Jo & Elliott's Huge Adventure

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Land of Fire & Ice: Our trip to Iceland


WOW Airlines:   what do I want to say? The flight attendants are beautiful and wear bright purple 50s suits, there was a mix up with our seats but it got resolved, plane left one hour late and totally no frills including coffee or water! We got a little sleep. Picking up our VW was easy and the car is brand new.

We headed into Reykjavik, which is the capitol of Iceland.  It was cold, windy and raining but we went into a few shops, had tea, and visited the Hallgrimskirkja Church, which is famous with a statue of Lief Erikson. There was a private something so we couldn't go in but we were able to see inside and were surprised at the lack of ornateness.  
If you look closely you can see a statue of Leif Erickson (famous Icelandic explorer)

Believe it or not we ate at Ruby Tuesdays mostly because it was next to the apt complex in which we were staying.  In any case the salad bar was a bit different and we were waiting for someone to bring our check but that's not how it works. We go up to the cash register so we will remember that next time.  

Monday June 8

We headed right to blue lagoon, which is a wonderful site. Unless you get the more expensive package a couple of hours is all that is needed and that's with the sauna and steam room. It was a cold rainy windy day! Picking up our VW was easy and the car is brand new.

Air BnB
We arrived at the air bnb (Raudararstigur 31, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland)  and we have a room perfectly fine for a night. There is a frig and other amenities in the common kitchen. And we had Wi-Fi. Of course we packed way too much.

Blue Lagoon


We drove 155+ miles, around what is called the Golden Circle stopping at:
Pingvellir National park 

Staying at Gesthus Selfoss Engjavegur 56, 800 Selfoss

Tuesday was a great and awful day.

First the weather was better. We saw some sun, some rain but much nicer than the day before. The national park was cool. We walked a lot in general and then we walked two continents."The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region, the largest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon." wikipedia

The geysers were fantastic. The main one is larger than the largest at Yosemite. 

And to top it off was the Gulfoss waterfall!!

But my camera broke.. My new one. I was quite upset. I did bring my old one but I can't take videos. And when I heard about the camping cabin in which we were staying I cried. 

 But in the end it was fine and we went to the red house, Rauda Husio, for a three course meal of lobster bisque, lobster, and molten lava cake and Belgium waffle. I even had a glass of wine which helped with the cabin!



We drove 137 miles this day and saw
Seljalandsfoss waterfall and too many to mention but this one was especially pretty as was
Skogafoss waterfall but my camera didn't do justice to them. Following were some scenic shots. 

Licorice seems to be the national candy of Iceland. It goes back quite a long way but I never could find out why. It is in ice cream and all kinds of candy and cookies. 

Black sand beach
We have seen black sand beach near Vik and in other area. We have seen hundreds of sheep, 
 whooper swans
and Icelandic horses, which I have pictures of above and below. 

Dalshöfdi Guesthouse 6 km on this gravel road. Breakfast was good with home-made crepes. 

By the way. . Some people do not speak English well! and we have had lots of rain, some wind and it was in the 40s today. Just some cultural observations: no tipping but there are tip jars even in the nicest restaurants it seems and wait staff does not come over to refill water or ask how the food is.

THURSDAY JUNE 11 the weather is getting us down, cold and rainy much of the day.

We drove 130 miles.
Vatnajokul National park is where we started today after breakfast. We went on a very nice hike to three waterfalls, two of which are noted on the path... But the main one is Svartifoss. It is said to be easy but not for me! It was a steady incline. 

Terrir Svartifoss waterfall hike

Jokulsarion glacier lagoon was breathtaking! There were two areas of incredible huge icebergs with glaciers in the background. Much of what we were seeing had been either desolate, unusual mountains, fields of moss covered volcanic rock and finally green and trees as we headed to Brekka í Lóni Farm Stay.

Brekka i Loni, 781 Stafafell, Iceland where I am writing this in a bucolic setting of sheep, mountains and green grass. 

The icebergs we saw are below- of course this is just a small sample. 
glacier in the background


We had dinner in the town.  A huge metropolis compared to the last many hours.. In  Hofn I had langostine pizza and Elliott had ready.. Reindeer burger.

You are used to tunnels running under water but this tunnel and others were made through the volcanic rock. 

We drove 258 miles and ended up at Eldá Guesthouse
On the way some of the scenery was extraordinary

These horses are very special and only found in Iceland. The are sold to other countries for shows and in some cases served to tourists for food YUCK.

Dettifoss is a famous waterfall because if it is sunny a horse shoe rainbow treats visitors. The walk there was short and easy. I could not get the whole rainbow (:

ELDA Guesthouse

Breakfast here was excellent with herring,  geyser bread and trout,  cut up fruit etc.


We drove 150+ miles.

Last night we ate at Gamli Baerin
and Elliott got lamb and  I got quiche, which is very popular in Iceland but very different than ours. It is paper thin. We shared geisar bread (truly cooked underground) with smoked chard. It was all good though I had to ask for water  three times.

 Then we headed to the visitor center and got a map of lake Mivytan. Our first stop was Hverfell crater.

We were not going to walk up this 20 min. steep hill to see a crater but we did and luckily we got down before it started raining again.

Dimmuburger was very unusual. There were many paths around these lava formations but we took a short one, which was enough to get a feel for them. 

 It snowed last night - really. 

Godafoss Waterfall on the way to Akureyri

We got to Akureyri  a town of a whopping!17000 the third largest in Iceland.  It was mild out and we decided to walk around the botanical garden. The only one this close to the arctic pole.

But in the end we would have preferred walking in town but how to park was too confusing so  headed to our next sleeping spot Gladheimer, which was a small cabin with the shower at the campground. We couldn't get on Wi-Fi.

                                                        We ate at Potturinn restaurant where we found "help yourself to the soup and bread." (If you order it.) 

 We ate around the corner at an amazing brunch buffet.  The best lox I've ever had and fresh watermelon and pineapple. Made our way to our next stops: Stykkisholmur and Snaefellsjokull National park AND it was 55 degrees! The driving was on a difficult, narrow winding gavel road.

 We ate around the corner at an amazing brunch buffet.  (above)The best lox I've ever had and fresh watermelon and pineapple. Made our way to our next stops: Stykkisholmur and Snaefellsjokull National park AND it was 55 degrees! The driving was on a difficult, narrow winding gavel road. Many churches are quite modern. Along with the church these are some sites we saw along the way. 


We drove 162+ miles. We saw breathtaking scenery. 

We went to Stykkisholmur at the advice of our friends and it was truly beautiful. We were glad we went out of our way to go. 

 We ate at Langholt. The day had been just gorgeous.

 Icelandic fish stew, (plokkfiskur)
 Icelandic fish stew, (plokkfiskur)
The food was great. Elliott said the mussels were the best ever . 

Got some stuff from the grocery store and went to Guest House Hof which was so cute. A log cabin with full bath and breakfast. The mountains on one side the water on the other.

We saw wonderful scenery. 

and stopped at a beautiful harbor village, Hellnar, known for Jules Vernon, the birds and the beauty. 

We also went to almost the tip of the peninsula to see and the famous ice cap, which can be seen for miles.

People watching and eating ice cream in Reykjavik.

We came in a rainy day and left on the rain. Our accommodations at Trendy Studio, last night were fabulous. Great Wi fi, a  kitchen, large two rooms and a hair dryer,  washer and a great location. 

We ate at Upssalir. Elliot got shark and whale and dried fish. I had what I had a traditional fish soup, which I would call a casserole. I had it a couple of nights ago and it is delicious.

Skyre is a favorite food (like yogurt) and dessert.