Icelandic Road Trip: Day 1

After many years of having this place on our bucket list, we’re finally off on our exploration of Iceland. The direct flight from Denver to Reykjavik was a real treat. In just a little over six hours of flight time, we were there. We didn’t know this until we got on the plane, but apparently Icelandic Air was cancelling flights due to a pilot’s strike. Fortunately, the strike didn’t effect our flight, except for the fact that the plane was packed with other passengers whose flights had been cancelled the day before.

Rugged Coastal Area

Rugged Coast at the End of the Reykanes Peninsula

We picked up our rental car and headed off into the country; it felt like we’d flown to the moon. As far as the eye could see was mostly uninhabited lava fields covered with a greenish/yellow moss. Within an hour of driving, we came to our first destination: The Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is a large lake filled with hot geothermal waters mixed with a silica material that gives it an eerie bluish glow. We figured this was a good first stop to stretch out our muscles after the long flight.

Geothermal Area

Geothermal Area

We were a little too efficient getting out of the airport as we arrived at the lagoon about two hours before opening. So, we killed some time driving out to the very southwest tip of the Reykanes Peninsula to marvel at the stormy sea battering the spectacular cliffs. Along the way, we stopped at the first of many geothermal areas we would encounter in Iceland. The ground steamed everywhere, with boiling water and mud bubbling out of cracks in the ground.

After our tour of the coast, we finally got to hop into the Blue Lagoon. It was a cold and rainy day, but we didn’t care sitting in the soothing warm waters. This was also the first place that we were introduced to Iceland’s very high prices. The Blue Lagoon, being somewhat of a tourist trap, is no exception to this as the soak set us back about US$90 (not including lunch). Still, the good long soak was worth the expense.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

After soaking at the Blue Lagoon, we continued through the lava fields along the southwest coast of Iceland, passing through quaint fishing villages that did not appear to have much activity.
We then headed north to the town of Laugarvatn where we would spend our first three nights. We celebrated with a great (but pricey) dinner at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the nearby lake. This was where I got my first taste of reindeer meat. The burger was to die for, which is good since it cost more than US$30.

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About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company (http://www.offtrailtravel.com). After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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