Time moves fast. That’s what I realised when scrolling through my photos from Iceland today. It’s been half a year already, since I took that flight from Amsterdam to Reykjavik with WOW Air. And the craving to go back has gotten worse than ever.
To be honest, the ‘homesickness’ to Iceland has had a delay for all those months. For the entire summer I’ve been busy with work – honestly: I can’t even remember summer, even if I wanted to. The other recent months I’ve been in a state of trance as a result of my surf and yoga escape in Portugal. But now, now that work has gotten more quiet and I finally have some time to relax, I suddenly feel the strong urge to go back to nature to ‘detox’ – nah, that’s a hipster term, let’s say to ‘destress’.
I can almost imagine breathing in the mountain air in Iceland. I can almost feel the fresh, slightly cold wind going through my hair and I can hear the quietness. Quietness that is relaxing like no other.
I could use an escape like that right now.
Every time when I try reminiscing to a country that I miss, or every time I want to remember what it ‘feels’ like to be there.. I write. And that is why today, again, I write. To dream about Iceland, to think back – one more time – to those wonderful moments that will never, ever leave my memory.
Driving those first few kilometers
You know the feel: the moment after arriving in a new country when you get your very first impressions of that landscape, the people, the life and the homes. We arrived in Iceland late at night, it was dark already. Not pitch black, but the sun had set. We got picked up from the airport by SADcars, the company from which we rented our 4×4 (which we later named David – oh, I miss David). Already I could catch a glimpse of those endless roads that make Iceland a bit less pristine.
But for me it was the day after arriving that made a real impression. The day we started driving those very first few kilometers, making our Ring Road – roadtrip through Iceland official.
Endless views, high mountains decorated with petite waterfalls and the ocean at the horizon.The further we drove the less tourists we spotted. And that is exactly how I like it. My first impressions of Iceland did not disappoint. Not for one bit.
Looking into the depth of the Fjadrargljufur Canyon
While still no idea how to pronounce the Fjadrargljufur Canyon, nor will I ever learn to pronounce it correctly (sounds like something I could say when I’m drunk though), I still remember this glorious piece of landscape as one of the most beautiful nature scenario’s I’ve ever seen in real life. High upon the list with Ursa Beach in Portugal and lake Sorvagsvatn in the Faroe Islands. The Fjadrargljufur Canyon was one of the things I knew I needed to see when visiting Iceland, and it was one of the few places in Iceland that actually gave me goosebumps. I am not sure why exactly. Maybe some of you don’t even find it that special. To me, seeing this, made my day. And the day after. And the day after that.
Having a petit reunion with my travel-bud Marie
I met her through my blog. Oh, the things social media can lead to. After keeping in touch with each other through social media for a bit longer than a year, we decided to book a trip together. And so, last year we traveled to Spain, wandering through Barcelona and Madrid – one of Marie’s many home-away-from-home’s. Back then we already dreamt about going to Iceland together. Who knew that dreams can come true so quickly. I met Marie at Schiphol Airport this time, to catch our flight to Reykjavik. We hugged, we sang along the classic roadtrip tunes, we laughed, we traveled, we smiled, we shared. Traveling to Iceland and seeing Marie again, was definitely a highlight.
Ending my day with a view over the Black Beach of Vik
With a bit of rain, a ton of wind, a couple of detours and only a few tourists left, we walked upon that little hill that gave us one hell of a view. Or mountain, what ever you’d call it. It was one of the marvelous views I saw that week that made me fall in love with Iceland. Only a humpback whale would have made this view more impressive. But we’ll get back to the humpback whales later this post (hint, hint). Magical, breathtaking and slightly mysterious. Only in Iceland you’ll get to see something like this. Only in Iceland.
Arriving in the middle of nowhere for an adventurous night
Whilst booking all the hotels for our Ring Road trip through Iceland I made it my goal to stay in the middle of nowhere for at least one night. And so I booked this little cottage, in the North East of Iceland, on the last night before driving back to Reykjavik. It was no lie that this cottage was in the middle of nowhere. In fact, because one of the only two roads you could take to get there was closed, we had to take a detour that took us at least two hours extra. The roads took us higher up in the mountains (we even had some snow), through the quietest surroundings with hardly any traffic, and secluded lakes. Until finally, after hours of driving, we saw that petite wooden cottage that would be ours for the night.
With only sheep as our neighboors, only the sound of the rain, only the meadows and lakes as our view and only each other as our company, this was by far my favorite night spent in Iceland.
Seeing a humpback whale
I repeat: seeing a humpback whale(!!). I wanted to see a humpback whale soooo bad. After not getting the chance in Seattle I was praying I would see at least one whale in Iceland. And so, when we got to Dalvik, in the north of Iceland, we we’re kindly enough offered a whale watching tour by the organisation Arctic Sea Tours. As we were visiting in the right season, chances were definitely high to see whales in real life.
But conditions were rough. Our tour guides warned us beforehand that it wouldn’t be strange if we would endure motion sickness because of the strong waves that day. So with a slight hint of panic I got on board of our petite boat – which definitely looked petite compared to the waves that day – to search for whales. It didn’t take long before our guides told us that we would spot a humpback whale. And yes, there it was – that one whale that made my bucket list somewhat smaller that day. Close enough to our boat to give us a little show, every 5 to 10 minutes when it got to surface. Flipping her (let’s say her) tail and spraying water.
Now I wanna see more.
Back to real life in Reykjavik
Reykjavik was the last stop from our Ring Road road trip. We drove around the island from South, to East, to North to West, to finally hand in our car at the airport again after exploring Reykjavik for one last full day in Iceland. After seeing how quiet and peaceful Iceland can be, Reykjavik is different. Busy all of the sudden.
Hell, driving into Reykjavik was an experience already – where did all those traffic lights come from?
But it was good, it was a completely different side of Iceland. We got to experience a bit of the culture of Iceland, seeing their busiest and most prosperous city. We ended our trip in style – walking in and out of souvenir shops, as you do when you’re a tourist.