Europe · Iceland · Travel

Iceland: Geysers, Puffins & Glacial Hikes

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As well as being incredibly scenic (as mentioned in my previous post), Iceland is also a hot spot for some great activities.  And here’s my experience of the ones I got to partake in.

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First stop; geysers.  I don’t think it is possible to go to Iceland without this natural feature on your list of things to see.

We decided to stop off at Haukadalur, a valley in south Iceland known for its geyser activity (apparently this was the best place to go), and damn the travel guides were right.

There were several geysers ranging from little bubbling pools of water, to huge areas that shot water over thirty metres into the air.  THIRTY METRES!!

It was at this point my Mum thought it would be a good idea to stand right next to the geyser – so we could “get the best view” possible.  I don’t think either of us expected how much water would actually come down on us .. or how warm it would actually be.  So, to everyone else’s amusement, we ran off squealing.  Ha.  No joke.

It was hard to forget that the geysers were not automated fountains on a timer and we actually all natural.  I kept feeling like we were in a really fancy, over the top garden centre with giant water features designed for the rich on sale.  When in fact, nope, the credit here didn’t go to Homebase or B&Q, in fact it all went to mother nature herself.

 

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Our next activity involved a 25 minute tractor drive to Ingólfshöfði (yeah, I know, Icelandic words don’t exactly roll off your tongue) which is a small nature reserve off the south coast of Iceland.

Our guide talked to us about what we could expect to see whilst on the reserve; birds, sheep .. the infamous black sand.  I was a little tired by this point, so the thought of hiking up a cliff just for some birds didn’t exactly tickle my pickle.

I was secretly praying there was a cafe at the top (spoiler: there wasn’t) where I could rest my feet and eat copious biscuits.

But I immediately took everything negative back that I had been thinking when I reached the top.  There, in front of me, were at least a hundred puffins, each of them no bigger than a football.

I was actually taken aback as I hadn’t expected no where near this many birds

And, let’s be honest if I was Veruca Salt I would have stomped my root and demanded a pet puffin (for realz they were the cutest, tiniest little things I’d ever laid eyes on).

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Towards the end of trip we’d pre-arranged a glacial hike with a tour company.  I had no idea what to expect, but oh boy, I was sure as hell surprised.

They drove us out to where we’d start walking in a old American school bus (y’know, the yellow ones that every British kid dreams about riding), which left me feeling pretty chuffed.

And then I saw it, sat astride these two mountains, dirty white in colour – the glacier we were about to climb.

We had a quick tutorial on how to fasten our crampons to our to our shows, and how to safely use our pick-axes without taking someone’s eye out.  Crucial stuff.  And then we were off onto the ice, crunching our way upward.

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I think we realised we didn’t quite make the cut of “professional glacier hiker” when we all stopped for a snack break.  Everyone else pulled out an apple and various other pieces of fruit leaving us feeling slightly shameful as we ate our way through a box of Oreos.  Ha.

Though, honestly,  I don’t think I’d ever deserved some gluttonous food as much as I did in that moment.

Six hour later (yeah, six hours, that wasn’t a typo), we made it back to the glorious school bus and did our best not to collapse onto the floor.  Here’s a fact for you: climbing glaciers is hard work, don’t be fooled.  Still, I can vouch for the fact it was 100% worth it.

I got to witness some absolutely breathtaking views whilst feeling all ‘survivalist’ with my pick-axe.  Not something you get to do everyday tbh.

 

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And hey, to finish off my Iceland Adventures posts, nothing else would be far better suited than some snaps of icebergs.

We got to witness these hunks of ice whilst visiting the Ice Lagoon in Jökulsárlón, and let me tell you, I’d never felt more like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in my life.

Okay, yes, these’s bergs are very lowkey compared to the one that sank the good ol’ titanic, but they were still kinda daunting sat there, creating these unreal shadows on the surface of the water.

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