scandinavian adventure // iceland (part two)

7.05.2016

our next days route was from vik to höfn. the black sand beach, reynisfjara, in vik was right across from our airbnb. along with the basalt columns there are a variety of seabirds nesting in the grassy cliffs - including the puffin. over half of the worlds population of puffin come to iceland to breed during the summer months. it was freezing and windy and we couldn't get a good photo of them but *soaring excitement levels* nonetheless. the following stops were : vatnajökullfjallsárlónjökulsárlón (#glaciersarecool #nopunintended) and the hoffell hot pots (i HIGHLY recommend these - they are just west of höfn and not far off ring road). we arrived in höfn for the night which we came to find out is the langoustine capital of the world - sooooo langoustine pizza! yes please!
our early start to day five began with spotting a herd of reindeer (minor freak - out moment) while they were feeding on a hillside just off the road. after a blurry photo shoot (due to our shameful lack of a zoom lens) we continued our journey up the coast through the eastern fjords where we stumbled upon a lakeside northern shoveller nesting ground (photo of their intricate fuzzy nest below) and through snowy mountains where we stopped off to drink glacial water from a stream. the highland stretch was so desolate (with no cell service) that i was admittedly relieved each few and far between time that we saw another car pass by. other humans! we wound down to the town of egilsstadir for a much needed rest. soon we were back to the road again up to our home away from home for the night. northern iceland was unlike anything we had seen thus far. 

our day six in the north was a day with no driving. yay for daniel! we spent the whole day in the sunshine-filled lake mývatn area whose clear blue skies and bright green rolling hills conjured images of the south of france rather than iceland. the geothermal and seismic activity in this area is intense. the landscapes vary from barren and desert-like to cultivated grassy pastures to areas where the earth had shook so violently that it was torn apart. steam and the smell of sulfur wafts through the air. this natural phenomena has been harnessed to create nature baths where we spent most of our day soaking, sun-bathing and unwinding. we even got sunburned! (i would love a sticker that says "i got sunburned in iceland" but alas never saw one. side business?? maybe one day.) digressions aside though - it was perfect, not crowded or very touristy. for a comparison to the blue lagoon click here. the drive from there to akureyri (the northern capital) was stunning - including the spectacular goðafoss. other sights to see in the area are : krafla cratermud pots and dettifoss.
 from our hostel in akureyri we drove southward over four hours toward reykjavik. the sun was gleaming and there wasn't a cloud in sight. the road trip south was an easy ride including ice cream pit stops with scenes of little cottages and horses galloping in the fields. daniel pulled over a few times for me to get yet more photos and videos of horses and colts to add to my growing collection *grin emoji* - he was such a good sport. we reached reykjavik and our expedition came full circle when we met some friends at kex where our trip began. we spent our remaining hours strolling through the city's sunny night, watching ecstatic football fans cheer over icelands victorious game that day. our red-eye flight from keflavik to helsinki followed at 1am. that meant goodbye (for now) to iceland. day and night my mind still drifts to this unearthly land. musings of its singular beauty and our adventures here will stay with me forever. 


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