November 10, 2011

This could be Paradise.

Iceland, an island in the north Atlantic Ocean, with population around 320 000, capital: Reykjavik.

Iceland may not be a tropical island, but it's definitely an island. You can't only feel it in the cold wind that blows from the sea, but also in the atmosphere. Just like people in such places like Hawaii or Caribbean Islands, Icelanders take it easy and are good at relaxing. They don't worry or hurry too much, even most of the shops close at five. Tho you could argue that it's part of the after math of the 2008 financial crisis that hit the island hard, but it seems like when times get rough, people hold on to what they have even thighter. If you don't follow like any news or live in a hole and somehow  missed the news about Icelands financial situation, visiting the country doesn't really enlighten you on the matter either. Iceland seems as strong as ever, only thing that hints on some kind of trouble is a hardware store that got build before the crisis but never opened. Someone said to me, that people really fall in Love with Iceland, and at first i thought it was cause of its strange and wonderful nature and adorable capital city, Reykjavik, but at the end of my trip, i realised, that most of all, they fall in love with the strong people that are Icelanders.

So when you travel to Iceland, don't limit yourself just by staying in Reykjavik, rent a car and go explore. Or if you or any of your travel companions dont have a driver's license, there are plenty of companies that arrange trips all over Iceland. Do your google search before the trip. Driving in Iceland is easy, most of the big roads are in good condition and there are a lot of direction signs. If you're afraid of getting lost, the main road, Road 1, goes around the whole Island, stay close to it, it's almost impossible to get lost. My trip wasn't long enough to go too far from Reykjavik, so my knowledge is limited to the west side of the Island.

Me and my friend, who i was visiting, rented our car from Sad Cars, which i can easily recommend, especially if you travel on budget. it's cheap, tho the cars are not that new. but you should really save your money for the gas, since it's the most expensive in Europe. And keep the tank semi-full, cause there's no guarantee there are any gas stations near you. We rented the car for two days, and in those two days we did  a route called The Golden Circle and drove to northern Iceland to see some waterfalls. The routes are blue lines on the map, and the red dots are the places where we stopped.

The first stop on The Golden Circle is Þingvellir, where besides the amazing views, you can find the oldest parliament in Europe, the biggest lake in Iceland, Þingvallavatn and the coolest public restrooms ever. The landscape here is especially interesting cause  Þingvellir is right where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe meet. That also causes some earthquakes in the area.

Haukadalur is a valley on the Golden Circle (not to be confused with two other valleys that share the same name) where you can find two active geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir is known to be the first geyser found by modern Europeans. It used to erupt more frequently, but now it only erupts three times a day, on a good day. But the smaller geyser, Strokkur, that's located 50 meter south from Geyser, erupts every four to six minutes. and Strokkur isn't any tiny geyser either, it's about 15 to 20 meters high, sometimes even 40 meters, when Geysir is usually around 70 meters high. i only saw Strokkur erupting, but i have to say, it was still very impressive, and fun! this is something that small kids would really enjoy too, it's very exciting to wait the geyser to erupt, like a fun, un-dangerous time bomb.

The last stop of the Golden Circle is a waterfall called Gullfoss (foss=waterfall), which for me, was very impressive, since i haven't ever seen a waterfall. The most powerfull waterfall in whole Europe can be found in northern Iceland, called Dettifoss. if you're interested in seeing some more watefalls, there are a lot of them in Iceland, again, do your Google Search. there are also a lot of 'hidden secrets' in Iceland that aren't in any guide books, so ask around from the local people, you might end up seeing something completely amazing and original.

Even tho the route Golden Circle sounds like it's a circle and that you'll end up back to Reykjavik, that's not the case, so once you reach Gullfoss and if you're not driving further, it's time to get back. of course you can drive back the same way you came from, but that doesn't really sound very exciting to me- So what me and my friend decided to do, was to drive south, through a town called Selfoss (not to be confused with the waterfall Selfoss, which you'll find few hundred meters upstream of the Dettifoss waterfall) and continue driving to The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa in Iceland. most people say that it's too tourist-y and completely boring, but i would state otherwise. it may not be the most amazing thing to experience in Iceland, but it's still an unique experience. also, there you can very well practice the trade Icelanders are really good at, relaxing.

The next day, we decided to drive to the northern island, just so that i'd have chance to see different kind of landscape than while driving the Golden Circle. driving in Iceland is extraordinary and the landscape is very distracting. all you wanna do is to look at the mountains and the hundreds of sheep and icelandic horses that pasture all over the island. so if you have someone you can take turns with, try to get away from behind the wheel, cause theres nothing quite like listening to silly Icelandic radio stations and watching all the amazingness around you. i really liked the road to Barnafoss, it might have been better than actually reaching our destination. while driving there you get to drive through a tunnel that's almost 6kilometers long and goes 160meters below the sea level! i highly recommend to drive as much and as far as you can. what's so amazing about Iceland is the constant change in landscape, it's a country of opposites. Hot geysers and cold glaciers, flat land and mountains. there are definitely a lot more to the island than i experienced, so do your research before your trip, or be adventurous and just go and explore.

on my last night in Iceland, my friends friend asked me, the same one who told me, that people really fall in Love with iceland, and even move there, if i had fallen in love with the place. i couldn't really say that i had, i said i really liked it, but love would take more time and more experiences, i'm slow like that. and i still feel the same way, but i do think i have a major Crush for Iceland, and one day i will definitely go back. it's a place where i felt safe, like home. Bob Dylan once said i was born very far from where i'm supposedto be, and so, I'm on my way home. and i believe, that's what wanderlust is all about. to go to somewhere new, to explore and to be anventurous, yet to find the feeling of belonging, safety and home.

i hope you enjoyed my small guide to Iceland, stay tuned for my guide for Reykjavik! if any of you have any thoughts about iceland, if i inspired you to go there, or you've already been there, please, leave a comment, i'd love to hear what you have to say. 


  1. Hello. I'm a brand new reader to your blog (I hope you don't mind!). I found you via Kaelah's Honest to Blog, and you had me at "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream", which is clearly one of the best songs ever written.

    I think I'll be following along this blog if that's ok - I love your pictures (and that animation of the geysir is the best thing I've ever seen!)

  2. Definitely do not mind, i love getting new readers and reading other peoples blogs too (just started following yours, it's seems very awesome!). it's a great way to get to know all kinds of people.

    you should definitely if you ever get the chance to go to Iceland, cause the geysers are even more awesome in reality. i was like a little kid, waiting it to erupt!



your comments feed my blog, so thanks for the supper! :>