Travel

Early in the morning, we lifted off from Seattle, starting our 10 day adventure in Iceland. Hours later, we descended into another world, one that would give us a sense of freedom we hadn’t experienced in a while. Whether we were walking through the breathtaking beauty of the massive Westfjords, or feeling Nature come to life through active volcanoes, steam vents, and gigantic waterfalls, Iceland provided memories that have stayed with us.

One of the coolest things about this trip was that it occurred during the Summer Solstice, where the sun didn’t set for 10 straight days! It was the first time we started our hikes at 9pm, or relaxed in a geothermal pool at 11pm.

Much of our planning took place at coffee shops, both here in Seattle, and when we arrived in Reykjavik. Our trip was definitely fueled by caffeine.

Planning our Iceland Trip

 

There’s no better way to start a vacation than with music!  We planned our trip to align with the awesome Secret Solstice Music festival in Reykjavik, where thousands of people from Iceland and the UK celebrated all types of music from rock bands to hip hop.  We experienced Radiohead, Of Monsters and Men, and were blown away by awesome Icelandic hip-hop by Ulfur Ulfur and XXX Rottweiler.

Secret Solstice Music Festival hip hop

 

 

Of Monsters and Men Secret Solstice Music Festival

Of Monsters and Men performing at the Secret Solstice Music Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland

 

 

The music in Iceland was incredible, and we listened to the Ulfur Ulfur CD for much of our drive. Also, I’m fairly certain we stayed at the same hotel as them. To this day, I keep telling Jasmine that I saw them in the lobby. While they jury’s out on that, what we do know for certain is that we saw a lot of kind-spirited Icelandic horses.  There was one time, in particular that sticks out to me – we were driving out in the country and came across a band of horses. I got out of the car and walked up to them with my camera. While standing there, another group of horses came running through and they circled around a few time. I was able to capture some really cool photos of this. It was an incredible feeling to be so close to them. They are so kind that we were able to feed them. They would come eat the grass right out of our hands. So cool!

 

Icelandic Horses Horseback Riding in Iceland Wild Icelandic Horses Icelandic Horses Icelandic Horse photo Icelandic Horse Photos Mandev Sidhu in Iceland

 

The Icelandic terrain is always changing, often times right in front of you!  As we walked through geothermal areas, the sulfuric smell was a reminder of the lava below. Active steam vents were gushing out boiling hot water, while we were surrounded by looming volcanoes covered with thick glaciers.

 

 

Geothermal Vents and Steam in Iceland Icelandic Geothermal steam vents Geothermal hikes in Iceland Hiking to Geothermally heated stream in Iceland

We went out on a 3 mile hike to this geothermal pool. There’s an area where a boiling-hot-geothermal stream meets an ice-cold-glacial stream, and they create a single stream that is the perfect temperature.  It was so cool to sit and relax in the stream, with these beautiful mountains surrounding us from all sides.

Geothermal HIke Iceland Iceland Geothermal area Iceland natural hot springs Natural hot springs in beautiful Iceland Summer Hiking in Iceland

 

Nature made us feel small. as we walked between the continental plates, or felt the force of massive waterfalls thundering over us, we were always reminded of nature’s strength. At the same time, when we ventured out into the country, even the slightest sounds were amplified by the surrounding silence.

 

 

Skogafoss Mandev Sidhu

 

These are two videos I took while walking to the waterfall.

Skogafoss Iceland

Skogafoss was one of my favorite memories from the trip.  Because it was the summer solstice, the sun didn’t set.  These photos were taken around 11pm!  Because it was so late, we were the only people here and we walked right up to the waterfall. In the photo above, I’m on the left and Jasmine is on the right.  I’ve never experienced anything like this – the ice cold water was thundering down me as the cold water hit my face. it was exhilarating to feel the power of the water, and to feel like you were immersed.  It was humbling to stand there, and feel the power of nature.

Skogafoss during summer solstice

Mandev Sidhu in Iceland

 

Mandev Sidhu Photo of Skogafoss

 

Driving dirt roads in Iceland's Westfjords

Not very many tourists visit the Westfjords, especially the far areas where we traveled. Because of this, the roads are often dirt, and there aren’t very many people around. One of the benefits was that it felt like we had this beautiful natural landscape to ourselves. We would often stop our car on the side of the road to hike to waterfalls or splash incredibly fresh & clean water onto our faces.

hiking to waterfall in iceland Westfjords Hike in Iceland

 

Huge waterfall in Iceland Dynjandi

Dynjandi Waterfall Westfjords Iceland

Iceland Scenery

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

 

Iceland adventure

Coffee in Iceland

 

Hiking Iceland's mountains in the summer Summer Hike in Iceland Mountains

A year later, Iceland has stayed with us, we have photos in our house to remind us of the adventures, reminding us about a place we respect and feel so connected to.

 

 

While sitting in the living room listening to some awesome music (Damien Jurado), our Seattle sky decided to display one of the most dramatic shows I’ve seen in a while.  The clouds were luminous and dark, with a blue hue, and the sun’s slowly-fading glow gently illuminated the back of a giant tree.  Sunset’s are nature’s symphony.

Colorful sunset shining over the Seattle landscape

It was a treat to wake up early in the morning and catch this incredibly awesome sunrise over the tulip fields in Mount Vernon, WA.
The sun put on a show for us as it slowly rose over the Cascade Mountains and filled the sky with the beautiful golden glow in the photo below.
I love living the in the Pacific Northwest!

morning sunrise red tulips

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My wife and I  returned from an amazing trip to Europe. We spent about a month traveling around Scotland, France, and England. There are so many more photos to come, and so much inspiration to share, but this was one photo I wanted to post right away.

We were standing on the Pont Neuf Bridge to meet two of my cousins, who also happened to be in Paris, and while we waited, the sky turned to fire.  Unfortunately, and as Murphy’s law would have it, that was the only day I did not have my camera. Whaaat!! Luckily, I was able to capture this image with my iPhone camera.

Colorful amazing Sunset Photo of Eiffel Tower with view from Pont Neuf Bridge

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