Leslie Golden is a chef, food stylist, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY.
Where did you travel?
We went to Reykjavic, Iceland in January, 2011. We wanted to go someplace that had a city, nightlife, and art to see as well as natural adventures. We only had about ten days to travel so we also liked the idea that in a short amount of time we would be able to see a lot (most) of the country.
What did you do? How did you choose?
A lot of where we stayed and what we did were a part of a package trip we purchased. Tourism is the primary industry there so it was really easy to find packages and things to do through the hotel.
We booked our package through Iceland Air, which included the flight, our double room at the hotel, and a day of glacier hiking, dinner and watching northern lights. It was about $800 per person. Our hotel offered us additional options for dog sledding, visiting natural hot springs and an extra night to see northern lights since that can be hit or miss.
What resources did you use and which were most helpful?
Sice the country is very geared toward tourism, it is easy to navigate and find organized tours/experiences. Every package we got either picked us up right from our hotel or easily in town, was incredibly informative and fun. The guides were GREAT.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at the Hotel Reykjavík Natura. It was a little outside of the downtown area. There was a spa downstairs, so we could use the hot tubs and the sauna for free which was nice. There was a shuttle that came and went a few times a day to take guests in and out of town and a bus stop across the street, so it didn’t matter that it wasn’t central.
Was it important to learn the language?
We learned a couple words while we were there but everybody speaks English so it wasn’t a big deal.
What were you most happy to have with you?
A good pair of boots was a game changer since we were there in the dead of winter. Food/alcohol is a little pricey there so we got a bottle of whiskey in the US airport. If I could do it again, I would have brought granola bars and other snacks to cut back on food spending.
What was the greatest challenge?
The weather was definitely challenging, even for a Wisconsin girl. We were there in January, and it was freezing and snowing a LOT, so exploring by foot was a little difficult.
Who were you with?
A good friends at the time, Sherri. We both wanted to get out of the country. It was great because we had similar taste and mentality and wanted to experience the same kinds of things. Sherri really took the reigns with planning, which I appreciated, and I knew I could trust her.
Why You Should Go
What was your favorite part of your trip?
My favorite part was either hiking the Solheimajokull glacier or dog sledding.
Do you recommend traveling to Iceland?
Iceland is a no risk all reward kind of travel experience. Super safe and made for travelers. It’s not cheap if you want to do all of the package deals we did, but I imagine you could still have a pretty great time and stay in hostels to cut corners.
Photos by Leslie Golden
Interview conducted by Evy Bround