Here’s Part I of my adventure in Iceland last October 2016. We explored places closer to the city during the first half of our stay. I always prefer nature over the city, but this first half was still really fun and beautiful to experience. Iceland has been a long-time dream of mine and to this day I still can’t believe I actually made there. It scared me a bit to be so far from home but I am so grateful for this experience. Iceland definitely has a special place in my heart!
Right before we boarded the plane from Munich to Iceland, we were informed by our tour operator that there needed to be a change in plans. We were originally scheduled to view the Aurora Borealis the night after our arrival, but forecasts have shown that the aurora activity would be strongest on the day we would be arriving. So as soon as we land, we had to leave immediately after checking into our hotel to be able to catch this phenomenon.
What I love about the group I travelled with was that everyone was super game and there were no complaints even if we were all super tired from almost 24hrs of being in transit. They were strangers to me before the trip but I came to love them all in the coming days.
It was my first time shooting an aurora and I found it so frustrating but eventually got the hang of it. Experience really is the best teacher but I’m so glad I read up on tips for aurora photography before the trip! A part of my tripod chipped off though lol! But I’m still able to use it even until now.
As touristy as The Blue Lagoon might seem I would say that it’s not overrated and it’s something you need to experience when in Iceland even just once. We stayed for a good amount of time but I wish we stayed longer! It was really relaxing and fun. I don’t have much pictures because I only took shots after the whole experience. We had lunch at the top of the Perlan Building afterwards in a revolving restaurant. Again, no photos because I was too busy eating. Haha.
After lunch we proceeded with the city tour and of course we were taken to see the Hallgrímskirkja church. It’s very clean and bright inside, and it feels brand new despite being built in 1945.
We took a short stop to Þingvellir National Park. We didn’t go too far in since we didn’t have a lot of time and the wind was raging, it was hard to keep balance even on a flat surface! So I didn’t enjoy this stop as much as I could have because I didn’t get to see a lot of it, definitely somewhere I’d like to return to so I could appreciate it better.
The Geysir area was also an interesting place to visit. The landscape here transformed into reds and yellows because of the high sulfur content I think (please correct me if I am wrong.) We saw the Strokkur erupt and right when it did the winds came and blew it to our direction so we had to run! It was so much fun though!
If you only see the Gulfoss in pictures you wouldn’t be able to imagine its actual size. It’s massive and incredibly scary if you fall in, but fences have been properly placed so don’t worry! Also, if you think you’ll make it out of here dry you’re 100% wrong. The falls are so strong that they generate so much mist (and it was also drizzling) that I had to wipe my glasses and my camera lens all the time.
And now for my favorite part of Part I: the Icelandic Horses! I love animals and I have heard so much about these creatures before my trip, and I made it a MUST to be around them at some point even if spending time with them wasn’t a part of our itinerary.
Before we had entered the area of the Gulfoss falls I had already spotted them next to the road nearby. So as soon as my mom and I finished taking pictures and exploring Gulfoss, we ran towards the area where the horses were.
They really are the sweetest things. They will approach you on their own expecting to be petted or fed. I actually called out “Hello!” to a black horse we named Jack and he came over and nuzzled his face all over mine. After a bit, he went away but only to bring back 2 more of his friends! It was super cute and it’s a memory I will cherish forever.