That seems to be the question we get asked the most since announcing our travel plans. Honestly, though, why NOT Iceland? A couple of years ago, we asked ourselves where the most picturesque places to go and shoot would be, and thus Iceland and/or New Zealand were put on our proverbial bucket list. Also, with a 5-month-old baby, a road trip seemed to be the easiest type of vacation possible. Strap him in the backseat with a bunch of toys, and let him doze and chill for hours at a time without much fuss from us. Besides, road tripping is becoming a bit of a tradition in our family ever since we drove from sea to sea all across North American in 2014!
So now that we’ve established why, here’s what we’ve been up to so far. And for those who are curious about the planning, we used Icelandic Farm Holidays to arrange our rental vehicle and plan all of our accommodations so the only things we had to worry about after giving them our flight dates were keeping the car filled with gas and finding our own dinners since breakfasts were all provided.
We left Vancouver around 4pm on Day 1, and arrived in Iceland at 7am the next day. It’s only a 7-hour direct flight, but there is also a 7-hour time zone difference. Micah held his own on the plane until around 9pm when he took some convincing to go to bed in a car seat instead of his crib. We made it to our hotel in Reykjavik by mid-morning and had breakfast while we waited for a room to free up for us so that we could check in. The hotel was really awesome with comfy lounge rooms throughout the lobby and even a couch/bed type sitting area in the restaurant itself. We were put on a priority list due to the little one, and found ourselves all tucked away by noon. We were driven from the airport and weren’t expecting our rental car to be delivered until the next day, so any exploration of the city would have to be done on foot. However, we were so jet lagged, that we ended up napping the day away until Nick ran out to grab fish and chips, along with ethnic snacks, for dinner later that evening.
The next morning we got up early due to a baby whose internal clock was officially destroyed by this point and went out on foot to explore the town a bit. We were also looking for a place to have breakfast, but decided that nothing looked as good as the buffet we had enjoyed at the hotel the day prior, so we headed back there. It’s a good thing that we did, as we didn’t realize the travel agency had arranged for breakfast to be included at the original hotel as well as the B&B’s we would be staying at! So much good food, but such tiny plates!
Nick was picked up to be taken to the rental car agency while Micah and I relaxed back in our room. He returned within the hour and we packed up and headed out! We didn’t spend long in Reykjavik because, even though it’s the largest city in Iceland, it’s actually pretty small when you’re used to Vancouver and we were anxious to hit the road. By just after lunch we were passing the city limits and entering Hobbit Land. Well, not really, but the entire country felt like a scene out of The Lord of the Rings with endless green rolling hills, spontaneous waterfalls, splashes of wild flowers, and puffy white clouds around every corner!
After leisurely taking the scenic routes for a few hours, we arrived at our first B&B where we ordered hamburgers and waited for the sun to set – at midnight – the sun sets at midnight this time of the year. This is also Micah’s favourite part of the day because he gets to roll around on a big bed and stretch after spending so many hours in the car. Around 10:30pm, we loaded him into the car and headed out in search of a tourist spot that I was dying to find. Without it loaded into our GPS. Without remembering the name of it. We may have gotten lost and almost missed the nice light, but in the end we found it – a mountain crowned in fog behind two waterfalls. So worth staying up for! Afterwards, we drove back in the dying light with a dosing baby in the backseat, and crawled into our bed with Netflix.
We woke up in time to grab out continental breakfast, which was a buffet of bread, cheese, meats, and spreads, and found the solution to the teeny, tiny coffee cups they have over here. We used the free refill policy and topped up our “properly sized” (ahem, massive) travel mugs before hitting the road. It was a grey, overcast day which was less than ideal for exploring. But explore we did and with little Micah who we stubbornly refused to remove from his car seat. (Don’t ask me why). We hauled him across what felt like at least a kilometre (both ways!) of lava flow terrain, stopping for a mandatory bottle feeding on the way. If you’ve met Micah, you’ll understand why stopping for food was non-negotiable. After a long and chilly trudge, with camera, lenses, baby AND car seat in tow, we were out of adventurism for the day and hustled back to the warm car to journey through the remaining landscape of volcano-savaged lands. We did take Micah out a bit later popping him into his carrier for a brief walk, but pretty much just drove the coastline for the rest of the afternoon, listening to our story-on-tape, en route to our next B&B.
The sun did break free as the evening progressed, affording a few more pleasant photo opportunities, but we tried to be quick as it was getting late. We ended up rolling in too late for supper, but had stopped at a grocery store to load up with our own array of bread, meat, cheese, and veggies for making sandwiches in our room that night. We were surprised that the “baby cot” promised to us in each room actually turned out to be a full-on third bed for Micah this night! Maybe it was the bed, or perhaps the fact that we’re on Day 3, but he’s finally switched over to full “Iceland time” now. Apparently he gets over jet lag even faster than his mom and dad do! The day wrapped up with a gorgeous midnight sunset that more than made up for the earlier dreariness.