I would have to say that the last section of our trip was the most amazing. The full day hike into Thorsmork was unbelievable with its otherworldly canyons and vistas. Memories of the two days we spent at the Ice Lagoon in Jokulsarlon will stay with me for a very long time. We arrived at sunset to watch the seals and birds play in the moving icebergs. It was very cold and we were tired from driving so decided to sleep in our van in the parking lot. We bundled up cooked an amazing lamb dinner with our little camping set up and enjoyed the view until it was time to go to bed. In the morning we explored more of the icebergs from shore and then took a zodiac tour to the base of the glacier. On our way back in on the boat we heard a large explosion and when we turned we saw an enormous chunk of an iceberg break off in to the sea and then the whole iceberg flipped and changed shape to show its underside. Fortunately we were a safe distance away from the iceberg as it was much larger underneath. I was just in awe of the shapes and sounds of this changing place and the thoughts that this glacier might have melted away by the time I get to return here.
We read that only 10% of the tourists that visit Iceland head to the West Fjords and because we were a little concerned that Iceland had become top on many peoples travel lists we decided to spend half of our trip exploring this area. It was a great choice and we often found ourselves alone on amazing beaches and hikes comparing the areas to the Yukon in Canada.
At the end of the summer my husband and I took a trip to Iceland. Why Iceland you ask? Well I had seen so many amazing photos of waterfalls and crazy unreal landscapes taken by well known photographers and this location seemed to be a magical place. Iceland seems to have really used social media wisely to connect with an international audience to boost tourism. The nationwide availability to access wifi most anywhere and the increase in flight stopovers and direct flights has made Iceland quite the popular destination.
This was our first big adventure trip without kids and this trip also marked a year since my breast cancer diagnosis (I am now post surgery and cancer free). One good thing about getting cancer is that you start to check things off of your bucket list instead of just dreaming about them.
We wanted to see the country without having to prebook hotels and having a planned itinerary. We also wanted to spend as much time outdoors as we could ~ weather permitting. So we decided to rent a van from Campervan Iceland and camp our way around Iceland in 10 days.
We arrived in the morning at Keflavik airport and picked up our van. It was smaller that we expected and as we drove away we laughed wondering how we would fare squished together for over a week. But we were just so lucky with the weather that most of our trip was spent outdoors and it was quite chilly so we were thankful for our cozy space (and heater!) at bedtime.
After reading and chatting to friends who had been to Iceland, we decided to focus on two areas of Iceland. The West Fjords and the South near the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. We checked the weather when we arrived and the often rainy West Fjords looked clear for a few days so we headed in that direction after a quick soak and shower and warm up in the local hot pot (swimming pool with natural hot springs) in Borgarnes. We drove north west to the Snaefellsjokull Peninsula. It was hard to keep our eyes open after an all night flight but the scenery was amazing ~ first lava fields (reminiscent of the Big Island in Hawaii), then more green fields and waterfalls and finally mountains, glaciers and cliffs overs the ocean. After a few stops to explore and make coffee we arrived at our first campsite in Arnarstapi close to the tip of the Snaefellsjokull Peninsula.
Day 2 We sleep in and head out to explore the peninsula and make our way to the ferry port of Stykkisholmur which would lead us to the winding roads of the West Fjords. The ferry was quite large and was a good way to relax and take a break from driving. When we arrived in Brjandkrekur we headed straight for a hot pool in Flokalundur that we had read about. After a bit of searching we discovered this amazing pool at the edge of the ocean. It was heaven to dip in there and watch the golden light on the seaweed and fjords. It was too tempting not to go for dip in the ocean and it was shall we say refreshing! Then we got back on the road and headed to our campsite to hang out with the sheep near the Red Sand Beach - Rauðasandur. To be continued in Part 2.
A week in the heat of Mexico without the kids can really sweat out what ails you. (Let's not discuss the stomach bug I brought back as a souvenir). The sunlight seems to shine so brightly and the reflections of turquoise, white and pink hues seem extra saturated and really stood out for me. I tried to be up for sunrise to catch the golden glow but most of what I saw was the harsh light reflecting off water and the glass sculptures at midday.
We stayed in Isla Mujeres (a small island close to Cancun) for a few days and explored the town and sculpture garden by bike. One morning I biked to the Cliff of the Dawn, the easternmost point of the Mexico and so that I could say that I was the first person to greet the sun in Mexico that day (lol).