It’s been a while since I’ve posted about Iceland. And it’s crazy to think that the trip itself was over 5 months ago. Sorting through photos from this trip has been quite the struggle. We had three cameras going within our group of 6, and factoring in the 6 phones as well, there were a lot of photos. I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t get to use my camera that much on this trip. I guess that was self-inflicted, though. I’m an absolute disaster in cold cold weather, and even though it wasn’t that cold compared to east coast winters, it was quite the nightmare for someone who’s spent their whole life in California. I could barely feel my fingers half the time when we were outside, so I ended up leaving my camera in the car a lot 🙁 If you hadn’t guessed already, my gloves were also a disaster. Definitely not heavy-duty enough to withstand the cold and wind chill in Iceland.
Anyway, our first stop on our second day in Iceland was at a gas station (N1) near Reykjavik. We had rented 2 WiFi hotspots from Trawire (one for each car) so we could navigate through the country without issue. It definitely paid off, and I highly recommend renting one! Connection speed was fast, pick-up and drop-off were both very convenient, and you pay a low fee every day for unlimited data use. Split among the 6 of us, the price really wasn’t bad at all.
After we got our hotspots setup, we were off to Snaefellsjokull Volcano. It was snowing pretty hard that day, though, so we didn’t actually make it to the volcano. Or maybe we just had the wrong address typed into Google Maps. Our navigation had us take a turn onto an incredibly slippery, icy, one-lane road. Since that was our first day really driving in those kinds of conditions, we chickened out and decided to turn back. Not complaining, though! We had some time to kill so we just stopped by random spots along the side of the road to take pictures. I kid you not, every view was picture perfect. And the roads were all quite empty, so take your time perfecting/composing your shot 🙂
We finally hit the road again after an hour or so and made our way to Djupalonssandur Beach. It’s a gorgeous, black sand beach. The pictures really don’t do it justice. It was cloudy/raining when we got here, though, so we didn’t walk all the way down to the beach. But there is a trail you can take to get down there. I think it was still early-ish in the morning when we came here, so still quite dark. In the winter in Iceland, the sun doesn’t really surface until 11am, and even then, it’s more of a sunset kind of light. Super pretty, though! So try to plan your departure times so that you get to where you want to be between 11am-3pm when it’s actually light outside. Otherwise, it’s pitch black.
Our final stop of the day was Kirkjufell Mountain. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive away from the beach, and totally worth. This was definitely one of my favorite spots in Iceland. The mountain looks like something straight out of a painting. And the waterfall below it, while small, is every bit as gorgeous! You can climb out on the rocks and get really close to the waterfall if you want. But you will get wet! And the rocks are quite slippery, so be careful.
And that was day 2! Each day went by surprisingly fast. I think it’s cause we only really had about 4 hours of “sunlight” to work with every day. And we had to cover a lot of ground each day (stayed in a different city each night) so the long stretch of darkness was a great driving opportunity. That way, we could maximize the activities/sights during the day. Driving through the winter weather in Iceland was quite the adventure, and I’ll elaborate more in another post. But if you can endure the rush of adrenaline, the unpredictability, and the ridiculous gas prices (hopefully you’re splitting with a few more people), driving through Iceland is an experience in and of itself. You won’t get that kind of flexibility/freedom with a tour bus. Some of the most beautiful sights that we saw on this trip were off the sides of random roads. And hey, if you can drive in Iceland (especially during the winter), you can drive anywhere.