Iceland: Northern Lights, Horses, and Hard Boiled Eggs!
The next day we headed out early and left Reykjavik behind us. We drove west and northwest for the next day and a half where we saw Fjords, lighthouses, fishing villages, northern lights and had the best lunch and dinner in the same day. It has to be one of my favorite days ever, especially getting to experience this all with my best friend, Jack Daniels...ahem...I mean Erica of course.
The highlight though had to have been spending the evening photographing my bucket list place, Kirkjufellsfoss. Yeah, I know, it's yours too right? Snow melt and hot springs trickle down the surrounding hills forming a small, but beautiful, waterfall that pours into view of the mountain Kirkjufell. The mountain has an odd, yet enticing wizard's hat shape that to me is so mesmerizing.
The cold air and small hike back and forth from the waterfall left us hungry for dinner. We stumbled upon a wonderful restaurant called Bjargar-stein only 5 minutes away. It sat on the bay overlooking Kirkjufell. There we had an amazing Icelandic dinner of roasted lamb shank and white fish with tiger shrimp. I've never really had lamb and was reluctant to try. After a hearty endorsement from our waitress I ordered up. I was blown away with the flavors and how the meat seemed to melt off the bone. It is one of the best dinners I've had and it probably ruined me from trying lamb anywhere else because it won't compare.
Before we had even finished our dinner, our spunky waitress announces to the whole restaurant that the northern lights have appeared. She tells us all to go and see it. We were all flabbergasted that we could just walk out and be trusted not to dine and dash. Iceland is completely like no other country!
We quickly decided (by we I mean me) to head back to Kirkjufellfoss and photograph it with the northern lights. I don't know many other wives that would endure 15 degree weather, doing a small hike, and sitting in the snow to be with their husband while he photographs for an hour. She is the BEST! That night I slept so soundly checking this off my list and recounting what an awesome day it was.
I woke up early and got the car warmed and ready to hit the road while I let Erica continue to sleep in the back. The morning sunrise was gorgeous as it showered its rays over a few dozen of the more than 3,000 islands that dot this side of Iceland's coast.
By pure accident, we went the wrong direction and ended up at an amazing and unique hot spring. Set into the hillside under a waterfall sat a small circular stone bath. Just above it was a wooden changing cabin just big enough for a couple of people, like us! To say it was serene is an understatement. The view of the wide open snow covered hills below us made us realize just how sequestered we were. It was amazing!
After getting back on course, we made the decision to turn back to Reykjavik. Unfortunately due to the storm a couple of days prior, we had lost our needed drive time to complete the whole island tour in an enjoyable fashion. Instead we decided to regroup, get organized, due some laundry, and set ourselves up to cover more of the south of Iceland.
We headed back to the Glacier Lagoon area and really took in the landscape that now had been blanketed with fresh snow. The skies were clear and it was amazing how remote everything felt. That night we experienced the northern lights again and it was even more intense than before. If you haven't seen them before, GO! Every penny spent was worth it.
The next morning we set ourselves up for a nice walk to a real hot springs. The type of hot springs where nothing is man made and it's just us and the warm water. What ended up being more of a hike than a walk was an experience of which we were pleasantly surprised. Surrounded by mountains and a velvet layer of snow was a creek that flowed with fresh hot water straight from the earth's core. Well, close to it anyways. Some areas of the stream were as hot as 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As we laid in the stream with a temperature around 100, we couldn't believe the beauty of the mossy snow banks and what a paradise it was to be there. The only time Erica and I regretted our decision was the 20 mins or so it took to warm up after having to change from wet to dry clothes in 20 degree weather. (1st world problems, I know right?)
That night we splurged and treated ourselves to a wonderful hotel room on our last evening in Iceland. As we sat in the naturally heated Jacuzzi and reminisced about the adventures we had, we couldn't help but dare each other. To do what? Jump out into the knee high snow, make a mad dash to the river below us, and take an Icelandic cold plunge. Yep....we're locals now. It was awesome and horrendous at the same time and I have video to prove it!
As we ate breakfast on our final morning and began packing for the flight home, Iceland had one last treat to offer us. Our hotel gave us two eggs along with a stick and net. We quickly got excited as we realized we were about to hard boil our own eggs in a steam vent. I don't even like hard boiled eggs that much but it was so unique to cook this way that I jumped in enthusiastically. This place is so amazing, wonderful, awesome, and any other great ajectictive. We can't wait to come back in the spring to see it when it's covered in green moss. Time to start saving
Well, we hope you have enjoyed the images and stories and if you ever have any need for more information, want to make comments, or love to listen to me drone on about traveling, feel free to let us know at anytime. Until our next adventure!