reykjavik

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Every time I think about these horses, I smile. They were every where in Iceland! So short and so hairy. They’re just so cute.

This one was taken on our first day out. It was probably the worst day we had weather-wise. When we landed the pilot over the speaker said we were experiencing 50 mph winds. You could literally feel the plane shaking while we were de-boarding. Add that to all the rain and it was kinda miserable being outside. Luckily the wind didn’t last all day, but the rain sure did. It was raining off and on but mostly on.

So what do you do on a rainy day in Reykjavik? Drive the golden circle! We saw these horses everywhere but all the roads on the island are fenced off. I think it’s so the horses don’t run into the middle of the street, but they could be there for other reasons other than that. I just don’t know. But the whole time we were driving, my friend Mel and I were on a hunt to find horses that were close enough to the fences so we could photograph them but also possibly pet some of them. After pulling over about 5 gagillion times, we finally ran into a group of them that were right next to the fence. Mel suggested I change my lens from my 16-35mm to my 70-200mm so we could stand far enough away from them that we could still get good pics but not scare them away. So I changed my lens and ran out the car.

We slowly started walking towards these horses. Then we realized, the closer we got to them, the more they would come to the fences. They’re super friendly! I immediately ran back to the car to change my lens back to the 16-35mm wide angle and got super close. This was taken at about my hip. I wasn’t looking, I just kept on clicking, hoping for a good shot. Obviously, the horses did not mind all the rain and wind. I’m pretty sure these guys thought my camera was food. Which it is definietly not.

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A couple of blog posts ago, I talked about my favorite place in Iceland, Höfn. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here) It’s located about 5 to 6 hours away from Reykjavik so there were a lot of stops along the way. One of the best “road side attractions” was Jökulsálón lagoon. The only reason why I called it a “road side attraction” was because it’s right off the main road and you can’t miss it! It’s this humungous lake at the edge of Vatnajökul National park where pieces of Vatnajökul glacier break off. If you look at a world map and see Iceland, you’ll see how theres one huge glacier on the south east side of the island. That’s Vatnajökul glacier.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so cool. Literally. As soon as we parked the car, I hopped out with my camera ready. I was so mesmerized by these glaciers that I didn’t want to waste a second. Just the whole experience made it seem like you were on a different planet. I mean you can see the top of the icebergs, but I can’t even imagine whats underneath. How big these icebergs really are and how long they’ve been in this water. And if the icebergs were so big, how freakin’ big is that glacier? Man, I can’t even imagine.

Right across the street you go to Diamond beach and a lot of these icebergs have washed up to land and they are gigantic. So many of them were taller than me. I had a lot of fun climbing on them, running my hands (with gloves on) on them, and just taking note of all the beautiful blues I was seeing. It was so tempting to say “Icebergs right ahead”. I tried my best not to say it but I think it slipped out once.

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If you plan on visiting Iceland, you gotta do a road trip. Reykjavik is cool and all but the best part of Iceland is the country side and being at one with nature. So if you’re really into the outdoors than you gotta go. We rented our car from Lagoon Car Rental and they were amazing. They picked you up from the airport and everything was so easy-peasy.

This is a basic break down of how we spent our 4 days in south Iceland:
Slept on plane so we could hit the ground running.
Day 1: Fly into Keflavik International Airport at 5a. Drive the golden circle. Stopped at Laugarvatn Fontana for a quick geothermal bath dip and then ended at Gullfoss, this AMAZING waterfall.
Day 2: Drive to Höfn but make an exceptionally long stop in Vik for the black sand beach and waterfalls along the way.
Day 3: Spent the morning in Höfn and Jökulsárlón then drove to spend the night in Vik.
Day 4: Early to rise so we could drive back to Keflavik but made one last stop at the waterfall, Skógafoss

But if I had to do it all over again, I’d spend a couple more days in each of these cities and made sure I:
-preordered tickets to the Blue Lagoon (they book up at least 3 months in advance)
-researched more of the hidden/off-the-beaten path waterfalls
-checked out the abandoned DC plane on Sólheimasandur
-cleared the cloudy/rainy skies so I could see some of the northern lights
-cleared the weather so we could finally go on an ice tunnel tour
-maybe see what’s in the northern part of Iceland?

Obviously, I have no regrets from this trip. It was one of the best trips ever. But I know there is just so much more to see. I can already feel the itch.