The two of us had been travelling for three days now. We were completely blown away by what we had discovered. After driving half way around the country I suddenly reached a conclusion: This cannot be real! As we stood looking out over icebergs floating in crystal blue waters, I said to my friend: “Surely this country has been engineered. Like a giant theme park of sorts! Right?” I smiled to myself as I remembered conspiracies against Australia being a “fake island filled with actors.” No. Don’t be that fool. I just needed to accept that Iceland was the most incredible country I had ever set foot in.
The two of us threw our packs in the back of the van; our home on wheels for the next week. After a short drive on the wrong side of the road we were finally on our way! We excitedly drove out of the city and headed North. We were like excited puppies with our eyes wide and our heads peering out of the windows. As the rain slowed the clouds began to rise, unveiling beautiful snow capped mountains. I smiled as I checked the rear view mirror. A long road trailed behind leading towards more mystical mountains. I wanted to absorb every little detail of this adventure because I needed to share it. I wanted to tell everybody about this incredible place. So here I am. Telling you everything I can…
Iceland is exciting. Despite driving along one straight road around the whole country we were never bored. One long road. That was essentially it. I mean anywhere else in the World that would seem a drag. But how could you not be excited when the scenery magically transitioned every few kilometers? I would be looking out of my window at baron, brown land and then suddenly there was ice. Ice by the road surrounding beautiful bright blue lakes. Drive a little further and we’re winding through cloudy mountain tops. Shut your eyes for 5 minutes and wake up to discover massive volcanic rocks covered in soft, bright green moss. But then suddenly everything goes black as you walk along dark sandy beaches. Beaches with giant blocks of ice wedged into the sand. Iceland is so exciting!
It’s peaceful. I think this is what makes Iceland so surreal. As we drove along the North we felt alone. Like we were the only two on the planet. The sun rose over the side of a volcano as we walked along it’s cratered edge. Alone. We stood beside the edge of a waterfall and peered deep down below. And again we were alone. We hiked up a mountain and sat on rocks as we looked beyond the black coast line. Once again completely alone. Where else would you experience such a thing? Iceland is so peaceful.
It’s a meteorologist’s heaven. Or nightmare. I’m not sure. But basically be prepared to experience a constant change of weather. Our journey started with rain. Heavy rain! But then suddenly the skies would clear and the sun shone down (even unexpectedly burning our skin). Then as we drove around the edge of a mountain a thick cloud of fog crept over us, completely shutting out the world above. The fog continued to lay low as we hiked a glacier. With vision only a few metres ahead of us we had no idea how big it actually was. Until suddenly, and I mean suddenly, the fog completely lifted and unveiled a glacier beyond what we had imagined. We would feel cold when surrounded by ice, but warm up as we plunged into thermal hot pools, such as Seljavallalaug, whose green mossy walls reminded you that you were bathing in Iceland’s oldest pool. Iceland is a meteorologist’s heaven!
It’s adventurous. Iceland leads you on exciting journeys. It’ll give you a little taste. Just a tiny teaser. But if you want to see the whole surprise then you’re going to need to get dirty. Or completely soaked in our case. For example here we are camping along the south coast smack bang between two waterfalls. We decide to explore Gljufrafoss but all we could see was a tiny glimpse, for a giant rock stood in our way. So what did we do in this situation? We climbed! Up and up we scrambled until we reached the top. We could now finally see the opening of the waterfall. But we still hadn’t reached our prize. So we went one step further. We delved into the canyon, tip toeing our way over stepping stones until we finally faced Gljufrafoss. I opened my arms wide, looked up and let the water shower me from head to toe. Iceland made us adventurous.
It’s magical. No matter what age you are there’s something about a rainbow that leaves you fascinated. It’s like the world’s very own magic trick. And boy did Iceland put on a magic show for us because not only did we see one rainbow but two. In front of a waterfall! Yep that’s right! A double rainbow in front of a waterfall! How incredible is that?
But if you think that’s fascinating then let me tell you about the hexagonal shaped rocks that created a beautiful background for yet another waterfall. Hexagons! Six sided rocks. Each of them perfectly shaped and fitting against each other like a puzzle. All I could think was: how? How does that happen?
And my final magic trick to share with you. The geysers! Where you stand patiently waiting, cameras at the ready, not moving a muscle. Eyes fixed on the hole in the ground. Waiting. Waiting. Suspense building. Until suddenly a giant bubble swells from the ground. BOOM! Boiling hot water gushes into the air like a firework. Everyone cheers and claps! Some curse at their slow reflexes for not taking the perfect photo. Others, ourselves included, felt a rush of excitement and felt the need to watch again and again. It almost becomes addictive. This country literally had us entranced by a hole in the ground. Iceland is absolutely magical.
Iceland. It’s Iceland. And there’s no other place like it.