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Published: December 31st 2013
Jokulsarlon glacier lake
With the sunset and reflections
2nd road trip in 2 weeks. Next up, we headed to Iceland where we were treated to another round of pristine natural attractions. Out of the world landscapes, out of our most fertile imaginations. The unearthly sights in this land of fire and ice were too amazing not to be shared and below are the 10 favourite memories/places from our trip into this unique island.
1. We were glad we came during summer, where we witnessed the 'midnight sun
' in the capital Reykjavik
. The clear skies never looked like dimming as the sun continued to hover over the horizon. It was past 12am when we headed to the port to catch the sunset. It was surreal, as we could see the fiery red orb on one end of the sky and the luminous bright moon on the other end. After a while, the sun slowly dipped beyond the horizon, though streaks orange and red lingered in the sky. Beautiful.
2. þingvellir national park
, a UNESCO heritage site, was our first destination in the morning. The area is part of a fissure zone, situated on the boundaries of the mid-Atlantic ridge, as the fault lines could be clearly seen by
the rock formations. It was a unique treat to the eyes. It was also in this area, Silfra
, where we went snorkelling between the submerged rifts, clearly seeing what's going on beneath the surface in the cold but clear waters. An interestingly cold
3. The geyser(s) were another nature wonder, as we watched how they intermittently discharge water into the sky. Understanding how they worked almost felt like geography classes all over again, haha. Strokkur
geyser was the main highlight (The Great Geysir did not erupt while we were there) as we were having quite a bit of fun anticipating its eruption (around 3-5 minutes each time), and trying to capture its best moments with ourselves in it!
4. The enormous waterfall, Gullfoss
, completes the 3 famous Golden Circle attractions. It was quite simply the largest waterfall I've seen thus far, with the crevice hidden out of sight from the long observation deck, which makes the water seemingly just disappear into the earth. When the winds were strong, we were treated to a light shower from the spray of the water too! The majestic fall looks huge even from a further and higher observation deck.
We were hoping to catch a mega huge rainbow across the waterfalls (like those in postcards) but no luck to that.
5. My favourite waterfall: Seljalandsfoss
. I could still remember the excitement as we slowly approached it, catching glimpses of different colours being formed above the waterfalls. The closer we went, the clearer it was. Our dream, of catching rainbows over waterfall came true! A simply amazing feeling. Seljalandsfoss was especially special as we could walk behind the waterfall and go 'within' it. Best thing, the rainbow seemed to somehow follow us as we caught it at different angles. The wind was in our favour 😊
6. Another magnificent waterfall, the Skogafoss
, continued to fuel our eyes' appetites. The 3rd and last one but equally astonishing. It was a larger and taller version where we could climb the stairs up to the top of the waterfall. Witnessing the huge vertical drop was spine-chilling to say the least, as we attempted to take some shots near the edge of the falls.
7. Of all places, there's no doubt Vik
and its black beaches
bring back the most memories. After ending the previous night at the impressive Dyrholaey
(a small peninsular off the south coast with black lava columns), we wanted to head out to the black beaches just a few minutes drive from our hostel. It was a fascinating first for all of us, seeing the coastline covered by black pebbly sand, most of which were seemingly polished smooth by the crashing waves. What happened then was beyond our wildest imaginations. An innocent attempt to go onto the stepped columns nearer the shorelines turned out to be the most (un)memorable incident. Crash came the HUGE
open sea waves, not once but twice, soaking us completely. We felt momentarily under waters, as we immediately ran away from the shores after that! Compounding the fear, my spectacles was washed into the sea, and hence I was partially blind then (1000 degrees!). 2 DSLR and 1 digital pocket camera and some phones fell victim to the waters. Thankfully the huge wave impact pinned us against the columns away from the sea. If not, who knows, we might be swallowed us by it as well. On hindsight, we were quite lucky to still be shivering out of our wet clothes and changing into new ones by the car.
8. With slightly dented morale, we continued towards Fjaorargljufur Canyon
where we were treated to yet another nature's spectacle. The emerald blue stream-river flanked by the towering canyon was awe inspiring and the vibrant colours make for a grand shot. Some of us spent a good time just sitting atop one of the cliffs, staring into the gorge, while taking a relaxing walk along the river was equally smoothing.
9. We did some hiking at Skafatafell National Park
where we were had an awesome view of the glacier from above. Thanks to the visitor centre's recommendation, we found a route up which took less than an hour. It was impressive as we saw the vast ice-filled glacier with icy-snow capped mountains at the backdrop. The parts nearer to the southern coast had already melted though.
10. Last but definitely not least, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lake
was one of my all-time favourite. It was simply incredible, seeing ice figures floating in the lake, most of them having some sort of uncanny resemblance, as though they have been deliberately sculptured. The radiant sunset and the reflections of the clouds onto the waters make for the perfect picture, with professional
photographers all ready with their tripod stands. Nearer towards the seas, we could also witness the unyielding nature of water as the ice blocks were slowly chipped, drifting away into the open seas. Such an incredible sight to behold. Wonderful memories there include chasing ducklings by the lake, attempting to throw stones onto ice structures, and watching our sky lantern
take our wishes into the Iceland skies. Last stop, but the best one 😊
The drive back to the airport from Jokulsarlon was a long but really enjoyable one as I looked out at the incredible landscape lit up by the warm moonlight. The past 4 days have been nothing short of extraordinary. The places in Iceland and the memories of the good times spent here will remind in a long long time to come 😊
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