Iceland

May 5th

 

When it comes to the moment of landing on the island of ice and fire, a mixture of feelings; Excitement, nerves and gratitude come to me. All my life I have desired to be here, the sun is shining today to bring me a beautiful welcome.

After landing, Janine (Germany) is waiting for me to pick up our tiny car, will we get there 4 girls and luggage? luckily it is cold because we will be well together ...

We went to look for the next crew member, Elena (Lithuania), who says 'ioh girls, it feels like I know you for years'. This trip is gonna be awesome.

Lera (Russia) will not join us until tomorrow, so we set off for Reykjanes Peninsula to start introducing ourselves to this magnificent nature.

The first stop is the America - Europe Bridge that brings together the two parts of the earth created by the separation of the plates or rift (each year, they are separated by around two centimeters).

The second stop deserves more time to discover the Geo Thermal Hot Spring of Gunnuhver that will give you the first contact with that peculiar smell of rotten eggs. Then, walking, you will reach the coast, where the sea and the wind collide with the lava.

The Blue Lagoon is very famous and we approach it to enjoy its surroundings, from the road you can enjoy the view of a turquoise river through the lava. We decide do not take a bath, because the price is exorbitant and in our trip awaits another 'wild' bath.

The day is falling and we go towards Hveragerði to spend the night in a  couchsurfing place.

May 6th

 

Today Lera joins us! And today is about waterfalls.

After having breakfast and making a food purchase, Urridafoss is the first waterfall we visited that although it does not have a large fall, its flow is massive.

Now we are going to see one of the most famous waterfalls on the island, Seljalandsfoss, which is mesmerizing, not only because of its fall (60m), but because you can walk behind it.

 

I recommend you to walk to the left of the waterfall and you will find another smaller one that is worth discovering, Gljufrafoss, you will have to get wet to see it!

After visiting these waterfalls, you will be completely wet so do not forget to go get dress properly.

The next waterfall is Kvernufoss, which, if you have the same luck as us, you will enjoy it in solitude, due to it is not so touristy. I highly recommend visiting it because the place where the waterfall is, it is a haven of peace and you can also walk by behind it.

The fourth, and most famous of the waterfalls, is Skógafoss which with its 60 m high and 25 wide will leave you amazed, although I personally have enjoyed Kvernufoos more for the solitude of the place, you must see this one.

We end the day with a walk throughout Reynisfjara Beach the famous volcanic black sand beach and the Reynisdrangur. These monolithic rocks, up to 66 meters high, were originated by the erosion of the strong waves of the sea. Together with the cliff and the black sand they make up a truly unusual landscape that is the protagonist of thousands of photographs.

Although the origin of these formations has a scientific explanation, the Icelandic mythology explains the origin of the Reynisdrangur. If you have the opportunity, ask them to tell you the story of the trolls who turned into stone after seeing the light of day.

May 7th

 

After a nice breakfast  we return to the black beach for this time go uphill to admire the Dyrhólaey arch and the impressive views of the beach on both sides of the arch.

To reach the Dyrhólaey cliff, you will see the 120-meter-long rock with two arches, it is necessary to climb up an unpaved track. Do not miss it!

Today the rain and cold are our mates, but we still have 2h on the road to the waterfall Svartifoss

On your way to the waterfall, you will see the mountain Lómagnúpur just next to the road, pull over for a minute to admire it, it iss not only incredible for being a massive rock but because according to the angle from which you look it changes and from all of them it is beautiful.

In the heart of the Skaftafell National Park, Svartifoss (or the black waterfall, as it is known) is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, not because of its fall but because of the hexagonal columns of black basaltic stone that surround it, they grant an aspect of organ.

 

Advice! Follow the path after seeing the waterfall to reach a viewpoint and contemplate one of the outlet glaciers of Iceland's largest glacier (more than 8000km2), Vatnajökull.

After a snack to recover strength; although the trekking is quite easy, about 3 hours, the cold increases hunger. We go to the Jökulsárlón lagoon, a glacier lake of blue colors where the icebergs and seals are all over the place.

After enjoying like little girls with this landscape, we put an end to our day in Höfn, in a family hostel with a few bottles of alcohol from the island and breathtaking views of an endless sunset over the mountains and the Vatnajökull glacier.

Fun fact about the sunset: As you probably have heard several times, during winter it is night for almost 24 hours and in summer the opposite. In this season when summer is coming, you'll have 3-ish night hours, so the sunset starts at 10:30 / 11 p.m. but it is a very long sunset (2-ish hours), to dawn at 4ish a.m.

May 8th   

 

Today we return by the same route to see some places that we could not see yesterday like the Diamond beach, a beach located next to the Jökulsárlón lake, where on the black sand, the icebergs shine like diamonds, after their travel from the glacier, through the lake to the sea.

Then, to the right of the highway, you will see the Fjallsárlón lagoon full of Icebergs and behind it the glacier.

The next stop of the day will be a tiny town called Hof that has a small church built in 1884 with a different and very peculiar roof. The grass roof is not a camouflage technique but an ancient tradition, to protect from the harsh climate, of which this church is a witness.

 

With this lovely view and the green that covers the whole place, we have lunch under the sun.

With a full belly and a happy heart we stopped to see another beautiful waterfall Stjórnarfoss, when you have seen several waterfalls the interest goes down but they are all different depending on where they are, their fall ... enjoy them all.

We take a short hike up the Systrafoss waterfall to enjoy the view that takes you to the ocean.

The last stop before returning to our first accommodation and sharing dinner with our host is at Seljavellir hot pool, the oldest pool in Iceland that has direct hot water from geothermal activity.

Walk upstream and enjoy the place.

Our host gives us stories about the mythology of the island while we enjoy a delicious Lithuanian soup prepared by Elena.

May 9th

 

Today the plan is The Golden Circle, a tourist route that goes to the heart of the island and includes some of the most famous places on the island.

We start with the crater of the Kerið volcano, which hides inside a perfect and intact blue lake to which you can descend without any problem.

The Geysir is the great tourist attraction of Iceland, without a doubt it is the place where more people we find. Known as the great Geysir, is the oldest known and one of the most impressive in the world (boiling water up to 80 m high) but that unfortunately does not happen often and you have to settle for seeing the Strokkur that throws water every 5 min at a height of about 15/20 m.

By the way, something that I must note is that in Iceland almost all places are free visit, the only place for which we paid was the Kerið crater, about € 3.

After leaving the crowd behind, we booked a small tour to see how the typical Icelandic bread is made . The technique is incredible, under the sand there is boiling water at 100 degrees Celsius, there, in a pot closed with plastic, put the bread dough for 24 hours, then dig it up and ... wow! Yummy!

We do the tour in Fontana, where a nice girl shows us the process and gives us to taste the delicious bread with a lot of butter (that's how they eat it). Thanks Janine and her starving face give us a good piece of bread to take away!

The Bruarfoss waterfall waits for us after eating too much bread.

It is a trekking of about 3 hours, easy and it is worth doing it to see this turquoise river among the black lava.

The last place we visit today is Gullfoss, an immense block of broken rock that created the waterfall when moving. The waterfall is 32 meters in a narrow natural cliff of about 70 meters, which concentrates the flow and causes a deafening noise. The canyon through which the river runs extends for two and a half kilometers. Today the depth of this natural canyon is 70 meters in some places.

Tonight we will sleep in Borgarnes, and to get there we choose the 52 route, which will offer you moon landscapes, lakes, mountains ... it is not paved, take it easy and enjoy the scenery.

Tonight we share dinner with Tom, a very nice American guy who decides to join us the rest of the trip.

May 10th

 

Today we will spend the day in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, which has several worthy places to visit, including our first stop.

Landbrotalaug Hot Springs, a natural geothermal area where you will find two small and cozy pools.

 

One of the best experiences in Iceland is to find hidden places where you can take off your swimsuit, completely naked in nature, inside a perfect and hot natural pool in the middle of nowhere!

After getting dressed like crazy before our ass freezes, there were 3 degrees Celsius outside, we  going into the peninsula, enjoying its landscape, and stop to eat before our next visit.

Búdakirkja church, the contrast of the black church, in solitude, next to the landscape is simply incredible, the Atlantic Ocean and the Snaefellsnes mountain range in the background, it turns the place into a shocking experience.

Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, you can not miss it, take the little walk that takes you to the entrance and wet your feet to get inside the canyon as much as you can.

Legend says that when Bárður Snæfellsás knew his daughter had died, he broke out in anger, grabbed the two brothers (responsible for the death of the girl), climbed the cliff over the ravine and threw Rauðfeldur into the ravine and Sölvi from the cliff. The cliff bears their names; Rauðfeldsgjá and Sölvahamar. After this incident, Bárður got crazy and walked to the glacier where he built an ice cave where he has lived for many centuries and, according to popular opinion, still continues to do so.

If you have time, go to Lóndrangar, a walk along the coast with views of the cliffs and bird nests.

A beautiful place

The next point on our map is Saxhóll Crater, which is not as amazing as the crater of the golden circle, but offers impressive views, a huge lava field covered in moss that ends at sea.

The weather today is getting pretty bad, the hail mixed with the wind makes us desire to walk very few. We climb the small slope that leads to the beautiful and unnamed Ingjaldshólskirkja church, well, almost every place is nameless!

The next stop is one of the most famous and photographed places in Iceland, Kirkjufellsfoss, due to its dramatic formation and for having been protagonist in the series Game of Thrones as 'north of the wall'.

We drive to the Stykkishólmsbær peninsula before returning to Borgarnes to spend the last night all together, Lera leaves us tomorrow ...