Wanderlust: Iceland

This summer Nate and I spent a month traveling throughout Europe and our first stop was Iceland. It's only about a 4 hour plane ride from Boston! To say that we packed a lot into about 48 hours after landing is an understatement. We rented a car and then drove and explored all day straight, late into the night. Since the sun never really set, there was plenty of light well past midnight.

DAY 1: On our first morning we woke up early to hit the geothermal hot springs at Blue Lagoon. We pick the first reservation spot at 8am which was tooootally worth the no sleep because it's peaceful and there are very few tourists. You can stay as long as you want so if you're like us and you hot springs for 3 hours, it will be crowded and busy by the time you leave. This was the definition of relaxing. From there we visited the grocery store Bonus to stock up on lunch and snacks and drive to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which is a huge waterfall that cascades over the side of the cliff. The wind whips the water in all directions and sprays you pretty much no matter where you stand. There's a path so that you can actually walk behind the waterfall, the only one of its kind. We were lucky to be there on a sunny day so we caught tons of rainbows! Just pass Seljalandsfoss we stopped at another waterfall, Skogafoss. This waterfall is taller and there are stairs that you can walk up to see the walls from the top. There were also trails at the top that you could hike out to glaciers. The views from the top is such beautiful countryside, and there were even a few hilly sheep grazing!

We continued driving out to Vik where we had dinner (unlimited Icelandic meat stew!) and caught views of the salt deposits on the black sand beach. At this point we turned around and on our way back to our place found the turn off lot to walk to this 1973 US plane wreck site (don't worry, everyone survived the crash). It's about a 2.5 mile walk to the edge of this empty black sand beach and then you come upon the plane. We started our walk at around 10pm so the sun was starting to set while we explored the plane, before walking 2.5 miles back to the car and finishing our two hour drive back to Reykjavik.

DAY 2: We started off our second day by exploring Reykjavik for the morning before driving up to Geysir to check out the geysirs (named so because the word actually comes from Iceland). The entire area is all active geysirs and you can smell the sulfur in the air. The streams and run off water in the area are boiling from the geothermal activity underground so there are plenty of warnings not to touch it! There are multiple geysirs but Geysir explodes about every 6-8 minutes like clock work. It's the coolest thing to see! A ways past Geysir is Gullfoss waterfall, even taller and larger than our previous visits. You can walk down a path that hugs the falls to stand right at the spot where the water kind of opens up on the rocks before falling below. The spray from the falls (all of the falls really!) reaches so far that you'll notice everything in the area is such a lush green. It was a little overcast when we reached Gullfoss so sadly we didn't get any double rainbows. One of my absolute favorite parts of our time here was just stopping along the highway whenever we saw cool spots. I loved that you could pretty much explore whenever and wherever you wanted! Next time we'll make it to the glaciers! Iceland is indeed the land of fire and ice!

Kendra Engel

K. Engel Photography, 527 Plain Street, Stoughton, MA, 02072