Iceland…Again

I just love flying with Icelandair. They let you layover in Iceland for up to seven days on a transatlantic flight. I have taken advantage of this amazing perk before. But that was then. It had been a long time, and many, many transatlantic flights, so I decided it was high time I visit the land of fire and ice again.
The long, winding road to Langjokull, a massive glacier.

I don’t really fancy myself an outdoorsy type of person. I love running. I love picnics. I love drinking outside on patios and rooftop bars. But camping and hiking aren’t generally activities I partake in eagerly.

Then again, if I had amazing views like this all the time, maybe I’d be more keen.

Lava fields in southeastern Iceland.
Sunset in Laugurvatn- at 1am!

Since I was so inspired by the fresh air and natural beauty, I decided four days of car camping was a cheap, highly mobile way to see Iceland again. Last time I ventured up the northwestern part of the country, so this time I wanted to try to southeast- really change things up.

I hopped in to my SadCar (which I do NOT recommend if you travel Iceland. I went through three rental cars in three days. Seriously. Each car I got died within 24 hours!) and started eastbound, toward Laugrvatn.

To get there, I had to pass through Thingvellir, a huge national park surrounded by mountains, lava fields and a huge glacier lake.

Also on the way was Geysir, where a geysir erupts every 8-10 minutes. I hiked to the top of the hill near the geysir to get this great shot for you. You’re welcome!

Since midsommar was only a month prior to my visit, the sun was perpetually in the sky. This sounds theoretically amazing. At first, it really was. Sunset is around 11pm and sunrise around 2pm. In between is a grey, kind of spooky dusk. Its usually accompanied by a lot. A LOT. of fog that rolls in, so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

This made car camping a little scary. At least the photos turned out well! Know they were hard earned. I could barely sleep I was so scared!

Fog rolling in during sunset at Laugrvatn.
This is dusk/dawn at Lagurvatn.

The next day was Gullfoss day. Gullfoss is a huge, very well-known waterfall. There’s loads of lore about it, because, as you can see here, crossing the river anywhere near the waterfall would be a very bad idea. I personally can see why such a landscape would inspire stories of any kind. I’ve been before and it still blows me away, how beautiful this is. It almost doesn’t seem real.

 

The next day was a long, beautiful drive to Hekla. The few times I saw cars pass us I was pretty surprised. Then again, there were little hamlets and towns much more frequently than I would have thought. These places, though, must mostly be summer homes for foreigners and people who live in Reykjavik. At least, I kind of hope so. I have no idea where people would get basic supplies such as food and clothes out in some of these places. They are extremely, extremely, extremely remote.

I actually kind of liked it, but at 2am when fog is basically cuddling with you, I couldn’t help but think of deatheaters and zombies.

I hadn’t really gotten too close to a volcano before. Its actually kind of a phobia of mine. Growing up going to Vermont, I’d stay awake nights with nightmares of the old decaying Appalachians erupting like in Dante’s Peak.
Hey. It could happen. I think.
So I decided it was high time I face my fears and camp at the foot of this huge, huge, huge volcano.
Having been living out of various and sundry sad cars (take that as you will) for the past several days, with no shower, the sight of clear water in a river of snowmelt was a sight for sore (dirty) eyes.

 

 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t considering that the water would be about 4 degrees C. Talk about brain freeze. Still, it felt good to have clean hair…

 

…and obviously the cold water could be put to other good use.

 

Because of the car snafoos, there are fewer pictures and stories from Iceland than I’d like. But this still is a pretty good collection of photographs of one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Enjoy!

 

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