For a few years now, I’ve wanted to check out the magical mystery of Iceland. Though to be honest, it wasn’t quite at the top of the list. Though timing just happened to be perfect for a new excursion in what would end up being one of the most unique adventures of a lifetime! And like most wanderlust spirits, there are many places that we’re naturally drawn to, from a passion to experience a new culture, new land or simply to explore and experience life in some place that is foreign to us. Then there’s Iceland, which offers all of that and then some!!
Often when booking trips, I do a bit of preliminary research, “instagram scouring” and the like, though I typically wait to commit to plans, until I’ve had a chance to take in some of the local suggestions to ensure I’m fully able to indulge in all the flavors, sights and culture of the country once there.
I grabbed a gal pal, scored a deal on WOW Air, booked a spectacular Airbnb flat and off we went. We arrived at the crack of dawn on a freeeeeeezing winter day, after no sleep on your standard red eye and yet fired up and inspired to take it all in. We took the first day to wander the streets and harbor of Reykjavik. It’s a quaint little city and quite small indeed. In fact, the entire population of Iceland is approximately 300,000 so you can imagine, the city tends to feel rather familiar in no time at all. Which, in turn, makes it even more welcoming! In fact, it’s so small that even as we drove for hours and miles out in the middle of nowhere, we still managed to run into the same couple all around the Island- on three separate occasions. Sadly, however, this did not mean a run-in with Bjork as I was hoping.
After checking out our new “home” for the next week we headed off to check out Þingvellir National Park, which is a beautiful drive through vast snow covered, and at times, quite barren land. With that being said, let me suggest that whenever there’s a gas station along the drive whether on the golden circle or simply around Iceland- stop. This was suggested to me and I was beyond thankful to be overly cautious about it as there were times when it felt as though gas or no gas, you could easily get stranded out on the road. The funny thing about Iceland is you’ll see at many souvenir shops items that say: I Survived Iceland. And although funny and cheeky in some ways, it’s legit. From the driving to some activities- it can be an bit intense experience. From within the park, we toured around the see the famous Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall that are located within the park. They’re in close proximity to one another, so it’s a great way to check off and enjoy both wonders in the same afternoon.
Day 2, after a few drinks celebrating our arrival and first night out…oh and a few hours of sleep (Jet lag….what’s Jet lag when you’re running on pure adrenaline and enthusiasm!) , we were once again off for another day of exploration. We arrived again in the park with some time to spare for a hike around to see some sights before our first Icelandic adventure began. Snorkeling in a balmy -2 degrees celsius at Silfra. This is the only place in the world where you can dive between two continents Although the thought of immersing yourself in such frigid waters for a tour seems not overly welcoming, it is by far something that must be seen. So, toughen up for an hour or so, throw on your flippers and dive on in! The stunning turquoise waters and unique experience will be worth your while. Plus, when else can you swim between and touch two continents at the same time. Don’t miss it.
As you venture off throughout the country, be sure to keep your eye out for the Icelandic horses, typically hanging out on the side of the road…simply waiting for your arrival and adoration. Which is not hard to do, as they are simply adorable creatures! In fact, there is much to see along the way. From waterfalls on the side of the road, to stunning landscapes for miles and miles, the road trip itself reinforces the idea of enjoying the journey….not just the destination. So, with some good tunes, a full tank of gas, a big cup of Joe and a spirit ready for adventure, the road and all it’s sights await you within Iceland. Enjoy the ride!