Iceland is a magical place full of wonderful people, quaint towns, and stunning natural wonders. Arkade had the privilege to spend a short week on this amazing island in September. In many ways the marvels of Iceland are difficult to convey. It is very much a “you had to be there” experience, but hopefully this brief vacation diary and accompanying photo album will shed some insight into this magical place.
On days one and two we walked the streets of Reykjavik where we enjoyed their coffee houses, looked at some of the oldest churches in the country, toured the HARPA performing arts center, and popped into a few art galleries. We took a trip up the west coast to Akranes, home of the country’s oldest lighthouse, and then took a sharp turn to the islands interior climbing up other worldly volcanic highland fields that looked like the moon save for the occasional glacial waterfall. Along the way we detoured as we saw fit to enjoy waterfalls both big and small.
The third day we toured the southern interior via the famed “Golden Circle” where we saw hot pools, geysers, walked volcanic craters, marveled at the power of the famed Gullfoss waterfall, and stared awestruck during sundown at the only place where one can view the splitting Atlantic tectonic plates above the ocean floor. Along the way we again stopped at many out of the way spots devoid of the ever-present tour bus caravans, and as such we able to enjoy many places alone.
Finally we toured the entire southern coast where we drove through amazing picturesque towns. Along the way the moss covered lava fields of the west gave way to amazing volcanic coastal plains. As we drove we saw countless waterfalls falling hundreds of feet from the edge of the interior shelf to the coastal plains eventually leading us to the glacial bay of Jökusárlón. Here the great southern glacier drifted, piece by piece, into the sea. We walked around the bay and eventually made our way to the black sand beach, which was peppered with blue glacial icebergs. It was an otherworldly experience to stand on those black beaches as the sun filtered through the iridescent ice. We made our way back to Reykjavik to take a midnight cruise to see the Northern lights.
We barely scratched the surface of Iceland’s wonders, but we had an amazing trip. We will surely return to this stunning land to once again partake in its wonders.
Written by Daniel Cochrane
Photos by Paul Bundy