We are in Gdansk now and it’s about time I posted about our days in Iceland. They went by so fast.
The Keflavik airport arrival wasn’t the smoothest of starts. There is a long corridor for all arriving and departing passengers which makes things crowded and confusing. Apart from that, the baggage handling is messy (and perhaps this is just temporary as they did say they were undergoing improvements). After waiting about 30 minutes for our luggage to appear on the belt indicated by our flight, we happened to take a look at the neighbouring belt, to find it sitting there for goodness knows how long. Small frustrations and a late night.
We were so aware of our limited time and tried to pack a lot into our days. In a word, Iceland is stunning. Coming from a country like Canada, with expansive open spaces and greenery, it is saying a lot when I tell you that I have never before seen such incredible natural landscapes as we saw in Iceland. From geysers to waterfalls to lava fields, craters and more, there was something to see wherever we turned. The girls were (mostly) good about looking around and taking it in as it was just so different to anything we’ve ever experienced. I discovered though, that I am not good mountain (or crater, or waterfall) hiker. I think I would be a great forest hiker, but the hike up a narrow, rocky path at the edge of said mountain, crater or waterfall was nerve-wracking. I think I screamed at the girls about 16 times each to slow down, stop, be careful and any number of other warnings. And to be fair, they each fell down about 3 times each, so in my mind, I might have saved them from an equal number of slips.
The best way to describe Iceland is by our photos, so here goes:
This was at our first stop at a waterfall called Seljalandsfoss.
We walked along a slippery path all the way behind the falls, which was an even more incredible view than from the front.
In the same area, just down a foot path, there were a couple of other smaller waterfalls to see. We wandered along and crept in behind a narrow river rock path to discover the waterfall of all waterfalls. By far our most favourite, and really, the least famous. It was just so unexpected, and I was sure to take a photo of its name so I wouldn’t forget it.
From there, we went onto Skógafoss, another amazing waterfall literally 20 minutes down the Ring Road.
This one required a significant stair climb to get to a top view point. Hard, but worth it. In fact, I would describe many sights/activities in Iceland as maybe challenging or adventurous, but we were never disappointed.
We continued on the Ring Road to the town of Vik. The drive from Hella to Vik is what I would consider a must-do for anyone visiting Iceland. The amount of visible hot springs, mountains, animals, and lava were just beautiful. Period. Just outside of Vik is a small stop called Dyrhólaey. It had a black-sand beach and wide-open vistas to the ocean from above.
The black sand beach in Vik was walkable.
And that was it for our first day.
On our second day, we hit the Kerið crater. They charge an entrance fee of 400 ISK per adult (roughly $4.50 CAD) and it was well worth it in the end. This one, I was nervous of. When you look at the photo below, look at all those little people on the top of the crater. That was the path around, and no, it wasn’t in any way fence or rail protected.
And neither was the rocky path around the lake
Along our drive from the crater to a geyser, Ben noticed a golf course and naturally had to take some pics of an Icelandic course:
The Strokkur Geyser started slow and had a couple low-intensity eruptions that we thought that was all it had. We were wrong. We were standing so close to it (because of the aforementioned tame eruptions) that we weren’t expecting the explosive force of the 3rd eruption that provided us with a drenching shower of perfectly warm water.
And the smell of sulphur really wasn’t that bad.
Next up was probably the most famous of Icelandic waterfalls, Gulfloss.
It was the biggest and most powerful of them, for sure. By this time, the girls’ feet were soaking and cold and we let Ben make the trek down to the rock (you can see little people on it in the distance).
Two more things I want to share. First are the crazy lava fields that are found all over this country.
Next, we visited Þingvellir National Park to see the rift valley created by the movement of tectonic plates.
We were able to walk though a section of it that started at the visitor centre.
There were photo opportunities at every turn and Jade will be posting our food discoveries and Kenzie will be in charge of the animals we see along the way, so look out for those.
It was a fast but entirely worthwhile trip.