I was supposed to fly from LA to NYC to Reykjavik, but a Delta screw up re-routed me through Seattle, which put me in premium economy. Not only was I loving the leg room and complimentary wine, but I got a peek at the northern lights from the plane. It was my first time seeing the aurora, and though they were not the electric green I imagined, the flickering was unmistakable.
I met up with my friends and we grabbed our van from Happy Campers this morning, which had a sink, a fridge and all kinds of space. It was only 10am and we didn’t want to waste the day, so we set off to find the geothermal river in Hveragerdi. About twenty minutes into our hike through the valley the wind picked up and it started hailing, which was both painful and hilarious. Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, going on two hours of sleep, trekking up a small mountain in the middle of a blizzard. We weren't sure what we had gotten ourselves into, but an hour later it all made sense when we found a handful of people in the river with huge grins on their faces.
Boiling hot water from a spring at the top of the mountain flows into the icy cold Varma River to create a patch perfect for swimming, and boy, does it feel amazing. A boardwalk and changing stations are set up next to the prime spots along the river, so you don't have to worry about falling in the snow while wriggling out of three pairs of pants and into a bikini. Bonus!