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Overwhelmed with emotion, we stopped on the side of the road to take our first photo. Despite many hours of research for our vacation, nothing had prepared us for our first view of the breathtaking landscape a short drive from Reykjavik. We would amass over 8,000 photos of spectacular scenery and numerous stories of our adventures in Iceland.
I recently saw the request for a favorite photo of Iceland for Iceland Naturally’s Facebook cover photo contest, and a request for Iceland-inspired stories. How do I share just one story, when each day was filled with so many adventures? How could I choose one favorite photo?
On arrival at Keflavik airport, the 4 of us picked up the RV and headed west through Snaefellsnes National Park to catch the Baldur ferry that would take us into the Westfjords. This was the beginning of June and we had the advantage of the midnight sun. At 2 a.m. we were still exploring majestic beaches, basalt columns, and witnessing cloud formations unlike any we had seen before.
We experienced stunning scenery on the ferry and along the coast. Thanks to directions from friendly locals in Talknafjordur, we were able to soak in three hidden, rustic hot spring pools overlooking the breathtaking views. We found the drive from Talknafjordur to Isafjordur rather challenging, as we went through mountain passes, 90-degree switchbacks, and areas allowing only one vehicle at a time. It was well worth the drive to visit Dynjandi waterfall, a majestic, beautiful waterfall with many waterfalls nearby. Rainbows would often appear when exploring the many spectacular waterfalls we saw daily.
Heading north, we stopped to visit the Arctic Fox Centre in Sudavik. The entire village had come out to celebrate the 7th year anniversary of the opening of this location. Even though we were unexpected guests, we were invited to share in their festivities. We felt we were on another planet exploring Hverir with steam bursting from the ground and hot gurgling pools.
Soaking in the rejuvenating Myvatn Nature Baths early in the morning allowed us to enjoy the breathtaking scenery all on our own. We continued to the northernmost lighthouse in Iceland, the Hraunhafnartangi Lighthouse, just 800 meters south of the Arctic Circle. We came across an obliging puffin hiding behind the rocks, who kindly posed for our pictures. Other highlights on our trip included the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Landmannalaugar, both of which were far more magnificent and picturesque in real life than on camera.
We had our point and shoot cameras with us at all times hoping to capture some of the unique, stunning views. It was difficult for me to choose one favorite photo to submit. I was lucky to have a photo selected for one of Iceland Naturally’s Facebook cover photo contests.
Everyone leaves Iceland with stories to tell and beautiful photos. What the pictures don’t show is how Iceland makes you feel. Breathing in the fresh clean air, soaking in the hot mineral pools, the moments when goosebumps appear on your arms and tears stream down your face. This is not something that can be captured and shared. Iceland needs to be experienced.