Welcome to Iceland – Land of Sheep and Suicidal Birds

Hello again! I figured as I’m off on another adventure it was time to blow the proverbial dust off of this blog and back into the swing of things.

Today was a LONG day – I pretty much haven’t slept since 9:30 AM yesterday so I’m pretty much running on fumes. After doing the pre-departure ritual of “Where is my Passport?” and “Is My Suitcase Overweight?” we were out the door and on our way to the airport in Toronto where I met up with Daylan – who is one of my best friends and probably the only one crazy enough to do a 10 day road trip around Iceland with me.

We left Toronto right on schedule – which was great because some airlines (*cough* Air Canada *cough*) think that it is just a suggestion to be ignored. In fact, we boarded ahead of schedule and sat on the Tarmac for a bit. The flight was pretty uneventful – we flew WOW air and were WOW’d by the lack of things we didn’t get on the flight (i.e. Water, Snacks, etc.) but were soon over it because we had eaten before. There was one exception to the uneventfulness of the flight – for some godforsaken reason, the guy beside me decided he urgently needed to fix a hole in the crotch of his jeans mid-flight. Which is fine, whatever, to each their own – I guess. I don’t know how he managed to get a sewing kit on the flight but it’s chill. BUT THEN, this person decided they needed to seal the thread SO HE PULLED OUT A LIGHTER AND BURNED THE THE END OF THE THREAD. Excuse me? No. You are on a plane. That is not allowed.

We landed in Keflavik (about 45 mins away from Reykjavik) about 4:20 A.M., picked up our bags, SIM Cards and car and were soon on our way. We decided that we would take on the Golden Circle today – this is a set of 3 landmarks that are sort of in a circle (if you go back to Reykjavik) and are some of the most famous in Iceland. We managed to make it through the City relatively unscathed (sans gas stations not being open and a little bit of confusion in Reykjavik) and were at Thingveillir National Park (our first stop) in about an hour and a half after we landed.

Thingveillir is where the Icelandic parliament met for thousands of years and is at the rift between the North American and Eurasian Plates – making it incredibly scenic. We had the place to ourselves and hiked around for a good hour. The park was incredible, we saw a waterfall and hiked between the two plates! We slowly made our way back to the Car (which we’ve named Cricket because its a Suzuki Jimny 😉 ) and were off to Geysir – the site of the first discovered Geyser and the Geyser that they’re all named after.

We were a tad nervous on the trip as we had about a half a tank of gas, but weren’t quite sure how far that would get us so it was nervous times. We got to the site of Geysir about 45 minutes later (after a failed gas mission) and lo-and-behold there was a HUGE cafeteria/gift shop thing there WITH A GAS STATION. Our prayer was answered! We walked around the Geothermal area at Geysir for about 45 minutes and unfortunately didn’t see Geysir erupt as it only does this after earth quakes. But, there is a smaller Geyser there called Strokkur which erupts every 5-10 minutes and we got to see this amazing natural phenomenon occur many times! Walking around the area was quite a treat as most of the water smelled like Sulfur- which Daylan absolutely LOVED. After walking around the site with our noses plugged we decided it was time for brunch! I had a smorrebrod (an open faced sandwich with smoked salmon) and it was delicious and well timed!

We walked around the gift shop a bit, and stocked up on water – and gas – and then were off to the next stop, Gulfoss. It took about 20 minutes to get there, and we were instantly amazed by it. The sheer force of the water has created a HUGE canyon which is incredible to see. We walked around Gulfoss for a bit, learned about its history (legend has the land was slated to be developed into hydroelectric dam but was saved by a famers daughter who walked all the way to Reykjavik) and then set our sights on Vik – where we were staying for the night.

The drive was relatively uneventful, Daylan slept for a bit but I powered through and we made great time. One weird thing about Icelandic roads is that some of the bridges are one lane which makes it an interesting drive (you have to co-ordinate with the other driver to see who’s going to go). After an hour an a half, we arrived at Seljalandsfoss – another waterfall. This one was a bit different as you could walk around the base of it (and get absolutely drenched!). We were here for about a half an hour and then hit the road again.

Our next stop was Skogafoss – another incredible waterfall. This one had 500 steps that you can climb to the mouth of it! We climbed the stairs, took the requisite pictures at the top and bottom and were then back on the road!

By this time, we were pretty ready to get into Vik and to our hotel BUT decided to make one last stop at Dyrholaey (a bird reserve) which turned out to be a great decision. The scenery was breathtaking – the green fields meeting black sand beaches and cliffs of black Volcanic rock. Words don’t really do it justice. (I promise I’ll upload pictures as soon as I’m not a human zombie)

After about a half an hour we were thoroughly wiped, and hit the road again. The drive was a little sketchy – lots of hills (one scary blind hill, and one that Cricket almost didn’t make it up but he did!).  One lovely feature of our drive today was birds that seemingly had no respect for their lives – the would dive next to cars or just chill in the street. To each their own I guess. We found our hotel easily, checked in, brought the bags to the room and then proceeded to sleep for 3 hours.

After our nap we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner – we were still so exhausted that we didn’t want to go out for dinner and paid the large fee for the buffet and then gorged ourselves. We hadn’t eaten for awhile, and I didn’t think I was that hungry but boy was I wrong. I had an entree plate with fish, goulash, potatoes rice and veggies then followed this up with a cold plate with smoked horse (sorry Meg), smoked Beef Tongue and potato salad. By this time, I thought I couldn’t eat more but I decided to finish dinner with a bowl of Skyr (an icelandic yogurt similar to greek yogurt) with Caramel Rhubarb sauce.

After dinner, thoroughly exhausted, I showered in the WORLDS TINIEST SHOWER. Like its maybe 2sq ft. Which was an experience and a half and set out to write this. As I’m writing its 10 minutes to 10 pm and still daylight outside. Plz send help.

Until tomorrow (when hopefully I have funny jokes and pictures)!

 

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