Iceland | Travel

Things I Want to See and Do in Iceland, Part One

April 2, 2013

I was going to write about the East­er long week­end but it kind of sucked so let’s just talk about our upcom­ing trip to Ice­land again, shall we? 

My father-in-law asked me this past week­end what I was look­ing for­ward to the most about the trip. My first answer was: being in Ice­land! Sec­ond answer: the ocean! I miss the ocean. I know they are not very speci­fic answers, but I real­ly can’t wait to be there and to see and smell the ocean again.

Just for the sake of writ­ing a blog post, I’m going to try to be a lit­tle more speci­fic. In order of appear­ance, as we plan to trav­el anti-clock­wise around the island, I’m look­ing for­ward to vis­it­ing:

Reynisdrangar

Reynis­dran­gar are basalt sea stacks sit­u­at­ed under the moun­tain Reyn­is­f­jall near Vík in south­ern Ice­land. Leg­end has it that the stacks orig­i­nat­ed when two trolls dragged a three-mast­ed ship to land unsuc­cess­ful­ly and when day­light broke they became needles of rock. You can see this inter­est­ing rock for­ma­tion in Bon Iver “Holocene” video below, start­ing at 5:10. The whole video is fan­tas­tic, by the way, and it shows the high­lights of south­ern Ice­land very well.

Jökulsárlón

Jökul­sár­lón is a large glacial lagoon in south­east Ice­land, on the bor­ders of Vat­na­jökull Nation­al Park. It evolved into a lagoon after the Breiðamerkur­jökull glac­i­er start­ed reced­ing from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Some sce­nes from the movies A View to a Kill, Die Anoth­er Day, Tomb Raider and Bat­man Begins were filmed there. The lagoon actu­al­ly has some ice­bergs in it! Prob­a­bly not as big as the ones I saw in New­found­land, but ice­bergs nonethe­less. You can see a glimpse of the lagoon in the video above start­ing at 2:15.

Svínafellsjökull

This is the place where they filmed the sce­nes set in the freez­ing cold area North of the Wall in sea­son two of the pop­u­lar, nerd­tas­tic TV show, the Game of Thrones. My inner nerd is telling me I must go there. We’re plan­ning on doing a two-hour guid­ed hike on the glac­i­er. Should be fun! We didn’t get to walk on the glac­i­er when we went to the Columbia Ice­field in Alber­ta 6 years ago (not sure if it was even allowed). This should made up for it. Here’s hop­ing I won’t fall into a crevasse!

Ingólfshöfði

I want to take this tour in which you hop on a trac­tor-pulled hay wag­on for a ride to a nature reserve where you can see some puffins! Check out the pho­to gallery and tell me if you think I’m crazy for want­i­ng to do this tour because it looks incred­i­bly lame to you. I can’t say I’m too thrilled about the idea of climb­ing up a sand slope (I have bad knees) but I think I’ll sur­vive. I hope.

Dettifoss

Det­ti­foss is the most pow­er­ful water­fall in Europe. It is also the star in the open­ing scene of the movie Prometheus (at least to me). The movie itself wasn’t all that great but I thought the water­fall looked awe­some. Here’s a video of the water­fall minus all the CGI:

We might not be able to get to the side of the water­fall where the scene in Prometheus was filmed due to crap­py road (we won’t have a 4WD vehi­cle) but I’m sure the view from the oth­er side would be just as spec­tac­u­lar.

Grímsey

I think in order to under­stand why I would want to go to this tiny island 40 km north of north­ern Ice­land on a 3.5-hour sea­sick­ness-induc­ing fer­ry ride and back, you need to read this sto­ry. The sto­ry made me laugh so hard I had tears run­ning down my cheeks. And then I made a men­tal note to go there when I’m in Ice­land. If after read­ing the sto­ry you still can’t under­stand why, well, may­be I’m just a masochist that way? ;-)

Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell is a moun­tain in the north­ern part of the Snæfell­snes Penin­su­la. Accord­ing to the Ice­landic Wikipedia entry for it, this beau­ti­ful moun­tain used to be called Firðaf­jall before it received its cur­rent name. That moun­tain used to be named after ME, dammit! Of course I have to go there, see it with my own eyes, and wor­ship the beau­ty! I know, I’m so vain. But once you see what the moun­tain looks like, you would wish they had named it after you.

I’m sure I’m miss­ing a few things. That’s why I added “Part One” to the title of this post so that the rest can go to “Part Two”. :-) When I’m going to post the sequel is anyone’s guess, but hope­ful­ly it will be up before we leave for Ice­land NEXT MONTH. I’m so excit­ed I just had to cap­i­tal­ize those two words!

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