As some of you probably know, I went to Iceland a few weeks back. Well, it’s finally time for me to share my photos with you! Emma has literally been bugging me about this since before we even landed back in Seattle, so I’m happy to get this posted and her off my back. Only kidding – love you Ems!
Anyhoo, our flight leaves Seattle at 330pm and we land in Reykjavik at 645am, or 1045pm back home. Well past my normal bed time. It’s going to be a long day!
After some drama getting to our hotel, we barely make it out to our first adventure, lava caving! We drive out to the middle of nowhere, put on helmets and traction spikes and set off out into the open.
Yeah…that’s the little hole we’re going to descend into. Things will be fine, right?
We slide down, me carefully trying to protect all my camera stuff the whole way. Fortunately the cave is much bigger inside. Ok, a little bigger. We can stand up in some places.
Emma is the Selfie Queen.
The cave is really cool and much warmer than outside. But soon we have to be on our way to our snorkel tour of the Silfra Fissure. I’m so excited for this. The Silfra Fissure is a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents so you can touch 2 continents at the same time, and the water has been filtered through the rock for 150 years, making it some of the cleanest and clearest in the world. Emma is already cold and not very excited to be getting in 33F degree water. Good thing they give us dry suits!
I really wanted to dive this, but the cost would have been another $100 on top of what we paid for the Silfra/lava cave tour combined, and I wouldn’t have gotten to do the lava cave. Plus, Emma doesn’t dive, so I decide to stick with her and snorkel.
Our faces are a bit swollen after all that cold, and Emma is not amused.
Day 2 of our trip takes us to the Golden Circle. Our first stop is back at Thingvellir National Park, where we snorkeled the day before. It’s so pretty in the morning light, covered in snow.
I’m telling you, this country has amazing views from every angle.
Our next stop is a tomato green house called Fridheimar. Everything they serve is tomato based. Emma and I order bloody mary’s and a small cup of tomato soup.
Just outside the greenhouse, we see Icelandic horses! They’re so fluffy!!
Then it’s a short drive to Geysir. The thing about Geysir is that, if you’ve seen the geysers in Yellowstone National Park, these are pretty small and less impressive by comparison. But I can see how, if you haven’t seen one before, this would be a fun stop. I still enjoy wandering around, photographing each hot spring individually, as you do.
Our last stop of the day is the Gulfoss waterfall. I love how cool it looks all covered in snow and ice! The water is so blue in comparison.
On day 3, we finally have a bit of a breather. No tours coming to pick us up early, so we can sleep in before heading out to explore Reykjavik. We start by walking along the waterfront towards the Sun Voyager – an abstract sculpture of a boat.
This town is so full of charm. We stop to watch the ducks for awhile. Sometimes the lake is frozen enough to ice skate on, but today is not that day.
Next we head over to the Hallgrimskirkja, a church and a top tourist attraction in Reykjavik. Fortunately for us, the line to the top is not very long.
While Reykjavik isn’t heavy on tourist sites, one thing I wish we could have done more of is try all the different restaurants and cafes. We make it to a few, but there are so many more I don’t get to see because we have to head back to the hotel to be picked up for our trip to the Blue Lagoon. Ok, that doesn’t suck.
We stay until closing, sitting through a monsoon. At least we’re warm from the neck down!
Our last full day in Iceland is spent touring the South Shore. Glaciers, black sand beaches and epic waterfalls – the South Shore has it all. My only beef is that we’re on a guided tour and don’t have much time in each location, nor the ability to stop whenever to take photos. I make the best of it, but I’d love to come back some day and see this area on my own time.
When we get to Skógafoss, the sun starts to come out!
We even get to stop at an Icelandic Folk Museum and see these cute turf houses. 1000 years ago, Icelanders didn’t have anything to heat their homes with, so they built them into the mountainsides and covered them with turf to help keep them warm.
This is the volcano Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010 and caused all those flight problems around the world. And no, I still have no idea how to pronounce it. At least it looks peaceful now.
Our last stop on the South Shore tour is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. You can walk behind it in the summer, but in the winter, the path is covered in snow and ice, making it rather treacherous. Obviously that doesn’t stop me.
I’m so excited for this next part of our trip. We’re taking a boat tour of the harbor to see the northern lights! I’ve never seen them before, and our original trip 2 nights before was canceled due to weather, so I’m nervous and hopeful that it will run tonight! As we’re walking through town to the harbor, it’s snowing hard. It’s so pretty, but will our tour get canceled??
I don’t want to spoil it too much, but OMG.
It’s a bit blurry, but in order for the lights to show up, you need a longer exposure, and getting that on a boat being thrown across the water is a bit of a challenge, but the images in my mind are crystal clear! Poor Emma is quite sea sick the entire evening, but she does say it’s one of the best northern lights shows she’s ever seen (she’s from Alaska so she’s seen them before). I’m thrilled beyond words and may have shouted out loud “OH MY GOD THAT’S SO COOL!” several times, to no one in particular.
Let me tell you, 5 days is just not enough time for Iceland. I definitely need to go back at least 2 more times. On our very last day, the day we fly out, we explore Reykjavik one last time.
If I haven’t convinced you to go to Iceland yet, well, I have several more posts that will hopefully change your mind. This country is so full of things to do and see, it should be on the top of everyone’s must-see list. There are so many things I didn’t get to do, plus I need to experience it in the summer, too! I can’t wait to share more with you!