Its 9:08am and I am running down 34th st thinking why did I do this to myself again. As I see 11th ave I slow down because I know the Megabus and my 9:10am bus are waiting. As I unload my bag and sit down to eat my muffin which of course got smashed in the run, the driver says “Last call to Boston!”. Thank God, I made it. This is how my trip to Iceland begins. 4 hours later I am walking in downtown Boston to meet my friends and really begin this journey. It all started in February when I was cold and pissed off that it was snowing… yet again. One of my friends says he is planning a trip to Iceland. “Can I crash?” I ask.
Fast forward to today as I check in at WOW Air. This new airline offers cheap flights to Iceland and other European countries. I had to pay extra $30 each way for 26lbs of carry on luggage but between my camera, jackets and hiking boots I needed it. It is a 5 hour flight and with a 7pm departure time we would arrive at 4am Iceland time. After a few Gull beers we settle in for the remaining 3 hours and attempt to get some sleep. Napping from 9pm-11pm really isn’t likely but considering the day we have planned I have to try.
We land in Keflavik Airport and try to find some breakfast. Joe & the Juice greets us with a million smoothie options and amazing panini sandwiches. After a quick wash of the face and brush of the teeth I change into my hiking boots and feel energized. The sun is already high in the sky at 6am as we exit. We hop in our guide for the next 5 days; the Suzuki Grand Vitara. The high from adrenaline, being sleep deprived and traveling kicks in. We scan the radio stations and settle on some Maroon 5.
The Garmin we rented directs us on a 2 hour drive around the countryside towards Glymur, Iceland’s largest waterfall. With a 4 hour hike ahead of us and the sunset scheduled for 11pm I cannot even imagine what this day has in store for me. As we drive we pass mountains that are lost in the clouds miles and miles stretch ahead of us and we pass maybe 3 cars. We veer off road and find a little informational sign showing us the path to Glymur. When I say “path” I mean weather traveled dirt road. We spent the next hour guessing and assuming which way the waterfall lay. Finally we find the river and keep going up.
I am aghast as we hike up; the ravines sparkle, the snow capped mountains shine and the water gushes below. There is absolutely no one there but us. Coming from Manhattan direct to this silence is throwing me. When we finally reach the top we cheers with some Stellas and celebrate the day.
With one hike under our belts and the Icelandic air in our lungs we are ready for the next stop: Snaefellsnes National Park. Clearly all this Icelandic words are impossible to pronounce. We made so many failed attempts we started renaming them. Snaefellsnes became Snuffiluffigus so no reason. I blame the delirium setting in. It is difficult to explain these places so I will let the pictures do the talking.
By the time we do all the hiking and driving its around 8pm. The sun is still high in the sky as we drive back to Reykjavik for the night. We quickly check in at Hlemmur Square which is clean and centrally located, basically a 10 as for as hostels are concerned. We claim our beds and run out to find some food. We hadn’t eaten since hours earlier at this tiny inn off Rt 1. Fish and potatoes can only hold you for so long when you spend the day scaling mountains. As we walk the streets I start to see we will need every additional hour of daylight we are given to explore this country.