The Land of Fire and Ice – Part 2
Check out Part 1 if you missed it!
After returning to Reykjavik, we spent a few days enjoying the city (we stayed in a stellar apartment above an ice cream shop, bakery, AND vegan thai food place!!) and met up with my parents and brother. We visited the Harpa (I prefer calling it the big diamond), sipped on some Mikkeller beers, enjoyed some traditional Icelandic grub in the middle of a botanical garden, and admired the cuteness that is Reykjavik. We spent one of days in Reykjavik out of Reykjavik. We decided to do a day trip and explore the Golden Circle. We saw the amazing Kerið Crater, Gullfoss (the largest waterfall in Iceland), had a birthday lunch for my momma at Fridheimar Farm (if you hate tomatoes, you'll hate it here), watched the geothermic Geysir shoot into the sky, and sat in the cutest secret hot pot. It was my parents' and brother's first time experiencing Iceland's natural wonders and seeing them awestruck made my heart so happy. We were so excited to show them our favorite parts of the country as well as explore new territory.
We hit the road once again, this time with the whole gang, and headed for our first favorite spot. It just so happened to be my mother's birthday so it was extra special to take my family to Búðir. When I didn't think it could get more amazing, we explored during golden hour. We saw seals and sheep and my heart wanted to explode seeing my mom so giddy on her birthday. I may or may not have cried. In a good way.
The next day, we clibed through the wet, creepy, but beautiful Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge and explored Snæfellsjökull National Park and headed straight for the West Fjords. Only 14% of visitors to Iceland visit the West Fjords and it's very apparent. We saw next-to-no one. We drove along steep mountain side roads and gassed up our vehicle whenever we could. What lacked in people made up in landscape. The West Fjords is THE most amazing bit of Iceland. Every corner we turned left us all mesmerized. It was almost too much too handle. Our first night, we stopped at Dyjandi. It was unreal looking at such a huge waterfall with the sea and sunset right behind us.
We came across this seaside village that just blew us away covered in the gold light. We refused to set up camp. We had to find the perfect camping site where we could soak in the sun set.
Along with the scenic views, we visited the Arctic Fox Center, The Icelandic Sea Monster Museum, and the Museum of Iceland Sorcery and Witchcraft. Arctic Foxes are sweet angel babies, sea monsters are still badass, witches in Iceland are men, and hope you never come across necro pants...
Spending so much time in the West Fjords, we zipped all the way to the southern region.
We drove along the Ring Road admiring the landscape and I looked to find the most epic F road I could find. We had driven on some pretty epic (and terrifying) F roads, but I wanted to see the glacier up close and personal. I told my father to turn right onto what was called the Glacier Drive. It turned out to be a pretty terrifying road but nothing the Jeep couldn't handle. The higher up we got, the more amazing the views and the landscape. Eventually we end up on top of a mountain in the clouds and in front of what looked like a diner with snowmobiles parked right outside. The sun was beginning to set and the pinks and yellows coming through the clouds was breathtaking. The glacier itself was unreal and again, unworldly. I felt like I was on Mann's Planet in Interstellar. I'm 99% positive they filmed in Iceland, anyway.
The last stop on our trip was the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Truly amazing and definitely a fairy kingdom of sorts. I was ready to climb on down and live with the sheep. This was just another place that had me questioning Iceland's existence.
While planning for this trip, I was worried three weeks was going to be TOO much time to spend in Iceland. The Ring Road is approximately 18 hours around, not including the peninsulas and highlands that you can go explore. The West Fjords alone turned out to be a trek in itself. But I was so wrong. Three weeks was not ENOUGH time. I still have to hike the mountains I took note of, see the ice caves, trek the glaciers, see the most northern part of Iceland, explore the inland national parks, and probably so much more I don't know about. Iceland is truly one of the most incredible places to travel. It left me with so much inspiration and a whole new appreciation for the natural world.
Cheers to the beauty that surrounds us
and the fullness of life that travel brings.
For more photos, view Miekala's Flickr.