Iceland Road Trip

As I mentioned in my first post, this blog isn't going to be solely about jewelry, but other things I'm interested in too. One of which being travel. I used to work in the travel industry, promoting Britain to overseas visitors and that's when I well and truly got the travel bug. But really it stems back to when I took a year out between college and university to go to India with a friend for 4 months.

My husband and I have just got back from a 7 days trip to Iceland. We got really cheap flights ($200 each round trip) on Wow Air. They do charge you for absolutely everything though, from baggage to choosing your seat and food (even water!) on the flight. There's not much room either, they pack you in and al the whole flight is economy, oh and there are no TVs either, so bring your own entertainment! But everyone's very friendly and you just make sure you bring food and drinks on with you.

Ever since I read about and saw photos of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, I've wanted to them in person. When we were in Iceland before we were unlucky and didn't see them, so this time I was determined! And we did see them! It was a truly magical experience, and while they were weak, they were still amazing, watching them change color from white/grey to green and dancing around was something I don't think I'll ever forget. Now I'm determined to see them again, but stronger and brighter... maybe Alaska, Canada or Norway? I'll have to ask the hubby!!
So, onto our trip... we arrived on Thursday morning and rented our car, we got a Suburu Forrester 4 wheel drive as we figured we'd be driving in snow. As it turns out, this year's weather has been unseasonably warm and we didn't get to see much snow at all. Though we did slide down an icy hill and almost hit a rock. Thankfully a little bit of snow at the base of the rock stopped us and we were able to scramble back up to the top using the 4-wheel drive.
 
I'm not going to go into too much detail about each day as I don't want to bore you, but here's a map of our journey and photos from our various stops.
Day 1: After renting the car at 4:30am, we drove into Reykjavik for some breakfast, but most places were closed, Iceland doesn't seem to wake up till about 10am! After walking around a little bit, we drove to our first stop on the Golden Circle; Þingvellir National Park which was where the parliamentary general assembly met between 930 CE and 1798. It was here that we realized in the winter it doesn't get light til around 9:30am. We also visited a beautiful waterfall there, Öxarárfoss. Our next stop on the Golden Circle was Strokkur Geysir and hot springs. It was as amazing as I remembered it being when I first visited Iceland around 18 years ago. Next we visited  Gulfoss waterfall, which certainly gives Niagara Falls a run for its money! Our last stop for the day was at Kerið volcanic crater lake, the lake was frozen when we visited, but normally it's a very vivid blue. We then went to the little cabin that we'd booked in Selfoss. Coincidentally it was the same place we stayed at 18 years ago on my first trip to Iceland (though I had forgotten), not only that, we were also given the exact same cabin!! I only know this because my mum keeps a vacation journal.
Pingvellir National Park
Öxarárfoss Waterfall
Strokkur Geysir  Gulfoss Waterfall  Kerid Volcanic Crater Lake
 
Day 2:  Selfoss to Vik: Today we visited two waterfalls (even got to walk behind one of them) and visited the basalt columns on the black sand beach in Vik.
Seljalandsfoss  Skógafoss  Dyrhólaey  The basalt columns at Vik and black sand beach
 
Day 3: Vik to Hofn: We drove past moss covered lava fields to a waterfall in the Vatnajökull National Park and we got to see a rainbow from start to finish! The waterfall was a short climb up a mountain, the waterfall is surrounded by basalt columns (which is the inspiration for my latest collection - Formations. My next blog post will be all about it! I guess I need to talk about jewelry at some point!!). It was well worth the 50 minute walk up there. From there we happened to see a glacier that you can actually drive up to, there were quite a few potholes, but we managed to get there without breaking the car! And then onto Jokulsarlon which is an iceberg lagoon - the blue colors of the ice was incredible.
 
Rainbow from start to finish  Moss covered lava fields  Svartifoss waterfall  Svinafellsjokull glacier  Jokulsarlon
Day 4: Hofn to Akureyri: Started the day off in rain at 8am, still very dark, but it soon brightened up. We were up early as we had a long drive through the interior of Iceland. We got to see fjords, mountains, towns, hot baths, horses, cows, sheep and I finally got to see the Northern Lights, which were spectacular! 
 
Fjords on the east coast  The interior of Iceland  Myvatn Nature Baths  Icelandic Horses  The Northern Lights
Day 5: Akureyri to Grundarfjörður and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This was another long drive, but the Snæfellsnes Peninsula doesn't get many visitors, people generally go from Akureyri directly to Reykjavik. Grundarfjörður where we stayed for the night is just a small little town with a population of only 872! 
Grundarfjörður  Snaefellsnes National Park
 
Day 6: Grundarfjörður to Hafnarfjordur via the Reykjanes Peninsula
Geothermal Mud Pools in the Reykjanes Peninsula  Geothermal Mud Pools in the Reykjanes Peninsula  Reykjanes Peninsula
 
Day 7: Homeward bound. The weather was CRAZY!! 50mph winds and heavy rain. Thankfully by the time our flight was due to take off it wasn't so windy and the sun actually came out.
Here's a little video I put together of our trip (music courtesy of Bjork - Pagan Poetry)
Below are a few of the places that we visited and where they are in Iceland.
Our next trip is to Jamaica at the beginning of May for a week, I wonder if I'll be inspired for a new collection while I'm there?
Joanne

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