Jeremy and I are in Kent, about an hour southeast of London, housesitting for a family with three dogs, four cats, five chickens and two ducks (more on that later). I hope to catch up on everything we’ve been doing lately, and I am excited to finally share our pictures from Iceland.
In short, Iceland was the most magical place we have ever been. We knew it was going to be beautiful, but we were blown away. What added to the experience was the cabin we rented on Homeaway; we could not have chosen a better spot. Coming from NYC, we were looking forward to having an entirely opposite experience, and we got that and more. AND we saw the Northern Lights on our third night there. I bought a tripod specifically for that reason, and luckily it was worth lugging it around for (and now I’m going to send it home I think).
We flew out of JFK in New York and the flight to Keflavik Airport in Iceland was only about four fours and forty-five minutes (about the same distance from NYC to LA, who knew). We touched down around 7am (2am New York time), and it was a pretty surreal day going forward since we hadn’t slept at all.
Our first impressions of Iceland were at the airport, specifically, the bathrooms. Each spotless bathroom had its own private room, with a sensor-operated sink that was a hand-dryer as well. They were very impressive. The airport was also really nice in general, especially considering it was pretty small. We were starving since we didn’t have dinner, so I got an egg sandwich and Jeremy got a smoked lamb sandwich, and we ate in the airport cafeteria among all the other travelers, 90% of them drinking alcohol even though it was so early in the morning.
It’s pretty imperative to rent a car in Iceland, unless you want to take a bus from Keflavik to the capital, Reykjavik, and then take tour buses from there, but renting a car is far more convenient (especially when you’re going to a cabin in the middle of nowhere like we were, obviously). I got a really good deal on a rental car, even though we were getting worried because all the cheaper rentals were manual, and we can only drive automatic (we realized that should really change soon). The company also upgraded us to a nice 4×4, which we were really happy about after seeing the state of the roads we had to drive on to get to our cabin. The car also came with a free GPS system, but it didn’t work so we relied on maps instead.
The drive to the cabin was supposed to be a few hours, and seeing that it was only 7am when we landed and we couldn’t check in until 4pm, we were kind of at a loss of what to do. If we stopped the car at all, we would just fall asleep, so we kept driving and seeing where we could pass some time.
We finally got to a town called Selfoss, about 35 minutes away from the cabin, and decided to find some internet to buy to email the house owner and ask if we could check in early. Luckily she emailed back pretty soon and said yes, and we were so happy. It was the best 200 Icelandic Krona we spent! While we were on one of the backroads almost to the house, a group of Icelandic ponies were in the road… aka a dream come true for me. They surrounded our car and I got out to take some pictures.
When we finally reached our little cabin, we only managed to stay awake for about an hour before passing out at 3pm. We woke up around 9pm, made dinner, then went back to sleep at midnight until the next morning, and we weren’t jetlagged at all after that. It was pretty great.
When we got up the next day, we were pleasantly surprised to see a dusting of snow on the ground and a shining sun, which made for some nice pictures. I got my tripod out again and took some of the house and a few more of us.
The next morning, we embarked on a day-long adventure from the cabin along the Ring Road, stopping at two waterfalls and a glacier before heading to the ocean to see the dramatic coastline. Our first stop was Seljalandsfoss, and it was a huge waterfall that you could walk behind. It was pretty icy so we almost slipped a few dozen times, but it was really neat and there were lots of areas to explore.
Our next stop was the waterfall Skógarfoss, where we happened to see a perfect rainbow in front of it. We climbed many stairs to get to the top of the waterfall, where you could then climb over a little fence and explore the miles and miles of trails through the hills. There were no other people on the trails and even though we didn’t walk too far, I couldn’t help but think about running around there and how great it would be.
Jeremy and I were on a strict budget in Iceland, so we didn’t spend any money on tours or anything, but if we ever go back I think it would be fun to go on a glacier walk with a tour guide. We wanted to make sure we actually saw a glacier, so we drove a bit out of the way on rocky roads to look at the base of one.
After the glacier, we drove toward Vik since we heard there were really beautiful cliffs, black beaches, and rock formations on the coast. The drive was beautiful, and this turned out to be Jeremy’s favorite part of the day (and maybe the whole trip).
Hopefully I’ll have part two of our Iceland adventure tomorrow!