vik

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I thought it we were going to have an early spring? Like starting now. The weather in the DC area was so beautiful and warm last week. I was so ready to start pulling out my cute summer dresses and light jackets. Then it all turned over the weekend. I try my best not to complain in my personal life, but this is not good for many reasons. First of all, you’re messin’ with the flowers! The beautiful saucer magnolias blooms that I photographed last week, waiting for the peak, are all gone now. I’m pretty sure this cold weather will have a bad effect on the cherry blossoms as well but I hope not. Secondly, I think my body is confused. First it’s hot, then it’s cold then its hot again. I’m starting to feel the effects of the temperature change in my throat and head. Not fun.

So instead of going outside, I decided to sit in front of the computer and find an image that depicts how I feel. This one from Iceland describes it perfectly. It was along the main (and only) road from our drive in Reykjavík to Höfn. Along one of our million and one stops for horses, I came across this scene. The horses were the things that first attracted me to this image but then my favorite part is the huge cloud behind them. The road signs adds to my confusion of the weather but either way, I’m not liking the snow. Something so clean and neat perfectly shows what it’s really like on a road trip in Iceland.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m not a big fan of being cold. Being in Iceland is different because it’s what’s expected, but not this see-saw rollercoaster of temperatures. End complaint. For now, mother nature.

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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.

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When visiting a new country, I always try to learn as much as I can about the food, people and language. It’s the best way to totally immerse yourself into your new surroundings. In Iceland, it was a little difficult to learn the language. First off, everyone speaks english. Really good english too! So being able to listen to the Icelandic language was really limited to just locals in a restaurant or people talking quietly amongst themselves. But I did manage to learn a few words. “Foss” means waterfall. So if you notice all the waterfalls in Iceland end with the term “Foss”. This image was taken at Skógafoss which is in a small town called Skógar. You add foss to the end of it, you have the Skógafoss! Pretty cool huh? Another important word to know is “Kaka” which means cake! Who doesn’t love cake right? So if you wanted to say chocolate cake, you would say “súkkulaðikaka”.

Now that we’re talking about food, the food was great. Expensive but the overall delicious. I don’t think we had one bad meal. I ate a lot of smoked salmon, at least once a day. There aren’t very many vegetable dishes. It’s all very meat/seafood oriented and to our surprise, a lot of pizza. I’m not sure if that was just a tourist thing but almost every restaurant we went to had a lot of pizza options. We noted one day that the pepperoni pizza was cheaper than the vegetarian pizza.

The people are very nice as well. Super helpful when you have a million and one questions about travel. Even when they knew you were a tourist, they didn’t look at you funny or treat you differently which was much appreciated. However, I did notice that a lot of them weren’t originally from Iceland. Many were from different parts of Europe that just fell in love with the country. I can totally see why minus all the cold temperatures.

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One travel tip to Iceland. Bring lots of socks! Like way more than you need. I’m so glad I did.

In general, you should wear waterproof clothing from head to toe in Iceland. It was raining everyday but one day while we were there. The waterproof clothing really helped to keep me warm. But even if you’re lucky to have great weather on your trip, you’ll still get wet. The huge waterfalls have lots of cold water spray that will soak you, depending on how long you stand there. And if you’re like me, you’ll want to get close to the water on the black sand beaches to photograph the waves. The waves are so much bigger than you think they are. It kind of reminded me of Hawaii, but definietly not surf-able. Not fun when they come crashing down and into your shoes. So it didn’t even matter if I was wearing waterproof shoes, my socks still managed to get wet.

We spent a fair amount of time in Vik. One whole afternoon to visit two different sides of Reyjnisfjara with a little break in between for lunch. The first stop was a calmer side of the beach. We were the only ones there and the waves weren’t huge. I was also surprised by how soft the sand was. Just like regular sand but black. Thats where I was able to capture this long exposure with my Ice neutral density filter. But then after lunch when we went to the more commonly visited side. This was where the big waves are. I was running back and forth between the tides to try to capture the water. Eventually, the water won and my feet got soaked. They were so uncomfortably cold and wet. I had to dry off immediately in the car. So glad I brought extra socks 🙂