Travel

Iceland days 1-2: waterfalls + glacier hike + an evening of bumps

I’m back from one week in Iceland! The trip was beyond incredible, filled with lots of time on the road (1500+ miles), seeing beautiful things, discovering new Icelandic music, and sharing it all with one of my best friends, Christine. I’m splitting this into a few posts to avoid a super long post – get ready for the biggest photo dump 😉

Day 1: waterfalls + 10 miles 

We landed at 7am in Iceland – my first red eye ever. I must say…I was a fan! After one too many cups of coffee I felt like I could hit the ground running, and I definitely hit the pillow hard that night, adjusting to the time difference pretty nicely for the rest of the trip.

We picked up our rental car from the airport and were off on the Ring Road!

Fist, we saw two waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Christine and I had a little picnic after hiking through Seljalandsfoss. The weather could not have been better.

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We saw this amazing rainbow at Skogafoss!! One of many rainbows on this trip – Icleand is full of them :). We did a hike behind the waterfall too with breathtaking views.

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Afterwards, we hit up the Sólheimasandur plane crash. It was a 2.5 mile hike to get to the crash. So surreal. The combination of the sad sentiment of the crash and the peaceful scenic ocean was a beautiful contrast; one of my favorite spots on the trip.

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When the day ended, Christine looked at her fitness tracker and we walked 10 miles in total! Spoiler – we did not stay nearly as active after day 1…but it was nice to be on our feet for a day 😉

Day 2: glacier hiking + day full of bumps

We had a 3 hour drive to get to Skaftafell glacier, where we signed up for a hiking tour. The drive went quickly, filled with lots of chatter with Christine. We stopped by Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon along the way…breathtaking.

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The glacier hike was incredibly fun!! We had a charming tour guide from Australia who we thoroughly bothered with questions. They gave out crampons and ice axes to help us hike the glacier, which took some getting use to. At first, the glacier looked kind of dirty and underwhelming, but as we climbed higher, we got to see just how blue and pristine the glacier is underneath…and even got to drink some ice-cold water right from it! Overall, a once-in-a-lifetime experience and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

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Some delicious hot lobster soup to warm up after the hike 🙂

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The rest of the evening was a bit stressful…the first bump we encountered was losing our wifi hotspot that we rented for the trip. It was a bit disheartening, but then I thought back to my 7-week Euro trip last summer when me and Michelle didn’t have phone data either; we relied on paper maps and asking people for directions. The ring road was luckily very straight forward and well marked so I wasn’t too worried.

Second, we ran out of gas!! In pitch black. Talk about a scene from a horror movie. We luckily had just enough to pull into a farm-hotel, and the manager was beyond generous and helped us fill 5 liters into our car, just enough to make it to the next town to refuel. Gas stations in Iceland are super spread out and it was definitely a wake up call to be extra safe than sorry.

Afterward, we had to drive another 2 hours to make it to our hostel. The road conditions at night were incredibly scary – foggy/almost no visibility and tons of animals surprising us on the road at any moment. Another note to self to not drive past 9pm from there on out!

When we finally made it back to our hostel, we felt so blessed to make it safely. Christine and I just couldn’t stop laughing – what a day! I felt so glad to have Christine by my side – we really balanced each other out in terms of staying calm/being each other’s rocks; I was so proud of how we handled all the bumps. It was good to get them out of the way early on and to learn from them 🙂

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