Iceland, Through the Rain

Our first day was almost disastrous. In order to prevent an premature ending to our trip, three of us were dangling from the window on the outside of our motorhome. You see, moments earlier we drove slightly off the road in order to make room for an oncoming bus. We thought it was solid ground until we heard the sound of rocks scraping metal and saw the horizon out of the front window shift a few degrees. The back wheel had sunk halfway into the mud, giving our motorhome a very precarious tilt. I feared any gust of wind would push it over.

 I'm right outside the frame crying

I'm right outside the frame crying

Luckily, the window dangling idea gave the wheel on solid ground enough traction to get us out of the ditch, and we were on our way!


This is my attempt at a travel post about my September trip to Iceland. I have never in my life experience such an on and off rainy place. Though it was rainy most of the time, the overcast skies were overshadowed by the natural beauty of the land. There’s way too much to talk about so I’ll just hit a few points.

The Low Point: Viking Cafe

Google promised us a four star experience. Here’s a tip for people who might go to Iceland: they use Trip Advisor. Had we used that, it would have saved us a detour that took us to a cafe that only serves pastries and one panini that cause diarrhea-like symptoms in the people who ate it. Don’t go there.

Glacier Lagoon

We arrive at some of the bluest water I had ever seen, miniature icebergs scattered throughout and the heads of seals popping up every once in a while. There was a little part of the beach where the waves would go in and out every 30 seconds. Every time the waves went out, I could walk out to a rock that was just large enough that I could stand on it until the wave came back in and almost completely submerged it. It made it look like I was standing deep in the lagoon or riding a manta ray or pokemon.

 Before

Before

 After

After

That's my friend Tenders, but you can check out my turn here.

Nesbraud Bakery

We rolled up into the town of Stykkisholum, hungry and tired. Luckily, there was one bakery open called Nesbraud. The owner’s name was Eric, and he was the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. To top it off, his breakfast sandwiches were delicious. After I finished one, I bought another to take on the road. One of my biggest regrets in life is not getting a third one.

 Taken by my friend who went to Iceland a month after I did and visited Eric's bakery upon my recommendation. He said he remembered me!

Taken by my friend who went to Iceland a month after I did and visited Eric's bakery upon my recommendation. He said he remembered me!

Snaefellsjoekull National Park

This place had everything. We toured a cave, climbed up cool rock structures, walked a peaceful pebble beach. I’m a born adventure seeker, and this place was filled with it. We didn’t plan on staying for long, but once we got to that pebble beach, we stayed for a couple hours, doing nothing but watching the waves go in and out.

When it came time to leave, we drove out of the park and came across Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, which immediately became my favorite part of the whole trip. A this stream cut through a mountain, creating a bunch of mini waterfalls throughout the gorge, some of which were too tall to step up onto. My rock climbing skills allowed me to scale the walls to get farther upstream. The last fall was maybe 12 feet tall. The only way up was to climb a rope somebody tied to a boulder at the top, but the rope was in the waterfall. I couldn’t risk getting soaked, so we turned back, but if I had waterproof clothes, I could have explored the gorge for hours.

 My fellow explorer Jon. The only other one brave enough to venture into the dark with me

My fellow explorer Jon. The only other one brave enough to venture into the dark with me

 View from the bottom of the gorge.

View from the bottom of the gorge.

The Lights

The second to last day on the road, the skies were perfectly clear. Whatever elf magic the Icelandic people use to forecast the northern lights said that they would be very active that night and to keep on the lookout around 11:00PM. The time rolled around but then so did the clouds. The forecast was right. The lights were very active, so active that they tinted the clouds green. Unfortunately, that was the only glimpse we got that night. I was disappointed and resigned myself to the fact that I just wouldn't see them this trip. It was safer that way.

The next night, our last night driving out in the country, my pessimism was proven wrong for the first time ever. The sky was as clear as can be. We found a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. There were houses scattered throughout the area. There were no official campsites there, so we kind of just parked on the side of the road, which was definitely private property. The house closest to us didn’t have their lights on, so our trespassing went unnoticed.

Darkness fell, and late into the night I saw what looked like the faint beam of a spotlight that stretched across the sky. I thought that was weird because we weren’t near any cities. I took a long exposure picture of it, and it was green. We rushed out of the motorhome and looked to the sky. Shortly after, ribbons of green and purple majesty danced above us. All was well.

Our last actual night in Iceland was spent back in Reykjavik, the place we began. As night fell, I walked around the city alone, trying to soak up all I could before departing the next morning, and the country said goodbye, giving me one more glimpse of the best it had to offer.

Pictures and words cannot describe. Go to Iceland and see for yourself. 


For more pictures from my Iceland trip, check out my Flickr album or follow me on Instagram to keep up with my past and future adventures.