21 February 2014

Icelandic Road Trips, Waterfalls, & A New Sweater

Hello, it's Danny here. While writing this post we were in Malmo, Sweden, waiting to catch a 7 hour bus ride. We had some free wifi, so I figured I'd try to give an update on our last few days in Iceland.  

Upon leaving our wonderful inn/converted school building, we set off to visit Gullfoss, a seriously impressive set of waterfalls. It almost looks like water is flowing in from both sides into the canyon below, but really that's just all the frozen mist that accumulates over time and creates it's own "ice fall" to mirror the waterfall. It really is gorgeous.  

It was pretty chilly that morning. Fortunately Mara was loving life as she was as bundled up as a human being could possibly be!

And if that wasn't enough already, we made our way into a sweater shop where Mara's search for the PERFECT Icelandic sweater came to a happy ending...

It really is something to see pretty much everyone in Iceland wearing these sweaters. The Icelandic wool is particularly thick and warm. Mara got her's from the Handknitting Association of Iceland, but she also saw several at the Red Cross second hand store - they just weren't the right size. As for most people in Iceland, it seems most people just make the sweaters themselves! Every time we asked somebody about their sweater, they would say that their mother or grandmother made it in a few hours at home. 

We set out on the road for Vik and just enjoyed the scenery as we drove, pulling over every now and then because of something beautiful catching our eyes and needing to be more fully appreciated.

As we drove we'd see a sign for water falls, so we'd take a turn off the Ring Road....

And then we'd drive on again...

and see another….

We finally made our way to Vik, right as it seemed the daylight was disappearing. This is a beautiful spot where most people go out to the shore to enjoy the endless black sand beaches....but it was REALLY windy and cold, and we ended up enjoying them from the comfort of a heated car.

That night, we kept driving to the next town (Hofn) so that we could fit in one more amazing stretch of Iceland.

And this is what we drove through for the next 3 or 4 hours...

I've never seen sleet and rain move so completely horizontally as it did that night. The car was constantly pummeled with strong winds, and we were grateful for roads that were perfectly straight for miles and miles at a time. It seemed the only cars we passed were semi trucks on their deliver routes.  Besides that, it seemed totally empty.

We finally reached a pleasant little inn and rested for the night. When we awoke, we waited for an hour or two for the roads to become "unfrozen" (we both nearly slipped and fell just stepping outside to go to breakfast), and then made the long drive back to Reykjavik along the stretch of highway that we had previously driven in total darkness. I often wondered if our long drive through that storm was going to be worth it....fortunately our last day in Iceland did not disappoint.

It started with a quick fill up at a typical gas station along the Ring Road...

Soon after we saw a sign warning of reindeer...

And we saw them! This was about as close as they let me get to them before they seemed to start making some slightly aggressive posturing. Mara immediately decided to set back for the car and I followed quickly.

Later in the day we spotted this intense blue lining over the hills just at the base of the mountains and were excited that we must be approaching one of the glaciers.  

But what we weren't prepared for as we rounded the corner was this...the floating iceberg lagoon of Jokulsarlon. The sight left us spellbound.

We set off again and made our way to Svartifoss...the beautiful waterfall that cascades over the incredible basalt rock formations that inspired the Hallgrimskirkja Church.

The trail to and from the falls was a little icy from the storm the night before...

We had a small picnic at the trailhead. One way we avoided the oftentimes expensive food in Iceland was to go to the grocery store to buy some smoked salmon, rice & quinoa crackers, fruit, and whatever else we could find that was gluten and dairy free....yikes!  It usually cost us about half what we would have spent for lunch in some cafe. 

And then we drove and stared out the windows in awe of the surrounding vistas.

We finally made our way back to Reykjavik and found a restaurant a reader recommended, The Sea Baron, or Saegreifinn. There is no menu, except for the display of fresh fish (you just point to the one you want) and a big pot of lobster stew. There were barrels for benches and plenty of other seafaring items adorning the small restaurant that sits right in the harbor where all the fishing boats come in with their fresh catches.

We absolutely loved Iceland and we loved the good people we met! Hopefully it will not be our last visit...maybe next time we'll make it all the way around the island. :)

See our latest pics and updates on Twitter.


  1. That's a gorgeous sweater. Love it!

  2. I MUST GO TO ICELAND. I have been dying to do this for some time. These excellent pictures are killing me! For some reason that quaint little gas station was my favorite one. Small joys.

  3. This is amazing! PLEASE write about your real estate investments so poor people like me can learn to live like this :)

    I'm so glad you are having a great time!


    1. Thanks, dear. I'm working on a post! :)

  4. Mara,

    I hope this doesn't come out the wrong way as you always look beautiful, but I have to say in the last few months you look so good in the pictures you have posted. You look like you are feeling good and are getting some much deserved/needed rest. While you handle your trials with such grace and dignity, I can't help but think they had to impact your emotional, physical and mental health. You just seem like you are in a really good place and are glowing both inside and out (even before the Iceland air which might have something to do with those rosy cheeks!) and I just wanted to say you look great!

  5. These pictures have me spellbound.

  6. so wonderful and exciting that you share your adventures with the world at large. thanks as always. looking forward to many more posts from many more cool locations. be safe. much love to you both. ingrid

  7. anyone who has told you that your pictures aren't good, has poor taste. These are absolutely beautiful!!!

  8. Nice sharing! The pictures of Waterfalls shown above in this blog remind me my tour to Niagara Falls. We went there by bus boston to niagara falls and reached at the waterfalls at 1:00 pm on a sunny day. I become surprise when I see the most beautiful waterfall of United States. It was one of the best tours of my life that I never forget.

  9. amazing and interesting that you discuss your activities with the globe at huge. thanks as always. getting excited about many more content from many more awesome places. be secure. much really like to you both.
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