Wow. What a trip. We spent eleven tiring and exhilarating days up about as close to the Arctic Circle as I dare go – Iceland – a destination chosen simply because it seemed utterly different to anything we’d ever seen before. A country the size of South Korea, but with a scant 300,000 inhabitants (compared to Korea’s 50 million).
The night never got dark. The hot water smelled like stinking sulfur (even in the city), but tasted crisp, cool and perfect when cold. Sun, rain, blinding clouds and gale-force wind that threatened to push our moving car from the highway – the weather radically changed every 10 minutes.
Here are some amazing highlights from Iceland.
- Watching wild puffins, flapping and tumbling on their clifftop nests
- Holding cloths over our noses as rotten-egg-smelling geothermal mud bubbled and glooped in boiling pits
- Picked up giant chunks of ice from a black sand beach
- Listened to the acoustic cracks of Vatnajökull glacier
- Camped beside the cliffs in Vik
- Admired the power of the water exploding out of Geysir
- Sipped coffee and listened to music in Reykjavik, Iceland’s cool, hipster capital
There were four of us; myself, Cindy and Adeline (long time readers may recognise Adeline from some of my very first blog posts from Borneo). Then there was the fourth, Sandra.
Complicated, disorganised and confusing, Sandra was a traveller we found online to share the road costs. In the end, after one too many heated arguments, she never wanted to see us again, so we refunded part of her share of the car rental and left her behind in Reykjavik.
The route was a ring road which encircles Iceland. 1,332km of ever-changing landscapes – glacier lakes cracking and plopping as the ice melted at the base; monumental, thundering waterfalls; exploding geysers and hot springs; a cool and quiet hipster capital city.
It’s one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, and I can’t wait to share some stories and photos over the next few weeks.