Janette Kim Photography

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Iceland

A few weeks ago, Andrew and I went on an adventure to Iceland. My oh my, it was hands down the most majestic and serene place I've ever seen. No matter where we were standing, we were in awe from our surroundings. It was hard for us to not step out of our car to photograph every second of this place, but not even my dslr camera could capture its true beauty. We just made sure to take lots of mental pictures! 

I'm sure you're wondering what made us decide on venturing to Iceland  Well, for those of you who don't know, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is one of my favorite films. Watching that film was life changing for me especially because I could relate to the protagonist. Walter Mitty, played by Ben Stiller, is a reserved and misunderstood guy who often comes off as awkward, unworthy, and uncool. He often gets caught zoning out but nobody knows that he has a wild imagination until life pushes him to his limits. Eventually his daydreams turn into a reality when he finally has the courage to go into the unknown. He travels to three locations and Iceland being one of them. One day my sweet coworker, Emily, shared a $283 roundtrip ticket to Iceland and I was immediately interested. After researching and finding so many unique things to do there, Andrew and I booked our tickets. 

Out of all the places we visited in Iceland, Skogafoss was by far our favorite. This waterfall was so majestic, massive, and mesmerizing. When I was filming the waterfall, all the tourists suddenly disappeared and Andrew quickly grabbed my hand. We frolicked towards the waterfall and then he turned to me. The first word that came out of his mouth was, "So..." and as he's talking I just froze. Knowing what was coming, my eyes started to swell, and everything became a blur. He pulled out a black box from inside his jacket, got down on his knee and asked, "Will you marry me?" Overwhelmed with so many emotions, I nodded and said, "Yes." It was undeniably epic. 

Iceland will always have a special place in our hearts. It's where we took our first solo trip together, first time experiencing dog sledding, and the very last time calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. We're very excited to move forward together in the next chapter of our lives. 

WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT ICELAND

  • I strongly urge everyone to visit Iceland once in their life. It's a popular destination for a reason. If you're considering to visit Iceland, I would avoid the prime winter season. What about the Northern Lights you say? Well, there's still a possibility you won't be able to see it and you have to deal with blizzards, getting snowed in, and the 4-hour window of daylight which is a big gamble. I'm no expert but I would suggest the in-between seasons are the sweet spot because you get both of best worlds. Greenery with some snow, more daylight, and chances of still seeing the Aurora. 

  • Wear lots of layers and boots with grip

  • 9:48AM is sunrise during the winter season

  • Most stores open around 11AM

  • Eat lots of hotdogs!

  • Their main grocery store Bonus looks like a cracked out pig

  • It's a solo traveler's paradise because it's a safe country

  • Getting around is relatively easy

  • You will NOT be able to pronounce anything you read

  • If you eat something you really love then eat it three times before you leave

  • Lots of natives and tourists wear Icelandic sweaters

  • Everything is expensive because they import their goods

  • It's easy to transition because everyone speaks English

  • Most of the tourists are from London and I love that!

  • It's not as barren as I imagined

  • Their gift shops sell things that you actually want

  • Do not waste money on a tour bus and get a rental car instead so you have the freedom to go at your own pace

  • You will constantly want to stop on the side of the road to take photographs but use your discretion for oncoming cars

  • Parking is easy peasy

  • Advanced in technology especially at the Blue Lagoon

  • The horses are chunky

  • Take lots of mental pictures because your camera won’t do justice! 

OUR TO-DO LIST
Elliðaey (Not enough time) | SELJALANDSFOSSSKOGAFOSS (Where Andrew proposed!) | Sólheimajökull Glacier (I wanted to see a glacier so I found a white patch of snow on Google Maps. Turned out it was a hot tourist spot | CRASHED DC 3 PLANE (Couldn't find the plane) | VIK BEACH (Turned around because it was too dark and it started to snow) | AUSTUR INDIA FJELAGID (My coworker's cousin owns this Indian restaurant. Normally, I am not a fan of Indian food but Europe always does it right. It was so delicous!!!) | PUFFIN COFFEE (Owner relocated out of the country) | DOG SLEDDING (Always been my dream to do this!) | THE PEARL (An aerial view of Reykjavik) | SOLFAR SCULPTURE | HARPA CONCERT HALL | STOFAN CAFE (No longer exists but is now a cafe called Konsúll Kaffihús which is equally as cute) | BAEJARINS BEZTU (Famous hotdog stand that you must try. Get two if you're hungry with everything on it!) | NOODLE STATION (Coworker recommended this place and you must try it! We ate here about three times because it was so good and close to our Airbnb!) | BLUE LAGOON (MUST GO! I recommend going here towards the end of your trip after you do all the crazy tourist spots) | Sjávargrillið | THE COO COO'S NEST (Adorable restaurant and the food is really delicious!) | STROKKUR GEYSER (Stop by the Geyser gift shop! Best gift shop ever! | GULLFOSS WATERFALL | KERID CRATER (Volcanic crater lake) | FRIDHEIMAR (adorable tomato greenhouse/ cafe!) | NOTHERN LIGHTS (it was too cloudy for us to see it during our stay) | LAUNDROMAT CAFE (Didn't eat here but the place is cute) | HALLGRIMSKIRKJA | CAFE FLORA (Visited but the kitchen is closed during the winter season) | REYKJAVIK CHIPS (The sauces are different that will make you have cravings!) | REYKJAVIK ROASTERS

Watch the video of our entire trip including the proposal! Make sure to watch it in HD or see it on Vimeo



Janette Kim3 Comments