It is hard to not be completely awestruck by the beauty of Southeast Iceland. A couple hours drive out of Reykjavik leads to nature as pure and fine as it gets, with little or no signs of civilization except the occasional passing of another car or a herd of sheep alongside the road. The two hour drive to Vik is renowned for its spectacular views of the ever-changing and always fascinating landscape. You pass through verdant green farms flocked with white fluffy sheep, craggy mountain peaks loaded with glaciers, brilliant waterfalls and finally nothing but the ocean as far as the eye can see.
We left Reykjavik early in the morning, after a hearty breakfast, expecting the drive Skaftafell National Park (our final destination) to take the entire day. We had planned to stop along the way, in the small village of Vik to do a couple of hours hike, before continuing on with our drive. I was immensely excited about the drive for I love to wander and see the countryside. It is one of my favorite things to do when I’m exploring a new place. To look at the great big world and breathe it all in, seeing it as if for the first time in surprise and in wonder. To hold that moment in time inside your heart and soul, and to take every little detail in so you’ll never forget it. That is what travel is all about. Those moments in time.
Heading South on Route 1 towards Vik, you are instantly reminded of how remote much of Iceland is. Besides the blackened lava fields, lush green farms, and craggy mountains flowing with glaciers, all off in the distance, there are few towns and few signs of life.
The yellow-green grass blows quietly in the wind:
What makes Iceland so incredibly fascinating is that the landscape changes constantly, moving from once brilliant green pastures to dark, fierce lava flows. This is indeed Iceland, the land of fire and ice.
Geysers off in the distance give an eerie feeling to the drive. Am I dreaming?
And all those roads that appear to lead to nowhere make one indeed feel far, far away….
Along the ever-changing countryside…perhaps some of the most scenic, “out there” views in Iceland:
The sun slowly peaks through the thunderous clouds. I am mesmerized…my mind is racing yet peaceful for this is the time I often reflect the most on my life, when I am in my element, exploring and seeing the world.
There is nothing in the distance except solitude and sheep.
Our drive seems to take longer than expected as drives such as this one often do. There are too many incredible views; too many unworldly things to see and admire. We pass yet another spectacular waterfall along the way, pulling over to the shoulder of the lonely road to take another picture.
The black lava rock field reminds you that one of the world’s largest ice caps irks not far behind…
The glacial remnants against the pale yellow fields are so stark and so beautiful, it almost hurts your eyes to see.
It is almost impossible to believe that we are less than two hours away from Reykjavik.
Yet this is Iceland. A a land that is so absolute and so pure, it seems like from out of this world.
We are swept away once again by another gorgeous waterfall, Skogafoss in the distance can be seen from the road.
As we approach Vik and see the tiny village away in the distance, I think about Icelandic folklore and ponder on the possibility of gnomes. Of course it isn’t possible! But then again, Iceland seems like a fairyland to me.
Stay tuned….next post is titled “Attack by the Puffins: Our short hike in Vik”.
I love your comment about enjoying those little moments in time. So true, especially when we’re travelling. 🙂
I’m swept away into a magical dreamland by the pictures I’m seeing. Love the one with the green background with the waterfall in the middle. You are blessed to see all these magnificent works of nature. I’m happy for you. You’re truly having the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks for sharing . just pure awesomeness!
Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy the photos. I really love all the greenery and re-looking at these pics once again and writing about it makes me want to go back someday. I was there a few years ago. That is what is so fun about blogging as I get to relive all my travels! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Loving your Iceland posts! It looks very remote. Have you been to New Zealand? I think you’d love it for it’s geysers, glaciers, mountains and hiking trails with stunning views.
Thanks! I wasn’t sure if readers were getting bored with them or not. I still have some great ones left to post so stay tuned! As for NZ, yes I actually have been there, back in 2004 and I LOVED IT!!!!! My husband and I spent two weeks driving on both islands and I am aching to go back some day since it is so wonderful. Just hard since there are still so many places I want to go!!!! I will post some NZ pics later when I finish up here with Iceland and perhaps Peru. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Not at all! Keep the posts coming. I’ve been trying to catch up reading them as I’ve been so busy and hardly had time to do any posts for my blog. I agree, there are so many other places to go that it’s hard to return to the same place unless it really grabs your heart. By the way I love your new blog!
Thank you so much! It makes me feel like I’m not all alone in cyberspace when I write this stuff! Sometimes it is easy to just stop writing but I really love to share my experiences. I love to write and always kept a journal as a child. This is my escape, especially from my children who are wonderful but so demanding!!!!
I am glad you like the new blog too. I’m hoping to spend more time on it as the months go by and I actually get more time to myself. We will see where it goes! I got the green light on doing a volunteer trip in April again during my children’s spring break. I’m thinking of researching some of those NGO’s you sent me in Guatamala. I really want to go on my own this time instead of with a group of others. I am very independent and like to mix with the locals. If my plans proceed, I will keep you informed! How long are you staying in Guatamala? Indefinitely? You are lucky! 🙂
P.S. Looking forward to your next posts. I would love to learn more about Guatamala, especially the nature there!!!!
Haha I think the same sometimes! I don’t know how you find the time with kids though. Your new blog is great as it’s a short taster and doesn’t take much time to read. I really like the idea.
I hope you come to Guatemala! I think you’ll love it. There are so many NGOs here to choose from. To learn more about Guatemala you can read online issues of the monthly free magazines about Guatemala at http://grupoquepasa.com/ (each issue has lists of NGOs – I think I gave you the link already) and http://revuemag.com/
I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be in Guatemala as I’m thinking about visiting Thailand to see if I want to live there again. I doubt it’ll be for a while though – the timing isn’t right – so hopefully I’ll still be here. Let me know if you’re coming. Would love to meet you and show you around Antigua! I’m the same – most of my friends are Guatemalan.
I’m planning a trip for a few days to the highest waterfall in Central America (in Guatemala) and don’t think it gets many tourists so if I get some good shots (depending on the rain as it’s now rainy season) I might do a post on that.
Thanks! I will research these places when I have time. Is it hot in Guatamala now? Thailand is one my list. It seems like an unbelievable place. Haven’t been there yet though. Are you from England?
Now it’s the rainy season in Guatemala but it’s not cold. Some days there’s no or very little rain and it’s hot other days there’s torrential rain but usually (but not always) it’s in the afternoon or at night and may rain for a few hours. By the way, they call it the land of eternal spring here.
I love Thailand so much. I lived there 5 1/2 years and although I’ve been in Guatemala for about 4 years I still can’t stop thinking about my life there – I had a house by the beach and it was paradise! I will be going back there! My life here in Guatemala is very different.
You should try to go to both countries if you can (I know you like to travel!) as they’re very different and both have their charms.
Yes, originally I’m from England although I haven’t lived there for years and don’t consider it home.
Let me know when you decide where you’re going!
Wow, the pictures of the waterfalls are stunning. I am loving your blog — you have some truly breathtaking pictures of one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Thanks so much for your comments! It is fun for me to relive the trip as it was two years ago now and when I write about it all, it is like being there again. It is truly an amazing place. One of my favorites along with New Zealand, Patagonia and Nepal. If you go, make sure you go in the summer time so you can enjoy the outdoors! More posts coming soon….thanks for reading! 🙂