Ever since I could remember, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. As a child, I read about it in a book and was instantly fascinated. For one, I’ve always had an affinity for islands. For another, just the name itself inspires a certain level of hushed reverence. And it seemed like a wild frontier, in the middle of the frigid Northern Atlantic. As an adult, I have watched as dozens of photographers sought out it’s rugged and untamed beauty, capturing shots that only dizzied my mind further and increased my desire to go someday.
Well, those days are here.
[This is me and Emily]
I am writing this from Reykjavik, Iceland… sitting contentedly at a small wooden table in the corner of my hostel room while I shake off the remnants of my 30 minute power nap and try to forget that, aside from it, I’ve been up for 36 hours. It’s not important how slightly bedraggled I appear or how much I am longing for my bunk tonight. What’s important is: I am in Iceland.
And, naturally, I have the pictures to prove it.
After landing in Keflavik, my travel companion and I picked up our rental and hit the roads, instantly struck by the vastness of the terrain in that area. Located in the southeastern corner of the island, at this time of year it is devoid of plants and boasts a murky brown tone, particularly in overcast weather. It is also seemingly endless.
The day was overcast in the morning, gradually burning off until sunny at night.
[This brave home near Keflavik inspired me, so solid in spite of its solitude]
[The roads seemed to stretch for eternity, narrow and winding through hills and valleys of volcanic rock and fuzzy brown grass. We would go for dozens of kilometers without seeing another vehicle]
[To keep you on your toes, lakes such as this volunteer their presence around a curve. Gloriously unexpected near Hafnarfjörõur, the blue water is hardly done justice by this photo]
[This abandoned mill was strangely poetic and beautiful. I couldn’t stop staring at it]
[Due to the volcanic nature of the island, hot springs pop up all over. This one, right across from Kleifarvatn, smelled especially strongly of sulfur and boasted multiple hiking trails weaving up and around the hillside]
Reykjavik, a bustling international hub with city comforts but a small-town feel, happened upon us approximately 45 minutes later.
Feeling sleep-deprived, yet inspired by the steeple of Hallgrimskirkja, we ended up attending a 75 minute service held under Catholic tradition and entirely in Icelandic. I am not too pious to admit that I had a difficult time keeping my eyes open, but the cathedral was stunning.
[Organ. Quite resonant and effective at keeping me awake]
Post-service, we headed south to the famed Blue Lagoon. It’s an expansive natural hot springs, boasting a phenomenal teal blue color and achieving worldwide popularity.
I will say: The natural wonders of God’s creation never cease to amaze me.
[Note: Emily and I opted against actually swimming in the spring, mainly because it was a minimum of 60 Euros and we didn’t feel inspired to pay that amount. I will say, the photos above are of the outside, all-natural and non-developed lagoon. There was a large structure built around the majority of the spring and it was quite elaborate and expensive, including souvenirs of real fur and fancy lotion. There was also a swim-up bar. I prefer nature to be natural, but that’s just me]
I’m writing this from the Loft hostel downtown Reykjavik, which is eco-friendly and cozy.
Tonight, we traipsed around the town a bit, catching some local artists performing poetry and enjoying a beautiful sunset.
[A stunning example of architecture along the waterfront in Reykjavik]
[These mountains finally revealed themselves at the end of the day, just in time for the sunset over the water]
[Sunset over the water]
Thank you for all of your well-wishes and kind words, this is only day 1 of 14! Much more to come.