Little Willie and I have made it back safely from Iceland. Rather than a babymoon, I actually went with a friend. She and I had talked about an international trip together for her 35th birthday this month. I told her that by May 2015, I might be pregnant, but that I’d still be willing to travel. Sure enough, it happened pretty quickly so at 25 weeks I was near the max gestational age I anticipated I might be. I think it worked out well, since if I traveled at the peak of first trimester nausea that wouldn’t have been very fun.
The trip was great, and I’d highly recommend Iceland to anyone. We chose Iceland because we’d heard how beautiful it was. Also, it’s a very safe country in terms of crime, everyone speaks English, and the water and food are very safe. Since the water comes from glaciers, you can drink straight from the faucet. Peak season starts in June, so we were there just before peak. That means we risked colder and rainier weather, but we didn’t get as much of the summer crowds. What’s trippy is that the sun doesn’t set until about 11:15 pm, and then the sun rises in the 3:00 hour. We never stayed up that late, but we hear it doesn’t get fully dark. It was definitely weird going to sleep with the sun still out, and waking up the first couple days with jet lag at 4 am and the sun being up.
Since they drive on the right side of the road, we rented a car and drove easily from place to place. We didn’t have enough time during our weeklong trip to go around the entire island, so we stayed in the western and northern areas. The country has such beautiful and varied scenery. It’s not unusual to see the ocean along with snow-capped mountains in the same view. This was a coastal town called Hellnar:
The view was gorgeous, but it was actually really windy and cold walking around outside. There are a lot of natural wonders like waterfalls, geysers, and these mud pots in Myvatn:
The mud pots involve blue clay-like material bubbling up from the ground. You can see them steaming in the photo above.
It was very peaceful and scenic just driving around the country. Aside from the capital of Reyjavik, the rest of the places we visited were small towns. Along our drive, we saw a lot of sheep, goats, and Icelandic horses (which are smaller than regular horses and look like ponies).
Some of the other highlights of our trip were a lava cave tour and a whale & puffin watching sailboat tour.
We love to eat, so that was an important part of our trip. We weren’t quite sure how the food would be, but it was better than expected. In many of the small towns, there would just be one or two food options. We’d go into a cafe, and they’d pretty much just have one soup with homemade bread, and maybe a panini option. Given the chilly weather, the soup was really satisfying. They tended towards tomato-based soups with seafood and veggies. One place added chunks of peaches, which was a surprisingly tasty addition. You can tell that their bread really was homemade- it tasted like something that I’d make in my own kitchen, but better. Although we did eat bread regularly and have dessert with most of our dinners, I felt like overall we were eating good home cooking. The meat choices were mainly seafood and lamb. They had beef occasionally, but I never saw chicken offered. I was afraid that veggies would be harder to come by, but we did eat them regularly as part of soup, or sometimes as a salad.
I admit I didn’t stay super strict when it comes to pregnancy precautions. I wanted to try their smoked Arctic char, and at one fancy restaurant I tried some exotic meats like cured horse meat and reindeer pate.
The lodgings we stayed at were mostly guest houses- smaller places but nicely kept. They’d typically offer a breakfast spread involving bread, lunch meat, cheese, and some veggies and fruit. The common breakfast veggies were tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. This was the nicest breakfast spread we had:
The above place also had freshly made pancakes and little shot glass sized servings of skyr, which is the Icelandic yogurt. It’s similar to Greek yogurt which is also strained, so it’s nice and thick. I enjoyed buying some at the supermarkets in Iceland. Lucky for me, Whole Foods sells the Siggi’s brand of Icelandic style yogurt, so I can still get some and reminisce about my Iceland trip.
Sigh, back to work tomorrow. Which means the next time I’ll have a “vacation” is when I go on maternity leave in a few months.