Iceland // Summer 2018

During the summer, Joe and I took a crossed a big destination off our bucket list - Iceland! 

In our marriage, we've made it a priority to take a few weeks off every year to go on an adventure together. Last year, we went visited Spain, Italy, and France. We've always wanted to travel to Iceland, and we finally made time this summer. Even better, my sister was able to join us for the first half of the trip!

Iceland is a devastatingly beautiful country. It's called the "Land of Ice and Fire," and, like the name suggests, it's a nation of stark contrasts. Towering waterfalls, ice-blue glaciers, hardened lava fields, black sand beaches, and lush valleys - it seemed like you can't point your camera without capturing something amazing!

On the first leg of our trip, we spent time around the famous Golden Circle, a popular route that takes you through some of Iceland's most popular sites. We saw Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most powerful waterfalls; Pingvellir, the site of the diverging North America and European continental plates; Geysir Thermal Field, a volcanic hot spot marked by spurting geysers and bubbling pools; and Kerio Crater, a colorful crater leftover from a massive volcano eruption.

At night (relatively speaking, the sun doesn't set in Iceland during the summer!), we stayed at a cute Airbnb with a hot tub that overlooked a beautiful valley!

On the second leg of the trip, we traveled along Iceland's South Coast. Joe is a big fan of waterfalls, so this was his favorite part.

We saw Skogafoss, which is probably one of the world's most picturesque waterfalls. There's a steep staircase that leads toward a trail behind the falls. The trail follows the path of a river that feeds from glacier run-off. It was absolutely stunning! Every time we turned a bend, the view took our breath away!

And Joe got completely soaked running up as close as he could to the base of Skogafoss! I love that crazy man!

We also saw Seljalandsfoss, a 210-foot high waterfall with a path that runs behind the falls. Near Seljalandsfoss, we discovered a hidden waterfall nestled within a cave tucked inside a cliffside. I think we all of our shoes got soaked making our way up the tiny river than run through the cave!

We later learned the hidden waterfall is called Gljufrabui, or "canyon dweller." 

One of the most awe-spiring parts of the trip was our journey into Thormork. According to Norse Mythology, this is where Thor - the God of Thunder (not Chris Hemsworth, unfortunately) resides. It's also the place that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

And it's easy to see why! We had to take a special vehicle so we ford several rivers. The tires came up to our shoulders! We stopped at Gigjokull, a glacier tongue that has receded several thousand feet in the past two decades. We also trekked into Stakkholtsgja, a scenic canyon that was filming location for some scenes in Game of Thrones. This was definitely a highlight of the trip. The canyon walls were covered in moss and followed the curves of the canyon to another waterfall hidden within a cave. 

We felt so small dwarfed by the massive canyon walls. The camera just doesn't do it justice, but we tried!

For the third leg of trip, Joe and I spent our time in an adorable campground in West Iceland. Our sleeping arrangement was a tiny hut! It was so cozy! 

While in West Island, we drove up to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and saw some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen! The multi-colored layers of the mountains are real! We also visited an adorable goat farm in which the goats were used as extras in an episode of Game of Thrones (like most characters on that show, it did not end up well for the goats). We also toured a lava tube and relaxed a new spa in the area (heated by geothermal energy!).