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Iceland Travelog – Entry 1

When I first caught wind of the fact that two of my friends would be traveling to Iceland this month, I was astonished. They’re going where? Iceland? It seemed like another planet, so unknown that one could not possibly take a casual winter break trip there.

Well, I soon discovered that Iceland wasn’t that crazy of a destination after all – many budget travelers were taking advantage of cheap flights that recently made Iceland a whole lot more accessible – and I decided I would travel there as well. So I rounded up a couple of my friends, did plenty of Googling and booked and planned a week-long road trip through the breathtaking landscapes of this not-so-icy country.

I returned from my trip this weekend, and I’m still in awe of all that I’ve seen and experienced. The beauty of the unmarred landscapes that dominate Iceland is truly other-worldly. I’m going to be sharing my photographs from the trip over the course of a few blog posts, and here’s the first.

The beginning of our drive through the Golden Circle.
The beginning of our drive through the Golden Circle, Iceland.

Our first full day in Iceland, we drove through the “Golden Circle,” which is the circuit of Iceland’s most popular attractions within a close radius of Reykjavik, the capital city.

Iceland – Golden Circle. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Landscapes seen on the road of the Golden Circle, Iceland.

The first landmark we stopped at was the Strokkur Geysir, an area of hot springs that features a frequently-erupting geyser. We happened to arrive here during a perfectly sunny part of the day (sunlight in Iceland this time of year only lasts about 4-5 hours), which painted the mountains with this really beautiful golden light.

Iceland – Golden Circle, Strokkur Geysir. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Strokkur Geysir, Iceland.
A small eruption at Strokkur Geysir, Iceland.
A small eruption at Strokkur Geysir, Iceland.
Iceland – Golden Circle, Strokkur Geysir. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Strokkur Geysir, Iceland
Strokkur Geysir, Iceland.
Strokkur Geysir, Iceland.

We could not have been any luckier to show up to our next stop when we did – we walked out of the car to find a rainbow arching right over the Gulfoss waterfall.

Iceland – Golden Circle, Gulfoss. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Gulfoss, Iceland.

And, of course, to find lots of selfie-stick wielding tourists.

Iceland – Golden Circle, Gulfoss. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Tourists near Gulfoss, Iceland.
Iceland – Golden Circle, Gulfoss. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Gulfoss, Iceland.

To add to the list of amazing geological formations, we also got to see this huge volcanic crater called Kerið. For scale, see the little people on the ridge on the right of this photo.

Iceland – Golden Circle, Kerid crater. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Kerid crater, Iceland.
Iceland – Golden Circle, Kerid crater. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Kerid crater, Iceland.

Our final stop of the day, and another one of many waterfalls, was Skógafoss. Thought it was a bit dark by the time we arrived, it made for a nice opportunity for a long exposure.

Skógafoss, Iceland.
Skógafoss, Iceland.

Later that night, after checking in to our hostel and having dinner, we went to the coast and stared up at a perfectly clear sky for hours, hoping desperately to see the northern lights. While we didn’t get lucky that night, we still took in an amazingly star-studded sky.

Iceland – Northern lights watching on the black sand beach in Vik. Trip to Iceland with Katie and Holly 1/1-1/7.
Northern lights watching on the black sand beach in Vik, Iceland.

I’ll be posting again soon with more photos from my trip, so stay tuned!

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