Íslandi Part I

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October 1, 2016

It all started with an impulsive purchase, and just a nine month wait.

Finally it’s October! Ready for take off!  My friend and I were so ready to fly off to the land known as fire and ice, Iceland! It only took nine months of waiting to get there. During our flight over, we were able to get a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. It was so unreal! After about six and half hour in the air, we land at 3:45am. Is there anything open then? It’s a good thing our car rental was open.

More tips on our flight in this entry, Íslandi Tips.

The original plan was to check in and sleep a few hours to get our clocks on Icelandic time. Yeahhh, so that didn’t happen. So we opted to head to the lighthouse to try and catch sunrise. We just made it there but with no sunrise. It was too overcast for any show, so we just walked around. Quickly we got a taste of how the weather changes at an instant from gray skies to rain to strong winds ranging from 35-60mph. It sure doesn’t stop some Icelanders to go for a run though. We walked around for nearly an hour when we decided to drive back to Reykjavik and duck into a warm coffee house to plan our trip.

Here’s a map of day 1-3. 

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Soon after, we were ready to explore, first off – the lava caves! As we approaching the cave, I suddenly noticed a big hole in the ground, little did I know that’s where we would be exploring. We didn’t come equipped with sturdy shoes and headlamps so we only went as far as we could with the flashlights on our iPhones could take us. And it wasn’t very far at all.

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By the time we were done, we opted to do more exploring and wanted to utilize our all wheel drive with some off-roading. But our off-roading took us on a long detour not seeing much and ended up in a small town about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik. That’s when we spotted a grocery store and decided to make our first purchase. That in itself was adventure. Between the both of us, we finally found a credit card that we could make purchases on. I think our store clerk wasn’t, or maybe he was amused by our excitement when our purchase for one yogurt went through. Soon our jet-lag started to kick in real fast. By the time we got back to our hostel, it was 5:00pm. Snooze, wake me up when it’s dinner time.

The next day we made sure we grabbed some pastries at Braud & Co. It’s absolutely a must. Once you step into the cozy bakery, you can observe them make all the yummy goodness then turn around and want to devour it all (at least we wanted to.) Then off to our (really my friend’s) meeting at Bókun’s office. Soon after, we finally began the most epic road trip of our lives. To start our journey, we headed north to explore Gylmur. On the road there we marveled at all of Iceland’s insanely gorgeous scenery. And to imagine, it only just begun. There were waterfalls, lava rocks covered in bright green moss, whilst large fluffy clouds hung over us against the blue sky, and at times gray making for the perfect dramatic scenery. We even spotted a ever lasting rainbow and chased it.

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Finding Glymur is quite easy. We parked and headed on our hike to the waterfalls. We were quite squeamish and giddy with excitement for our first hike. From the start we made a new friend who is actually from the Bay Area as well. It was great having her join us. As you walk along you shortly see an overlook, don’t worry about spending too much time there because there’s so much more to explore just walk down the stairs through arches to cross over the river. It’s quite the balancing act crossing over on stones and a log whilst the rapids are right under your feet. The obstacles don’t stop there, it’s pretty muddy so there are ropes to help climb up the rocks. Along with cliff side you can see how much closer you’re getting towards the falls. We stopped often to look back, down, and all around to take it all in. At the top of the falls we tried to figure out how to cross it, but decided there wasn’t a safe spot where the rapids weren’t strong (the length was probably over a city block long) so we kept walking along the river and then turned around to make our way back. By the time we got to the car it was late and knew we would miss sunset at our next destination, Kirkjufell.

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It was our plan to catch sunset at Kirkjufell, but spending most of our time exploring Glymur and a two hour drive ahead, we knew it wasn’t going to happen. But catching it on the road was sure a treat, we also stopped along the way to watch the waves crash along the shore of a desolated beach.

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We finally reached our destination, but not without getting lost in the dark driving up onto private property and almost driving into a prison. I mean, it wouldn’t be a road trip without getting lost. Parked in the lot across from the most pictured peak in Iceland, we transformed our car into a camper and then had some dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy but some sandwiches we made courtesy of our all you can eat breakfast at our hostel, and of course some wine. Okay, a couple of bottles. It helps you sleep soundly.

Stay tuned for part II and III!

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