Since the sun in Iceland doesn't fully set in Summer, this is the darkest it ever was during the trip. The RV image was taken by Jorge at 12:16am. The first image at the lave tubes was taken at 9:28pm and it looked like 5:00pm.
When we were done exploring, we all headed home to PASS OUT!
He comes back with the coolest LARGEST bills I have ever seen!! He bought Icelandic Fanta which is a lot like Mexican Fanta (score) and a caesar wrap me. He knows me so well. He had a hot dog and soda for himself. OKAY LET’S GO FIND OUR PEOPLE!
Shannon said she was by the door with an obnoxious blue suitcase. Find her instantly. Love at first sight. We stand there joking around like long time friends and then Christina, a leader (like seriously a true leader in life, haha), shows up. She informs us that we are waiting on Belinda who we should see at any moment. Yeah, no. After waiting for almost an hour chatting about photoshopping random things riding great white sharks (I am totally around my people), we find out that her flight is 2 hours late. Christina thinks it's best to put our luggage in the 9 seater van and/or RV. We walk out of the airport and it hits us, boiled eggs. Iceland smells like straight boiled eggs. The sulfur coming out of the earth in steam constantly makes their air and water smell like sulfur. SO COOL! We approach the cars, load our stuff and head back in. We go to a spot called Joe and the Juice. Tell me why it was amazing! It freaked me out though when the total of our 2 sandwiches, 2 smoothies, and Jorge’s espresso shot came to 4.600,00 kronas. It felt like we were instantly broke! But no. That was $37 bucks WHICH IS STILL CRAZY EXPENSIVE! To continue on, we eventually find Belinda, and are off!!
We travel to get one other chick in the group, Stephanie, who stayed in Iceland with a family there for a couple days.
Now off to the capital, Reykjavik (RAYk-ye-veek). First touristy stop: at a cement church in downtown Reykjavik
I instantly noticed the rice on the ground from weddings!
Who's the obnoxious guy with the purple lightening sweater? Oh. Well that's Bud. He's the whole reason we're in Iceland, partaking in Develop and Raw, and our officiant :)
After exploring it, we split up. The group goes downtown to venture, while Bud, Jorge and myself go back to the RV to talk wedding, hehe. It was so much fun chatting and talking wedding/life with Bud! Once done chatting, Bud goes to wrangle the crew so we can take of to our airbnb to unwind. Jorge and I opt to sleep in the RV - at this point we had been rocking and rolling for almost 20 hours straight!!
THE AIRBNB IS AWESOME! Everything inside, everything, is from Ikea. The leaders say, “Pick a room and nap. We will head out for food, and then to lava tubes once everyone is up.” DID SHE JUST SAY LAVA TUBES!? Jorge and I showered, I got locked in the bathroom and was saved by Lear, then headed to nap. It’s about 4:00p at this time.
We wake up get dressed and head downstairs around 6:30p. While chillen downstairs, Ola + Steven walk-in. 2 more members of the group. They had also came earlier in the week and had been hanging around waiting for us. At this point, I had no idea how much I was going to end up loving these two! They are not professional photographers, but have a love for travel and photography, so they joined Develop and Raw. Thank Goodness!
Anyways, now that they have arrived, we can take off to eat. We go to some pizza joint that we called ahead for seating for a large group. Didn’t matter. We stood outside waiting for about 30 minutes before being seated. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing (because we had fun talking about Pokemon and death [long story]), but we were getting eaten alive by these tiny, annoying flies!! One flew in my eye that I had to scoop out with my nail -_-
The pizzeria has a great feel!! Soccer decor everywhere.. love it. But the food is no bueno. No taste. When someone eats carbs and grease, one should enjoy flavor. Nope. I order a Sprite because the water is just making it more blan. But then the Sprite has no carbonation and tastes watered down any who. Hmm. I’m seeing a trend. No wonder each Iclander I’ve seen is gorgeous and thin.
OFF TO LAVA TUBES - Raufarholshellir in Þorlákshafnarvegur!! Lava tubes are natural channels that lava travels through underground. They can be actively draining lava, or can be dead, meaning the lava no longer flows leaving a cave-like channel. Like Raufarholshellir!
We unload and are handed puffin bags. PUFFIN BAGS! This excited me so much. Inside were soooooo many goodies!
Once in the cave formation, we take pictures, play with lighting and fog, pose people, venture the geography... we explore. What a GREAT first day in Iceland!
Tuesday July 19th
WE’RE LANDING, WE’RE LANDING! We have just flown over Canada, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean and have lost 7 hours of sleep-time to jump to Icelandic time. We aren’t feeling the time difference yet because we are so hyped and high off life! As soon as we got off the plane, I realized I didn’t know the game plan for the group, Develop and Raw. All I knew is that our 3 leaders were going to pick up the gang as they landed at the airport. But I didn’t know when or where. Panic strikes as I connect to the airports wi-fi to hop onto our FB page to get the plan. And there it was, all spelled out. Perfect. “We will pick-up everyone outside of the airport at arrivals at 7:30a. Be sure to grab food and exchange money at the airport.” Wait, 7:30AM?! It’s 7am! Both Jorge and I hate being late and hate knowing that people are waiting on us. My mind then speeds through what must done within 30mins - we have to figure out this airport, get our baggage, purchase sim cards for our phones, grab food, exchange money, and then find people we don’t know. “Jorge we need to move… faster.” They don’t call baggage claim, Baggage Claim. They just put and image of a purse and then the world “Retrieval”. We followed these signs assuming this was where we can pick-up our goods. Sure enough, it led us to baggage 3 ramps. I had to read a lot of randomness to find the ramp spitting out our stuff. However, this ramp was first going to spit out 4 flights of baggage before ours (based on the order of flights it displayed any who). So I tell Jorge, “You wait here, imma' go see what I can do about sim cards for our phones.” I take off and wonder into a liquor store :) SO MUCH GLITTERY VODKA! This guy in the coolest Icelandic accent asks me, “Need help? If you can’t reach let me know.” -_- Story of my life. I ask him if they happen to sell sim cards, long shot see as how I’m in a liquor store. “Jess. At thee registwar we sell dem.” WHAT NO WAY. Awesome!
Back to Jorge I go, who is watching luggage cycle around from other planes. He tells me, “I’m going to go see if I can get Iceland cash-money.” Now I’m alone with the ramp. After about 10 minutes I see our stuff getting ready to come down, but no Jorge. (Here I realize that the list of flights wasn't an ORDER in which they would come down. Just that those flights WOULD be coming down). Wait, DO I HAVE TO GET OUR 3 BIG OL' HEAVY BAGS OFF THE RAMP?! As I start prepping myself to try and grab mine, the heaviest one, my night and shining armor, my Jorge, shows up and swings it off like it’s nothing. He mutters, “Cash exchange is out front.” :) Love him.
We got our stuff and two things off the to-do list done. Now just need to get food, cash, and find our peeps. Jorge decides to do the whole, get cash and food thing, thank goodness. I waited on him with our baggage so we can meet the gang together.