I suppose I’ll begin by briefly describing what came to my mind when I heard the word Iceland. I pictured a land made for Viking roughians. Harsh conditions from snowy mountain ranges to inhospitably hot geyser basins. I pictured a place you may envision in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. A place that appears medieval, where Vikings rode dragons and slayed trolls that resided in caves. Shane says I have my history a bit mixed up, but I like my version.
Now, what is Iceland really like? Iceland truly is worthy of the words, Viking territory. Where the ocean crashes into lava rock cliffs formed from millennia of violent volcanic eruptions. It is a place where deserts of ice stretch as far as the eye can see across glaciers that can be seen from outer space. With active volcanic activity and glacial mountains within hours of each other, this land can melt you one minute, and turn you into a popsicle the next. A savage island that is literally tearing at the seams where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe collide. Iceland is everything I was expecting and more.
From waterfalls in mystical slot canyons to icebergs in mesmerizing glacial lagoons, this place has it all. I have never seen waterfalls and cliffs as dramatic as the ones in Iceland. Some places had beautiful greenery stretching across the plains all the way to the mountain peaks, while others you felt like you were walking on Mars because the land is scorched from all the geothermic activity. Lava fields stretch for miles with hidden lava tubes and caves scattered throughout. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration at all to say we saw over a hundred waterfalls on this adventure. My two favorite parts of Iceland were definitely the first slot canyon waterfall we went to, and the Icebergs in the glacial lagoons. Not only did we get to admire the million directions that light would bounce off the ice structures there, but a few seals swam by to keep us entertained as well.
I also loved the sleeping outside. We just threw the sleeping bags down and slept right on the ground where we landed. One night I slept atop a short cliff right above the ocean where I was able to watch the sunset over the Atlantic from the view of my sleeping bag while listening to the waves crash into the beach. Another night I was serenaded by the sound of crystal clear stream water rushing across its rocky creek bed and breathing in the crisp mountain air while my olfactory sensors were aroused by the sweet smell of pines. It was cold, but just cold enough that I had to take some time talking myself into getting out of my sleeping bag in the mornings.
I would definitely recommend a road trip around Iceland to anyone. It has been one of my favorite destinations yet.
P.S. Hiking to the glacier wasn’t so dangerous you needed a guide, they were just trying to sell that to you. But that’s just my two cents.
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