Straight Thru: Iceland (driving the coast)

As we have mentioned many times in social media, one of our favourite things to do as a couple, as a family and as photographers is to travel.  Over the years we have been to many places, taken thousands of beautiful photos, only to return home to be sucked back into the working life, diving into editing your beautiful memories, never to display or share the photos of our adventures.

In August, James and I took a trip of a lifetime to Iceland- why Iceland you ask?  Just look at the photos and I’m sure you will begin to understand, it was a photographer’s dream.  Everywhere we looked were stunning vistas, otherwordly views and experiences, it was honestly like nothing we had ever experienced in our lives.  This was also to be our first trip without Olivia, so we knew it needed to be something adventurous, and Iceland fit the bill perfectly.

Over the next few weeks I have 6 blog posts planned, going over the thousands of photos that we took on this 5 day adventure.  I will try not to “talk” too much because as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words… I will try to place where we are, what we were seeing and some of the information we learned, but more than anything, we want to show the sheer beauty of Iceland through the lens here at Straight Thru! I’m going to break this down into the following blog posts:

  1. Driving the coast to Hali
  2. Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon boat tour and sunset
  3. Hiking Vatnajokull: Europe’s largest glacier
  4. Ice cubes on a black sand beach (& Random waterfalls)
  5. The Golden Circle Tour & Pingvellir National Park
  6. The Blue Lagoon

As I complete these blog posts, I will link back to them, so eventually you can start at this post and read through them all!

Let’s get started… welcome to Iceland!

Day 1: Driving the coast to Hali…

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James and I arrived into Iceland late on Sunday night, to a surprisingly dark airport (we were not expecting the dark, as they only have a small window of darkness in the evening in the summer, however there was significant cloud cover, so we didn’t see much)  We picked up our fancy little Volkswagon Golf at the airport and went on our way!

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We stayed the night at The Icelandic Health hotel, really just because it was close to the airport and not as astronomically expensive as many of the others.  It included a cute room, free breakfast and was a comfortable place to sleep for the all of 5 hours we had to sleep before we needed to hit the road!  When we woke up, I was feeling REALLY sick, so we had to stay at the hotel longer than anticipated, but eventually hit the road.  We had rented a personal wifi device from a company called Trawire and I cannot possibly recommend this enough!!  It was heavenly to use our own phones on wifi for maps, google, researching places and listening to our apple music!

On the road we went… throughout the day, driving along the coast, stopping when we wanted to, taking photos as we went was the perfect start to the day.  We did have one timeline restriction, as we had scheduled a tour at Jokulsarlon that evening, however otherwise we had the day to ourselves to adventure along the way.

Our first stop on the road was at Suderland- a lookout point over southern Iceland, where without the obstruction of trees (there were VERY minimal trees in Iceland) you could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean!

The day started out pretty grey and gloomy (and the area around the airport really does look like you have survived an apocalypse) but as we went on, the sky got blue, the clouds got fluffy and the scenery grew more and more beautiful.  Many people only stay near Reykjavik when visiting Iceland, and do the “golden circle tour” of tourist sites, but I am so glad we drove the coast!  Maybe next time we will drive the whole country!

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Next stop was viewing Eyjafjallajokull, the site of the 2010 Volcanic eruption that had a HUGE impact on air travel over a 5 day period that include ash plumes over 9km high!  There was a tiny little red roofed farm that had been wiped out in the volcano, and was a great marker for many of the photos we were seeing at the eruption site.

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Then onward we drove, finally catching our first glimpse of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajokull (that we would be hiking the next morning)

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We stopped for our boat ride through Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon (which will get an entire post on it’s own since we took over 300 photos there!) and then ended the journey of the day at the Hali Country Hotel which was ADORABLE!!! When we got our instructions on finding the farm, we were told to look for the “bookshelf” at the side of the road, which sounded funny (and stressed out my A-type planning brain) but then we saw this…

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We checked into Hali, where honestly the meat soup was the most AMAZING smelling food on the planet, it smelled so good!! We were staying in a room in the guest house, with a beautiful view of the glacier as well as a full view of the Atlantic Ocean only steps away (which we forgot to take photos of!)

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our views of the glacier from Hali:

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After checking into the guest house, we returned to the glacier lagoon for the 11pm sunset, then into bed for a good night’s rest before our big glacier hike!  Hope you enjoyed the starting teaser.. these photos are only a TINY glimpse into the beauty of Iceland, with the most incredible views to come.

 

xoxox Christine

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