Long time no see! I’m not even going to bother you trying to explain why the hell I’ve abandoned my own blog for… how many months has it been? … well, a big chunk of the current year, or else I might just have an existential crisis.
I’m just going straight to the point of this post, which is … Iceland. Yes, you read that right. I went to Iceland (!!!).
And it was incredible. In the literal sense of the word. It left me speechless, and after a month, a lot of what I’ve experienced is still sinking in.
Iceland’s always been in the top five dream destinations of mine, so I was so thrilled to finally check it off my list. I wish I could’ve spent more time there – exploring, getting to know the locals, wandering around and getting lost to fully appreciate what Iceland has to offer, but we only had five full days off. My travel companion was Fabrizio, a fellow colleague of mine. We were working full-time at the airport up until three weeks ago, so we couldn’t really manage any more than that – but we did our best trying to get the most out of this trip, which made it all the more satisfying. The day before we kicked off the roadtrip, we worked a 7am – 3pm shift, left immediately afterwards, and arrived at Keflavík Airport at 2am (midnight local time) after a stopover in Berlin. Crazy times.
Þingvellir national park
We only booked the tickets one week ahead of the trip, and pretty much went with just a list of places we wanted to visit and a rough plan for each day. In five days, we would have to drive the entirety of Route 1, mostly known as Ring Road. Just so you know, people usually go for a solid seven to ten days for a Ring Road trip – at least. We were on a slightly tight schedule, but we somehow managed to get just the perfect glimpse of Iceland’s beauty. A short, but oh so sweet road trip, featuring countless waterfalls, a geyser, stinky muddy pots, a lava cave, magnificent Icelandic horses and the Aurora Borealis.
I’ll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves and won’t go much into detail. Take this a visual diary, to immerse yourself in what I’ve decided to capture through the lens of my camera.
Second night, it was super windy and rainy. While on our way to a guesthouse, we saw a waterfall from afar (which I later found out was none other than the famous Seljalandfoss). The wind was so powerful it was literally shaking the car, yet after some initial hesitation, we decided to stop by and walk to the bottom of the waterfall nonetheless. It was the best spontaneous night “sightseeing”.
day two - skógafoss
Skógafoss is by far one of the best waterfalls I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. We walked to the top and after hundreds of steps, the view was breathtaking – literally.
sólheimasandur plane crash
In November 1973 this U.S. Navy DC 3 plane crashed on a beach in Iceland and it has been there ever since. As if we didn’t have enough airplanes to deal with, working at the airport, we decided to look for this plane wreck in the middle of nowhere (nowhere being an endless black sand beach called Sólheimasandur). We walked for a solid 40 minutes from the car to the plane, without really knowing where we were going – our portable wifi router didn’t collaborate and we basically only relied on a couple walking ahead of us…
curry soup and rice
We stopped at this cosy place called Suður-Vík for lunch. I was delightfully surprised by how delicious what I ate was. They had a curry soup that is usually served with meat, but since they add it separately, I could have it simple with some rice on the side. It had regular and sweet potatoes, baby corn and pineapple and the taste was incredible!
just your usual village...
Jökulsarlón glacier lagoon is one the most famous attractions in Iceland and you can clearly see and understand why. Unfortunately, the foggy weather prevented us from seeing faraway and not many icebergs were visible, but it was still mind-blowingly beautiful.
casually running into unexpected waterfalls...
hverir geothermal area
This is where Ygritte found out Jon Snow actually knew something after all… Yep.
J a w d r o p p i n g . Goðafoss really left me speechless and smiling euphorically. It also left me with a bruise on my left knee, but it was all fine because I mean… look at that.
Sunday, 9th of October.
We arrived in Akureyri in the evening and got to our guesthouse. When got back to our room after dinner, I took a peel outside the window to check whether the sky was cloudy or not. It was surprisingly clear (it was cloudy four out of the five nights we stayed) so I checked the aurora forecast. Chances were fairly poor, 16% of probability to be exact… but I decided that was the night we had to go chase the aurora, and we went for it. Five minutes into the drive away from the city’s light pollution and we saw what seemed to be a clear and white cloud in sky… which then started to turn into a greenish colour and that’s when I went nuts and started screaming because how in the world could I be lucky enough to get to experience the northern lights in just five days of Iceland?! How did it even happen?!
We stopped on the side of a road to take pictures and let the beauty of nature sink in. We watched the northern lights dance and glow in hues of green and pink among thousands of sparkly stars for what felt like hours and even saw a few shooting stars.
Truth be told, in this whole aurora surreal frenzy, I don’t even know how I was able to get a few decent shots. I look at them and get goosebumps. And the pictures don’t even make the northern lights justice. The way they moved slowly at first, then quickly all of a sudden and then slowly again… Their shapes and colours so delicate yet incredibly overwhelming. Pure bliss.
day four - hvítserkur
sweet potato with tahini sauce
Sjávarborg is another warm and lovely restaurant we went to, found by chance in the Vatnsnes peninsula. It happened to have a fully vegan option in the menu – baked sweet potato with tahini sauce, tomatoes and side salad with pesto. Way to go, Iceland!
And that is all. Pretty awesome, huh? There’s tons of other places I still desperately want to visit there which means Iceland hasn’t seen enough of me – I’ll be back there in the future. For sure.
If you’d like me to write a post on how to travel Iceland, just tell me and I will happily write down a travel guide with my personal experience, plus tips and tricks that would’ve helped me out throughout this road trip. We made quite a few mistakes that could have easily been avoided if we had planned things ahead thoroughly, but it’s only fair it went this way considering how last minute it all was. Spontaneous travelling means ups and downs, it means making mistakes and learning from them, it means countless life lessons. So even though being prepared and having a thorough schedule is desirable, especially for places like Iceland, don’t be too afraid of venturing out and taking each day as it comes, with its bad and good sides. As it turns out, the good ones will most likely seem… magical – yes, I’m hinting at the Northern Lights again. I can’t wrap my head around how great that night was.
Talking about magic, a few days ago I found a song that gave me shivers – Roslyn by Bon Iver (I love them to death) and St. Vincent. It made me feel all nostalgic and such and this happened…
Hope you enjoyed my comeback on the blog. I’ll be back soon with recipes and photographic projects, ’cause creativity rocks.