Day 1 - Thursday 30-08-2012
In the morning of Thursday the 30rd of August we (Fenneke, my parents, brother, sister and myself) drove to Brussels to take a plane to Reykjavik at 13:50. We arrived at Reykjavik at around 15:30 where we directly went to the rental car company to get our car. We got lucky because the car we originally rented was not available so we got a bigger car. We then drove to a cottage near Fljotshlid with a hot tub which some of us enjoyed.
Day 2 - Friday 31-08-2012
On our first real day in Iceland we drove to the glacial Jökulsárlón lagoon which is a 300 kilometer drive from Fljotshlid. We left early, because the drive was going to cost us a couple of hours. Along the way we stopped at various interesting places such as a lava field and a small waterfall. Driving through the deserted Icelandic landscape is a surreal and fun experience.
When we arrived at the lagoon we took a boat tour across the lagoon which brought us very close to the immense floating icebergs. After the boat tour we had lunch at the nearby small visitor center. During our lunch it rained quite heavily but when we were done the rain stopped. After lunch we headed to the black sand beach where the lagoon flows into the sea. There are lots of smaller icebergs there which are stranded on the shore. After enjoying the special scenery at the beach we headed back to the lagoon where lots of seals were now visible. We got to see various seals from just a few meters away. This lagoon with its floating icebergs and lots of seals and the nearby beach are an amazing place to visit.
After visiting the lagoon we drove to Kirkjubaejarklaustur where we had another cottage with hot tub. Fenneke and I took some time there to hike up the flank of a nearby mountain to enjoy the view which reached all the way to the sea.
Bellow you'll find a GPS track log of our activities near the Jökulsárlón lagoon:
View 2012-08-31 - Glacial lagoon @ Iceland in a larger map
Day 3 - Saturday 01-09-2012
On Saturday we had a busy schedule. We started the day by driving towards the Solheimajökull glacier where we planned a hike on the glacier together with a guide. We had to drive off road for a couple of kilometers before reaching the meeting point with our guide, this was a lot of fun to do. When the hike arrived we got our crampons and ice axe and headed towards the foot of the glacier. Once we got there the guide explained how to put on the crampons and walk with them. We then started to ascended the glacier which was a tremendous amount of fun. It was an amazing experience to walk on hundreds of meters of ice. We crossed some small crevasses and I crawled through a small tunnel in the ice.
After the hike we drove to a little town called Vik where there are some cliffs near the see called Dyrholaey. On those cliffs there are lots of Puffins if you come there during the right season. When we were there the season was just over, but we got lucky and saw a few Puffins anyway. The beach there is completely black and the sea is quite wild.
After visiting Vik we drove to Skógafoss. which is a nice waterfall. When we got there the weather was pretty bad, but we decided to go and have look anyway. Although it was raining quite heavily it was still fun to see the fall. After the fall we drove back to Fljotshlid where we spent our first night and stayed at the same cottage.
Bellow you'll find a GPS track log of our hike on the Solheimajökull glacier, sadly the GPS stopped working after a few minutes on the glacier:
View 2012-09-01 - Hiking on glacier @ Iceland in a larger map
Day 4 - Sunday 02-09-2012
On our fourth day in Iceland we drove the Golden Circle route, which is a popular tourist route in the western part of Iceland, just above Reykjavik. Our first stop on the route was the Kerið volcano crater in which the water has a clear blue color when the sun shines into it. We walked around the crater after which e drove on to the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. This reminded us of Yellowstone National Park which we saw in the USA last year although Yellowstone is much larger. It's a fun fact that the word "geyser" actually comes from the town Geysir where the first geyser was discovered in 1294.
After the thermal area we drove on to the waterfall Gullfoss (meaning "golden falls") which was truly spectacular. It's a very wide waterfall which falls down into a canyon in two steps. The location of the fall feels remote giving it an authentic feel. We ended the day in the National Park Þingvellir where we drove around, visited various sights and did a hike of about two hours. We enjoyed ourselves there very much.
From the National Park it was just a short drive to Reykjavik where we spent our last night in Iceland.
Day 5 - Monday 03-09-2012
On our last day in Iceland we went whale watching. Iceland is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to spot whales, but today just wasn't our day. The weather was quite bad with constant rain and a chilly wind. On the boat we put on the suits they provided us and went outside. We spent over two hours outside, but sadly didn't spot any whales. On the other hand we did spot various dolphins which was a first for us, so the trip wasn't a total loss. Seeing the dolphins swim around was a lot of fun.
Before going to the airport we made a final stop at Höfði, a house in Reykjavik where the Reykjavik_Summit, a meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, was held.
Bellow you'll find a GPS track log of our whale watching trip:
View 2012-09-03 - Whale watching @ Iceland in a larger map
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