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Lucy Travels

​Yawning, we clambered onto the minibus that would take us to the horse ranch. It was still freezing and pouring rain, but all the same we were excited to experience a ride on Icelandic horses!
The farm wasn’t far outside Reykjavik and we got there while it was still dark outside. It turned out that our driver was the husband of the owner and guide, Begga (pronounced like Becca). She alone was worth the visit. She looked strong enough to tackle any horse, and her smile and enthusiasm brightened up a dark morning. She explained that Icelandic horses are special not only for their small stature and furry appearance, but also for a special gait called the tölt that allows them to smoothly trot across the rocky landscape. After gearing up with helmets and waterproofs, we went outside to meet the horses. She tried to pair us up according to experience and comfort. Claire, as an experienced rider, got Stjörnudis (Star Lady), a very pushy horse who always wanted to be in front, tour guides be damned. One by one we were sent to our horses, each rider trying their best to work their mouths around the Icelandic names. I got flashbacks to kickball in gym class when I was left for last, and Begga directed me to Agði (Agatha). She turned out to be a very new addition to the farm, and she was spirited and eager to get going. Much like myself she got restless whenever we stopped, though I don’t usually stamp my feet. They warned me about her personality and I was happy they thought I could handle her.

The ride was an hour and a half loop through what looked like an alien planet. Jagged rocks covered in moss burst through black soil, punctuated by the occasional small pond or patch of old snow. Begga told us that these types of craters only exist here and on Mars, so if we ever had the chance to go to Mars we shouldn’t bother.

I was enjoying myself too much to notice at first, but the closer we got to the stables the more I realized how wet and cold I was. My toes were completely numb and my fingers were stiff from the cold. I was wearing 5 layers and 2 pairs of socks underneath my waterproof gear, but no waterproof gear could keep someone dry in nearly 2 hours of sideways rain. The discomfort was completely worth it, though.

After peeling off all our wet jackets and pants and helmets we warmed up a little in the stables then went back to the hotel to get ready for our next trip: the Blue Lagoon! We were sore and tired from riding and an afternoon soaking in geothermal pools was exactly what we needed.

A 45-minute bus ride later we saw tufts of steam floating in the air and we knew we were there. We had paid a little extra for the “premium” experience and it was worth it to have robes and slippers waiting for us… plus a couple free drinks at the fancy restaurant and swim-up bar. We spent a couple hours wading in the warm blue water — the natural silica deposits make it that color. We also took advantage of the free mud and algae masks!

Warm and squeaky clean, we went back to the hotel to rest before our last day in Iceland, and our biggest tour yet!


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