I don’t know if I mentioned (sarcasm) but I recently went to Iceland on my first proper solo trip. It was BEYOND lovely. It was amazing. ‘Why am I not still there?’ I cry into my laptop whilst trying to write 4,000 words on Madonna’s impact on popular culture.
The one thing that I regret is not being able to drive so I couldn’t rent a car and road trip to all the sites, because turning up on a tour bus and hanging with 100 other people getting in the way of your photos is not my idea of a great photography trip. So note to future Iceland adventurers… rent a car (if you can drive. If you can’t please don’t attempt to) or borrow someone who can, and head to those sites EARLY. Catch that sunrise. If you go in winter you won’t even need to get up that early!
Anyway here I am being miss negative Nancy when in actual fact I had a pretty rad time on my little excursions, listening to my special playlist. For my south shore adventure, I went with Reykjavik Excursions who supplied a very nice tour guide and gave us ample stops for food/coffee. It was also nice having people there so that you could get your photo because SOMEONE (me) left their tripod at the hostel.
We hit up some pretty spectacular views (as you’ll see) on the way there, and most of the sites were literally on the road. Which was pretty awesome. We got to see Mt Hekla, Eyjafjallajokull (which I can actually say thank you Mr tour guide) and got to stop at Black Sand Beach, Vik, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and I even saw my first real glacier. (I definitely internally nerded out.)
The Icelandic landscape is mad. One moment you’ll start off in the city of Reykjavik and 10 minutes later you’ll be crawling through a completely snow covered mountain landscape, only to come out the other side over a huge cliff with lava fields sprawling out for miles.
You’ll pass buy huge volcanoes and white capped mountains in a single second, you’ll pass through rain and hail and snow and sun in just one hour, you’ll stop off by waterfalls so big they almost don’t seem real.
Our first stop was a glacier on the way to Vik (I also definitely did not spontaneously break out into Frozen after walking past a frozen over lake. mm. nope. Definitely didn’t.) and I literally felt like I was on the moon. We stopped in the car park surrounded by green, then turned a corner and suddenly it was all black rocks and white ice.
Black Sand Beach was even more magnificent in person. I was half expecting to be underwhelmed but the cave at the edge of the beach is so huge and the way the rocks have formed is so strange. Paired with how fierce the Icelandic waves are along this shore, it’s a serious sight to take in.
In Vik we ate lunch and I ran down to the beach to take more photos. (Selfies… I just wanted to use my selfie stick but I felt too embarrassed to do it in front of other people. Please can we end the selfie stick hate, us solo travellers need them) In every one I looked like I could be on another planet. It was wild.
On our way back we stopped at 2 of the largest waterfalls in Iceland and I learned a valuable lesson: waterfalls are wet. “Oh, I can just get right up close to this huge waterfall and it’ll be fine. I won’t even cover my camera up” “I mean, it can’t be that wet walking behind the waterfall. It’ll be fine.” (LUCKILY my mascara didn’t even run, so shout out to Maybelline for making some solid make up right there)
All in all, it was a crazy day. I got to see just how wild Iceland really is, I felt like I was literally transported to a different planet. If you go to Iceland, make sure you make a stop off along the south coast and don’t just take a day doing the Golden Circle, because you’re really missing out.