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