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Iceland 2016 Itinerary

About a month after getting back from my trip to South Africa and Swaziland.....I'm packing my bags again and heading in the total opposite direction up to ICELAND!

My younger sister is coming along for this one, and since we finally have our itinerary finalized, here it is for those who've asked!

Day 1: Depart Newark Liberty International Airport for Reykjavik on the red-eye.

Day 2: Arrive in Reykjavik-Head over to the Radisson BLU Saga Hotel-our home for the next several days

We'll be doing some exploring around the city on our own, and then that night, we're hitting up the Taste The Saga Brewery Tour, which tours Iceland's oldest brewery.  Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson was founded in 1913, and has won medals at the World Beer Awards and World Beer Cup. This includes several beer tastings, as well as shots of Brennivin-Iceland's signature distilled spirit.

Day 3: Warm Baths & Cool Lights!
This excursion was actually included as part of the package that we booked. 

Enjoy a relaxing evening enjoying the uniquely Icelandic combination of the local hot springs and the cool northern lights. You'll depart Reykjavik in the evening  and head for Laugarvatn, a charming town nestled in a hot-spring valley. Those very hot springs are used to heat the homes and provide hot running water for the town residents, and for healthy relaxing steambaths. The town is also the site of the newly renovated Fontana Geothermal Baths, located near a hot-spring fed lake. While nature prepares to color the sky with the magical northern lights, you'll enjoy relaxing in Fontana´s open air geothermal baths, including the natural steambath facilities, geothermal hot tubs & pools, and a Finnish sauna. You can even take a dip in the nearby lake! After your refreshing spa experience, enjoy the spa restaurant's buffet-style dinner featuring tasty Icelandic delicacies. Please note alcoholic beverages and soft drinks not included in buffet price but are available for purchase at restaurant. Refreshed in body and spirit, you'll cap your evening adventure off with a hunt for the northern lights. If weather conditions are right, you'll enjoy the show of a lifetime as you experience the northern lights dancing in the sky.

To sum it up: we're parking our asses in a geothermal hot spring and watching the northern lights, after I throw myself into a frozen lake for a polar plunge.

Day 4: We're Splitting Up!
Sara decided that she wanted to do the Lava Horseback Ride excursion, which will take her into the Icelandic countryside known for it's volcanoes, lava formations, and lakes, on horseback. 

Me? I can't go to Iceland and skip snorkeling at one of the top 10 places in the world-
the Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park. Silfra is positioned between the Eurasian and American tectonic plates, which is slowly drifting apart at a rate of approximately three millimeters each year. The chance to snorkel between two continents in startlingly clear water has made Silfra one of the world's top ten sites for diving, and because of the mild current, you'll be able to swim in the fissure with little effort.

 Yes, I'll be swimming from North America to Europe. Time to break out the GoPro. 

Day 5: The Grand Golden Circle Day Trip!
This tour will take us to the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfall, the bubbling pools and Strokkur waterspout at Geysir and the incredible tectonic rift at Thingvellir National Park.


Day 6: Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa / Head Home
 We saved the best for last! We're getting picked up super early so we can be the first to arrive at the Blue Lagoon. I booked this directly through their website-they're picking us up from the hotel, holding our luggage, and dropping us at the airport afterwards.

We booked the Standard Package, which includes admission and Silica Mud Masks. The 9 million liters of geothermal water originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities. On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a soothing 38°C (100°F). Perfect for a relaxing and re-energizing bathe.

The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals. The blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. During summer there can also be a hint of green in the water. This is the result of the algae, which multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight.  However, and this might come as a surprise to you, the water is actually white. If you pour it into a transparent cup, it will always have a milky white color. The sun simply makes it look blue! 

After spending several hours in the lagoon (complete with a swim up bar and restaurants), we'll be boarding a bus back to the airport for the trip home.

We do still have a touch of free time left-if we miss the northern lights on the first try, we may reattempt it again another night. Are there any must do's or must see's that we haven't booked? Let us know below. Can't wait to share pictures with you!

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