Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Our Honeymoon: Iceland

In less than a week, Austin and I will be married for a whole entire year! It's hard to believe it's been almost 365 days since we said "I do", and in some ways, it feels like much longer ago. In other ways, I feel like we're still just getting the hang of married life. It's a funny season where we live together and share the entirety of our lives, and yet I still need to be reminded sometimes if he's seen a certain movie or likes a certain vegetable.

It makes me even more excited for the future — to get to know each other better, to communicate more effortlessly and to grow into ideas and experiences together. But in reminiscing about the future, I realized there were some pretty cool events from our past that I haven't shared on here! So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to share some photos from our honeymoon this week.

Thanks to Austin's excellent traveling planning skills, we were able to spend a few days in Iceland, Paris and Croatia following our wedding. In this post, I'm going to share our highlights from Iceland.

One thing a friend of mine recommended was to put a buffer day between our wedding and international travel, and hands down, it's one of the best things we did for ourselves. Our wedding was on a Saturday, and looking back on it, the Sunday following was incredibly special because we weren't rushing to the airport or prepping to sit on a plane for 10+ hours. We had the chance to be still, take it all in and even see some of our out-of-town friends and family who had flown in for our big day. If you're planning an international honeymoon (or maybe any honeymoon!), that advice served us well and I would pass it on to you.

We landed in Iceland at about 4 a.m. Iceland time, before the sun rose, completely unaware of what world we were about to glimpse in no time at all. Austin and I spent a couple hours — just enough time for a quick coffee — in Reykjavík before heading out of town to see the countryside.

We had a rental car for the few days we were in Iceland, and it was the perfect way to see part of the country. The landscape changes often and driving through it is a great way to see the different elements it holds — all beautiful, and I often said it felt like we were on Mars!

The above images are from Gullfoss, a waterfall in Iceland, and saying photos don't do it justice would be an understatement. (Photos don't do anything we saw in Iceland justice, to be honest). Most of what we saw is so vast — it's the type of place that just begs for you to gaze at the land and consider your own smallness. Below is part of the hotel we stayed at in Gullfoss; we ended up dropping off our bags and walking to the waterfall from there. Then, we rushed back inside to warm up over an early dinner.

The next waterfall we saw (above images) was Skógafoss. It was a little more crowded than Gullfoss, but part of it could have been the time of day we went. On the side of this waterfall was a huge staircase, so you could climb it and see different angles of the natural phenomenon. 

If you know much about Iceland or were on Instagram circa 2015, you may be familiar with Sólheimasandur. It's a US Navy plane that ran out of fuel and crashed on the black sand beach, left abandoned for over 40 years. Austin and I didn't prioritize seeing this site, but he had a general idea of where it was and on our way to stay in Vík, we drove by a parking lot that he figured was for Sólheimasandur. Since everything in Iceland is gorgeous, we figured whatever this parking lot was for was worth our time, so we hopped out of the car after a light breakfast.

We ended up walking forEVER, but it was one of those situations where we had walked enough that I wasn't about to turn around and not see whatever was at the end of this little path we were following. Since our plans for that day weren't to hike to a demolished airplane I was wearing boots with a low heel and probably not enough layers for the crazy wind. Austin was better prepared in attire, but once we got to wifi that evening we discovered we'd walked 2.5 miles each way since the country had closed off the closer access point that used to exist there. We laughed so hard about this little "detour", but ultimately, it was a pretty cool thing to see and the unknown length of the hike made it so memorable.

Pro tip: Marry a photographer! Austin and I had so much fun swapping our camera back and forth throughout this trip.

Our last evening in Iceland was spent going grocery shopping and making pasta in the coziest little cabin on the black sand beach, on high alert for the northern lights. We saw the beginning of the shapes forming in the sky, but we didn't see colors as vibrant as we'd hoped. Still, it was both absurd and amazing to see the earth do something you haven't yet witnessed. It was another reminder of how tiny we are — to me, a reassurance in a Creator whose reach is unfathomable.

Thanks for reading if you've made it this far! I'll be sharing photos from the other segments of our trip throughout the week, so check back if you're curious about Paris or Croatia. ✨

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