There’s something quite humbling being one with nature. In my five days in Iceland, I was left with more than just two memory cards filled with scenic photographs but rather an indescribable sense of awe and appreciation for our world. With all the BS aside, I now understand the hype of this country and why it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.
We flew in from Paris to Reyjavick and enjoyed a night out at the city center. A quaint town, with polychromatic painted houses that go uphill to the Hallgrímskirkja church.
The day after, we headed south of the country’s capital to the town of Hella in search of the northern lights. Our cozy cabins were strategically positioned to have the best view of the clear pitch black sky. Its always best to get further out of the city, where there are minimal light and pollution. It took an all-nighter stake out under freezing temperatures to catch the Aurora Borealis dancing through the constellations. Oh, what a testament to one’s patience it was but worth all the shiver and time.
The forecasts were relatively in our favor but mother nature is unpredictable. For our second night, unfortunately, the sky was quiet. Our bodies gave in and we all called it a night.
The 5km glacier hike was a reality check of the disheartening truth of climate change. Before we even began our trek up, we stood by a lagoon that only recently formed due to the melting glacier.The hike lasted for a total of three hours. We had crampons clamped to the sole of our shoes, a trusty harness in case of an emergency and a pickaxe to keep us upright throughout the hike. There’s no distinct path and the route can change day by day. Sometimes the guides will have to create a path along the way to help the climbers in steep areas.
The brown ground situated on top of the ice (as seen in the photo below) isn’t dirt or soil but rather remnants of volcanic ash. Iceland still has numerous active volcanos that erupt roughly at least every five years. Most notably the Mt. Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 that caused havoc due to the cancellation of flights in major European cities.
As we reach further to the top, the sun was at its highest. We were sweating instead of freezing. We couldn’t help but deviate from the single file line to take in the moment. How often do you get a chance to hike up a glacier?
I consider this trip as a sequel to our first Game of Thrones adventure in Croatia last year. (Unfortunately, I only started writing about my trips this year). After seeing King’s Landing first hand, we set off to go Beyond the Wall.
Another interesting location was the Pingvellir Park where the Vale scene was shot. If you’re not geeking out like we were, don’t fret, the view was still as breathtaking. In between the end of winter and the start of Spring, all caught in one photo.
Food will and always be part of the adventure. With the country’s harsh weather conditions, crops were not always part of their staple meal. But they do have a lot of protein, specifically seafood. I loved having the “fresh catch of the day” meal on a daily basis. But I opted for the lamb whenever it was available. (My all-time favorite viand). The only downside is how costly the food can be. Especially for a family with large appetites like mine.
Everyone says that Iceland is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I’ll be definitely returning to this country. Maybe next time it will be just in time for Summer.