The first year I went to a country I knew little about but decided to gatecrash after mum and dad said they were going. So flights were booked for March 3rd for 9 days of extreme adventures in extreme weather! The first few days were in Reykjavik… With opened up our eyes to the beauty of this country and so much more…
Reykjavik – Day 1
The brightly coloured cladded houses of Reykjavik are the first thing that is so striking when the whole city is covered in white snow. It gives you such a positive and vivid impression of this raw land with so many natural colouring coming from the mountains, ice, stones and volcanic rock. The view from the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church tower puts in perspective the uniqueness of this city…seen from all corners of the city on top of a hill and inspired by the cooling lava into Basalt Rock … it provides views of the whole City, straight ahead the rows of LEGOLAND houses, to the right the famous mountains with snow sprinkled on the top.
On the harbour front is the best building in the city, the Harpa Building, its raw interior of concrete and different levels surrounded by the glass façade and walls, is so modern compared to most of the other buildings in the city. Its open to the public and has a beautiful open void where people can congregate and enjoy the views out of the windows.
Glacier – Day 2
We had a day discovering the more central area of Iceland, its lava stone flat terrain then the brutality of the sudden steep mountains. Only seeing just how big they are in perspective from the tiny toy cars driving by them. The first stop was the Barnafoss (childrens falls) and Hraunfossar falls (Lava falls), neighbours with completely different personalities, one slow, calm and wide, the other violent, narrow and strong. Both as beautiful in their different ways and the amount of water coming down will introduce you to Iceland’s charm.
After this stop was the main attraction, driving up onto the Snaefellsjokull Glacier, the known saying in Iceland is “If its raining now, wait 5 minutes”, as we arrived at the top of the glacier we couldn’t even see 5 metres in front of us, it was scary, we even all got out for 2 minutes to just see how bad it was we were in the middle of a snow storm cloud so high up. We headed out on huge 4 x 4 machines which kept going up into the unknown. then we stopped in front of a small mound of Snow , which turned out to be the entrance into the Glacier. First of all the fact we were walking inside the glacier was a little surreal, even more surreal when we saw there was a chapel if people wanted an unusual wedding, and being pointed out the 2005 volcanic erupted layer within the layers of snow/ ice that makes the glacier up! The crystal caves were the highlight with beautiful formations and colours (see image below)
As we came out as quick as the clouds had formed, they cleared heading down the glacier , you couldn’t see the end it, like a white dessert floor, stunning views and so happy that it cleared up so we didn’t miss it! This is where I knew this trip was going to be different to any I had done before!
Golden Circle – Day 3
The famous Golden Circle, anyone visiting for a long weekend can be sure to make the most of their stay on an organised tour. Another option is to road trip it with a car you can rent from Reykjavik for as little is 70 pounds. First on the list Pingvellir National Park, famous for the drastic movement and evidence of 100 years of tectonics moving between the American and European plates. Every geography lovers paradise, wandering through the rock formations, and even having the option to dive into the crater made between the two plates (bucketlist moment) , go later in the day to get the place all to yourself and a bit of a chill from the spooky atmosphere.
The ultimate waterfall is 45 minute drive away, along one of the main roads (in winter months be careful the road may get closed if bad weather), then you will arrive at Gullfoss. Located in the valley where the Hvita River flows 109 cubic metres of water per hour , 32 metres in height and even with the same amount pouring down and the biggest winds ever trying to knock us over, the shear size of this Waterfall or should I say Megafall was one of the most amazing nature experiences I have ever seen. The spray from water coming off of the falls was soaking us even more and the sounds from its raw power meant i couldn’t here what my mum was saying in front of me … I can see why its called the must see destination of Iceland.
The final part of the GC is the Geysers, natural hot spouts of water coming out of the ground, showing the activity and just how alive Iceland is within its land. The Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the liveliest of them all named Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. Its pretty funny watching everyone waiting for it to happen.
This first week of this incredible trip, opened up an extreme love of Iceland as well as an extreme way of understanding that you must always just go 100 percent into the adventure you are about to be part of, from the weather being whatever it is from raining, snowing, sun shining, but always to dance in it!
Enjoy and checkout the next part of my Iceland trip PART 2 ….