How many hot dogs is too many? - Iceland Adventure 2016
The one benefit to vacation days that don't roll over is that you're forced to take vacations. So as the year was coming to a close I hastily booked a trip to Iceland with one of my oldest compadres. Iceland has always been on my bucket list and even though there was only about 4 hours of sunlight and the weather was on the "I'd rather sleep in bed all day" side of the spectrum, it was an amazing experience and one of the most gorgeous places I've been to. Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip!
After taking a red eye, Claire and I met up at the airport and headed off to pick up our Kuku Camper. We stocked up the van with way too much food, ate our first Icelandic hot dog, and hit the road. The sun rose around 10am and we were chasing the sun until it set. Our first stop was Sejlandsfoss.
Next stop was another "foss" Skogafoss. Unfortunately I lost my tripod tray here and for the next two days I had to hug my camera super tight so I wouldn't shake. In a desperate search, a few days later, I found a store that had one tripod and paid an embarrassing sum of money for a crappy tripod.
We drove a bit more to the black sand beaches, passing the famous plane wreck because we were out of time. Don't worry, I went back a few days later just to get the shot. The waves were HUGE and almost got swept away a few times.
We headed to a nearby town, Vik, to camp. Claire found a pool that let us shower for $2. Europeans are extremely comfortable with nudity, me, not so much. So when I enter and it's just open shower I started seriously debating whether or not to clean myself up that night. Claire, shamelessly, jumped right to the shower and I hid in a corner shouting at her not to look. As we were finishing, a woman and her daughter came in and instantly the young toddler started sobbing. I'm sure she was just crying because she didn't want to exit the pool, but I jokingly believe it's because our naked bodies traumatized her. Long gone were my fit days and I will be the first to admit I eat too much pizza. We spent the rest of the night drinking wine and eating chips while playing guitar and reading in the back of our van.
After a rough night due to jet lag, we got up and hit the road. We arrived at Fjadrargljufur canyon right as the sun was rising. It was gorgeous and if the moss wasn't so wet I would've climbed even further towards the edge, but I decided it wasn't worth it for the gram. We then drove to Svartifoss, passing a huge glacier that I still wish we got off at. I heard they do glacier hikes and ice cave tours. This just means I got to head back again! Anyways, back to Svartifoss... It was a pretty long hike to the waterfall but well worth it. And the hike itself was gorgeous.
We then headed over to the famous Jokulsarlon lagoon, where glacier chunks park until they are small enough to be sent drifting back into the ocean. You may recognize this from a Justin Bieber music video...
We finished our evening by cooking hot dogs and spinach over the stove that came with our Kuku camper. It ended up being the only time we cooked while camping because the other evenings were way too windy and the flame kept blowing out. I'm sure there's a life hack for that, but I grew up in the suburbs.
Oh man. This was brutal. We got up early to hit the road since we basically had to tackle the entire eastern fjords that day. However, IT WAS CRAZY WINDY. We were driving in the dark, rain, mad winds, no lights other than our headlights, twisty turny, Icelandic roads. I was terrified, and I've driven in some bad conditions growing up in Chicago and going to school in Upstate NY. I literally was like "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL" and lo and behold, the LORD ALMIGHTY PROVIDED. A tunnel. We parked there for awhile until the winds died down a bit and headed towards Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
We ended the evening going to the Myvatn nature baths which is the lesser known, cheaper, more natural Blue Lagoon in the north. Aka Hipster Lagoon. We stayed there until we were raisins.
Poor Claire developed a little fever in the middle of the night. So I ended up taking one for the team and driving again, but she did book us an AirBnb that night. Our first sight was Hverir, a geothermal area that to me seemed like we were on Mars. Since the activity is all fueled by sulfur, Iceland basically smelled like a huge rotten egg. We then later drove to Godafoss, known as the Waterfall of the Gods because when the Icelandic king at the time converted to Christianity and threw all his idols down this waterfall.
We woke up bright and early to head over to Kirkjufell, a famous mountain. As a last minute change in itinerary, we decided to go to this peninsula in the western fjords and we arrived at these gorgeous cliff formations that contained a fun hike fueled with soft moss and cool rocks.
That night was the night we failed to cook and ended up finding an overpriced Quiznos. Oh well, we tried.
We ended our road trip driving the "Golden Circle" which consisted of Thingvellir National Park, Strokkur geysir, Gullfoss waterfall, and Kerid crater.
Day 7 & 8
I really wanted to see the DC-3 plane crash which was a two hour drive away, but Claire wanted to explore the city a bit. So we split off and after probably the most grueling hike of my life... Not that it was extraneous, but it was just sooooo boring. basically 45 min. to an hour walk to and from with nothing in sight but the horizon and black sand. It was worth it because the plane was so cool! Well, as soon as these people stopped hogging it.
And we ended our trip at the AirBnb chugging wine, setting of fire alarms, and just enjoying friendship. It was a pretty stress-free trip, full of adventure, scrubbing it (thank god for wet wipes and dry shampoo), and lots of photographs. Sadly we didn't get to see the northern lights, but this just means I got to take another trip in due time!
Hot dog count: 22
Car trouble count: 1
Shower count: 4
Miles driven: 1000