Iceland. No words.


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OK, maybe just a few…

Our biggest dilemma was stewing over the map at night, worrying what we would miss no matter which direction we chose.

Note to self; wine is not the navigator’s friend.

 

Mirror mirror Iceland, slimpaley.com

Photo from my Instagram

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map_of_iceland

 

 

One day we fully intended to go inland and take a helicopter over the active volcano (I told you wine was involved) Unfortunately (??!) when we arrived at the airport the next morning the helicopter pilot said it was snowing on the glacier adjacent to the volcano and “visibility would be impaired”

Really, he had us at ‘vis’, but you must watch this video, just so you don’t think we were totally crazy.

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And to think we can’t even get any rain in Santa Barbara. Four days in Iceland and you’re like the star of the Weather Channel.

Volcano viewing aborted, we held true to the rest of the day’s itinerary, heading inland towards the volcano/glacier by car instead. This route is gorgeous and takes you through “The Golden Circle” which includes stops at feisty geysers and the Gullfoss waterfall. The Golden Circle is aprox. a 90 minute drive from Reykjavik.

BTW there appears to be no traffic in Iceland.

890A4224 Gullfoss waterfalls Iceland

 

The Gullfoss gorge formed by flash flood waters forcing their way through cracks in the basalt lave layers. Average water flow is 109 cubic metre per second, but at times can reach 2,000.

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890A4138 Autumn coloured landscape Iceland

The scenery is quite breathtaking everywhere you look.

 

Iceland river on way to falls

 

It was extremely crisp and cold but with gorgeous blue skies.

 

IMG_5412 Waiting for Geyser

 

Waiting For Geyser

 

iPhone, trees Iceland

Yes, so traffic and trees are not something you see a lot of in Iceland.

In fact, as you head away from Reykjavik  you don’t see a lot of people either. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The locals only semi-joke that everyone knows everyone in Reykjavik and supposedly there’s actually an iPhone  APP that will alert you if you’re related to the person you’re chatting up in a bar.

Awkward cousin liaison averted 🙂

The Icelandic people you do see are all extremely tall, blonde and young.  So really, who needs a whole lot of that anyway??

 

On the second to last day of our stay we left our hotel in Reykjavik and this time set out north, again by car, to the Hotel Budir situated on the coast of The Snaefellsnes Peninsula National Park.

Budir black church

 Hotel Budir

Ahaamazing hiking here. Just absolutely STUNNING. The hotel itself is rustically charming, the rooms very simply appointed but  nice, and the food excellent. They have a great old dog named “Nails”   🙂

 

 

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Truly a spectacular spot and quite unusual to see all the treeless moss and lichen covered fields of lava stretching towards the glacier in one direction and the Atlantic ocean in the other.

lava rocks and lichen

 

 

lava beach, Iceland

Down on the beach the sand becomes darker, but this is still considered to be one of the few white sand beaches in Iceland.

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Although we look like we were freezing here – with long underwear under our clothes we were perfectly dressed and cozy as could be.  I have a new favourite jacket tho!

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seafood chowder Slimpaley Instagram

Stopping for some creamy seafood chowder at “Fjoruhusid Hellnum”, a minuscule cliffside restaurant cantilevered over the westernmost tip of the Peninsula, right before the hike was a splendid idea.

 

IMG_5499 Budir white sand beach  Iceland

Coming upon Budir Church from the beach.

 

IMG_5501 Budir Black Church  Slim Paley

 

Originally  built in the 1700’s and rebuilt in the 18th century, the little black Budir Church is nestled beneath the Snaefellsjokull glacier and is one of the oldest wooden churches in Iceland.

 

Fields of marshmallows

Marshmallow farming

 

890A4236 Icelandic Horses 2

No trip to Iceland would be complete without seeing the famous Icelandic Horses.  Here we stopped by the side of the road to make some new friends.  It was pretty cold and my gloveless hands were semi frozen so the photos were fast and furious.

 

 

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They couldn’t have been any sweeter.

 

890A4242 Icelandic horses

SO taking this to my colourist next time I go.

Girls just wanna have fun

Quite honestly, it seems no matter what direction you choose in Iceland, there are so many beautiful things to see and do.

We didn’t even get to the geothermal heated blue lagoons, the black beaches on the South coast, and, and, and…

 

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The Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik

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890A4161divers in Iceland, slimpaley

We almost went diving. Except totally not.  Yes, those are people in the freezing water.

 

 

Slim Paley champagne and wind

However cold whipping wind on the plains was perfect for keeping champagne cold by the end(ish) of the day.

Skál !!

 

Iceland appears to have recovered very well from its economic meltdown in 2008.  Reykjavik in particular is a very happening little city. Not as far as you might think, with direct flights on Icelandic Air from Denver, Vancouver, and NY to name just a few North American cities, I highly recommend putting it on your “Places To See” list!

 

xxSP

 

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Blue Lagoon photo via TheAmazingBuzz.com

31 Comments

  1. Such a totally fabulous post , your pics amazing , seems as though you didn’t miss a trick. Your wonderful sense of humor appreciated also. Were you presented with champagne
    by another kind tourist, or had you hidden it for your treck back. ? Thanks for sharing, I will revisit it many times . ox.

  2. Slim,

    I call Iceland “my other home” and go back as often as I can — as each time there are more things to see that are new and wonderful. Deep sea fishing in the Arctic Ocean at midnight — in the 24 hour days of summer — where else could you do that. Being lowered into lava tubes, slivering along on your back in total velvet darkness (except for your flashlight) is never to be forgotten.

    When asked, I tell people that besides Antarctica — which is in a class that no other could touch — be sure if you go to one other place, make it Iceland — and you will want to go back – and back – and back! Joan

  3. Gorgeous !! My daughter and I have it on our schedule for next year! I’ll try to remember that wine is not the navigators friend. It’s so fun to follow your travels!!
    xo~Jennifer

  4. That was my favourite post of yours EVER. My favourite picture: “down on the beach the sand becomes darker” followed by “they couldn’t have been any sweeter” – really amazing. I so want to go.

  5. Thanks everso for sharing a bit of Iceland! My husband and grown son take a trip together every few years; always someplace rather exotic. Think this should be their next adventure!
    Loved your clever remark about showing your colorist a picture of those beautiful horses’ manes!

  6. I never knew what wonder there is in Iceland. Curious, and stupid question, is this their fall? Seeing the hay, and as a small farmer made me question what kind of weather would allow them to actually have a season to grow anything. Beautiful, rustic, harsh and natural wonderland. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Be sure and get your referral fee from Iceland’s tourist bureau because with this post, there is no telling how many of us will be traveling there. INCREDIBLE. I felt a chill from just looking at all those windswept vistas. And oh my gosh, the photo of that little church and the lava video. Thanks, as ALWAYS, for being fabulous our tour guide!

  8. So THAT’s how you spell skal!!!! And you had me at RAIN and NO TRAFFIC. I’m moving!
    This was lovely! As always
    MH

  9. I have never been to Iceland, but it looks lovely! Those horses look awfully sweet too, I hoped none of them nipped you by accident, Slim!

  10. Two Places to go. One with wall-to-wall people, rockets and God. The other, God’s creation in action, the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the nature book before people. Vant to be alone? Go to Iceland.

    Great video, I thought to get the sound track.

    Thanks to Patty for sending.

    Love

    Robert

  11. Looks lovely there! Just last night watched documentary, “Chasing Ice” on Netflix streaming. Video cameras posted in remote areas record the acceleration of glaciers melting and retreating. Fascinating, incredible photography. But, of course, very sad to witness the visual evidence of climate change!

  12. Iceland Air does a thing where you can stop off for 24-48 hours and then continue on your journey. I did it once and it was amazing. Gorgeous country, beautiful people and stunning light. The Blue Glacier is unreal. Glad you had a great time.

  13. Love this post Slim, your photos are amazing. That video of the volcano is pretty amazing as well, although I think i’d be a bit nervous to do that.

    Thanks for sharing your travels with us, always entertaining!

  14. I think it is widely known that Iceland’s economy bounced back because of the
    marshmallow farming!

    So load up you hot cocoas America and support Iceland!!

  15. Hubby and I did the Iceland overnight stay that Icelandair offers.
    Spent the night at the Blue Lagoon Spa. We can’t wait to get back there.
    Your photos are so beautiful…makes me want to book the trip sooner.

  16. This post makes the whole Iceland air stopover deal 10 times as tempting. Sounds like Iceland is worth a decent length trip to explore the Island.

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