Several years ago I saw a billboard depicting a blue hot spring and several relaxed tourists!! It boasted that Iceland was a journey that had to be taken. I love to travel but Iceland hadn’t hit my radar. Probably because of the name.. I hate being cold. However, that image stuck in my mind and slowly warmed it’s way to my heart. That’s why when Liz booked tickets at 2am on a whim and asked if I wanted to join, the answer was absolutely YES!!!
I didn’t have adequate time to research as I would have liked and tragically the airport had every lonely planet with an I except Iceland. We took off in high spirits and landed jet lagged! As we stepped out to get our rental car the wind was howling and it was still dark. I had a moment remembering that european manual transmissions have a weird reverse and this particular one had 6 gears. Ahh the land of the vikings!!! As we headed toward Reykjavik there were many exclamations about the terrain and houses even though we could hardly see anything.
Our air bnb was about the cutest little apartment, with two twin beds joined to a kitchen and bathroom. We took a nap in hopes of setting out on adventures and only got up to grab a quick bit of lamb soup, then back to bed. We quickly learning that in winter the sleepy town of Reykjavik doesn’t begin to wake until about 10am. We navigated the dark rain filled streets until we found Mokka, what would turn out to be our favorite coffee shop. The dimly lit, hushed environment was perfect, the coffee amazing and the waffles even better!!!
We headed out on our first excursion, driving along the coast out to the western peninsula. Oohing and Aahing at the ocean we made our way to a tunnel, afterward we learned we had gone under the ocean instead of over! We watched the horses and huge mountains go by.. I was so excited to get to the waterfall on the peninsula I didn’t want to stop. We saw an old wooden church and a crevice in the mountain, and several “small” waterfalls. We tried to drive into the national park but the road was much to much for our little rental car. Defeated I turned around as the sun was setting.. I was so frustrated I hadn’t found the waterfall.
In-between our road trips we took days to stay in Reykjavik and explore the city. We had great fish and chips, mind blowing lobster bisque with scallops, and we found and awesome noodle shop. No, I’m not big on fermented shark etc… We saw the churches, walked the streets, visited local pubs and a tapas house. I fell in love with a local violin repair shop. The owner is the sweetest guy who inspired me to keep dreaming and keep challenging myself. I loved the harpa, it is their concert hall, made up of huge geometric shaped glass panels of different colors.
Our trip to the south part of the island proved to be a success, we walked behind a massive waterfall, and into a hidden one through some rocks, saw a glacier from afar, and climbed to the top another massive waterfall. We visited Vik in the south and saw the beautiful black sand beach, huge rock outcroppings and their church on a hill.
I was fortunate enough to become friends with a really amazing local couple. Lara + Palmi! They are engaged and I was thrilled to take their engagement photos around Reykjavik. They later took us to their favorite pub and we laughed and drank the night away!
We ended the trip by driving an impassable road into a barren field of lava rock, visiting many local hot springs and looking for the northern lights. On our way to the airport we stopped by the ever famous blue lagoon that first had it’s draw on me to come to Iceland. It is a beautiful land, full of wonder and beauty. I hope to visit this wild land again in the summer and camp and drive my way from place to place in hopes of seeing all the things I missed.
Thank you to my awesome traveling buddies, I wouldn’t have had half as much fun without you. I am so thrilled to have met so many awesome people on this trip, thank you for letting me take your portrait. Lastly, I am not a landscape photographer, just a photographer with a love of nature!