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iceland

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Iceland Day 3

Day 3 was an EPIC day!! We had a traditional Icelandic breakfast at our hotel. Yogurts, breads, cheeses, waffles, meats, granola, oatmeal- very typical to a US breakfast. We then drove to Fjadrarljufur Canyon, which was absolutely incredible. Justin Bieber recorded his video, “I’ll Show You” at the canyon in 2015. Since then, over a million visitors have come to the fragile canyon. It is a natural wonder that was not meant to be populated, so they have had to rope it off to visitors. It was still amazing to see it. I completely understand not being able to hike the area. The moss could be ruined by so many people who don’t follow the rules to stay off of it.

About an hour down the road, our next stop was just by chance that we pulled off on a side road near Skaftafell. It led us to a glacier (unfortunately we don’t know the name of it) where we got out and actually walked around the whole area. It was beautiful. The glaciers are a beautiful blue. It was massive and looked to go on forever.

We found a great little place along the side of the road before the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon where we stopped to use the restroom and grab a lunch. They had the most delicious ham and cheese baguette sandwiches and pastries. We got our coffee fix for the road and headed to the Jokulsarlon area and Diamond Beach. Diamond beach is a strip of black sand located by the glacier lagoon. Here, the icebergs which fill the lagoon wash up on the shore and seriously look like sparkling diamonds of all sizes, especially because they stand in stark contrast to the black sand. We walked the foggy beach for at least 3/4 of a mile.

Across the street from Diamond Beach is Jokulsarlon Lagoon. It’s still blue waters are filled with icebergs from the surrounding glacier. These icebergs are massive, and the pictures just don’t do them justice.

We made our way to Hofn for dinner that evening. We ate at Pakkhus, and it was absolutely delicious. It had a beautiful view overlooking the harbor. After dinner, we drove back to the west about 20 miles to the Hoffelll Hot Pots to relax a bit before making our drive to our cabin in Djupivogur. The hot pots are in the middle of no where surrounded by mountains. Truly a unique experience for all of us.

We are not quite sure of the significance of the red chair along the side of the Ring Road in, but it made for a fun instagram photo, so why not??

It was late by the time we got to the Bragdavellir Cottage, but we all slept like babies.

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Iceland Day 2

We woke up and headed out on Day 2 towards the Southern Coast of Iceland. We stopped at this yummy Gudni Bakari along the way and then made our way to Seljalandsfoss and Gljufurafoss. They were both packed with people, so we didn’t stay long. None of us are fans of crowds. You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss, so it is extremely wet. I opted not to take any pictures for fear of losing both my phone and camera. You can go a 3/4 of a mile further and reach Gljufurafoss, which is pretty awesome. You go inside a cave to view the waterfall. AMAZING!!

After leaving the falls, we continued south and came across this really cool turf cave along the road called Steinahellir cave. After reading the sign next to it, we learned that the cave was used by farmers to house sheep. In 1818, the cave actually became the area’s parliamentary assembly site and remained so until 1905. There are apparently many stories of supernatural happenings and enchantments connected with the cave. One tale warns not to pick the enchanted ferns which grow in the cave as bad luck will befall anyone who does. It is now a protected archaeological site. We stopped to get some pictures, but didn’t pick the ferns! Our next stop was Skogofoss. We could see it from the road, and we could see that there were a lot of people and the parking lot was full. Of course, the kids convinced me that we didn't need to stop because we would find something even better with few people. Of course- they were right.

We continued on and decided to veer off onto a side road (rt 221) off of route 1 towards the Solheimajokull Glacier. We parked the car and walked for a bit. You can also walk on this glacier with a guide. I think this place would be absolutely beautiful in the winter (but so cold).

Next stop was Dyrholaey where we were excited to see puffins. Unfortunately, we could only view them with the binoculars. Olivia was still very excited to see them. We didn’t spend a lot of time here because we were getting hungry and still wanted to get in a hike before settling into our hotel in Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

We stopped in the adorable town of Vik for a nice lunch at Suder Vik before we found this amazing hike. Before we ate, we had noticed a pull off on the right side of the road right before the town. We basically were the only people on the hike, which took about 3 hours total. From the top, we could see Reynisfjara beach (black sand), and the views were incredible. We met up with many sheep and one cyclist the entire time. It was well worth it for the views and lush green landscape, turquoise water, and jagged cliffs.

We continued on the coast and made our way towards our hotel for the night. On the way, it was getting late and we went through an area where both sides of us were total moss lands. You can not walk on the moss in Iceland because it will destroy it. The was one point where we were able to pull off and get some pictures. Incredible!! We had dinner at Hotel Laki- our hotel for the night in Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

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Iceland Day 1

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Iceland Day 1

We arrived at the Keflavik airport early in the morning and made our way to Blue Car Rental . If you plan to visit Iceland, driving the Ring Road is a great way to see the country. Blue Car was so accommodating to us and our experience was nothing but positive, so we highly recommend them. We made our way to Reykjavik from the airport, which is about 40 minutes. We parked the car and walked a little bit before we found Braud and Co, an amazing little bakery that has the best fresh cinnamon rolls. They were so delicious. We walked across the street to Reykjavik Roasters to grab some coffee. Once we were filled up on coffee and baked goods, we walked around the city for a little bit. We knew we’d be back at the end of our trip around Ring Road, so we didn’t spend long. What struck me the most was all of the color all over the houses and the buildings.

We then left Reykjavik and headed towards the area in the Golden Circle where we would be staying for the night. On our way to our guesthouse, we stopped at the Kenio Crater. The kids walked all the way down and said the water was crystal clear. We had a 1:00 reservation at Fridheimar Farmhouse, where they grow tomato plants in a greenhouse, powdered by the geothermal energy. We enjoyed all you can eat tomato soup and fresh bread. It was the perfect lunchtime treat after a long overnight flight.

It was then time to check into the Heradsskolinn Guesthouse for the night in Laugarvatn. When I booked the vacation, I made sure to include a different type of lodging for each night we were in Iceland. I really wanted us all to experience all of the different types you can stay at while traveling. We checked into our historic guesthouse and crashed for about 3 hours. Good thing we packed our sleeping masks. The hostel was so clean and a unique experience for us. We had to share a bathroom with everyone on our floor, but they were so clean. The guesthouse is set in a 1920’s former school building and offered both private rooms and dorms. All five of us were together in one room, and it worked out just fine.

We headed out for dinner at a great restaurant called Lindin right next to our guesthouse. We had delicious seafood and a great view of Lake Laugervatn. We made it to Bruarfoss before the sunset and stopped to visit some Icelandic horses on the way home just as the sun was setting. It was a great first day!!

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