I’ve had two fantastic visits from girlfriends from the UK over the last month. One was VK, an American friend that I had made while working in the Econ section in London. We had booked a long weekend to celebrate our January birthdays before my mother passed away, and we’d thought of cancelling as it would no longer be a care-free girly weekend. But I decided that a little break from reality would be a good thing.

So we soldiered on and had a lovely long girl-talk and soul-searching weekend. The first time I visited Iceland as a tourist I had just ended a relationship and changed jobs and found that the windswept wilds of Iceland were definitely good for the soul.

VK came in on a Friday afternoon, so I picked her up at the airport. While I was waiting I happened to run into Hafþór Björnsson also loitering around the arrivals gate. Hafþór is a competitive Icelandic strongman and has placed in the top three for World’s Strongest Man every year since 2012…but more importantly, he played “The Mountain” in seasons four and five in Game of Thrones.

Me being the celebrity stalker that I am, I struck up a conversation, and he was kind enough to chat with me and even take a photo with me, which was seriously awesome! 🙂 You can tell from the photo that he’s exceptionally tall…about 6’9″.

Hafþór Björnsson as "The Mountain" in Game of Thrones and at the airport in Keflavik.

Hafþór Björnsson as “The Mountain” in Game of Thrones and at the airport in Keflavik.

After VK arrived we drove back to Reykjavik, spent the night at our house, and had lunch at the Slipbarrinn the next day because I do love their daily fresh Fish in a Pan. We then headed off into what felt like the center of the country and spent the next two days at the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel. And the hotel was fantastic. If for no other reason than it looked like it should’ve been a Rebel base on Hoth.

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel.

It also had a fairly reasonable rate and a stunning bar with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows to better view the surrounding snowy environment and any Northern Lights that might be out. They also had a great outdoor heated pool in which we spent much time soaking and admiring the sparklingly clear, yet sadly Northern Light-free, evening sky.

The beautiful bar.

The beautiful bar.

The pool with a view.

The pool with a view.

In our downtime we ran around a bit and took in the geyser and waterfall on the Golden Circle, had massages at the spa in the hotel, ate lovely meals in the hotel restaurant and talked about life, love and loss while watching the sunset.

It was just what my little heart needed. Thank you VK!