A Travellerspoint blog

Iceland

Iceland: Reykjavik: Last Day at the Blue Lagoon

August 3, 2014

all seasons in one day 60 °F

We have made the most of the 17 hours of daylight in this country and boy are we exhausted. We have burned the candle at ALL ends—not just both! Even though the Blue Lagoon is a classic tourist trap. . .today it sounded very appealing. . soaking our weary muscles for hours and applying mud masks to our faces in the thermal hot springs.

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We went, it was expensive $60+ per person not including any beverages. It was a germaphobe’s nightmare. . with the sulphur smell, and tons of people in the water. Did the hot water feel good? Yes. Would we do it again? No.

On our next trip to Iceland we would recommend hiking up an hour or two to a natural hot spring in the middle of the mountains. . . just ask a local to direct you to one! Next stop: London!

Posted by Tony.Ruby 14:16 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Iceland: Glaciers, Puffins and More Glaciers!

August 2, 2014

semi-overcast 65 °F

We headed straight for Jokulsaron this morning. The glacier lake is pretty amazing. There are icebergs floating around in a lake and every now and again if you’re lucky you’ll spot sea lions playfully poking their heads out of the water.

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There are also lots of birds for those twitchers out there.

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It was a gorgeous sunny day for most of our time there but started pouring down minutes before we left. Luckily some of the ice still glowed blue in the sunlight.

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Then back behind the wheel, we took Route 215 from the Ring Road. We stopped along the coast in Vik for some stunning views. We spent about 3 hours walking along the to the viewpoint looking west toward Mýrdalsjökull and the Dyrhólaey promontory, which you can see easily, it’s an enormous natural arch of rock.

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We strolled along the black sand beaches and loved the striking Reynisdrangar sea stacks which reminded us a bit of the stone pillars in Southeast Asia.

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Then of course we went up a windy road to these huge sea cliffs at Reynisfjall and which were spotted with puffins and LOVED every second of it. We got tons of amazing puffin shots— these birds are so photogenic!

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No trip to iceland would be complete with walking on a glacier, so we took a road leading towards Solheimajokull.

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Once there we ended up meeting a nice family from Syracuse, Kris and Jim and their son. Jim was nice enough to take the first step onto the glacier since Ruby was too chicken to do it herself! How crazy that there were no guards or safety ropes etc. . . in place. We literally drove up to a glacier and started walking on it crevasses and all!

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On the drive back we stopped to take some Icelandic pony glamour shots at sunset LOL!

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Getting pretty exhausted this night we stopped in Selfoss and found a little guesthouse $95/nt owned by Vladmir, the same guy who owns the main hostel in town. He really wanted us to come for drinks at the bar with him but we were pretty tired so Tony went alone and had some local Gull beer with Vladmir and his brother.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 04:29 Archived in Iceland Comments (2)

Southern Iceland: Land of Rainbows and Waterfalls

August 1, 2014

semi-overcast 62 °F

Eeeeewww!!! The hot water in our guesthouse smelled like sulphur. Try bathing in that?! Apparently this is common in Iceland but from here on out we were going to try and avoid this! We got on the road pretty early heading along the Southern Coast today with a goal to make it Jokulsaron which is about 4 hours away if you drive direct. With 17 hours of daylight you think we would get there no problem but of course, there were too many amazing stops along the way and we didn’t make it all the way there. We ended up stopped in at a cute guesthouse in a small town called Svinafell for $105/nt about 45km short of our destination.

There aren’t words to describe the beauty of Southern Iceland so we’ll just share photos:

Seljalandsfoss was unique because of the way the rock formations jut out you could walk BEHIND the waterfall!

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Even the drive is picturesque with rolling hills and sheep grazing :)

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Skógafoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. It is the end result of a long river and 20 smaller waterfalls. Stunning to see in person. There’s a really long set of stairs on the site and it’s definitely worth the hike all the way up to the top to see it from all angles.

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Yup, that's Ruby under a double-rainbow!

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There’s even another hike following the origins of this waterfall that goes on for miles at the top of it.

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We made a quick stop in Vik for some grilled lamb— YUM! They definitely know how to cook meats and soups here!

A huge storm was coming through so we decided to keep heading towards Jokulsaron instead of stopping in Vik for the night. Most tourists stop traveling in the early evening but we are glad we kept going because the long drive along volcanic terrain, old lava flows surrounded by glaciers is much prettier with a nice sunset than without it!

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TRAVEL TIP:***We will say that this is not a place to come with your young children. They are not concerned about safety or liability here. . . you can walk right up to the edge of 200 foot rock face, glacier crevasse, or waterfall and there is no guard, safety fence, rail or rope in sight!?!

Posted by Tony.Ruby 13:12 Archived in Iceland Comments (2)

Iceland: Reykjavik and the Golden Circle in One Day

July 31, 2014

semi-overcast 58 °F

So we have started our second Around the World Trip and are super excited to share our photos and experiences with you all! So here we go . . . .

Iceland wasn’t even a blip on our must-see radar…we only booked a 3 night stopover because it was cheaper than going direct to Europe. . . little did we know that this country would blow us away with it’s natural beauty, friendly people and delicious hearty food.

After a sleepless red-eye flight all we wanted to do was take a nap but unfortunately for us the Tunguvegur Guest House $75/nt we booked would not let us check in until 5pm…YES 5PM! So of course we did the next best thing. . .start exploring the city! We rented a little rental car. . not cheap at $85/day + fuel cost and headed straight for downtown Reykjavik. We found free parking on a residential street just a few blocks down from the Hallgrimskirkjha Cathedral (yes that is how you spell it). Reykjavik is a cute little city that is very walkable and many of its sites and museums are only blocks away from each other.

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It was windy and cold outside so the first thing we did was get some hot and spicy noodles (yum) to warm up and started exploring the shops. Of course at the beginning of our trips our bags are always overstuffed with needless items we’ll get rid of along the way but for now we pretended we had room in our luggage to buy something!

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Our must sees in Reykjavik are 1) the Harpa Concert Hall with it’s crazy geometric lines of glass and mirrors

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. . .and 2) the great city views from inside and outside the Hallgrimskirkjha Cathedral.

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The waterfront was also very pretty with a cool stylized metal sculpture of a viking ship.

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We wished we hadn’t booked a non-refundable room when we finally got into the Tunguvegur Guest House. . . it was like staying in a college frat house complete with mismatched furniture, random sheets and towels that may have been made of cardboard? Not a good way to start the trip. . perhaps the next night will be better?

After checking into our room Ruby said “it’s still light out so let’s do a little of the Golden Circle tour”. . . . little did I know that this would turn into a full on golden circle tour! Of course this is a must do in Iceland and we only had three nights here. We drove along the gorgeous countryside and started up in the rift valley where the continental shelfs divide.

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Tþingvellir park has big skies and gorgeous lakes.

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We continued driving on until we got to the Geysir, the geothermal hot spot that lends its name to ALL geysers. WOW! The Stokkur erupts every few minutes and it was so cool to watch the pressure build up, we watched several eruptions that were as high as 120 feet! Check out the sequence we took below and look closely for the little people in some of the shots that can help give you an idea about how high up the water spurts!

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By this time it was getting very late although sunset isn’t until about 10:30pm this time of the year so we grabbed some delicious warming mushroom soup (they do make great soups in Iceland!) and headed off to the last stop: the beautiful Gulfoss waterfall. All we can say is prepare to get a little wet because there’s a lot of mist! It’s amazing the power of flow of the water at this site.

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We ended with a pretty sunset over the snow capped mountains as we contemplated our long journey ahead on our drive back to the guesthouse that night.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 15:13 Archived in Iceland Tagged waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains buildings water Comments (4)

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