July 27, 2016 - July 29, 2016
With a week to spare before going home, we decided to make our way to one of our must-visit places, Iceland. Thankfully, flights with the new WOW air also made it the cheapest destination we could go to for a week from Amsterdam. Even better, Brexit made our flights even cheaper when we purchased them in British Pounds. Thaaank yoooou, Brexit!
We were able to snag a last minute campervan rental thru Camper Rental Iceland . Since it was high season, all the other companies were sold out so all we were able to get was a little stickshift campervan. Jonathan had a lot fun to driving and got in some good practice in preparation for our next adventure mobile that's in the works back in the States. Although, it did take him about 10 minutes and a lot of embarrassment to get out of the parking lot.
As soon as we landed, we picked up the camper and hit the road. First things first, we headed to the Golden Circle starting with Geysir. Apparently Geysir was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first geyser known to modern Europeans. It wasn't as impressive as Old Faithful, but the frequency of eruptions made it much more fun.
Next stop, Gullfoss Falls. In Icelandic, "foss" actually means falls, so saying "falls" after is a little bit repetetive. Anyways, these falls were pretty impressive, but unfortunately all the water basically went straight into a crevasse so it wasn't the most photogenic of the falls.
Next stop was Kerið, a small volcanic crater lake where we were pretty much alone and snapped some photos across the rim of the crater, making us look pretty darn small.
As the sun set around 11 PM we found a place to pull over and climbed in the back of our campervan to get some z's. It never really got completely dark and around 2 AM Jonathan woke up and peeked out the back of our camper. You guessed it, sunrise was upon us so he jumped out and snapped some photos before rushing back in to warm up. Not bad for a first morning Iceland, not bad.
As we finally awoke, we jumped in the front and drove to our next stop a little ways down the road to Seljalandsfoss. We would later discover that almost every place in Justin Bieber's music video "I'll Show You" was completely accessible in one day of driving from Reykjavik and extremely easy to access from the Ring Road. Seljalandsfoss was an incredible waterfall and one of the best known in Iceland. It drops 60 meters off an overhanging cliff with an easy trail leading behind it.
Next up, another famous Icelandic waterfall, Skógafoss. The volume of water pouring off this cliff was insane and there was an easy hiking trail that took us to the top overlooking the mist below.
Our next stop was a small peninsula known as Dyrhólaey overlooking an expansive black sand beach and basalt arches below.
Next stop, another one of Justin Bieber's stomping grounds, Fjadrarglijufur. Apparently after his music video aired, they had to add ropes along the trail to discourage tourists from getting to close to the edge and causing erosion of the cliffs along this canyon. It's a shame that tourists can't just follow signage and respect the landscape without destroying it!
With evening coming, we continued on with the hopes of hiking to Svartifoss. Sadly, we arrived at the trailhead to discover that there was no parking allowed after 8 PM. We looked at the rates for the nearby campground and decided we'd be better off looking for somewhere we could just pull off and sleep. We wandered a little further down the Ring Road and found an incredible place to spend the night at Svínafellsjökull Glacier. We did a short little hike up the side along the glacier overlooking the nose of the glacier and the small glacial lagoon and were pleasantly surprised that no one else was around.
Day 3, we awoke and headed to the Svartifoss trailhead. Thankfully, we beat the crowds and had the falls to ourselves for a short period before a large group arrived and quickly ignored all the railings and scrambled to different areas of the falls to take photos. Svartifoss is surrounded by some incredible basalt columns all along its sides.
After seeing our first glacial lagoon in New Zealand, we knew we couldn't miss them in Iceland, so our next two stops were at Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón. The first was insanely windy and after a quick stroll to a viewpoint we moved on, but the second was extremely peaceful and we sat and enjoyed a quick lunch.