Let’s remember my first travel

I would like to remember my first travel in Iceland. Cause this first travel and this first idea was the beginning or everything. At this moment this seemed a big step for me. Now, when i think to that it will be so much easy to go and to travel in Iceland. But at this time it wasn’t nothing. Anyway i can remember that cause it was around three years ago exactly. Si i can write this in order to say that finally everything happened very fast in three years. And i’m very proud of myself. Anyway just to remember how the landscape in Iceland are just amazing, and just outside of every places, i’m going to give numerou pictures.

I wrote this because it is so busy here and sometimes i would like to be so far in a quiet place… Just in a wooden caban in front of the stars and a lake. And i can’t. And it is sad cause all those places are so expensive for a long term unfortunately. Opposite kind of life.

 

 

 

Perfect hike beside Reykjavik

One of the best place for a nice hike just beside Reykjavík is to go to Mount Esja. This is a moutain that you can see from the capital beyond the bay of Reykjavik. It is located in just 30 minutes from the center by the road number one.  When you arrive It has a big parking , a restaurant but which was closed in at this moment in October, and a trail leading up to the top of Esja. The mountain is in fact a very popular place to go hiking, for tourist and inhabitants of the capital. There are several paths you can choose from, with different difficulties. I took a full half day my last to climb a part of the moutain. I was very nice because it was the only moment with sunny weather of the week si i could enjoy the moment, and i was very motivated for the walk.. And thanks to that i had the perfect light to take pictures.

The highest point of the hike is at 769 meters and on a mountain of around 914 meters. And you will have to walk around 7 km to reach this points.

A big part of the hike is in a normal difficulty until a moment and the end is difficult If you want to reach the moutain pick with the best view there is a difficult path. Sometimes dangerous. So if you plan to do this in winter with snow be very careful it will be probably not a good idea. Because you have to continue on the stone your way, following landmark to not be lost. Sometimes even you have to climb on the rocks, helping yourself with a rope to define the path.. But at the end it is very rewarding. I walked to reach this place between 2 and  3 hours and probably the half of this to go down to return to the parking. And at the end i’m stayed a little time contemplating the area, with a pleasant wind on my hair.

From there,  there is  a great  view that includes Reykjavik, the town of Mosfellsbaer and the surrounding countryside. I can just advice to make this hike.

Iceland second travel

Like that, on a quick desire and at the last minute, i decided to go in Iceland for a second time again. After my travel in Norway in July and during the rest of the summer, i was like obsessed to return on this country again. So i planed my trip quickly at the last minute, booking my ticket for the airplane just two weeks before. It was just for one week and i knew already the country so it was easy for me to plan. It was at the middle of October.

The first time that i went in Iceland, i focused on the North area, the west area and Reykjavik area. So this time i wanted to explire the south, and to drive until Jokulsarlon, the perfect glacier lagoon. I wanted to see this place so much and it was one of my main attraction to return again in Iceland. It is located around 350 km form Reykjavik. Like the first time i took a rent car at Keflavik airport.

I saw the bridge between the two continents, in Reykjanes peninsula, a bridge which is between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. I stopped to try  the famous blue lagoon. I saw on the road many differents glaciers. I discovered for a second time the golden circle with these three main places of interest. Others waterfalls again. Near the village of vik, beautiful beaches of black sand, with Reynisfjara, a black  beach with amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling to a rocky step pyramid. I’m returned at the end to Reykjavik to wander again in the city center as i like to do.  I made a perfect hikking the last day in Esjurætur near Reykjavik. Thanks to this moutain at the pick you have a perfect view fo the city and the area.

It was honestly not the perfect week because of the terrible rainy weather. Iceland is know to have much rain and win, and to have very changing weather. But this week was almost awful. I was an exceptionnaly strong rainy week. And except the fist day which was cloudy and the last day where i had sun just few hours for the hikking, the rest of time was complicated. And after my travels i felt many regrets, regrets to not have been able to enjoy really the moment like i thought. Rain isn’t a problem for me when this stops sometimes. But there it was uninterrupted, all days and all nights. So it was not really cold, temperature turned around 7-8 degrees. Except to Jokurlarson where i had three degrees. But i would have prefered to have snowfalls.

Find an accomodation in the south is difficult. Fortunately for me it was in October so very few tourists. And even just  two weeks before i was successful to have an accomodation for the night in Guesthouse for a correct price.

But in despite of the weather i spend a very nice week because it was Iceland and Iceland is totally unique, and i had the big desire to enjoy the moment by any prices…

 

Reykjavik

The first time i went to Iceland in August, it was a difference between the 30 degrees from Paris and the 12 degrees at the airport of Keflavik. Airport of Keflavik is located at 50km from Reykjavik.

The Reykjavík Capital Area collect around 200 000 people on the 300 000 people in all the country. That’s two thirds of the entire Icelandic population, so you can imagine the rest of the country. Although it’s one of the smallest capital cities in the world, Reykjavik is very lively and very modern. It is a cosmopolitan city and we can find everything we need there.  Each district has its own elected council that governs the community. Reykjavik is very accessible capital and it is easy to find your way in the city. With almost 24 hours of daylight during the summer, the day are very long and it is difficult to sleep.

It is also easy to drive in Reykjavik and in Iceland, i didn’t have a GPS during my whole trip and never it was a problem. My maps on a paper was enought. In the center you can see everything walking. The best thing to do for me was to park my car just beside the famous church ‘Hallgrímskirkja’. This church is Reykjavík’s main landmark and its tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. So thanks to that never i could be lost because i could see the church. Moreover it is located just at the beginning of shopping streets and Laugavegur’s street.

It is very pleasant  to walk in the center of Reykjavik, these streets are lively and at the same time it is peaceful. So i liked to wander in the center. You can find very nice restaurant, fastfood, coffee, bar etc… The number of souvenir shop are very important also. The city is extremely clean, the cleanest city that i have ever seen. 

You can also spend a nice moment walking around the lac Tjornin which shelters almost 40 species of bird.

 

My road trip and feelings in Iceland

I made a road trip in Iceland during two weeks in the month of august. Iceland is a very original destination and even if it is unknown for many people, it is an incredible experience. I knew just discovering this on my computer that i wanted to be there. I like wildlife and i like beautiful landscape so i had to visit this country. I decided to rent a car, in fact the train doesn’t exist and except the bus it is difficult to move outside of Reykjavik without a car. You have just one main road number one in Iceland, after you have other small roads, sometimes just practicable with a 4×4 because the is covered by stones without asphalt and you can have to overtake a river. So when you rent a car be careful of the choice of yours roads or rent the car adapted with a good insurance. I think that you have to take the super cdw insurance with the risk of glows of stones on your body car. Fortunately for me i had taken this insurance. Sometimes even if it was not adviced and even forbidden, i took roads without asphalt. Difficult to advance but at the end the nissanc micra was still alive.

 

I left from Reykjavik to link Akureyri in few days using all the road along the ocean, west coast and and north coast, stopping in guesthouse or airbnb host every night. I stayed after a little to Akureyri to continue to see all the nice places of interest. And then  i’m returned near Reykjavik, but this time only by the road number one, crossing the center of the country.

The weather was very strange, it changed very fast. But be sure that you must except to have rain and wind. If really you are lucky maybe you will have few days sunny. I had approximately the third of my trip with rain, the other third was cloudy, and the last third cloudy with sun. The wind was present a lot of day, almost every day , especially on the coast. So the real feel temperature is colder. At the second part of August, the temperature varied for me between 6 and 10 the morning, and 12 and 17 the afternoon. Night and evening in Akureyri was the coldest.

Iceland is probably the safest country in the world, or one of them, so you can’t have problem with other people. The most dangerous thing will be to not be enought careful in the wildlife and to meet a problem.

When you are outside of Reykjavik area, the country is almost unihabited. So all the country is so peacefull, you will feel so quiet in the middle of the wildlife. You will be often alone on the road and you will see other cars and people just when you will be on a parking in a place of interest.

I love Iceland because i had the feeling sometimes to be in a otherworld, to be in a unique place, so different. I had the feeling to be very far from everything, in a strange country in the middle of the ocean. And  that i like to much was the feeling to be totally free and to have all the space just for me. It is a very pleasant and strange feeling, a little scaring.

There are so much beautiful places to see like waterfalls, black sand, seels, volcanos, lakes, glaciers, stones, special moss, Geysers, snow etc… Without to forget Reykjavik, nice capital to visit, and Akureyri, cute city near the polar circle. Probably that it has to be a great experience to see the country in winter, under the snow…

It is sure and a reality that Iceland is a very expensive country like other scandinavian countries. It is expensive but for the accomodation for exemple you can find a correct price if you book early. The number of possibilities for the accomodation are not very omportan, so if you plan to go in Iceland in summer you have to book in advance to have the best price. The rest of the year it is easier to find an accomodation. For my part i sleept many nights with very kind people in different place with airbnb. Sometimes in incredible houses, speaking with the host. The rest of the time a little with booking in guesthouses. With this you can sleep around 40/60 euros the night. It is again a budget that’s sure i confess but it remains correct. The less expensive will be the camping. I didn’t try but i know that it is just possible in July/August, maybe a little June/September also. And that you must have a good tent to support all the wind and rain during the night.

Restaurant and food also are expensive, you can pay for exemple around 15/20 euros for a simple dish or a simple pizza in a restaurant. And you can pay a beer around 8/9 euros. Alcohool is forbidden in normal food shop so you will find this in special store just for this. In my concern, to not spend to much money, i ate just a little food for the lunch in the supermarket like bonus to create my own sandwich. During the evening it was weather food in Bonus supermarket, weather a fastfood affordable. I ate around three or for times in a restaurant.

It is sure that i would like to return in Iceland everytime.

 

 

 

 

The golden circle

After to have been in the North Iceland i’m returned around Reykjavik. The occasion to see the popular golden circle, the famous attraction for the tourists, at one hour from Reykjavik. The golden circle regroups three nice popular places : Geysir, Gulfoss and Pingvellir national Park. It is a nice area near Reykjavik for people who want to have a general idea of Iceland landscape attraction.

Geysir is probably the best place in the world to discover a Geyser. It is a nice place with very hot springs, bubbling. Be careful to not touch the water. Sometimes it is already hot just under your feet along the path. There are two main Geysir : Strokkur and the big Geysir. Unfortunately for me i just saw Strokkur. In fact big Geysir is the most impressive but the possibility to see the column of water gushes from the earth is just around 2/3 times per day. Strokkur on the other handcan gush every ten minutes so normally you will be sure to see it. It is something to see one in your life. Just after you can walk and go up on the path in order to have a pleasant view of the whole site.

Gulfoss is a beautiful and powerfull waterfall. It is high from 32 m with a first step of 11 m and a second of 21m . It is the best waterfall in Iceland and Europe with Godafoss (near Akureyri and myvatn lake).

Pingvellir national park is located around the biggest lake in Iceland. We can see here beautiful natural landscapeand historic interest. Pingvellir is the seat of a big tectonic activity. You can walk  between the continents of Europe and America.

 

Things to do around Myvatn lake area

I continued my trip to go beyond Akureyri by the road number one for one full day. And so many interesting places to see within 100km after.

One of the first place is Myvatn lake. This beautiful lake is a wildlife park. We can see a strong volcanic activity on this place and we can find very rare species of bird. The lake is not deep, just around 2 meter. The lake is located on the fault between america and europaea tectonic plate.

Myvatn is surrounded by numerous craters, hot springs and lava formations. We can find verny nice paths to go for a walk around the lake and to admire the view. I climbed Vindbelgjarfjall, a moutain of 529m, it is the highest point to see the lake. And in fact it was great the view was perfect. I advice to climb this moutain in order to see the lake. The picture of this moutain and about the view just here.

 

Then i saw the crater of Krafla. Krafla is a volcano with a big crater. The particularity of Krafla is to have a lake inside with a beautiful blue/green color. We can make the turn of the volcano walking. Just few meters after Krafla on the same site, we have a geothermal factory and the noise is very strong. It is strange and frightening at the same time because we have the feeling that the ground is going to explode just under our feet, like the ground was totally in a constant pressure.

 

Just beside Krafla and other nice place of interest to see is Hverir. Hverir is a geotermal field that contains pools of boiling mud, hot springs and hissing chimneysThe colors on the place are unreal and it is one of the best place in iceland which gives us the feeling to be in an otherwolrd. When you see pictures about Mars, here can give you this incredible sens. It is not for nothing that many movies have been filmed in Iceland to retranscribe an other planet landscape.

 

And next, to finish this full day trip around this area, i stopped to Selfoss and dettifoss. Dettifoss was definitely one of the most impressive waterfall that i have ever seen. And it is the most powerful in Europe. The environment is perfect and we can have different views of the waterfall.

Selfoss is a set of many small waterfalls located to 1km forim dettifoss. We can link the two easily walking. The place is beautiful and special because we can walk around a big canyon.

One full day wasn’t enought to see all this places of interest but i had to stay just two night to Akureyri. Si it is a pity because i didn’t have the time to really see Myvatn  lake and i just have had a general idea of the place. And probably we can make a lot of pleasant hiking around the lake, and to swim in a hot spring. For the rest Godafoss is a unique experience and it is for me the best waterfall in Iceland. It is definitely a other very beautiful whole area to discover in the country with waterfall, wildlife reserve, hot spring, typical icelandic landscape… And it is for me the best experience here, and in my opinion better than the golden circle. It is just less known because it is in the north of the coutry but its is very nice because less tourist in this area.

I can advice you if you are the time to link Akureyri city and from the location to go to see these beauty spots.

Akureyri city in Summer

Akureyri is the second biggest city in Iceland after Reykjavik area. This city is called the capital of the north. It is definitely a nice peaceful city that you have to see. The city is just under 50km of the polar circle. This is the only city in the north Iceland. Located of 400km form Reykjavik we can have access by road number one. The town is surrounded by the moutain. The population is just around 18000 but it is a lot for a country like Iceland.

I arrived to Akureyri by the road along the sea and cliffs. The road was very cool and under a very sunny day the view was perfect. I used road number 76 and road number 82. When i’m arrived to Akureyri the first time i thought to see a little bigger city but i was very  charmed by how cute is this city and how peaceful it was. I liked to wander in the streets of the city. We have in Akureyri a center with a main shopping street that covers souvenir shops and nice coffee and restaurant. The very nice point in Akureyri is that in despite of the size of the city we can have everything, restaurant, shopping, cinema, garden, activities, museum, library etc… and it is also a nice base camp to realize various activities near this place.

In my case i stayed two days in Akureyri. I found an accommodation with airbnb. A little expensive but very nice experience. We can do everything walking here. Being a lover of the plants i visited the botanical garden in order to discover the species of plants near the polar circle and under this climate. The garden is one of the northern most  botanical garden in the world and it was a nice stroll to see it. The church is also an attractive place of interest because the architecture is modern and it overhangs the city so we can have a nice view. During the night the church is totally illuminated and it is the central place of the city.

Permanently i have a good memory about Akureyri and i would like to come again and to stay longer on this place. It is a small peacefull city belong the ocean like i like… Great to see the midnight sun during the summer and the snow with northern lights during the winter, just under the ploar circle and beside the sea. The city is so peacefull and we can make a lot of activities and have fun, having at the same time the feeling to be lost and far from everything because we are in Iceland and it is the only city in the  north, and i like this feeling…

The west coast of Iceland, snaefellsnes peninsula

It was at the end of august and i have to confess that the wind during these days was very strong, so the real feel wasn’t more than 10 degres. I continued my trip on the road to see the snaefellsnes peninsula. I took on the road two spain  hitchhiker to link this place by the road 54 and then the very small road 574. We could see the volcano Snaefellsnes by the road with nice eternal snow at it peak.

KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraThe landscape is a perfect place of desolation and we have the real preview of what this coutry is. And then the cast with place Arnarstapi which is a rock formation and a mix of fjord. The place is great and very wild. We can make a hike between Hellnar and Arnastapi along the coastline.KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera

Like i said the rock formation is terrible we can see big rocks in the middle of the ocean and we can see the rock perforated by the errosion and the power of the waves since a long time. It is a very nice place for the bird which have a nice pleasure to stay on the cliffs. The wind was very strong so the view of the foam and the waves against the cliffs give us a nice feeling. Definitively we have the feeling to be in an other world. KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera