Iceland Day 5: Glacier Hiking

One of the things we saw over and over again as top things to do in Iceland was hike on a glacier. Having never done that, we decided to pre-book a tour in Skaftafell National Park with Icelandic Mountain Guides. They offer a variety of tours from the 2 hour Blue Ice experience on the Svinafellsjokull Glacier near Skaftafell that we signed on for up to a full days worth of hiking and climbing on a glacier. In addition to Skaftafell, they offer tours from Reykjavik and hikes on the Solheimajokull Glacier (close to Vik).

We had booked the 2pm start time for the Blue Ice experience and arrived slightly before the departure time. They recommend hiking boots for the tour, and luckily rent out boots for those who don’t have adequate shoes. After getting into our rented hiking boots and getting fitted for crampons, we loaded into the van and were shuttled down the road to the glacier. The Svinafellsjokull Glacier tongue (also known as Pig Head Glacier) is part of the insanely large Vatnajokull Glacier.

Svinafellsjokull Glacier

+ Read More

Iceland Day 5: Skaftafell National Park

After leaving Jokulsarlon, we drove the relatively short distance to Skaftafell National Park. Skaftafell is part of Vatnajokull National Park, which we had visited the northern section of the park earlier when we saw Dettifoss. Skaftafell National Park has a wide variety of different hikes available. The hikes range from an almost 4km round trip trek to the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, a 5.5km hike round trip that includes Svartifoss waterfall and the Sel Farmhouses (the hike we did), to multiple 15km+ hikes that take in different ravines, viewpoints, mountain ridges, and glacier edges. There’s plenty here to keep everyone occupied, unless of course you don’t like nature, but then I don’t think Iceland is the right trip anyway.

We arrived in Skaftafell and parked at the car park, checked the map to make sure we knew where we were going, then started out on our hike. To start it was a pretty steep incline but then soon leveled out. There is actually a closer car park to the waterfall that would cut off this steep incline. We had read about it online but never quite figured out how to get there, but we did see it while hiking and there were plenty of cars parked there. So if interested in seeing Svartifoss but don’t have the time or physical level to do the initial part of the hike, I’m sure more research online or even stopping in at the visitor’s centre at the park, someone would be able to direct you how to get there. And honestly there wasn’t much scenery you will miss by parking at the other parking lot. Technically you would miss two smaller waterfalls, but they weren’t that impressive and they are just a short walk down from the closer car park.

DSC_0577c + Read More

Iceland Day 5: Jokulsarlon (again)

Well, after having fallen in love with Jokulsarlon the previous night, we spent the next morning at the beautiful glacier lagoon also. We arrived at the lagoon around 7:45am as we had a Zodiac tour on the lagoon booked at 9am and we wanted to walk around Jokulsarlon again before the tour left. The parking area was a bit more crowded when we arrived than the previous night, but it was still pretty empty. There is a café on site if you want to grab some food or coffee, but it doesn’t open till 9am. We spent about 45 minutes walking around the lagoon before heading over to check in for our boat tour. The lagoon was just as amazing this morning as the night before, though no seals were to be found this morning.

Jokulsarlon + Read More

Iceland Day 4: Jokulsarlon

Jokulsarlon, what can I say, it was the image that made me want to first visit Iceland. This was the place I was most looking forward to seeing on our trip and it didn’t disappoint. We had purposefully arranged our trip so we would stay overnight near the glacier lagoon and then re-visit it in the morning for the boat ride. I didn’t want to limit ourselves to just one trip to the lagoon in the case of poor weather, etc. After checking into our hotel and relaxing for a few minutes, we made the short drive to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is located on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park and is formed from the Breidamerkurjokull Glacier. You can’t miss it while driving on the Ring Road, as it’s located right next to the road. We learned on our boat tour the following day that the glacier forming the lake is melting much faster than most glaciers because of the salt water being pushed into the lagoon from the ocean which causes the ice to melt faster. Jokulsarlon is also famous for being in multiple movies including Batman Begins and Die Another Day.

Jokulsarlon

+ Read More

Christmas Ornament Time

I’ve been collecting ornaments from places we’ve traveled since our honeymoon in 2010. Though to be honest, it was an idea I had at the time but got put on the back burner until we actually had a house and a Christmas tree which we didn’t purchase until 2012. So therefore our trips from 2010-2012 are ornaments I bought after the fact either made in the countries we traveled to or pictures of the places we were in the case I couldn’t find an ornament made in the country we visited. Starting in 2013, the ornaments have all been bought while we were traveling. Looking for Christmas ornaments in some places can be hard to find, hence why sometimes we buy something and later make it into an ornament. It can be a challenge sometimes, but it’s something we’ve really enjoyed hunting for since we started buying them in real time in 2013. I have this dream of when we are old and grey setting up our Christmas tree it will be completely full of only travel related ornaments. Right now we fill in the holes with other childhood ornaments.

+ Read More

Iceland Day 4: Southeast Iceland & Hofn

After leaving Djupivogur, we made our way along the southern coast of Iceland. This section when planning our trip looked to be one of the major highlights of the country. So many waterfalls, Skaftafell National Park, and of course Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. But first we would have to drive along the southeastern coastline. The stretch of scenery between the East Fjords and Hofn was stunning the entire way. This section was my favorite stretch of the Ring Road and we made countless stops to get out and take in the scenery and took countless other pictures from the car window when there wasn’t a place to pull over.

Southeast Iceland + Read More