Yes, we finally have a blog! It has been a crazy few days and I am glad that we have finally been able to let you know what we are up to. I (Shelby) will be writing this first post because I felt like it, but eventually Kjerstin will add her two cents as well.
So, let's recap:
We started the trip very, very sleep-deprived and here is why. We had to meet at the airport on Thursday morning at 6:30, so naturally none of us got much sleep the night before the trip. Then we started our long day of traveling...Minneapolis to Chicago O'Hare to New York JFK. We left New York at 8 pm Eastern and arrived at Keflavik Airport around 7 am Iceland time. On top of losing about 5 hours of our night due to the time change, not much sleep was had on the plane due to the smothering heat and the distraction of personal video screens with movies and tv shows to watch (..oops). So we arrived in Iceland ready to hit the sack. But alas, that is not the way to fight jet lag so off we went to begin our adventure. The group of us, 10 students total, 6 from Luther, 4 from Concordia, and our instructor/leader Uwe got on a bus to head to the Blue Lagoon.
There is absolutely no way to describe the Blue Lagoon that would give it justice, but we will just have to give you an overview :) It is a spa based around a geothermal hot spot a little ways out of Reykjavik where the hot springs heat up an entire "hot tub." But it is so much more than a hot tub. It is a huge pool built around natural volcanic rocks in a complex that includes a sauna, cave, silica mud masks, and in-pool massages (for a fee of course). It was excellent, relaxing, tremendous for the skin (bad for the hair...we are still fighting to get our hair back to its original texture), and just what we needed! I would recommend this destination to all those who have been curious in Iceland, because while the blue lagoon is not "cheap," the prices in Iceland and at the resort are very reasonable.
Once we got back to our hotel we decided to set out in search of wi-fi (to let our parents know we are safe and sound....not of course to check our facebooks...)and our search led us to the Kringlan mall. Here we sampled the fare of the food court (I had a burrito-not very Icelandic), got a few groceries, and window-shopped. The mall closed at a very early 7 pm (for a Friday...but such is the way in Scandinavia) and we caught a bus downtown to check out the nightlife. I have not quite figured out what happens in Scandinavia from about 6 to midnight, because all of the businesses close early but no one goes out for the night until about 12. We got to a fancy bar about 8:30 or so and there was NO ONE there. But we ordered our lovely drinks and enjoyed each others' company until it was finally okay for us to go to bed! And we all slept about 10 hours....although it certainly did not feel like it!
Saturday in Iceland was another exploration day, we walked to see the Hallgrimskirkja Church, which is a gorgeous cathedral with rather modern architecture. It was under renovation, so we were only able to photograph the outside (hopefully we can load up the pictures soon) and head inside a cafe nearby to get warmed up! After sitting at the cafe, drinking lattes and hot cocoa, and sampling various Scandinavian pastries we were ready to do more exploring.
We visited two museums: The Reykjavik Art Museum: Kjarvalsstadir (included art by Johannes Kjarval and a fashion design exhibit by Steinunn Sigurðardótti, who is a big time designer globally) and the Reykjavik Museum of Photography (also very cool). We ended the evening at Potturin og Pannan (Pot and Pan) where we were treated by Uwe to a four course Icelandic meal: salad, bread and soup, lamb or fish, and a mini chocolate souffle (so good!!!). With our bellies full and our eyelids heavy we headed to our rooms to get some sleep before our 5 am departure the next morning.
We were going to Norway!
More catching up coming soon :)
Ha Det! (Goodbye)
Shelby (and Kjerstin)