Engaged on a volcano
What a beauty! We traveled over 2200km in just nine days, which apparently is less than many who do similar trips to ours. Trip highlights include: seeing 50 shades of green, sleeping in a camper van, gale force winds at the top of a volcano, getting engaged at the top of a volcano, epicly stinky mud pots (maybe not so much a highlight as a notable experience that will not soon be forgotten), touching an endangered species (aka a glacier) and the unforgettable blue lagoon.
Last day enjoying the mountains
There were many more things that were amazing and unbelievably beautiful, but hopefully you noticed the one sneakily sandwiched in there: I GOT ENGAGED! ON A VOLCANO! In my experience this will strike readers in one of two ways: either you will think this is the most wonderful romantic thing ever, or over-the-top bordering on kitch. I am usually the type of person who would fall into the latter category (sorry if you’re reading this hunny).
However, my (now) fiance is a hopeless romantic who loves to do things like this, and I have to say, after getting over the initial shock (it was pretty rainy so the weather would have put a damper on any less determined souls) I loved it. Iceland and that volcano so perfectly sum up our relationship (probably any actually), that it couldn’t have been any better. The island is beautiful, full of verdant life, even though just beneath the surface is a world of sulfurous fiery insanity ready to crack the surface at any time. It’s also such an amazing adventure with epic hikes around every corner and waterfalls and glaciers to climb.
Read more: Packlist for camping in Iceland
Prior to our adventure we had done a bit of research into the country and the best places to see, and came to the conclusion that the most efficient way to spend our 9 days in Iceland, was to drive along the Ring road. Having recently both just graduated and funds being somewhat limited, camping appeared to be the best way to go.
We were both a bit nervous about camping in a country in which “ice” was actually in the name, so opted for a camper to use as our mode of transport. What a great choice! We got to see so much of the island and did it all on our own schedule without having to deal with too many tourists outside of the major sites. Anytime we wanted to stop and take a picture or have a bite to eat, we just did. It was that simple. And there were lots of places that we wanted to stop. We drove counter-clockwise around the ring road, starting and finishing in Reykjavik. The golden circle was our first stop, and a lovely introduction to what our future days would be.
Such waterfalls! One of the most remarkable things we noticed in our tour was the shear number of waterfalls throughout the island.
Read more: Waterfalls in Iceland
Aside from the north, it was actually pretty difficult to find a hill our mountain without a lovely waterfall coming off of it. At the beginning we would stop at almost every one and marvel at how beautiful it was, take lots of pictures and wander as close to it as we possibly could get. By the end of the trip though, we had become much more discerning in our admiration of the falls.
We were so spoilt by all the lovely things we had seen that we were no longer impressed by things we would have lost our minds over the first few days. So I would bet that everyone who drives the ring road will argue over whether the South East or South West has the most beauty, but I bet that this is highly correlated with the direction taken upon setting out at the beginning.
Distant photo of Glacier we touched
However, no one could possibly argue about the wicked-awesomeness of Mývatn and the surrounding areas in the north. Akureyri (the biggest city in the North) was a welcome site for a bit of a city girl who hadn’t seen a population center for several days. The mud pots and geothermal activity in this region was impressive. Before traveling to Iceland I had never seen an active volcano outside of TV, and I was amazed. Didn’t love the smell, but amazed none-the-less. Being there made me feel completely powerless compared to all the energy bottled up inside the earth. This makes me sound like a new-age hippy, but it’s the best I can do to describe how neat the experience was.
Touching the Glacier
Another goal of the trip, aside from driving around the whole of a country (coming from Canada this seems a major accomplishment), was to visit hot springs daily. While we didn’t manage to quite accomplish this, we did get to go on a lot of hot-spring scavenger hunts, and found some beauties. One really great one we found was actually in a field and right beside a waterfall. The water was warm but not hot, except at the inlet where the spring water was funneling in. I sat at this point and just paddled all the water towards myself as the day was quite chilly outside and around. Note: if trying hot springs at this time of year, keep a hat on… my head was freezing by the time we were done, and I got kind of light headed, I’m thinking because of the reduced blood flow to my poor cold brain as it was the only really cold part of me. Also, get your clothes ready for quick dressing on getting out afterwards. It’s pretty chilly especially on the feet.
Read more: Popular destinations in Iceland
Where we got engaged on top of a Volcano
The air is so fresh you’ll never want to leave, and we already miss having the freshest water we have ever tasted. We loved filling our water bottles up from waterfalls.
Read more: Gas stations in Iceland
For adventurers out there this was the way to travel. One last tip: bring some water proof clothing, it will rain and we learned the hard way always better to be prepared for changing weather everywhere we went. Also, sheep are skittish. If you want a good picture, or are a kiwi, don’t get out of the car 🙂
Read more: Travel report from Iceland
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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