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Iceland Trip

In August, Anjali and I went to Iceland.  This was a last minute decision to go to Iceland.  I was changing jobs and had a full week before my new gig started.  Iceland had been on our shortlist and the timing worked out great with tickets, hotel availability and the fantastic weather in Iceland at the time.

We started our journey in Reykjavik.  The trip from the airport to downtown is about an hour drive and right away, you can start to see the volcanic terrain of the island.

We spent a night in Reykjavik and did some local sightseeing, before heading out in our rental car along the northern coastline.

The main church of Hallgrímskirkja was right next to our B&B.

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The next morning, we began our drive to the volcanic Snaefellsnes peninsula.

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There were so many beautiful waterfalls along the drive.iceland003 - 1.jpg

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The drive ended at the ocean and the Londragar lava formations.  One can follow the lava flows from the mountain all the way into the ocean.  Fantastic!

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As we drove further into the northern part of Iceland, we ran across a seal “crossing” near Hvammstangi.  The seals were lounging in the sun and there were dozens of them. Look closely – there are three seals in the foreground and six in background.iceland1002 - 1.jpgiceland1003 - 1.jpg

On day 4 of our trip, we made it to the northern city of Husavik.  This is known as Iceland’s whale watching capital.  We took an all day boat tour on a a viking sailing vessel from North Sailing.  I’d highly recommend their tours as you will see from the below pictures.

On the way to the whale site, we ventured past Puffin Island – a natural habitat for the puffin birds.  There were tens of thousands of the birds.

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Finally, we got to the whale site and after about two hours of seeing humpback whales from a distance we finally got “lucky” and had one come up right along side the boat.  What a thrill!  We also saw a number of Minke whales – these whales are much smaller and faster.

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There was one whale that played along side our boat for at least 40 minutes.  According to the captain, this was quite an unusual treat.  Must have been the fantastic weather!

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Definitely the highlight of the trip and ingrained in my memories for life.

From Husavik, we drove a couple of hours inland and saw a pair of waterfalls called Dettifoss and Selfoss. Dettifoss (which is a short distance downstream from Selfoss) is know to be the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe.

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Next stop and a bit further inland is Lake Myvatn. The area surrounding Lake Myvatn has the highest concentration of volcanic and geothermal sights in Iceland.  In a single day, we were able to explore pseudocraters, rock formations, lava fields, see mud pools and steam vents and eventually relax in a volcanic steam bath.

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These are photos from the Hverond Mud pits and Steam vents – a little off the beaten path but so eerie and quite smelly. Definitely worth the drive!

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iceland1022 - 1.jpgAfter Hveraond, we went a short drive to Dimmuborgr Lava formations and explored the natural lava formations.

 

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In the distance, you can see the Hverfjall Cinder Cone.  We spent a couple of hours and hiked to the top of the cone.iceland1024 - 1.jpg

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At the end of the day, we went to the Jardbodin Nature Baths.  It’s the northern Iceland equivalent of the Blue Lagoon Spa.  The water is heated and regulated by the steam vents.  Kind of an odd experience – probably would not go back to do this.

From the Myvatn area, we headed back to Reykjavik to catch our flight back to LA!

What a fantastic, experience and highly recommended!  With less than a week between booking our tickets and beginning on our journey, we leveraged the expertise of a travel planner from Kim Kim.  I’d highly recommend it as our planner Chris McCarty pointed us to so many sights we would not have known about.

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