Tuesday, we woke up a little later than originally planned because of campervan drunkenness. One of the challenges of Iceland in winter is limited daytime hours, so we had planned to be up and driving to the D3 plane crash while it was still dark, so that way we could arrive at the actual site right when the sun was coming up.
Well, instead we woke up when the sun came out at almost 11am. What was previously us and maybe one other party at our campsite at Skógafoss had turned into another tourist site along Route 1. We quickly changed, got everything packed up, and headed out.
People used to be able to drive right up to the plane crash once upon a time, but the surrounding land was too damaged from cars, so now you must park and “hike” to the plane. I say “hike” because it was a completely flat, one-hour trail to get out there. It was not difficult at all, and actually really refreshing. You have mountains to one side of you and the ocean in front, and the combo of the fresh mountain air and salty sea air just is so damn invigorating.
Seeing the plane crash over rolling hills of black sand beaches is unreal. So many of these photos with the plane I just can’t even believe are real. As we said numerous times on our trip, it was like we were on another planet. Alex, Jonny, and Angie stayed at the plane crash site and took lots of photos, but I heard the ocean and just couldn’t resist it, so Stephanie and I wandered down to the actual beach. I don’t think I’ve ever been completely alone on a beach before — let alone a black sand beach, in Iceland, at 2pm but with the sun just peeking over the horizon so you’d think it was 6 or 7 in the evening. I almost (almost!) cried from the beauty of it. It was definitely one of those moments where I was like, holy shit, I’m in freaking ICLEAND!
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Continue reading Iceland: Black Sand Beaches
We picked up our campervan from CampEasy Iceland and we were off!
- Thingvellir National Park (website)
Our first stop! We didn’t spend too much time here, which was a mistake on our part. We were just too excited to get started on the road trip, see everything else on the list, and had limited day-time hours to do it in. Here you can see Silfra, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, as well as the site of the first European parliament.
- Geysir (website)
Geysir is basically the original geyser. It goes off so frequently, we caught it at least 3 times and were there for less than an hour. It was crazy crowded when we went, I can’t imagine what it’d be like with summer crowds. The geysir explosions are ridiculous… the last one we caught exploded so high, I wish I had caught it on video!
- Gullfoss (website)
Gullfoss was the first of many waterfalls we saw during our trip to Iceland. The photos of it looking so lush and crazy and green are definitely a summer aspect of it, but seeing it all white and icy was really amazing. It was kind of scary walking down to one of the look-out points with ice covering everything, but totally worth it. And the waterfall wasn’t completely frozen over, so it was still gushing and roaring everywhere. My phone ended up dying from the cold (a problem we ran into pretty frequently) so most of the photos were actually taken with my camera!
- Kerið Crater Lake (website)
This is one of the off-shoots of the popular/traditional Golden Circle route (which is mainly Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss). My friend Angie had discovered this place. We got there right as the sun went down — around, like, 3 or 4pm — and had just enough light to go exploring all the way down into the crater and then walked up to check it out from high up. It was really awesome, cost about $4 USD to explore, but well worth it!
- We camped for the night at the campgrounds at Skogafoss. We made a great dinner from what we had gotten while grocery shopping at Bonus, then proceeded to get really, really drunk in our campervan. Always a good time!
Click through for photos of our first “real” day in Iceland!
Continue reading Iceland: Golden Circle