the road to reykjavík

day 5 began bright & early as we wanted to get to reykjavík in good time to check-in to our 3rd & final hostel. not long after we prayed for the Lord's safety in our travels, we came across a pack of reindeer in the middle of the road. it was honestly such a great start to our day! i was like a little kid with excitement. my love/sliiiight obsession with antlers runs deep, & iceland has only whet my appetite.

not that i'd wanna eat an antler. that'd be gross. also probably a little weird? i digress.

we pulled off the main road for a closer look & to just gawk in amazement at these beautiful creatures, then we continued on.

it didn't take long before we came across some adorable íslandic horses, which we've seen often... but these horses were nearer to the fence that enclosed them than we'd seen before. we had to get out to try to meet them. i walked up holding my hand out & the sweetest one of the group (in my expert opinon ;)) trotted right up to me. i was smitten!

it was pretty windy, so we had to say goodbye & run back to the car to save our fingers. (the wind in iceland can get fierce cold pretty quickly.)

we hit the road again, stopping at a couple spots that we'd seen or stopped at on the way to our 2nd hostel a couple days prior. it was great to have plenty of time for stops & not be held down to a timeline, because a.) we wisely got a rental vehicle, instead of being tied down to a bus schedule, & b.) we were on the road as early as 6:30am this day. thankful to travel with friends who are similar to me in being ok with going with the flow when we can & playing things by ear for the minor details. that goes a long way on a trip like this.

our next stop was one of my favorite stops of the trip. in the black gravel & sand of a beach, we found this wwii dc-3 united states navy plane that had been there for 42 years after making a crash landing in bad weather. legend has it that this was due to low fuel. BUT! everyone on board survived.

i was tryin to imagine what that experience would be like, if i was a passenger on that plane -- not only to survive something like that, but then to probably have to walk so far with my carry-on bag(s) before getting any help. & that pilot flying the plane that day must have been a beast! to land that plane in bad weather so well that everyone survived is, i can only guess, not an easy task. it was actually kind of an honor for us to explore that plane. i whispered a couple sincere thanks's to God under my breath, not only for this opportunity (because i was reeeally excited to see this & thought it was SO COOL), but also for keeping everyone safe who was on this plane. they're kind of heroes. oh the crazy story that pilot could tell us from his perspective that day back in 1973!

we had the plane all to ourselves at first, & it was definitely a memory that'll be one of my favorites from this trip. we spent over an hour there, & then continued to iceland's capital city, stopping for gas & snacks on the way.

when we got to reykjavík, charlotte geeked out over hallgrímskirkja, a gooorgeous church she'd been dreaming of seeing for over a year. rachel & i did the same geeking out over harpa, a one-of-a-kind beeeeauuutiful concert hall -- all right in the heart of downtown reykjavík, where our hostel was. *charlotte absolutely killed it with our hostel choices, by the way.*

we decided to explore after getting some food. we enjoyed a delightful seafood dinner together at a charming modern restaurant called mar, right on reykjavík's harbor.

next, HARPA!

rachel & i took a moment while inside to sing, because that's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sing in a place like that. i felt honored to be there. also, may we pause to acknowledge how insane of an architect olafur eliasson is? my goodness, sir. braaavo.

the harbor was really fun to explore around, especially with the sunset reflecting off the harpa building. rachel found another lighthouse, & charlotte decided she'd prefer to explore the church the next day at sunset. with that, we headed back to our hostel for the night.

we went to bed super excited to be in reykjavík, even with the unspoken bittersweet realization that the next day would be our final full day in iceland. if nothing else, it made us more determined to get everything out of this gorgeous city while we had the time. & that's exactly what we did.