Our October adventure in Iceland
We are two Canadians from Vancouver, BC Kyle and Renita.
Our adventure started October 29, 2017. We arrived in Iceland early Monday morning, where the airport shuttle just outside the terminal took us directly to the Rent.is rental office. Here we were kindly introduced to our camper van and what would be our cozy home on wheels for the next 11 days. We quickly became comfortable with our new home and all it had to offer, stopping as a bonus to fill the provided fridge with some essentials. We set off on the Ring Road, with our handy dandy Nova WiFi buddy and Google Maps directing us in the right direction. This added feature definitely came in handy navigating our way around the island. Heading east towards Vik, we stopped at Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River, Seljalandsfoss, Black Sand Beach, and Skaftafell, quickly falling in love with Iceland and its landscape. This being Kyle’s second time visiting, his excitement was near exploding to share all the things he had discovered and more.
The Glacier Lagoon, Kyle’s favorite place in Iceland, came with a fight. We had planned to spend the whole day there, but the wind was blowing with extreme force and we could only be outside the van for a few minutes without freezing our extremities. Being sheltered and warm in our van, we waited it out and around noon we were able to head out. We walked through the rolling hills and by the black sand iceberg washed up beach towards the breathtaking glacier, taking in as much as possible.
Heading northeast towards Höfn, we were pointing out waterfalls every five minutes along the drive. The weather changed quickly and we were entering a winter wonderland of now snow-covered mountains and frozen waterfalls. Confident in our van we trucked through the snow and along icy roads without hesitation. Bundling up, we hiked up the mountain towards Hengifoss, which was another of many favorite spots. We were fascinated by the intricate basalt columns surrounding the three waterfalls leading to the top.
Continuing our winter drive, only passing a couple cars, we felt like we were the only ones for miles. Stopping in small towns to fill up with gas using our discount tag was a great bonus. Forewarning, a lot of the time the gas stations don’t have a storefront, or they do and it’s closed. So make sure you double check online if you need to fuel up on snacks as well. We survived on black liquorice and chocolate covered liquorice.
Moving into the North was the longest stretch but most scenic portion of the drive. There are not many tourist attractions along the way, but don’t let that fool you. You will want to stop every five minutes to take more pictures of the scenic mountains and waterfalls. Next stop: Grjótagiá Cave and Mývatn Natural Baths. Definitely a relaxing place to warm up and re-energize.
The Westfjords approached quickly, with only four days left in our trip. There was still way too much we wanted to see in the West portion of the Island for that amount of time. I had been searching for more geothermal natural baths, as it was something we both really enjoyed. I stumbled upon these natural hot pods in Drangsnes.
Drangsnes is a very small town, not much there at all. But these pods on the side of the ocean had been created and they were magical, and they were FREE! As most things were very costly so far on our trip, these three converted hot tubs into geothermal natural hot pods were a nice treat. Iceland sure uses its natural energy for the best! We spent most of the evening there, as the snow fell and the waves crashed against the rocks below.
We enjoyed it so much we went back to watch the sunrise and finished with a warm shower in the change rooms they also provided. If you have the time to make the drive I highly recommend checking this spot out.
Now as two prunes in our van, we moved on. For the remainder of our trip we had some destinations in mind but the weather and Northern Lights determined where we went first. Kyle, being passionate about photography, really wanted to experience the lights and what better place to do it than ICELAND!!! We downloaded the aurora apps and kept a close eye on the weather predictions online. For the next three days this was our focus.
It was a beautiful sunny day and the wind was minimal so we thought we would go for a nice walk having been in the van for most of our trip. We passed through mossy lava fields and volcanic craters, heading towards Gatklettur. I honestly wasn’t expecting much after looking at the reviews and pictures online, but man were we blown away! What a beautiful community. We spent a couple hours walking the cliff edge watching massive crystal white waves crash against basalt columns and black sand beaches. Iceland had stolen our hearts.
As noted before, our evenings consisted of the two of us jumping between websites and apps determined to see the Aurora. We decided the Akranes Lighthouse would be the best place. We waited it out in our van staying warm before spending a cold windy night with our heads in the stars. The clouds had rolled in but we weren’t giving up and then surprise, a glow of patterns filling the sky of green and purple. It was amazing!
After getting a taste for the northern lights the night before, we were determined to see it again. The probabilities were high according to the apps and so were our hopes. We spent the afternoon at Laugarvatn Fontana. We had scoped out a few parking spots just outside town and it turned out it was even better than the night before!
Our last day! Where did the time go? We finished the trip with a few more tourist attractions around the Golden Circle seeing the Geysir, Gullfoss, and spent the afternoon at Perlan, the fifth floor cafe with impressive architecture design. We ended the day and last evening at the blue lagoon where the NORTHERN LIGHTS put on another show! It was a perfect trip and even more perfect ending.
Until next time Iceland, and our home on wheels thanks to Rent.is
Read more: A Tour through Iceland
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