ICELAND 2016: A Solo Adventure

I remember when all of a sudden, 6 months had flown by. I was at home packing my bags, not sure what to take, freaking out over weight and size of luggage for the trip. I woke up and it was time to go. Drove over to my parents house, parked the car and they drove me up to Toronto to catch my flight on WOWair. I was all excited and nervous all at the same time, worried about getting everything on the plane and what I was going to struggle with once I got to Iceland. 

Landing at the Keflavik International Airport in Iceland I was so tired. My flight left Canada at 7:30pm and I arrived in Iceland at 5:30am, and you might think that means the flight was 9 hours.. but it wasn't. Iceland is 4 hours AHEAD of Ontario, so it was a 5 hour flight. My first issue, was that the camper van company I rented through didn't open until 9am, so I had 4 hour wait for them to come pick me up at the airport. I ended up going to a sweet little place called Joe & The Juice in the airport which is a small cafe that was fantastic; the food was delicious, people were nice and they played some pretty good music too. 9am came and a girl came walking through the doors with a sign in her hands, on it was the Kuku Campers logo and my name... we were off! 

Once at Kuku Campers we went through all of my options, extra insurance, whats included, my Itinerary.. everything, they were so nice and helpful which was a stress reliever. Next, it was time to go check out my ride! 

My sweet ride for 9 days in Iceland... she was good to me! 

Ok, lets get into the trip! 
My first stop was in Reykjavik ( Iceland's Capitol ).. I didn't realize how close it was to where I picked up my camper so I kind of lost a day there because I had rented a wifi box from Reykjavik Camping Equipment for the day AFTER I arrived in Iceland. Driving in the city was a bit tough.. I didn't understand some of the signs .. a couple I thought were saying I was on a oneway street going the wrong way, which I later realized they just meant no parking. Also, they drive pretty aggressive in Reykjavik and all the damn double lane round-a-bouts just about killed me. I used the GPS I rented with the camper to find my way to the one and only Reykjavik campsite which all the websites referred to as " Reykjavik Campsite " ... when really it's called Tjaldsvaedid-Laugardal Campsite... or thats what I had to find in the GPS to get there because it didn't recognize "Reykjavik Campsite ".  This campsite was awesome.. one of my favs on the whole trip.. loved it so much I spent two nights there at the end of my trip. 

Now, into the good stuff! Iceland is an amazing, wonderful, beautiful place with ever changing landscapes... this has to be said! Blown away, it's been almost two weeks since I've been home and I still can't stop thinking about it and missing it. My trip took me from the West to the East along the South Coast... back from the East to the West then along the West Coast up toward the north. Let me put this out there first though.. I screwed up the trip. I didn't realize that I had enough time to complete the ring road ( the road that goes along the entire outside edge of the island in a big circle ) so once I got far enough East.. I went back West.
Lets start with Skogafoss... this waterfall was my love. I saw this waterfall online 6 years ago and instantly fell in love with it and that started my love for Iceland and the want to travel there. A mass waterfall surrounded my mountains and a staircase that takes you up to the top of this giant. Be warned.. the staircase is TOUGH... it's steep and long but once at the top it's an outstanding view! Once I had defeated Skogafoss I decided I would push on to the next stop. Plans changed as  soon as I saw how close the black sand beach was which was the home of the crashed DC-3 Aircraft that crashed in the 1970's. This stop was about 15 mins maybe 25mins from Skogafoss, so once I saw all the cars parked along the side of the road and everyone walking out into the nothingness, I knew what it was and that I had to do it. WARNING... this hike is a killer! hahah maybe I'm just really out of shape.. but it's about 5K out and 5K back on black sand and rocks. I did this hike later in the evening.. maybe around 5:30pm with a big winter jacket and a 15lbs camera bag. My legs and hips were dying on my quick but it was so worth it once I got out there.. this was another MUST on my trip and I couldn't believe it once I was out there standing in the shadow of this gutted aircraft in all it's weathered glory. 

Travelling the roads of Iceland is beautiful no matter where you are. One side of the road is all mountains and volcano's, waterfalls and farms. On the opposite side of the road flat as far as you can see or the Ocean.. it was quite crazy to see. As you drive down the roads there are times where the road looks like it's going to run straight into a huge mountain side, but then veers off to the side and around it. I saw countless waterfalls, big and small.. some really close to the road, others up the side of a mountain trickling down.. there were giant Glaciers.. horses and sheep everywhere.. the sheep were all over.. my eyes constantly scanning the roads for them as they just roamed where ever they please.. up high in the mountains, right beside the roads and often right in the middle of the roads. 

I'm just going to focus on some of the highlight places of my trip as you can see this is already quite a huge post.. if you've read this far... i'm impressed with you! 

VIK: Also another big, but small town, I wanted to visit! it is the Southern most village in Iceland located on the ring road (Road 1 ). This village is right on the Ocean and full of black sand beaches and cliffs. While there isn't much to the village at all.. it's still a beautiful place. You drop down into it with a mountain side on your right, mountains in the distance and the ocean as well as up high on a hill sits this Red and White church overlooking the ocean.. it was amazing. 

JOKULSARLON: Also known as the Glacier Lagoon is a must see! I personally have never seen Icebergs before, so I had no idea what to expect. I parked where I saw everyone else parking and saw these little trails through these small sand/grass hills.. you couldn't see anything really but some mountains way off in the distance. Out of nowhere you go up this little hill and BAM you're looking out over the ocean with all these white and blue icebergs floating in the water.. my jaw dropped.. I stopped walking... took a minute to take it all in, then raised my camera to my face and snapped a shot in amazement.  I spent about 2 hours just walking around, getting down to the water and seeing the icebergs up close.. watching some of them flip over and piece breaking off, splashing down into the water. I also saw a seal swimming out in the water.. it was far out and I had my wide angle on at the time so I couldn't get a pic.. wouldn't have been much anyways as it just popped it's head out from the water every now and then. 

You know what... I know no ones going to read all of this, so i'm just going to let the pics speak for themselves... If you're thinking about going to Iceland.. stop thinking, book your flight... it's a life changing experience and something everyone needs to see. Get a camper.. it's the cheapest way to do it... grocery shop at the BONUS grocery stores that are in every bigger city and spend the night at campsites.. they average $15 (CDN) per night most have showers with hot water, nice bathrooms and Wifi. Almost every city has Geothermal Pools that you can pay a small fee to swim in all year round.. the people are so nice and helpful and everyone speaks english... it's the safest place ever.. there's no crime so it's so safe for people to travel solo.. there are hitch hikers everywhere and they always get picked up because everyones so honest and nice... it's so safe! GO GO GO!!!!!!! 


Skogafoss - the water giant from far... spent my first night in the camper van here at the base of this monster as it sang me to sleep. 

Another shot of Skogafoss up close just before I started to climb the stairs to the top.. there's a bird in this image near the middle.. these birds are constantly flying around and hanging out on the ledges and cliffs. 

Skogafoss from the top... what a view.. after I caught my breath I could enjoy it. 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the first waterfalls you see when you head east.. it's so amazing because you can walk right behind it.. you will get wet, but it's worth it.. and it's pretty huge. 

Down the river from Skogafoss are these river side sleeping giants.. as the sun set lower behind a mountain the fog started to roll down the hillside. 

As you drive road 1 (The ring road ) you get to flat points where the land has all these rivers flowing through it.. in the distance are some mountains sleeping in the sunlight. 

When you get close to the Ocean you can see the mountains in the distance and the fog settling at the base of them. 

The Crashed DC-3 Aircraft out in the middle of no where on the black sand beach by the Ocean was definitely a highlight for me. It has been weathered and gutted.. the sound of the wind whistling through it still goes through my mind when I close my eyes. a 5K hike out and a 5K hike back on black sand and rocks with very strong winds made this the biggest challenge but once you reach it, it's all worth it. <3 

This is my favourite image.. you can almost see the time and pain of the aircraft.. so forgotten, yet seen daily.. people were everywhere, it was hard to get a shot with nearly anyone in it. Unfortunately, travellers have wrote on it.. broke pieces off of it and climbed all over it.. who knows how much longer it will be in the shape that it is.. I'm so happy that I was able to see this beauty.. crashed in the 1970's ... some of the locals say that the reason for the crash was never determined, but most say they simply ran out of fuel and had to ditch it... amazingly, the entire crew survived the crash. 

Iceberg Lagoon ... just an amazing jaw dropping site.. To see these giant pieces of ice floating in the ocean with mountains/volcano's surrounding them.. the colour of the blue's ... wow.. just wow... 

What do you see when driving the roads of Iceland.... this... it's beautiful! it gets a lot better than this too.. roads through mountain sides.. through the ocean.. it's mind blowing. 

Horses everywhere.. and sheep.. but this horse was my first friend in Iceland. I stopped and approached the fence and none of the horses seemed to care. I put my hand over the fence and this beauty walked right up to have a sniff then put it's head right against my hand letting me pet it's nose. Shortly after all the other horses made their way over to say hi. I call her White Lightening 

Mars Mountain I call this one. I went through a section that looked like mars... like I said.. the landscape constantly changes.. you think you're on another planet! 

On the flight home, the pilot took us over Greenland, which was a great way to end the trip.. what a beautiful sight from the plane.