill of watching massive geyers shoot off into the air. But the most amazing sight to behold was the landscape of Thingvellir, the only place in the world where you can see two shifting tectonic plates above sea level.
“You used to be able to spread your arms out and touch them, but they’ve drifted so far apart that you can’t do that anymore.” Ashley explained.
The following day Ashley and Karen were scheduled to take a four-hour horseback trek. The rain was pouring down, but that didn’t stop our two adventurers.
“We were covered from our head to our boots in these bright orange slickers,” Ashley laughed, “We looked like traffic cones.”
The girls set on horseback, taking a scenic ride near volcanoes and volcanic fields. Being an equestrian, Ashley was especially excited to ride the Icelandic horses, which have a unique gait called the Tölt, a very smooth gait similar to the Trot, but not as jolting for the rider.
“It was a really unique experience.”
The weather cleared up the next day, and Ashley and Karen set off for their next adventure – a trip to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s world-famous geothermal spa. The travelers took a dip in the mineral rich 90°F waters of the manmade lagoon and also received nourishing mud masks and algae treatments. It was the perfect way to relax after the previous day of horseback riding in the rain.
The next day, Ashley and Karen boarded a boat for a whale watching tour. It was very cold that day, so the two girls bundled up in preparation for a day out on the water.
“We looked like we were dressed for the Deadliest Catch,” Ashley laughed, “It was so cold!”
On their tour, they saw white-beaked dolphins, humpback whales and even some of Iceland’s famous puffins. As their boat glided along the waves, Ashley managed to snap a few photos of the approaching dolphins.
For their last day in Iceland, before the two travelers departed for the airport, they took one last walk around the town. They also decided to splurge on an authentic Icelandic meal – fin whale and reindeer.
“It was actually really delicious,” Ashley said.
All in all, the trip was a whirlwind of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The chilly 50°F days and pouring rain seemed to only add to excitement and adventure of their Iceland adventure. Although cold-weather adventuring may not be for everyone, it truly can be a rewarding experience for those looking for a true off the beaten track experience.
To keep her feet warm, Ashley took along a pair of OTBT’s Black Jack, mid-shaft cold weather boots with a cozy lining and flat sporty bottoms. She ended up wearing them virtually everywhere – from the Golden Circle tour to the whale watching excursion.
“They kept my feet warm and protected me from the elements,” Ashley said, “I wore them everywhere. They were even more comfortable then the sneakers I brought.”
Thinking of going on your own cold weather adventure this winter? Here’s a few tips Ashley shared on what to pack for destinations with chillier temperatures:
“Pack layers, but make sure you have warm footwear. The two things that you absolutely need to make sure you have is proper headwear and footwear. Also, it really helps to bring along a wind-jacket, as windy conditions can make a mild day feel so much colder.”
Click here to shop OTBT’s selection of fall & winter boots, and be sure to check out our special cold weather styles, like the Black Jack – perfect for keeping your feet warm and toasty no matter where you may roam.
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