Note: This is a long post. If you hate reading, stop here.
If any of you remember my last post you will recall that one of my 2017 wish list items was to travel Iceland.
Well, time to cross that off of the list.
I can already my friends rolling their eyes thinking "Typical Ashima. Running off somewhere and telling us about it after she comes back". I like to think of this behavior as predictably un-predictable.
Anyways, on to the whole Iceland part of this post. Enough talk about my intracies.
So, why Iceland?
.....Why not? Flights were $300, winter time in Iceland is basically magic, and I kind of really wanted to see the Northern Lights that plauge Instagram's popular pages. Plus, I like to spend a lot of money to vanish from our daily life.
So I could say that the subaquatic ice caves in Vatnajokull, the grainy mountains dusted with sugary snow, the gentle Icelandic ponies that huddle in the painful wind, the ashy-black beaches glittered with blue chunks of ice, the miniature huts carved into mountains, the domineering waterfalls on the side of the road, the delicate and ephemeral waves of the Northern Lights made this trip magical. And that's a semi-truth.
But a week later I look back on the few pictures I took and found myself fondly remembering the Airbnbs we stayed at (I'm not getting paid to write that).
Airbnb Host #1: The Hot Mom
I'm not going to lie, this host's profile picture was probably one of the most attractive ones I've seen on Airbnb. Please note, that is not the reason why we booked it. But I'd like to think several lone travelers spent more time than average perusing her profile.
In person, she was several years older than her picture, but still held the beauty characteristic of Scandanavians. Now that I've been to several Scandavian countries, I'd like to believe they are the most beautiful humans of the entire planet.
Her story was somewhat sad, however. She had the bags under her eyes that told a weary story. However, she exuded warmth, which helped my forget about the icy winds outside.
Airbnb Host #3: The Farming Family
Yes I skipped Host #2 mostly because he didn't realy exist.
Our third Airbnb host was probably my favorite. The drive to the actual Airbnb was terrying, however. I was driving in the middle of a minor snow storm on the outskirts of Hvolsvöllur. Each kilometer I drove away from the town felt like an hour away from saftey. We finally pulled into the Airbnb...which was a farm. Two guard dogs greeted us with non-pleasant growls and confusion blanketed my mind. Finally a boy my age hobbled over to my car on crutches, took us to our room and bid farewell.
After breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing that the farmhouse was actually the best place we've stayed in all week, there was a knock on the door. A Thai girl smiled at me, handed me a basket of farm-fresh cheese, eggs, bread and Oreos and bid farewell. Was I dreaming? What was a Thai girl doing here on a farm in the middle of no-where, Iceland?! Either way, I rejoiced in my newly gifted Oreos and left the concious world to go to sleep.
After a few fire alarms and attempts to wake up to chase the Northern Lights, the 10 am sunrise illuminated the beautiful farm. There were ponies huddled outside our window, snow protecting the ground and a huge mill towering next to the early sun.
As we ventured out of the warmth of the room to explore and pet some horses, another girl my age approached us and explained how several exchange students live at the farm and work there as well. The whole scenario was memorable because the world feels so much smaller when you travel; I stayed at a farmhouse in Iceland and stumbled upon a wealth of diversity.
Airbnb Host #4: The Old People (+ a French Pianist)
Although my travel companion loathed this place due to the low slanted ceilings (if you are taller than 5'5, you will hit your head), I loved this place.
To keep it short and simple, I loved the elderly couple. They were like my Icelandic grandparents; on a night we stayed out until 4 am finding the Northern Lights, the man stayed awake until we came back, just to make sure we were able to enter the house.
Our nights were laced with piano notes drifitng upstairs, and our morning alarm was...the sound of the piano. Not only did the host like to practice at odd hours, but also a second guest--a French Pianist--would hone his craft and play until 3 am.
It was the best soundtrack to my day and made me relish the enjoyment from an intangible form of art.
There is so much more from the trip that I will not go into, but in short, even though we did not have our luggage and were constantly sleep deprived, Iceland has pierced my heart. The jagged beauty concentrated into a small island has exposed me to sights I will never see anywhere else on this planet.
I have found paradise in Iceland, but it is far from a haven.