When I touched down in Keflavik, Iceland on an August afternoon I didn’t know what my week on this Northern isle would be like. We had a car rented and cottages booked with an itinerary to see the natural wonders, and as we landed we were greeted by wind that could rattle your bones. I had come prepared for this with windbreakers and wool, and the airport was busy with travelers being picked up by loved ones dawning Iceland’s classic lopi sweaters. As the Keflavik airport is a busy hub with many planes stopping on their way to continental Europe, we were lucky to see Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones walking to her UK gate. We collected our bags, bundled up and headed for the cars – the ones that would take us all through southern Iceland to see everything from erupting geysers to puffins learning to fly.
We decided not to stay in Reykjavik, and instead headed to Selfoss (in Icelandic Foss means waterfall) and Hella as they were closer to the destinations we planned on visiting. We were excited to take a day trip to the capital city and spend an afternoon visiting the famous and stunning Blue Lagoon. Our first day was completely dedicated to Iceland’s Golden Triangle, a national park, waterfall and geyser. It may sound like we only saw three things that day, but I by I actually couldn’t count how many natural wonders I collected on my camera’s memory card. Since Iceland is spread out, a lot of scenic driving is required, such as free-range sheep and stunning Icelandic horses.
Stunning is a common theme for the island. After the Golden Triangle and a brief detour to a caldera (a volcano that has blown its top) we headed to southeast Iceland’s Jökulsárlón, a large glaciel lake known as Iceburg Lagoon. Just like the name states, it is in fact a lake filled with icebergs that have broken off the glacier at the lake’s head. We loaded up into a zodiac boat for a tour of the lagoon, getting a close-up view of the icebergs and glacier. A camera was definitely necessary for the trip, as were layers. After getting out of our cold float suits and heading to the on-site restaurant we were happy to indulge in a hot chocolate. Out on the water it’s windy and cool, but worth it for the breathtaking scenery. Following the icebergs we stopped in the small town of Vik (Vik translates to bay in Icelandic to view the puffins. Puffins are totally cool as they’re tiny and fly backwards into their nests after a day at sea looking for fish. We spent a great deal of time with them on the surrounding beaches, which have black sand thanks to the volcanic ash.
Iceland is unique, enchanting and the culture is extraordinary. It’s definitely not a cookie cutter vacation as reading on the sand is replaced with relaxing in the blue lagoon. The country is so captivating that I hated having to leave. We ate skyr, sat on the fault line that divides the tectonic plates of Europe and North America, drank water out of a stream that came from a melting geyser, bought a lopi sweater and spent every last krona I had on souvenirs to bring home. Every gurl needs to visit Iceland. The trip reached into my soul and I left feeling peaceful and renewed.
Published in FLURT’s Summer 2015 issue.