Iceland Day 7 part 2

Posted in Trip on August 21st, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On the afternoon of day 7, we had our most extreme activity. 5 days before we left for Iceland, a volcanic eruption began. Within hours, we got an email from one of the companies we'd booked a tour with saying we could book a guide to take us there. We made a quick decision, and decided to do it.

Over the next week, we kept getting emails warning us off the hike. They told us it had been reclassified as a challenging hike, and that children were not recommended. Then the government officially banned children under 12 going (good thing Leah's 12). We were excited to go, so we stuck with it.

We were supposed to meet our group at the parking lot at 4:30, but were running late (didn't count on Reykjavik traffic). We got there right as the tour was supposed to leave, but couldn't find our guide in the sea of people. After phone calls and emails, we finally found our guide and rushed to catch up with the rest of the group.

Meradalir volcano hike

Around half way, we got to see the field of mostly cooled lava rock from last year's eruption.

Lava rock

The hike itself was tough. 14km round trip, with a maximum ascent of 350m. The majority of that was maybe 1km in and was really steep. About a third of the hike was over very rocky terrain, but the rest was on nice dirt paths that had been created since the eruption began (we went to see it on day 13 of the eruption).

Volcano hike

After a couple of hours, we topped a ridge and saw the volcano. It was incredible.

Initial volcano view

Meradalir volcano on day 13 of the eruption. The eruption began with a 100m fissure, but much of that has stopped, concentrating the lava flow in one area. A cone has just started to develop there, so this is a baby volcano. Depending on how long the eruption lasts, this cone may continue to grow bigger and bigger.

Meradalir volcano

I took some video footage of the volcano in the rain and heavy wind. It was so awesome. Note that this is an HDR video, and is best viewed on an HDR display.

Leah, Molly, and Jen found a great spot to sit and watch the volcano from the hillside next to it.

Watching the volcano

3 girls and a volcano

Here we are, in Iceland next to an erupting volcano.

Us and a volcano

The eruption was nice and active, constantly throwing lave into the air.

Erupting

The hillside next to the volcano was really steep, but I decided to try to walk down to the edge of the lava flow to get as close as possible. I made it down (though fell a couple times on the way). It was much warmer down there.

Up close to the volcano

That's my hand, touching the cooled lava rock (though still a bit warm).

Touching lava rock

Here's a view of the volcano erupting from ground level.

Erupting

Erupting

While I was down next to the lava rock, a bride and groom came down with their photographer to take wedding photos. Icelanders are tough.

Wedding photos

As we left the volcano, our guide invited us to his "souvenir shop", where we could pick a lava rock to take home.

Souvenir

The weather was nice as we started out hike to the volcano, then got very windy and rainy after the first hour. It got even nastier on the way back, including fog/clouds that reduced visibility a lot while walking through the rocks.

Hike back

Here's a view of all the switchbacks that formed the primary ascent on the way there. This hike was tough, and we weren't' sure if the girls would make it up. Molly in particular struggled to breath during the hike, which made even more sense when she tested positive for Covid two days later. But they both pushed through, and were rewarded with a once in a lifetime experience. If you ever get the chance to see an erupting volcano up close, don't pass it up.

Our trip to Iceland was amazing. We highly recommend going if you get the chance. Also, we planned this trip ourselves using lots of online resources, but the biggest and most helpful resource was Jeannie at Iceland With A View. Her videos and blog posts were so helpful in planning, and we referred to her guides constantly while traveling around. Big shoutout to her for helping us have such a great trip.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 7 Part 1

Posted in Trip on August 21st, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Day 7 was a super full day, starting with a 6am wakeup and ending with us getting to the apartment to eat dinner after 11pm. It was so full, that I'll split it into 2 posts.

Our early wakeup was due to having tickets to the Blue Lagoon at 8am when they open. It can get crowded, but getting there can avoid those crowds.

The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot spring with milky blue water. It was neat, and very warm.

Entering Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The water gets its appearance from silica found in the spring. That same silica forms a paste that the Blue Lagoon offers as a mask. Only Leah and Jen partook in the mask wearing.

Masks

The water was very warm, ranging from 97 degrees in the cooler parts to 104 degrees in the warmer parts. Molly ventured into the deep, hotter part of the pool (around 104).

Blue Lagoon silhouette

It was a fun experience. It felt more like a luxury spa than a natural wonder (even though it is a natural wonder), which was a nice break before our more extreme afternoon activity - an active volcano.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 6

Posted in Trip on August 20th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Day 6 in Iceland continued our glacier-related adventures. We went to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. This is a lagoon next to the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, formed by the glacier melting and full of icebergs that have broken off of the glacier. We booked a tour on a Zodiac boat to explore the lagoon.

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

On a boat

Jökulsárlón

Big iceberg

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon iceberg

Jökulsárlón boat ride

A view from out the back of the boat.

View from the boat

There was a seal hanging out on a rock in the lagoon.

Seal

The four of us, on a boat, in a glacier lagoon.

The four of us

We eventually reached the back of the lagoon for a good view of the glacier.

Breiðamerkurjökull

We were lucky enough to get to see a piece of the glacier break off (calve) and fall into the water. It was awesome to see, and bitter sweet. Knowing that it happens, we were excited to get to see it happen. But the fact that it is happening is sad, knowing that it means the glacier is melting and receding. The lagoon has doubled in size in the last 15 years at the expense of the glacier. Note that the video is shot HDR, and is best viewed on an HDR display.

After the calving, the place it had broken from had fresh ice, which appears blue.

After calving

Jökulsárlón boat trip

Sadly, we ran into car trouble at Jökulsárlón. As we pulled into the parking lot, the rental car alerted that one of the tires had low pressure. We got out and could hear the air escaping and tire deflating. We ended up going on our boat tour and leaving this problem to solve afterward.

Unfortunately, the car had no spare. It did have a tire repair spray, but it required an air compressor to use which the car did not have. So, I needed to call the rental car company, but I had no way to do that. I'd opted for an eSIM to get data in country, but had no way to make a phone call. I ended up borrowing a phone from the ticket desk (her personal phone) to call the rental car company. They said they'd send out roadside assistance, but we'd be paying out of pocket because we had not opted for the extra roadside assistance package. Also, in Iceland, tire damage is not covered by the rental car company, so we were going to have to pay to replace the tire as well.

The roadside assistance guy in Kirkjubæjarklaustur was busy, so they had to send the guy from Höfn (both about an hour away, but Höfn was the opposite direction of where we were headed). Since we had an hour or two to wait, we wandered around Jökulsárlón to see it from land.

Jökulsárlón from land

Jökulsárlón from land

The roadside assistance guy, Sven, was very nice and helpful. He looked at the tires, and said that all 4 were totally worn down on the inside, likely due to an alignment problem. The car needed 4 new tires. The good news was this was the rental car company's fault, so they'd be paying for everything. The bad news was that he'd have to tow it to the tire shop in Höfn. Our plan of seeing a few more things, then driving 5 hours back to Reykjavik was shot, but we were still going to need to drive to Reykjavik to our new place to stay. Höfn is a bit more than an hour further east of Jökulsárlón, so we'd be adding that distance to our drive back as well.

So, we hopped in Sven's truck and rode with him to Höfn.

Car trouble

Gas stations are a hub of food, supplies, and gas in Iceland. So, while our car was getting new tires, we walked to the closest gas station and got ice cream. Ice cream is Iceland is so delicious.

Gas station ice cream

After our car ordeal, we drove all the way back from Höfn to Reykjavik (about 6 hours driving). We passed Falljökull glacier on the way, where we'd hiked the day before. So, we decided to stop and get a picture of the glacier from afar. Note that Falljökull is just the glacier in the foreground, though all the glaciers you see are part of the Vatnajökull glacier system.

Falljökull

We finally got to our apartment in Reykjavik a bit after 11pm. We got our stuff in quickly and got to bed, as we knew we had to be up around 6am the next day.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 5

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Day 5 in Iceland continued the majestic ice theme with a hike on Falljökull glacier! Yes, we hiked up onto a glacier, and it was incredible. But first before the hike, we went to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, which had some excellent views.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Then it was time to hike Falljökull glacier! We met our guide at the tiny airport near the glacier (they have a lot of helicopter and propeller plane tours over the glacier). We hopped in their super jeep with one other family, and headed in. This photo was taken from where the super jeep was parked. Note the tiny people walking up (not us).

Falljökull glacier

Jen, near the base of the glacier.

Falljökull glacier

View from on the glacier, part way up.

View from on the glacier

Hiking up Falljökull glacier

The four of us on Falljökull glacier. We had much bigger/scarier crampons than the ice cave (understandably), plus everyone had their own ice axe. The harnesses were not used, but we were required to wear them in case someone slipped and needed to be rescued.

The four of us on Falljökull glacier

Looking up the glacier.

Up the glacier

Here's a view of the surrounding landscape from about half way up our hike.

View from higher on the glacier

Another view from the glacier

The four of us, up on Falljökull glacier, complete with crampons and ice axes. It was awesome!

Us on the Falljökull glacier

On the glacier

On the glacier

On the glacier

Our guide had us peer down this very deep crack in the glacier (and she kept hold of us in case we slipped).

Peering down

Peering down

Peering down

Our group was handling the hike well, so our guide had us hike up some more. It got a bit steeper up here.

Hiking up the glacier

Molly and Jen on top of the glacier. Well, not really, as it is really tall. But on top of this part at least.

On top of the glacier

After a sunny start (a rarity in Iceland), the clouds rolled in. And I don't mean above us, they rolled into us. It got very wet and rainy, but we were prepared.

Cloudy

We had to learn how to hike downhill in crampons.

Hiking back down

All of us drank from the river flowing on the glacier doing a Viking pushup on the ice axe.

Viking Pushup drink

Viking Pushup drink

Viking Pushup drink

The glacier was truly magnificent. It's impossible to capture the scale of it in pictures. And Falljökull is really just an outlet glacier of the huge Vatnajökull glacier which covers 8% of Iceland.

After our hike, we headed to new lodgings. There's not a lot of civilization around the glacier, so finding a place was challenging. Jen found an AirBnB about 20 minutes away that would let us spend just one night. It looked like a metal warehouse building from outside, but was a lovely 2 bedroom apartment on the inside.

Our lodging

The house may not have looked like much, but the view was not bad.

View from our abode

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 4 Part 2

Posted in Trip on August 20th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The ice cave was amazing, but day 4 wasn't even close to done yet. There's lots to do around Vík that we weren't going to miss.

Iceland's coastline is full of black sand beaches (volcanic rock turned sand). One of the most famous is Reynisfjara, which was very near to us when we stayed in Vík.

Reynisfjara black sand beach

One of the most famous features of the beach are its enormous basalt columns.

Basalt columns

Basalt columns

We walked along Reynisfjara beach for a while, and there are so many awesome things to see. This giant basalt cavern, for one.

Huge basalt cavern

There were rocks to climb.

Rocks to climb

More rocks

And more caverns.

Another cavern

Me and Jen, on a black sand beach, in Iceland.

The two of us

After some time on the beach, we went up to Dyrhólaey lighthouse, which gives fantastic views of the coastline.

Dyrhólaey

But better than landscape views, there were a bunch of puffins next to Dyrhólaey lighthouse. Thanks to Molly for finding them. They were even closer to us than they were on Vestmannaeyjar! We stayed for a while watching and photographing them.

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

Dyrhólaey puffins

I spent a lot of time photographing puffins. In fact, a fellow tourist who happened to also be from Maryland gave me his email address so I could send him my pictures. But eventually I pulled myself away from photographing the puffins, and we headed to another waterfall.

Skógafoss is another waterfall that's easy to get to, and magnificent. I love that Molly's totally up for getting up close and drenched.

Skógafoss

Near Skógafoss, there is another hidden waterfall if you know where to go. Getting there involved climbing this ladder over a barbed wire fence. You really feel like you're trespassing, but our guidebook said this was OK so we went with it.

Trespassing

After hopping the fence and a short 20 minute hike, we arrived at Kvernufoss. You can go behind this one too, as you can see from Leah, Molly, and Jen's bright colored jackets.

Kvernufoss

Behind Kvernufoss

For dinner that night, we went to the Black Crust Pizzeria in Vík, which has, you guessed it, pizza with black crust. Very on-theme for all the volcanic rock and ash around. It was absolutely delicious - some of the best pizza I've ever had.

Black Crust Pizza

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 4 Part 1

Posted in Trip on August 19th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Days 1 to 3 in Iceland were amazing, but day 4 took things to another level. In fact, I'm going to have to split day 4 into 2 posts. For the first post: our big activity of the day - an ice cave!

We booked a tour to see an ice cave in the Mýrdalsjökull glacier near the Katla volcano. Getting there is difficult, so we rode in this fancy van with giant tires. They even had a phone app to control the tire pressure to deflate them when riding through the volcanic ash desert.

Monster truck

We spent a 30-45 minutes driving through the ash desert created by Katla's last eruption, and stopped to take in the amazing views. It really was awesome. Of note, this is where they filmed the opening scene to Star Wars: Rogue One.

Volcanic ash desert

Volcanic ash desert

We could start to see the glacier in the distance from there.

Glacier from afar

After a bit more driving, we got as far as we could and had to proceed on foot. To walk on ice, you've got to have crampons. These were smaller and simpler than the ones we used for our glacier hike the next day.

Crampons

Walking to the glacier

Here's Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The ice is covered in black volcanic ash.

Mýrdalsjökull glacier

Mýrdalsjökull glacier

Our guide let us have a little fun with his ice axe.

Ice axe fun

Ice axe fun

They built a makeshift scaffolding to get up to the ice cave.

Headed in

Heading into the ice cave.

Inside the ice cave

The ice cave was so cool. It was created by the rivers of water that flow through the glacier. At some point, this was a river, but the water eventually took a different route leaving a tunnel for us to walk through. And since this glacier is full of volcanic ash from all the eruptions, the river left a convenient layer of ash on the ground for us to walk on.

In an ice cave

Note that this ice cave is open on both ends, as it opens up into a large crack in the glacier.

The four of us in an ice cave

In an ice cave

Molly's not sure about tasting the glacier ice.

Tasting the ice

Tasting the ice

Tasting the ice

Jen in the mouth of an ice cave

In an ice cave

After leaving the cave, we got a little bonus. The glacier has melted a bit at one point, leaving an opening we could go in. Yes, there's thousands of tons of ice above their heads.

Bonus

Bonus

One last picture of the glacier and surrounding landscape before getting in the monster truck to head back.

Landscape

This was one of our favorite experiences of the trip. The ice cave was so cool, and the drive there through the volcanic ash desert really did feel like you were on a different planet. I can see why Star Wars chose to use it.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 3

Posted in Trip on August 19th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The main event for our third day in Iceland was to leave the mainland and go to Vestmannaeyjar, an archipelago off the south coast. The largest puffin colony in Iceland lives there, and we couldn't wait to see them. But first, in the morning, we checked out another couple waterfalls.

Seljalandsfoss is fun and easy to get to. It is a bit crowded, though.

Seljalandsfoss

You can go behind Seljalandsfoss, but beware that you'll be soaked (rain pants are a must). Sadly, it was so bright behind and so dark inside that you can't see any faces.

Behind the waterfall

Molly was happy to get drenched, so ventured out onto this rock where the water was pouring down.

Getting drenched

Seljalandsfoss was a lovely waterfall.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Gljufrabui is a short walk from Seljalandsfoss, and hidden inside a cave. It's a challenge getting into the cave, but once in there it's beautiful.

Gljufrabui

We then hopped on the Herjólfur ferry to go to Vestmannaeyjar.

Herjólfur ferry

Vestmannaeyjar

There are lots of small islands surrounding the main island in Vestmannaeyjar, and each one has a single house on it. These are members only clubhouses (think like the Elks Lodge in America).

One house

On the ferry as we were getting close to the island, I saw some sheep from afar and decided to photograph them. Turns out they were surrounded by puffins! I thought we were going to have to venture to the furthest corner of the island to see them, but there were all over the hillside as we approached!

Sheep and puffins

Once we got to Heimaey, the big island of Vestmannaeyjar, we took a tour of the island. Our tour guide showed us Spranga, the local sport involving climing, rapelling, ans swinging from the cliffs. This is not just for fun, but also a source of food as residents gather eggs from nests along the islands (not puffin eggs).

Spranga

Surtsey Island is the newest of the islands of Vestmannaeyjar. It was created by a submarine volcanic eruption from 1963 to 1967. Humans are not allowed on the island yet, as scientists are studying how long it takes for plants and animals to colonize it.

Surtsey Island

We saw a bunch of puffins right next to the golf course on the island.

Puffins

We learned that it is easy to identify puffins in flight because they are really bad at it. They flap their wings very quickly to remain aloft, and often take multiple passes before landing as they keep missing their desired location.

Bad flyers

Puffins

Puffins

Puffins

Also near the golf course were turf houses made to replicate the early Viking houses here. We even got to go inside them.

Replica turf houses

Inside a Viking turf house

The four of us, up high on Heimaey in Vestmannaeyjar.

The four of us

Vestmannaeyjar

We saw a lot more puffins at the south end of Heimaey.

Puffins

Puffins

The hillside was covered in puffins.

Puffins

Puffins

Puffins

Puffins

Coming in for a landing

Puffins

Puffins

Puffins

Puffins

Leah had fun watching puffins, and patiently waiting on her dad photographing them.

Watching puffins

There was a seal hanging out in the water near the puffins.

Seal

Here we are on Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar where the eruption of the 1973 Eldfell volcano started. We're in the crater, surrounded by lava rocks and standing on volcanic ash. This eruption caused the island to be evacuated for months, and buried 400 homes in lava. As the lave kept approaching the center of town, they sprayed it with sea water to cool the edges and create a wall to keep the flow back, saving the rest of the town.

Eldfell

Eldfell

A view of the mainland of Iceland as the ferry approaches it.

Ferry ride back

Iceland

Two kids on a boat, headed back to the mainland to drive on to our second lodging in the small town of Vík.

Two kids on a boat

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 2

Posted in Trip on August 19th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For our second day in Iceland, we went around the Golden Circle to see lots of natural wonders. Our first stop was Kerið crater, a giant crater created by the collapse of volcanic rock. It was beautiful and cool. The tiny yellow, pink, and teal dots are Leah, Molly, and Jen.

Kerið crater

Kerið crater

Kerið crater

Us at Kerið crater

Us at Kerið crater

We then headed to Brúarhlöð, a beautiful canyon flowing with water. Most of the places around the Golden Circle had crowds, but this was a hidden gem with hardly any people there.

Brúarhlöð

Brúarhlöð

These two sisters always get along.

Loving sisters

See...

Getting along great

The two of us

We then headed to the biggest waterfall we'd see on our trip (and we saw a lot of waterfalls) - Gulfoss. Gullfoss is huge, and very popular. Tons of people, but the waterfall is spectacular. Be prepared to get wet if you go to the closer vantage points.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Gullfoss

Our next stop was Geysir. Geysir is the original geyser that the rest take their name from. It's dormant now, but still steaming.

Geysir

Geysir

Geysir love

Strokkur, right next to Geysir, goes off every 8 to 10 minutes. I got a nice burst of photos of it going off.

Then we moved on to Þingvellir National Park. It's is a beautiful park with lots to see. This is a view overlooking the landscape from the visitor center.

Þingvellir National Park

A fun thing to do in Þingvellir is to walk the continental divide. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling away from each other here, and you can walk in between them.

Between continents

Between continents with a flag

Þingvellir

After that, we continued exploring Þingvellir, checking out Öxarárfoss - a beautiful waterfall.

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss

After Þingvellir it was getting late, but we had to squeeze in one more waterfall. Þórufoss was the most hidden gem we hit. Beautiful waterfall, but not a soul around the entire time we were there.

Þórufoss

Molly tried to hold super still for this long exposure.

Þórufoss

Þórufoss

Then we headed back to Selfoss to turn in for the night. But not before a very late dinner. Icelanders are very proud of their hot dogs, called pylsur, and you can find them everywhere. We ate them a lot, including from gas stations. Our first experience was at Pylsuvagninn in Selfoss. The normal preparation is with both fried and raw onions in the toasted bun as well as ketchup, then the hot dog on top of that, then mustard on top (which is a bit more like honey mustard, but not all the way to how sweet American honey mustard is). I also got the potato salad hot dog, which has potato salad. Molly got their deluxe dog, which had french fries, garlic sauce, and cheese under the dog.

Pylsur

It was a fantastic day, but the adventures only got bigger as the week went on.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Iceland Day 1

Posted in Trip on August 18th, 2022 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We went to Iceland! The trip was amazing and full to the point of bursting. We got on our Icelandair flight (very fancy airline for those of us used to Southwest) Tuesday evening and flew through the night (6 hour flight), arriving there at 6:30am Iceland time (2:30am according to our bodies).

Icelandair

We got through the airport, got our rental car, and hit the road toward Reykjavik. We stopped off at Brauð & Co for some delicious breakfast.

Iceland breakfast

We then made it to Reykjavik. First, we checked out Hallgrímskirkja church in the center of Reykjavík.

Hallgrímskirkja

We went up to the top for a great view of the city.

View from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

View from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

View from the top of Hallgrímskirkja

The bells rang while we were up there, deafening us for a bit.

Hallgrímskirkja bells

We then wandered the streets a bit. Had to get a picture on Rainbow Street.

Rainbow Street

We walked (probably should have driven) to Aurora Reykjavík, the Northern Lights Center. It was very educational, and even had a little booth to simulate photographing the aurora. It was lots of fun, even if we didn't get to see the real thing on our trip (which we expected, going in the summer).

Aurora Reykjavík

Aurora Reykjavík

We got lunch at the Fish & Chips Vagninn truck. It was excellent, though very cold outside. And I tried the mushy peas, but don't get why you'd want your peas to be mushy.

Fish  Chips

The big event of day one was a tour of the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel/tube. This is a tunnel created by a giant lava flow, and it's awesome. The outer parts of the flow cool and harden into rock, while the inner parts keep flowing. Eventually, the lava all flows out leaving a tube. It is 10 meters high throughout and we spent an hour walking down into it.

Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel

Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel

Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel

We then headed to our first lodging, a VRBO in Selfoss which we spent two nights in. Selfoss was a great place to stay for traveling the South Coast, as it has lots to offer and is within short driving distance of lots of things to see and do.

Table of contents for the whole trip

  1. Day 1 - Reykjavik and Lava tunnel
  2. Day 2 - Golden Circle
  3. Day 3 - Vestmannaeyjar
  4. Day 4 Part 1 - Ice Cave
  5. Day 4 Part 2 - Black sand beach, puffins, and waterfalls
  6. Day 5 - Glacier hike
  7. Day 6 - Glacier Lagoon
  8. Day 7 Part 1 - Blue Lagoon
  9. Day 7 Part 2 - An active volcano

Old Ellicott City photoshoot

Posted in Leah, Molly on December 19th, 2021 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As November arrived, we found ourselves without photos for a Christmas card. So, Jen scouted locations in Old Ellicott City (very close to our house) and we tried to get as many pictures as we could before the sun went down.

Old Ellicott City photoshoot

As the sunlight disappeared, we hiked up to the courthouse to catch the last bit of light peaking over the horizon.

Last bit of light

The best pictures are when Leah gets a little grumpy.

Grumpy Leah

Here are a few more of my favorites. Lots more available on our Flickr page.

Old Ellicott City photoshoot

Old Ellicott City photoshoot

Old Ellicott City photoshoot

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