Iceland – Highlights part 1

Written by Michelle/Photos by Michelle & David

Stykkisholmu

After leaving Reykjavik we headed to the Snæfellsnes area. We arrived in Stykkisholmu in the early evening  and by the time we got settled in our hotel, the little light there had disappeared. When we woke up the next morning we were pleasantly surprised by the amazing scenery and beautiful light.

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It also happens to be one of the scenes in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (which we didn’t realise when we booked the hotel).

We cannot end this entry without mentioning our hotel, Hotel Egilsen. Admittedly, it was the most expensive hotel we stayed in during the trip but the cute but modern rooms were excellent and the home-made breakfast (including smoothies, eggs and home-made granola) were divine.

All in all, a perfect example of the Icelandic hospitality

Godafoss

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Iceland is dotted with waterfalls big and small. The first major waterfall we encountered was Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods), did not disappoint, even on a glum, overcast day where the temperature must have been close to zero. There was something raw and wild about the waterfall that made us want to photograph it from every angle.

Myvatn

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The Myvatn area is in the north of Iceland and is not to be missed. The landscape is like another world. By the time we had reached the north the weather had worsened and Myvatn was covered in snow.

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The region consistsof volcanic craters, spluttering mud pots and steaming vents and fumaroles. We would highly recommend the Myvatn Nature Baths. Although they are smaller than the much more well-known Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, they were not as touristy and equally relaxing and maybe even a tad warmer.There was something incredibly surreal about being in a steaming, naturally heated, baby blue coloured pool while surrounded by snow-covered lava fields. It truly felt like something out of a science-fiction movie.

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Not far form the baths is Dimmuborgir (the Dark Castles), a giant jagged lava field where stacks of lava tower above you. There are marked walking trails but unfortunately time did not permit us to explore this area.

Jökulsàrlón

Jökulsàrlón is in the south-east of Iceland and is not to be missed. It is a lagoon containing icebergs that have fallen off the glaciers (of which there are many in the south) in the area. The bright blue colours of the icebergs were an incredible contrast against the dark, cold waters of the lagoon.

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Once again, the weather was not ideal (but is it ever in Iceland?) with the wind-chill factor making the temperature well below zero. There are boat trips around the lagoon but it was so cold on land we couldn’t bare the thought of how cold it must have been on the water. The lagoon flows to the ocean which of course means the icebergs float into the ocean or become stranded on the black beach, which again was quite surreal to see.

Vik

Heading along the southern coast we made an unplanned stop in Vik. As a town there is not much to write about but we did stop at a cute cafe, Halldorskaffi, for a late lunch. The friendly waitress told us about the local delicacy of Skyr, a thick, creamy, low in fat and sugar yoghurt. I learnt to love this quite early on in the trip and have been trying to find in Munich ever since to no avail.

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It turned out that just down the road from the cafe is Reynisdrangar, rock formations off the coast that look like fingers poking out of the ocean. It turned out to be a perfect photo opportunity (as attested by the photography class present) as the sun was setting and the sky was filled with beautiful hues of pink, orange and blue.


Click here for more pictures of our Icelandic adventure
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