Iceland and its animals.

Baby, I’m back!

I hope you haven’t missed me too much. Well, I actually hope you’ve missed me a little bit because while I certainly enjoy writing, I also like to think there are people out there who like to read it. Maybe?
Anyways, I was sort of torn what to do with this week’s posts. Obviously, I haven’t been to a shelter recently (not for lack of trying) and I’m not a travel blogger (I’ll leave that to those who do it best, HungerLustTravel and ModeratelyExcited) so I was scratching my head. I mean, do you even want to hear about my trip? I can’t be sure. But you’re going to because I’m writing about my travels the only way I know how, through my passion for animals.

So let’s get into it, shall we?! To be fair, this is more so about Reykjavik and the Golden Circle than Iceland because we didn’t get to explore the whole country, but you get the idea.
Protip: I bought a discounted Lyft gift card through Raise and was able to get to the airport for cheap. I also purchased a Southwest gift card and just used it to book flights for an upcoming trip. As you know, I’ve partnered with Raise and got you a deal too, simply use this link and code CHRISTINE20 to get $20 off your first discounted gift card purchase. No strings attached, promise.
A few quick tips:
  • My phone is broken (RIP) and I cannot recover some photos because Apple is the actual worst.
  • Yes, we visited the Blue Lagoon and I wore a bikini without the (complete) fear of sunburn.
  • We stayed at the SandHotel and it was amazing – can’t recommend this hotel enough.
  • As a self-proclaimed picky-eater, the food was a bit of a challenge… fermented shark, anyone?
  • My favorite restaurant was Rok.
  • My favorite bar was MicroBar (local brews on tap!)
  • Reykjavik is very touristy and therefore expensive.
  • The shopping was beyond my price range, but I loved Geysir.
  • My favorite part of the trip was our self-made tour of the Golden Circle, see below!
While Reykjavik was cute, it was easy to explore the entire area after two days so I was eager to get out into the beautiful countryside. We rented a car for less than $100 and took off to see the four sights along the route. Many people have driven the Golden Circle and blogged about it better than I can here. I followed this blog when planning our Circle Tour.
Now, all the sights were great in their own right (Gulfoss was the most thrilling), but my favorite part of the journey? The horses we pulled over to meet along the way. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but I grew up riding horses and I will always be in awe of their beauty. Stopping in the spur of the moment next to mountains and getting to interact with Icelandic horses was one the most amazing experiences. It was a moment that brought actual tears of joy to my eyes and still gives me goosebumps thinking about.

I learned even more about Icelandic horses when Chris and I got to ride them through Islenski Hesturinn the following day. Now I may be losing people here but stay with me. Horses generally have four gaits or “speeds”: walk, trot, canter, and gallop (basically slow, slightly less slow, medium and fast). Icelandic horses have two extra gaits, the Tolt and the “Flying Pace.” Sadly (and fortunately for Chis) we didn’t get to experience the latter gait but my horse, Gymir, had the smoothest Tolt. It’s basically a quick walk but and definitely a dream of mine to experience.
Something that I found interesting about Icelandic horses is that they’re not vaccinated. When I asked about it, they explained they simply don’t have diseases on the island. Makes sense. This also explains why once an Icelandic horse leaves the country, it cannot come back. This is good to know for when I get one (or seven) for myself.
We saw lots of horses while in Iceland, but you know what we didn’t see many of? Dogs. While walking about in the city, I could count the number of dogs I saw on one hand. Now cats were a whole different story. Within an hour of being in Reykjavik, we saw a cat meandering the streets. Worried it was a stray, I slowly approached the ginger tabby and noticed he had a collar and tags. An outdoor cat, in Iceland? After a quick bit of research, I discovered the city was full of them. Reykjavik is a cat city and they are happy to roam the streets and hang out with strangers.
There is an animal shelter in Iceland, but my Icelandic is a touch rusty and I couldn’t totally tell what the website said and it was a bit outside of the city. I would have loved to go, but with very little time and limited means of transportation, I didn’t make the trip. Just gives me a reason to go back I suppose.
All in all, I truly enjoyed Iceland and all its animals (namely horses) and I highly recommend seeing them for yourself firsthand in the land of fire and ice.
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