Iceland - Land of Fire and Ice - Photojournal - My first 3 days
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
In April 2019, my husband, daughter and I traveled to the beautiful country of #Iceland, the land of fire and ice. We saw spectacular frozen waterfalls, snow, ice, geysers, boiling water spewing from the earth, glaciers and much more. We hiked and swam and drove while taking in the snow capped volcanoes. We enjoyed delicious fresh fish, amazing soups, and the best water I have had. April is a great time to experience Iceland, the days are longer and the air is a little warmer than you’ll find in the winter months.
See the detailed journey of our adventures below with photographs of this breathtaking countryside.
We arrived in Reykjavik early in the morning, too early to check into our hotel and incredibly sleepy from the short overnight flight, but that didn't stop us. We dropped our bags and began our adventure. We took a 75 km drive to the peninsula of Borgarfjörður, and the town of Borgarnes, which sits at the gateway to the Snaefellsnes National Park. Enroute to Borgarnes we saw some interesting #StreetArt
Once in #Borgarnes we parked our car, went for a walk and saw a white steepled church,
and a snow-covered landscape.
We drove back to #Reykjavik, checked into our hotel, and continued with a walk around town where we saw beautiful #murals on buildings,
interesting architecture and common eiders with beautiful green and salmon markings.
We heard that the Grotta #Lighthouse was a great place to see the Northern Lights. We decided to check it out before dark and took a short drive to the Grotta Lighthouse. #GrottaLighthouse
We had dinner and an evening walk in #Reykjavik
4/03 An early rise and out to visit many beautiful spots along the snow capped backdrop along Golden Circle. Follow along with our journey below…..
We began our sightseeing at a filming location for the Game of Thrones, Thingvellier National Park. #ThingvellierNationalPark
We continued on the trail and saw...
Continuing along the "Continents-al Divide"
No wonder Thingvellier is a #UNESCO world heritage site!
After hiking through Thingvellier National park we headed towards Laugarvatn Fontana.
#Laugarvatn Fontana is located on ice-cold Lake Laugarvatn. The lake and shores have thermal springs that spew boiling water. The thermal springs and cold lake water are used for the spas geothermal pools. The property is a go to destination for the famous Geothermal Brown bread cooked right in the hot black sand. There is zero carbon footprint in making this bread an example of One of the many ways the locals are contributing to a sustainable country.
In this area traditional Icelandic Lave bread is cooked in the ground for 24 hours.
The #geothermal water is mixed with cold water to heat swimming pools for year-round outdoor swimming.
After lunch and a walk around Laugarvatn Fountana, we were off to the #Geysir Geothermal Area.
Back on the Golden Circle Road #GoldenCircle
Icelandic Horses ( first glimpse). These beautiful creatures, originally brought by the Vikings, are short like a pony, but muscular and stout and have fur that can withstand the most bitter winters. #IcelandicHorses
After feeding a couple random horses along the way, we headed towards one of Iceland's most scenic stops along the Golden Circle.
Arriving at #Gullfoss Falls, the power of the water cascading from level to level, could be felt as we approached. The Gullfoss Falls vista is even more spectacular than can be imagined or captured in photos. As the glacier thaws, the Hvita river moves southward until it reaches this cut in the terrain, where it flows over the wedding cake tiers of land . The photos below, showing the upper portion of the three step staircase, were taken during the early spring runoff. The falls were once considered to be a site for a dam and hydroelectric plant. Fortunately, protestations led by a local farmer helped scuttle those plans and the landscape is now a preserved part of Icelandic beauty.
Sunset was upon us as we arrived at our final destination of the day, #Kerid Crater Lake. A walk around this lake revealed an almost perfect symmetry. I appreciated the hints of red and the aquamarine color showing through the ice. My husband was less artistic in his observations. “Looks like a scene from a James Bond film”. Whoever the beholder, it’s a stunning view. #KeridCraterLake
Kerid Crater Lake, possibly formed by meteor impact, more likely a volcanic cone implosion. You can ponder the various theories as you admire the scenery.
Day 3 - Golden Circle Continued 4/4
We started our day on Route 1 in an attempt to find the Flói Nature Reserve. The navigator failed to bring us there. And when I say “failed” I mean we drove around and around the countryside trying to make some kind of sense out of the directions that we were receiving. Fortunately, the natural beauty of Iceland mitigates any sense of frustration and becomes a welcome diversion unto itself. As it happened we found ourselves at the entrance to wetlands with whooping swans and horses grazing nearby.
Then off to the powerful Urriðafoss waterfalls...
The Urriðafoss, fed by a glacier, is one of the largest and deceptively powerful waterfalls in Iceland. This power gives the Urriðafoss the potential to generate an enormous amount of hydroelectric power.. Thankfully, Iceland has avoided turning to this method of generating power.
When you look at the photograph below, imagine the strength of the water, its cold, moist spray hitting your face as it hit mine when I shot this image.The aquamarine water cascading down a snow capped cliff makes for an irresistible landscape. For me this photo captures the release of the pent up energy as Iceland awakes from its dark winter night.
The multiple contrasts of stillness and motion, light and dark, symmetry and irregularity, and so on in this photo illustrates the organized randomness of nature.
As we continued our drive through this #picturesque Nordic island nation, the land of fire and ice, of volcanoes and the subterranean boil, we stopped at #Hveragerdi, the earthquake town. Hveragerdi, known for greenhouses and geothermal activity, has a number of hot springs and thermal fields. The visitor center is worth a look with the exhibition “The Quake 2008” and the obligatory souvenir shop.
Hveragerði, Southern Iceland, 2019
There is something alluring about the wooden #footbridges that provide a rustic charm to the rough waters and rugged terrain of the island.
In addition to nice walking paths, native birds, such as the #Redwing, make their presence known and occasionally allow their portrait to be taken.
After our walk in the park we stopped for lunch at the #Ölverk Pizza & Brewery in Hveragerdi that offered surprisingly good pizza, (Being from the New York metro area, our pizza standards are pretty high). Good craft beer and if necessary, tasty vegan options.
Hoping to do some birdwatching, we made a second attempt to find the #Flói Nature Reserve despite it being quite overcast with threatening skies. Most of the snow had melted, the paths were very muddy and alas there were very few birds to see. As birders know, that tells you little about yesterday or tomorrow.
Flói Nature Reserve
After our short hike, we headed back to Reykjavik
To read about Day 4 please click here
To see more photographs of Iceland be sure to visit: