This trip to Iceland was supposed to be my honeymoon. I found out a few weeks before my wedding that my fiancé had been unfaithful. To skim over this fact, to me, seems somewhat inhuman, so there you go. On a more positive note, I don’t think there really could have been a better place for me to go to lift my spirits. Staring out at some of the most desolate landscapes in the world seemed fitting, and the wildlife that I saw along the way was a true dose of happiness for this animal lover. Iceland is an achingly beautiful place, from the native people to the landscapes peppered with the fattest sheep I have ever seen (insert heart emoji here). My account of Iceland could never do this country justice, but I hope it might encourage you to visit someday if you haven’t already.
My first stop was the Blue Lagoon, just 30 minutes or so out from Reykjavik. I stayed at the Silica, making my overall experience at the lagoon that much more enjoyable. The Silica had private indoor and outdoor pools for guests to enjoy, which was nice given that the main lagoon is so crowded. The hotel had a nice breakfast spread every morning, and hot coffee available all day for guests (very much needed). If I could change anything about my experience there, it would be to visit during the colder months, which would’ve yielded snowcapped mountains (making the atmosphere even more serene).
The next stop I made was in Skogarfoss. I stayed at hotel Skogar, which was right beside of the Skogafoss waterfall (and a sheep farm). I’m not sure if I enjoyed the waterfall or the sheep more during my stay. Waking up to sheep baaing is nothing short of precious… for me, at least. Interestingly, you can camp out right beside the Skogafoss waterfall. So, if you wanted to have more privacy (aka: avoid the masses), you could enjoy the fall in the late evening or wee hours of the morning because in the summer months the sun never fully sets.
From Skogarfoss, I then traveled to Hofn, but along the way I made a stop at the black sand beach in Vik, and the glacier lagoon (Jokulsarlon). The black sand beach was one of my favorite places, coming in second to the glacier lagoon. The day that I visited it was raining a bit, and VERY cold, but it was nothing short of the beauty I was expecting. The sheer scale of the cliffs and basalt columns were unnerving, but in the best kind of way. If you do go, beware of the sneaker waves! The waves there can be wild and unpredictable and have claimed lives in recent years, so it is important to be mindful of this fact and take extra precauction.
The most beautiful sight I saw in Iceland was the glacier lagoon. To be honest, the lagoon was not number one on my itinerary. I had seen photos of the lagoon before, but it is one of those places you just have to go and see for yourself to truly understand how special it is. Just off of route 1, you will find many lookout points that will take you down to the glaciers. The waters there were extremely calm, and had the bluest hue I’ve ever seen in person. The icy glaciers seemed perfectly paired together, some were striped with sediment, while others were perfectly clear. To top it all off, I saw a seal pop its head out of the water for a few short seconds. In my lifetime I will have to visit this place again, and from now on, I will never underestimate the beauty that glaciers can have.
My final days in Iceland were spent in the capital city of Reykjavik. Let me first say that if you are concerned about the food being good, don’t be. In Reykjavik, and everywhere else I ate at in Iceland for that matter, the meals were great. I was told (and read) prior to this trip that puffin, whale, shark, and horse, composed most of the diet of Icelanders. While this may or may not be true, I found chicken, and other types of fish to be on the menu more commonly (along with beef on occasion). If there is anything to worry about in terms of the food in of Iceland, it is the price. Expect to pay anywhere from 20 to 50 dollars for a meal at a decent restaurant (although, I did find some relatively affordable places along the way). As far as the shopping goes, I would compare the level and scale in Reykjavik to Charleston S.C. Although the shopping district is somewhat small, it still offers a well curated selection of storefronts. The city itself is quite charming, many of the homes there bore colorful iron exteriors, and it was common to see house cats out and about with little bell collars on. I’d say that you could spend two to three full days max in Reykjavik, unless you wanted to explore the city very thoroughly.
The beauty of Iceland is otherworldly, and I am so grateful that I was able to see it in person. I will miss the wateralls, the sheep, the horses, the landscapes, the beaches, and most especially, the glaciers. I’d love to go back and travel the northern section of the ring road, or see the same sights again in the winter months. And I’m sure just as anyone else that has ever visited Iceland, this place will always hold a very special place in my heart.
-all photos by me