On the morning of 14th August I got up and caught a plane from Bergen to Reykjavik to begin the next leg of the pre-trip in Iceland. After 9 days of backpacking through Norway, spending hours hopping on and off buses and trains to get from place to place and staying in shabby overpriced mountain cabins Iceland was a welcome change in pace. Given the duration of this trip + the variety of views and experience this trip, this’ll probably be one of the longest trip posts.
(Also thanks to Prat this’ll probably be the only trip with this many group photos so I will use them liberally)
Started the trip in Reykjavik where I made a last minute decision to get the Reykjavik card, subsequently spending the afternoon frantically hopping between museums to get my moneys worth. No regrets though, the museums in Reykjavik were fascinating and different from anything else I’ve seen, to say the least. Particularly enjoyed the national museum and the photography museum. I feel like the museum scene there should be given more attention; Reykjavik as a city in general tends to take a backseat in the light of the country’s natural landscapes, which is then again, completely understandable I guess. The noodle dinner there on the first day was particularly memorable for me because it was my first asian meal in 10!!!! days and having still not adapted to this overseas life at that point, 10 days felt like forever.
The next day we woke up in the morning to pick up the rental car from the city centre. Driving stick again after ages was really fun and less difficult than my overthinking self expected it to be, which was really great because now I know for sure that driving a stick shift is a skill that never really leaves you – which is a nice little confidence boost I guess.
The remainder of the trip was a blur of driving from one beautiful natural attraction to another, constantly in awe at the constantly changing landscapes along the way to settle down at a different new airbnb each night. Iceland is unreal; from vast green plains to glaciers, snow capped mountains and barren wind eroded plateaus, black sand beaches and fjords it seems like the country’s got it all. We drove the ring road (highway 1) over a week, which was admittedly a little shorter than would have been ideal which made the itinerary a little rushed and touch-and-go, but I still got to see it all and it was an amazing time.
In no particular order, I’m going to list some things that stand out to me from my memory of the trip so here goes:
Seeing a million waterfalls (seriously this country has too many of them):
Overlooking the black sand beach from the lighthouse, and losing my lens cap on the black sand beach:
That really long walk out to the plane wreck in the middle of nowhere:
The 500km/6 hour long night drive on the third day to reach our airbnb way later than we thought we would, at 1am. Having nothing but The Weeknd’s Starboy album on replay for most of the drive because we were too tired/lazy/focused on reaching the destination; I still can’t listen to most of it now. Tiring (and slightly scary) as it was at the time, I’ll probably always remember it fondly now.
The views of this road on the way down to Seyðisfjörður; going really out of the way to get some shots from a better angle:
Really, really smelly but really, really impressive volcanic vents and pools:
Getting caught in mad rains/winds in the vicinity of the countries most powerful waterfall (which was basically blasting water at us too), subsequently having my pants entirely drenched, freezing my ass off not being able to walking properly for most of the remainder of the day. It’s a wonder we didn’t fall sick:
The only hike that we did during the trip, a short (maybe 2 hour?) climb along the side of a hill to reach yet another waterfall that no one remembers the name of:
Whale watching!!! Wasn’t too excited about spending >$100 to get on a boat and look at whales for a few hours but the insane winds and choppy waters in the fjord + those mad invincible overalls they gave us to wear made it quite a fun experience. We saw a whole lot of whales too so that was cool:
Didn’t manage to get any good whale shots though.
That attempt at a hike on the last day where we walked up and realised the route was way too long and then walked down. Mad views/sky though:
Staying out in the outdoor hot tub at one of our accommodations, trying to catch the lights but failing. We had a number really cool accommodations over the trip (and over the whole exchange), come to think about it. Slightly regret not taking more pictures of these places.
Special mention goes to buying groceries every night, always buying too much and overcooking, and then somehow buying too much the next day anyway which was fun. Also Icelandic words are hilarious.
Road tripping made the whole trip really laid back and i’m glad to have been able to do it in such an amazing country, with company that made it work.
Headed back 2 days earlier than the rest to go to Stockholm for a pre-semester briefing at KTH. 2 days later, I was off to Copenhagen for my 2nd ever solo trip (albeit a short one). After writing posts like this and thinking about all the things I’ve experienced it’s hard to say life isn’t good, really.