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Published: December 31st 2017
Iceland Travel Diary: The Beginning, Destinations, and Conclusion
The Trip was from June 27th, 2017 to July 12th, 2017
My family loves to travel together and see new places as much as possible. We recently visited Iceland in the summer of 2017 for two fantastic weeks. It was not just another place to check-off on a list, but, a life-changing experience. I hope to return there someday. This vacation was the first time I went on a road trip across a whole country. One of the most memorable parts of this vacation was that we planned the entire trip ourselves. Or rather, my mother planned the whole trip herself. Because of this, we went where we wanted to when we wanted. We had complete freedom to explore at our own pace, and that made the vacation so much better. If you ever have the chance to go to Iceland, make sure you go and try to plan the trip yourself.
When we go on a vacation, we do not take package tours as we like to feel the place that we are visiting, not just check it off a list. We talk to friends who
have visited those destinations and take the help of locals when we are lost or need any advice or tip. Our trip to Iceland was no different. Further, me and my brother, Vibhu, decided to document this vacation. I was going to write a blog about our trip, and my brother was going to take photos. He loves photography. I want to thank my brother for all of his help. He took all the pictures in this blog. I also want to thank my mom and my brother (again) for helping me in editing this blog. For all the photos from our trip check out: https://www.flickr.com/photos/154547622@N05/collections.
Many websites and books help you plan your vacation to Iceland. We spoke to several friends, read several firsthand reports and blogs about the beauty of the country. Special Thanks to Amit Singhal for sharing his experiences from his trip. Lonely Planet Iceland’s Ring Road – Road Trip and Lonely Planet Iceland were also very helpful in planning our trip. These books were handy references while we were traveling there as well. This blog is to share my experience without going into specific details of all the places. I hope it will also
help you plan your trip and give you a better feel for the place when you see the pictures my brother took during our two-week trip. You may check out my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn6VxfVc0FOgLUB84-dbmVQ/playlists for the vlogs.
Before I get into the details, here is an overview of one of the best two weeks of my life. We rented a car and drove about 3000 miles in 15 days, stayed in 10 different hotels/apartments, hiked/walked between 6 -10 miles each day, cooked our food, for the most part, spoke to several local people and tourists, and explored most of the country. In Iceland, you can see several of nature’s wonders and geological formations such. A couple of examples are rivers, sea, lakes, waterfall, glaciers, icebergs, fjords, volcanic craters, volcanic crater lake, lava tubes, geysers, caves, fissures, hot springs, canyon, gorge, black sand beaches, white sand beach, basalt columns, still cooling volcanic eruptions, mountains, and plateaus. If you are a nature lover, add this country to your list of must-see places. After we came home, the most significant question on our minds was where we would go for our next vacation. Iceland is so beautiful that no other place can
compare with its beauty.
Check out the map of our trip at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1X4WUl4ncPlqH_67XGOLDes1NSSHt0ZqW&usp=sharing. You need a google account to view this map.
In addition to taking pictures and notes for writing the blog, my brother and I were also responsible for packing the bags when we switched hotels, loading, unloading, and cleaning the car. Unpacking was not the most fun part of the trip, but we are proud to say we did not forget or lose anything on this entire trip. I had a similar job when I was part of a professional touring choir, so this part of our vacation was no sweat.
Alongside viewing nature’s beauty, we had conversations with several tourists. I was in awe of how varied people’s reasons for visiting Iceland were. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
• A retired IT professional from Germany was biking through the entire country
• Another retired person had converted a WWII vehicle into an RV, brought it on a ship to Iceland and was making the full circle for the 6thtime
• A student from Smith College in New Hampshire was traveling throughout the whole country by walking, hitch-hiking, and using public transport.
• A painter was traveling to collect samples of mud/rock to create natural colors for her paintings.
• A couple was working at a farm for free in exchange for lodging and food while they toured the country.
• I lost count of the several photographers I saw at each place.
Here are the different places that we visited in Iceland. Check the Iceland Travel Diary: The Days for the details of the days. Day 0 (June 27th, 2017): Departure from Newark
We boarded the WOW Airlines flight on 27th
June from Newark to Reykjavik. I have traveled on flights that charge for cabin baggage, but a new discovery on board the WOW airlines flight was that there are airlines that charge even for water! Day 1: South & South-West Iceland
• Arrival at Keflavik airport in Reykjavik
• Geysir + Strokkur
• Selfoss Day 2: South & Highlands
• Mountain with snow
• Hnausapollur or Bláhylur lake
• Frostastaðavatn Lake
• Selfoss Day 3: South Iceland
• Departure from Selfoss
• Reynisdrangrar view
• Kirkjubæjarklaustur Day 4: South and South East Iceland
• Departure from Kirkjubæjarklaustur
• Höfn Day 5: South East and East Iceland
• Departure from Höfn
• Vestrahorn Viking Village Film set
• Eglisstadir Day 6: East and North East Iceland
• Departure from Eglisstadir
• Askja - Flat tire
• Grenjaðarstaður Day 7: North Iceland
• Karfla Viti Crater
• Nature bath mess up
• Volcano Hverfjall crater
• Grenjaðarstaður Day 8: North Iceland
• Turf houses
• Myvatn Nature Baths
• Dimmuborgir Park
• Ystafell transportation museum
• Grenjaðarstaður Day 9: North Iceland
• Departure from Grenjaðarstaður
• Múlagöng tunnel
• Héðinsfjarðargöng tunnel
• Trollaskagi Peninsula
• Blonduos Day 10: North and North West Iceland
• Departure from Blonduos
• Hotel Bjarkalundur Day 11: West Iceland
• Departure from Berfjarðarvatn
• Patreksfjördur Day 12: West Iceland
• Departure from Patreksfjördur
• Ólafsvik Day 13: West Iceland
• Departure from Ólafsvik
• Snæfellsjökull National park
• Saxhóll Crater
• Vatnishellir Cave
• Olkeda Mineral Spring
• Reykjavík Day 14: West
• Into the glacier – Langjökull
• Viðgelmir lava cave
• Thingvellir National Park Day 15: Departure from Iceland
Day 15 was bittersweet. I was sad that we were leaving, but I was happy we were going home. I was used to this feeling though. I was part of a professional touring choir. This year, we traveled to more than half the United States, and we also went to China for a month. I love touring. It’s how I see different places and things. The end of a tour is always bittersweet because of how much fun you’ve had on the road, but you still want to go home. So, similar feeling. At about 11 am, we left our hotel and drove back to Keflavik airport. While my dad and I returned the rental car, my brother and mother got our luggage tags. By 2:45 pm on July 12, 2017, we had boarded our flight back to Newark and ended this wonderful trip to the most beautiful place on Earth. Back Home
We still cherish those memories and are already thinking where to go next. However, when I went to bed at home, I comforted myself with the thought that I wouldn’t have to pack bags and move the next morning. With that relaxing thought, I went to sleep. Falling asleep was going to be easy, especially for a person like me who loves to sleep. With our crazy driving schedule in Iceland, we were still pretty much living in the Eastern time zone while we were there. I slept for a long time and dreamt about the fantastic time we had in Iceland.
I have maintained a personal travel journal for my choir tours, but this is my first public post. I took notes for my travel diary during the trip and writing this post just made me relive those beautiful days again. We had a great time in Iceland, and this travel diary will help us remember the fantastic fun-filled, no-electronics family time forever. I also feel that vacations like this are essential to strengthen family ties.
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