Iceland · 12 Days · 16 Moments · August 2017

Reece's adventure in Iceland

31 August 2017

Our hike up Snaefellsjoekull Glacier was cancelled due to poor weather so we took an hours walk along the coast from Arnarstapi to Hellnar. Lava had flowed and cooled into the ocean creating this spectacular ragged coastline. Great walk, recommended as one of the best short hikes in Iceland. Drove towards Reykjavik stopping off at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. A really weird but very beautiful waterfall, where spring water flows out from under the lava creating a curtain of mini waterfalls. Probably my favourite of all the ones we have seen. Short drive to our hotel, Hotel Glymur, very eclectic but nice. Another short walk around the area and a soak in the hot tubs after. Great way to finish the day.

30 August 2017

Massive day behind the wheel driving the West Coast down to the Snaefellsjoekull peninsula. Stopped off at some small volcanoes for a short walk. Arrived at Hótel Búðir late evening to catch a few moody photos of the Black Church and take a 45min walk through the moss covered lava fields before the rain chased us indoors. An amazing dinner at a very cosy nostalgic hotel. Would highly recommend it.

29 August 2017

A quick evening walk around Akuyeri to make the most of the sun. Met a very friendly ginger cat who proceeded to follow me around for a few streets of my walk. Don't think Lachie would be too impressed if I bought him home with me!
Day two of the road trip, started out from Mývatn with 6°, misting rain and a biting wind. Not more than hour to or first stop Dettifoss, the largest waterfall in Europe. Dettifoss was really impressive but we didn't hang around long as it was absolutely freezing. Walked further upsteam to glimpse Selfoss before legging it back to the car. Had fun for an hour doing a little 4WD'ing in the Jimny to our next stop, Ásbyrgi Canyon. A horseshoe shaped canyon... very pretty. Walked the cliff top track to get a great view. Glad we were wearing our full wet weather gear. Hour further down the road is Húsavík. A small fishing village with the BEST fish and chips! Sun finally came out for some great glimpses of the snow capped mountains on the other side of the fjord. Nothing but the Greenland Sea between us and the Arctic. A very scenic drive. Last few nervous miles back to Akuyeri with the fuel light blinking the last 30km, lucky it was a down hill coast for the last 5km!

28 August 2017

... heading for a late lunch at the Vogafjós Cowshed Cafe. Everything is home made from the bread to the mozzarella. Glass walls between you and a working cow shed! Quite neat. Another 5 mins down the road to Dimmuborgir. An area with weird lava towers and a stunted birch tree forest. After a 30 min walk we headed back to the Mývatn Nature Baths, hoping that all the tour buses had left. Expensive but a neat hot pool to soak in. Can see why the hot pools are such a big part of community life in Iceland.
Day one of road trip, Akuyeri to Reykjahlíð on the edge of Lake Mývatn. In our trusty Suzuki Jimny (a slush jeep) we travelled up the fjord before striking East. Winding drive through green hills with small glacial valleys. First stop was Goðafoss Waterfall. Amazing 12m cascades, very wet and windy. Continued on through a few very small towns to the lake Mývatn and the town of Reykjahlíð. Short drive up the road to a volcanic area called Namafjall Hverarönd. Steaming vents and bubbling mud. Climbed up a steep mud hill for a great view. Descended past some other tourists who chickened out half way up... inching their way down the steep slope on their bums in the mud. Thatll serve em for wearing Armani jeans and designer suede shoes (plus ignoring all the warning signs at the bottom!). Continued up to the emerald green crater Lake Viti Maar (of Krafla volcanic region). Had erupted 29 times! A walk around the top of the crater, which was covered in thick mud before heading back....

27 August 2017

Had an amazing dinner at Fiskmarkaðurinn Reykjavik, after the hike. Easy start in the morning before making our way to the airport for a flight to Akuyeri in the north. Quaint little fishing town of around 18000 people situated at the end of a long fjord. Walked the streets, visited the botanical gardens and art museum. Had a lovely dinner at Restaurant Strikið overlooking the harbour fjord. Ready to begin our road trip tomorrow!

26 August 2017

Woke up to nasty weather, which meant we couldn't hike the pass. Jumped in the 4WD and drove down the river to a tiny canyon. Walked in the rain up a canyon to a tiny rock crevice with a stunning waterfall at its end. One of the prettiest places I have been. Got very wet but it was worth it. Continued the drive out crossing lots of rivers. Our guides kept stopping to warn tourists not to continue up river in their rental cars. Amazing how stupid people are... rent a VW golf and then try to cross a river in flood?? Reached the highway and stopped at Selandjafoss waterfall. Really big waterfall you can walk behind. Got drenched but it was fun. Hundreds of tourists.

25 August 2017

Last day of hiking. In the shadow of Eyjafjallajökull volcano (2010 eruption which caused all the havoc with flights). Followed the rivers towards the volcano all day. Very beautiful terrain dotted with some weary trekkers. Arrived at our final destination, Porsmork. Great spot at the base of a large valley with Eyjafjallajökull towering above. Glaciers sliding down to the valley and waterfalls everywhere. Quick visit to the local "store" for some exorbitantly priced beer and chips. Fun night playing cards.

24 August 2017

Day three of the hike. Another beautiful day. Early morning river crossing (so so so cold). 5km in we had a coffee at the ranger's station who were friends of Asdis. Onwards to dark dusty planes of scoria. Trekkers ahead of us look like tiny ants on the horizon. Surrounded by volcanoes and glacier melt rivers in the valley below. Not as pretty as the day before. Fairly tough going. Very glad to make it to or our hillside hut at 3pm. A shower then quick walk up to the canyon with a back pack full of beer. Sat with the guides having a drink but staying a safe distance from the edge! Rack and stack in the hut tonight, with each allotted sleeping spout being about 60cm wide. Pretty much spooning smelly strangers all night. Asdis unleashed with some impressive snoring, much to the delight of the other 19 cabin mates!

23 August 2017

Day two and our trek from Landmannalaugar begins. 26+ km of varied terrain. Started out climbing through a lava field up to its crater source. Absolutely spectacular scenery. Little wonder it is in the top 10 hikes in the world. Ascended up to above the snow line, passing through fields of obsidian glass, steaming volcanic vents and fluorescent green moss. Hard going uneven terrain with old ice and small streams from the melt. Descent down to our cabins by the lake... so glad to get there! Not as many campers but colder than the night before. 3am wake up to see the northern lights... most amazing experience standing in the frost with dancing white/green lights overhead. Couldn't have asked for a better day!

22 August 2017

Day one of our Laugavegur trek. We met our two guides, Ásdís and Gísli, and fellow trekker Loretta and drove for around five hours to our starting point. Plenty of amazing vistas and stops along the way. Blue skies, snow capped volcanoes, lava fields and glacial rivers. Short hike at Landmannalauger hut. Hundreds of campers huddled around a natural hot water creek. Soaked in the river. Freezing night time conditions, glad to be in the bunk house.

21 August 2017

#BlueLagoon #Iceland fun afternoon
Another sunny day and we started early on the Golden Circle tour. Driving out over bassalt lava fields covered by centuries old moss. Very barren landscape with the odd steaming vent. Very similar to Rotorua but not a tree in sight. Huge glaciers in the distance, giant walls of ice pushing hundreds of metres high. Arrived at Gullfoss waterfall with thousands of other tourists. Absolutely amazing! Followed by a Geyser. Got a great slow mo video of the geyser. Lunch at a tourist trap then off to snorkling between tectonic plates. Water was only 2°C and it took about an hour to suit everyone up in massive dry suits. Felt like Michelin Man. Water was ice cold but crystal clear. Everybit of exposed skin was instantly numb. But so amazing drifting with current down the massive fissure. Water takes 30 years to filter down through rocks from the glacier - so clean. A few spastic tourists unable to work snorkel made for additional entertainment. A must do.

19 August 2017

All re-engerised after my nap we hit the streets again. Party atmosphere with the whole country turning out for Cultral Festival. Streets were packed. Walked back to Harpa. Most impressive architecture, angles and glass. Inside we sat in on a free opera. Amazing young talent, not that Lachie or I understood what was going on. Walked back up the main street and through various street concerts. Sun was out and the locals were certainly making the most of it with lots of drinking and fun. Found a cozy bar overlooking the street for a kick ar$e negroni before joining the long queues outside the restaurants; hopeful for a table. Nice local fish stew and Viking beer before hitting the streets again. Stopped at street stage playing techno. Kids to grandparents all grooving away. It was lots of fun. We spent a good couple of hours watching and dancing before heading up the road to a bar. Home after the fireworks. What a massive first day!
Day one Reykjavik... after 38 hours transit and only a few hours sleep, I didn't have high hopes for achieving much today. But we had an awesome day. Got up early and walked up go Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral and around the water front to Harpa. Plenty of old wood houses painted up. City marathon was about to start do we grabbed two bikes and cycled over to Perla. Perla is a glass domed museum situated on a hill behind the city. Affectionately referred to as the 'boob'. After taking in the 360° views we had a coffee (not bad here) and lachie got his photo in the nipple. Walked back into the city for $100 burger and beer lunch... man is food expensive! I crashed for an hour before we hot the town again in the afternoon.