Travelling is addictive. No matter where I am or how busy I get with work, I can’t help planning trips – preferably two or three at a time! Iceland was my dream destination for 2018, and I was delighted when we made it happen. I immediately started researching, joining Facebook groups and reading up on the infamous F-roads – sometimes I really think that planning gives me more joy than actually travelling! Mad, isn’t it?
Iceland is truly a photographer’s paradise, and after talking to a few people who’d recently visited the country I was expecting flocks of those searching for the Garden of Eden. Everyone told me the golden years of Icelandic travels are gone and the place is populated with crowds of tour groups. Either we got incredibly lucky or my previous trips had changed my perspective but it really was the least populated place I had ever visited.
We decided to dedicate one of the days to exploring the Highlands and went on to rent a 4×4 to get there. My husband was super excited at the prospect of dirt roads and river crossings but somehow we managed to get the first taste of it just an hour out of the airport when Google led us to Hafnarberg cliffs via something I would really hesitate to call a road. The proof is in the pictures below. No, we did not see the cliffs. Yes, we did spend about 45 minutes digging the car out of the sand after it burrowed itself with every attempt to reverse…
With our hands covered with sand, we were finally able to get out of the Icelandic Quicksand, only to be hit with the unforgettable smell of… well, rotten eggs. The mesmerising sulphur hotsprings dotted all around the country have a less than mesmerising smell that follows you everywhere in Iceland – including the shower. You can probably get used to it (I know Icelandic people can’t smell it at all) but 5 days clearly wasn’t enough for me!
Iceland is a rough country but it’s the rugged beauty that appeals the most. I loved the way vegetation and landscape could change dramatically over just a few minutes. I loved coming across boiling hotsprings in the middle of a cold lake. I loved the way with every ray of sun the world around transformed completely and turned from moody and depressing to simply magical. I loved the amount of water everywhere, the colours of the mountains and the vibrant greens of algae. I can’t say I loved the wind – it followed us almost everywhere and chilled to the bone, but the views were still well worth it. We walked ourselves senseless almost every day, driving, hiking and exploring for 12 hours each day – Iceland is a type of holiday when you need another holiday after you come back! And as breathtaking as the landscapes our, nothing beats a real story to me – I can honestly say meeting local people and being part of the Icelandic wedding experience was one of the main highlights of my trip. I’d definitely return for another one!