Iceland. Weird. Fascinating. Mysterious. Unearthly.
As we were driving along the vast and empty countryside of Iceland, I kept saying to my travel buddy (Erin, or “Fitz”), “I just don’t understand….”. This land was unlike anything I had ever seen before. None of it made sense. The earth was made up of everything from volcanic rock, moss, sulfur dirt, regular dirt, glaciers, sea rock. There were no farms, nor large herds of animals….other than the horse farms, which were very abundant. We rarely saw houses, and the “cities” we drove through consisted of, at most, a few hostels, two coffee shops, maybe a super market (maybe), and a few houses. It was unreal. Also, while driving along the roads, you notice big billowing white clouds of steam. Everywhere. Is that a factory!? Oh no, it’s just some volcanic hot spring action. Most of Iceland’s energy source is geothermal, which makes sense since the entire country sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and was formed by volcanic action. This is also why there are so many hot springs! Including the oh-so famous Blue Lagoon. Iceland was settled by the vikings, who named the country “ice”-land to defer others from coming and settling in this beautiful yet strange land. Fitz and I wanted to start our Scandinavian tour here to see what this country had to offer!
We started our trip by landing in Reykjavik around 2:30am. Since our internal clocks were not adjusted, and we finally were in Iceland (on a Friday night), we immediately dropped off our bags and went out exploring this fun city! We soon realized how much of a “backpackers” city Reykjavik was, since almost everyone we met was a traveler. We rarely met any Icelanders in Iceland. We forced ourselves to leave the night life at 5am to get some rest, but realized we easily could have stayed out longer if we liked. Even though the sun had already come up, Reykjavik party-goers were still going strong. The next day we picked up our car and started driving. It was the first time we saw the country in daylight! I just couldn’t get over the vastness of it all. After driving all day, we came back to the city for one more night. We gave ourselves another “curfew” of about 3am, knowing we would need to be on the road again early.
That next day we drove to Geysir, which is a small town, (town? I think I’d call it an “area”), which is named after the one attraction it has; a geyser! This was the only part of the trip where we actually got rained on. But it didn’t matter that we were freezing cold, we were watching 100 degree C water being shot into the air every 5 mins! It was pretty amazing seeing streams, literally boiling, flow along the street. Pockets of steam were just being released all over this patch of land. It was out of this world! We then headed on to Gulfoss, which is the largest waterfall in Europe! The sun came out for us then, and we quickly realized that the weather in Iceland also doesn’t make any sense, just like the landscape. Every 15 mins the weather changes!
We stayed in a cute and cheap hostel in Selfoss that night, as we watched the sun go down almost around 11pm. Our last day in Iceland was ahead of us, and we saved the best for last. The Blue Lagoon! While the lagoon is actually man made, the heat is not. It was like walking into hot tub, only with lava pebbles on the bottom, hot spots that were BOILING, caves, waterfalls, a walk-up bar, and a free mud face mask. I’d do it again.
All in all, Iceland was amazing. So strange, yet perfect. I need to go back to do MORE. But sadly, Fitz and I were heading to our next country of the trip….NORWAY. Stay tuned!!