We set out for day two from Reykyavik with major concerns. It was storming pretty badly, and the roads were dark and icy. We saw a terrible accident on this day, and two rolled cars the next. As foreboding as the weather looked, we pressed on like good hobbits do. It worked in our favor, and we didn’t question it — rather thanked our lucky Icelandic stars for the fortuitous timing and good weather. Every time we hit the road, it would start to rain (sometimes snow), and every time we arrived to a destination, it would clear up. Our drive began on the Golden Circle which would eventually land us in the remote town of Vik.
Alive at Kerið Crater
We pulled into the parking lot of Kerid Crater while it was heavily raining, and from the car the crater itself looked dull and uninteresting. As we got out, the weather cleared up to reveal a striking body of water at the bottom of a steep caldera which looked weirdly alive — keeping in mind that pics never do it justice (even though I try). Gwen said I looked like a puffin. Looking back, she had a point.
Gwen and I were pretty gung-ho on eating all the Icelandic things. Here’s some Icelandic fish salad scooped with some sort of crispy bread that reminded me of the Elven bread lembas that the hobbits snacked on.
Fury of Gullfoss
Let’s be clear: there is no shortage of waterfalls or rainbows or expansive views in Iceland. There were even more that we passed that were not designated as attractions. Apparently Iceland does it all bigger and better. Here’s proof, as told by Gullfoss itself! Something that these photos don’t portray is the brute force of Mother Nature. On more than one occasion, there were warnings to stay close to the paths, because sadly tourist deaths are a thing, including here at Gullfoss.
Sprayed by Seljalandsfoss
We saw a tiny waterfall in the distance and stopped the car to take pictures. As we got closer, the adorable stream of water turned out to be Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall that you can see from behind the waterfall itself.
Giant Skógafoss, Little Me
If you love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as much as I do, you might recognize this scene. This is Afghanistan with the two strong little men; I definitely felt little here! You can climb to the top to look down at the falls or walk right up to the bottom.
(Different) Beachy Sunset in Vik
We were in search of food and just happened to pull up and get out of the car in time for the show aka full realization of non-tropical beaches at sunset. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were on the other side of Reynisdrangar. I noticed a ring of moisture forming around the inside of my lens, no doubt from Skogafoss. Luckily it didn’t leave a Skogafoss watermark, but unfortunately it did in the photo.
Ice Cave Bistro for Dinner
Remember that $22 soup I mentioned? This traditional Icelandic lamb “meat soup” was delicious and warmed my frost bitten soul. Pro-tip: Do not Google image search lambs. They have cute faces. (Thanks, Gwen.)
It was fate.
After dinner, we were wary from all the excitement, so we had plans to get to the hotel, take a nap, and set out to search for the Northern Lights at around midnight. As you can see, we did a lot this day, which is why we would later recount our steps, marveling at how just a small 10 minute adjustment to our schedule could’ve completely changed the course of the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced: finding Aurora Borealis.
That’s for the next post :)