Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday 5 - things I'm looking forward to in Iceland

It's finally Friday!  It's felt like a long week to me.  Partly that's because the rain has really been rough on my allergies and sinuses and partly because I'm so excited for our trip to Iceland next week!  My excitement must be clear since I can't stop talking about it.  So I thought I might as well dive in and talk about 5 things I'm looking forward to in Iceland.  I'm also linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five. 

1. Exploring the city of Reykjavik - We're staying in Reykjavik, the capital city, and using is as a home base to explore on various day trips.  But I'm also excited about the city itself. It is the northernmost capital city in the world, the largest city in Iceland but has a population of only around 200,000.  It's knows for being charming, a little quirky, having a great arts scene and great nightlife.

Photo from Wiki Travel... I hope to have some of my own to share when I'm back

2. Midnight sun (sort of) - May is still considered the shoulder season as far as tourism in Iceland.  It will be too close to Summer to see the northern lights but not quite full Summer for the midnight sun.  But it will be close enough.  The sun currently sets around 11pm and rises again before 4am.  I'm looking forward to all those extra hours of sunlight and taking advantage of that in our explorations.

3.  Art - The Reykjavik Arts Festival will be going on while we're in the city.  But in addition to that, it's a city that's always known for it's quirky arts scene.  I'm looking forward to checking out some live music while we're there and also checking out the street art that seems to be prevalent in the city.

4.  Natural beauty - The amazing natural scenery is the main reason that many people go to Iceland.  Don't worry, we are planning on getting out of the city to see some of the glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanoes around Iceland.  I'm also hoping that we'll manage to see some whales, Icelandic horses, and puffins.

Photo of an Icelandic Horse from Wikipedia

5.  Icelandic pool culture - I was surprised to read that Iceland has a big outdoor pool culture given the temperatures most of the year.  It looks like it will be 45-50 degrees while we're there and that's at the end of May.  But there is a lot of geothermal energy which can be used to heat the water, naturally in some locations and with some human assistance in others.  The Blue Lagoon is probably the most well known and we'll definitely be going there.  But we also have plans to check out some less tourist-y pools including a beach on the North Atlantic that has some warmer water because it's fed by geo-thermally heated waters.  When else are we going to be able to say we swam in the North Atlantic!

So those are some of our plans for our trip.  What's not on the list?  Running.  We've booked with a budget airline and it's got some serious limits on free luggage.  So we're trying to go carry-on only and minimize what we take.  The running gear just doesn't make the cut.  Plus, it's shaping up to be a pretty active vacation with lots of hiking and walking around so I'm just going to relax and enjoy my time there without worrying about getting runs in.  The timing works out well since I'm not actively training for anything at the moment :)

I'd love to hear about anything you're looking forward to this Summer too!