How to speak about Iceland other than in terms of nature and landscapes. Indeed, it is the grand and surreal landscapes discovered in blogs of other travelers that are at the origin of our desire to visit this amazing country.
If you do not like the weather in Iceland, wait 5 minutes.
It was the strong winds, the rain and the fog that first welcomed us to this country. Our first thought and impression was: “Finally, Iceland does not look as impressive and outlandish as we imagined it, it even looks like the dreary days in Quebec…” just wait five minutes…?? Indeed, while driving on the famous route 1, the sun had appeared and our impression of the country had changed from this moment on. The light that invades the vast expanses of lava, the cliffs, the sea, showed us Iceland in all its splendor. We discover the country that had called us to him, surreal landscapes, this nature that inspired this trip.
The dangers of Iceland!!!
The biggest danger when visiting Iceland is lack of time. Indeed, considering budget and agenda, we are confronted with making heartbreaking choices about the regions and attractions to visit. Wishing to avoid periods of tourist traffic jams, our choice stopped at the beginning of June and as we had only ten days in front of us and wished to see as much as possible while minimizing travel. The visit of the south and west therefore seemed to us to be a relevant choice. We were not disappointed.
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Another danger that followed us: lack of sleep. In June, it’s never really dark in Iceland. Sleeping in the dark, we can do it, but it interrupted our visits while it was still daylight, it’s a daily struggle. How to choose to go to sleep when we faced uncertain temperatures all day and a sun that finally shines at midnight?? Or when we try to plan our next day by taking a look at the weather and the hours when the sun will be most present are scheduled from 2 am to 5 am in the morning??? Do not imagine that the sun is so rare, we had the sun every day of our trip, as evidenced by our photos.
Under the sun 23h a day…
If God is everywhere, here the wind is God … Indeed, the latter is omnipresent. People at RENT’is also warned us about it. Watch the doors of the vehicle!! So we had this warning in mind throughout the trip, but it was in Stykkishólmur that we actually met the Icelandic winds … It’s hard to stand up and when you drop, the wind is enough almost to hold us back!!
The windy and cold weather of this day inspired us to visit the municipal swimming pool of this beautiful little town of just over 1000 inhabitants. The facilities are modern: locker rooms, showers, indoor and outdoor pool, spa, and water slides. We found our happiness! We warmed up a little in the spa before taking a few laps (1000 meters) in the semi-olympic outdoor pool where every arm raised outside the water reminded us of the 5º Celsius of the day; we returned to the heat of the spa to finish with a good hot shower. If we made our road map where the public pools are indicated, it seems that in Iceland, a community of 300 inhabitants justified the investment of such facilities …This would make our Quebec cities jealous and shame our politicians …
As we moved into the camp site for the night, two hikers faced the rain and these powerful winds as they mounted their tent near a grove of shrubs. It was surely the evening when we appreciated the our camper the most, equipped with heating and sleeping bags adapted to the conditions of the country …
Less crowded places
Our best memories of Iceland, are visiting less-frequented places. This is also the case for visiting the Hjálparfoss Falls, recommended by David, a friendly guide we met by the lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir (a very interesting visit, by the way).
Arriving on the scene, what we discovered was a pool with icy turquoise waters in which flow two imposing falls. Impressive basalt stone formations envelop the perimeter of the basin. We explored places like kids and discovered a path that led upstream of the falls. Climbing this short path, we discovered other fascinating volcanic formations and the view that opened to us was even more magnificent. The contrast of greenery, stone and water composed a picture of a great and rustic beauty where the wild flowers come to bring a touch of sweetness.
Another amazing discovery, a secret thermal bath… Even though we visited some spas during our stay, the bath we had remembered the most was one we discovered from the blog of a traveler. A simple hole of one meter in size in the middle of nature, in the middle of nowhere. Perfect temperature, no facilities for visitors, only nature!!
A little further …
Many well-known and very accessible attractions have also offered us some nice surprises. This is the case of the hiking trail leading upstream of Skógafoss Falls. Admiring this fall from the parking area is already impressive, the climb of the trail is really worth the detour and the little effort. Going up the fall, each curve of the trail is a discovery that invited us to continue our climb to the next curve … and the next, as the view was beautiful. We discovered many enchanting waterfalls and the landscape that opened onto the vast mountains, the mountains and the sea are breathtaking. This panorama encouraged us to continue again and again; to explore a little higher, a little further…
And this same desire to explore took us back every day. In the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we even organized a carpool with our friends as it was heartbreaking to have to leave the beautiful trails along the coast. The cliffs, rock formations throwing themselves into the sea and the bird colonies encouraged us to continue, to push further the discovery.
Leave no trace but leave a little trace…
On the Eldborg crater trail, we met a group of young volunteers from all over Europe. They worked on the steps that give access to the crater. On our return, we saw them carrying a big volcanic stone which will be used for the arrangement of the steps. The two men of our group come to lend a hand to transport the stone. That’s how, somewhere on an Icelandic trail, two Quebecers have left their mark…!!!
How to visit the south of Iceland without stopping in Þingvellir? We are therefore going to conquer this magnificent place. The flaw is impressive! Wherever we paused, the landscape was beautiful. There is certainly the fault, this unique place where we can observe the result of the earthly movement, but while furrowing the path, we discovered there were also magnificent waterfalls, a stone wall of 10m high in places, a chapel with its small cemeteries, snowy mountains in the distance, a lake, meanders, etc. The scenery really gave us a beautiful view.
A sign on our path pulls us a smile and we can not help but capture the image of this unusual memory: A diver zebra crossing!!
The turquoise blue water is exceptionally clear. You can even drink it without a filter. From where we were, we could easily see the bottom at 10 meters. Divers enter the water through a fault that leads to the marsh. They paddle through the meanders of the marsh, crossing the water birds that seem to be very comfortable with their presence. Another place where we left enchanted!
Beautiful Iceland! And it is clear to us that it is worthwhile to minimize your travels to savor every place, every landscape and even to go back to some places to discover them in a new light.
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