2015 was a year I decided to push myself. Push myself to turn a passion into a business and push myself to step outside my comfort zone through travel. I am so excited to share these things with you so first comes... Iceland!
I went to Iceland for a week in September with my awesome friend Raeven. We made a deal - she drove, I took the pictures. It was a pretty great system!
So the first day we landed in Reykjavík and explored the city a bit! This was from the famous Harpa Concert Hall. We went in and explored (and warmed up a bit… The first day there was so cold!!!)
Afterward we took the ferry to Viðey, explored the island, looking for as many Icelandic horses as possible and had lunch at the beautiful Viðeyjarstofa. I had Icelandic waffles with jam and hot chocolate… I was a happy girl!
The next day was Sunday so no question where we went - the only English meeting in the whole country of Iceland! The friends there were so wonderful. We were invited back for hospitality with the speaker and his wife (who came from Sweden for the talk!!!). It truly was a wonderful sample of our international brotherhood. Icelandic stew with our Icelandic & Irish hosts, the Welch speaker and his Swedish wife, visiting friends from Ireland and us from the States!
The next day, we woke up early to head over to Þingvellir National Park. Þingvallavatn was the lake at the park. I could hardly contain my excitement, I even let Raeven take my picture for a change! This National Park is where the continental plates are separating - pulling Iceland apart 1 inch every year! At the end of our little hike was our first amazing waterfall of the trip - Öxarárfoss.
Driving in Iceland is gorgeous. I could watch the scenery all day.
Our next stop was Geysir - the geyser all geysers are named after. It didn’t erupt while we were there (it usually only erupts every few days), but next to it was Strokkur - which erupts every few minutes.
The last stop of our busiest day was Gullfoss - our next amazing waterfall. It is comparable in size and in power to Niagara Falls. It was gorgeous.
That night we stayed at an Icelandic horse farm. Icelandic horses are beautiful and social creatures and they all kept begging for our attention whenever we went into their stables. Icelandic horses are are smaller and more compact than horses we normally see and have more coarse bristly hair.
The next day was all about waterfalls. We were looking for two of the most famous ones but everywhere we looked, we saw such beautiful waterfalls. Here were the two standouts. First up - Seljalandsfoss is amazing. The coolest part is when you walk behind the waterfall… Drenched but amazing.
Next was Skógafoss. This waterfall was SO POWERFUL but you could get so close to it. The best part - on most days with some sun, one or two rainbows are usually present because of the consistent amount of spray. Only one rainbow for us but it was perfection. Oh and if you ever saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - this is THAT waterfall.
The next day was Glacier Day! We drove 3 hours to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Our plan was to take a boat tour of the lagoon but it was cancelled due to dangerous wind conditions. It was a bummer but neither of us wanted to fall into a glacier lagoon and turn to ice cubes. It was frigidly cold and extremely windy but we still had to explore the black sand beach with chunks of ice scattered around everywhere. It was amazing to see HUGE chunks of the glacier drift out to sea. Oh and any James Bond fans out there? Die Another Day was partially filmed here.
This is what happens after a volcano erupts and the lava ruins everything in sight. This ancient lava field at Eldhraun was caused by a volcanic eruption over 200 years ago was devastating spanning lava and ash for over 200 miles. It was the third largest lava flow on Earth after the end of the Ice Age. After the lava passes, it turns to ash which moss has covered and flowers peak through here and there. Strange but beautiful.
This view of Dyrhólaey was right before sunset near our guesthouse. The famous view is usually from the opposite side but we were exploring the area and it was stunning regardless of direction. When went around to the other side, we caught sunset from the back. WOW. The sunset was breathtaking.
Our last full day was stopping here and there on our way back to Reykjavík. First, before we left the area of Vík completely, we explored the gorgeous basalt sea stacks of Reynisdrangar. According to Wikipedia, “legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.” I didn’t see any trolls but I do know these unique stacks are formed over time by wind and water eroding the rock along the coast. We climbed up and watched the waves (and tourists) along the black sand beach, we hid in caves and just enjoyed the amazing scenery.
Along our adventure, we made it our goal to met as many Icelandic horses as possible. I mean, we stayed on a horse farm… However, on our drive that last full day, we saw a huge group of horses grazing in an open field. The horses were social and would begging for us to pet them and coo at them. How could we refuse? So we pulled over. And it was magical.
One more waterfall - my FAVORITE waterfall. While it may not have been the tallest or the widest or the most powerful or having multiple rainbows, Gljúfurárfoss was still my favorite. We were driving back along Ring Road so we passed Skógafoss and were approaching Seljalandsfoss when I remembered I had wanted to see Gljúfurárfoss on our way down but Raeven hadn't been feeling good so we skipped it. Gljúfurárfoss is unique because its partially hidden behind a large cliff which gives it a elusive and magical feeling. In order to see her splendour, we had to wade the river into a narrow opening in the cliff. Once inside though… it was amazing. So amazing that Raeven dropped her phone in the river and was still so happy and excited, she wasn't even upset.
That night we curled up in our beds content. We snuck in a swim in the mineral rich waters the next morning before heading to the airport.
So to sum up my trip - MAGICAL.
Do I recommend it? ABSOLUTELY.
Take me back! There is still so much Iceland has to offer that I want to see!!!!
Hope you enjoyed my travel pics!