Iceland: West, Part I

Iceland has become one of the biggest tourist destinations in the past few years, but it's been at the top of my list since I can remember. There are hundreds of reasons why I've wanted to visit Iceland, but for me it all started when I was in middle school. Remember the movie Brother Bear? I was so drawn to the colors, the wilderness, and of course - the northern lights. Ever since seeing the movie, I've wanted to find a place to experience all of those things.

This year, I found it in Iceland.  

I could say so much more about what this trip meant to me, but I'm finding it extremely difficult to put it into words - so I'll just try to show you instead.

 

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Me and Sam's initial plans had to be altered because of two bridge closures in the southern region. We initially planned on going counter-clockwise, but changed our route at the last minute and went the opposite way, leaving us to start our two week camper van journey in the Western region. We wouldn't have done it any other way.  The peninsula, otherwise known as "Iceland in miniature," held so much meaning to us. Within the first hour of driving, we felt magic that we couldn't describe. Butterflies might be it? I'll just call it pure bliss. 

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Barnafoss

Our first stop was at Barnafoss, a crystal blue waterfall that cascades from old lava fields. We were running on fumes at this point but were so excited to see more. We knew this was just the beginning. After taking a quick power nap (benefits of having a camper van), we headed deeper into the peninsula, only to find ourselves in awe. 

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Only a couple hours into our trip, Sam stated that he'd love to see a great Iceland sunset - but we expected nothing but rain and clouds most of the time. In proper Iceland fashion, it took us by complete surprise and ended our first day with a marvelous sunset.

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Our first real morning in Iceland was one of my favorites. It was the exact weather you expect from Iceland - rainy, cold and moody. We ended up with such great weather that looking back, I wish we had more mornings like these. 

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Rauðfeldsgjá

By far one of our favorite stops was Rauðfeldsgjá - a gorge that you can barely see from the road and is surely bypassed by many. A hidden ravine is tucked away behind layers of moss and rock. 

As we approached the entrance, it became silent. Looking up and all around us was like being in another world. You can't help but be overwhelmed standing in a place like this. 

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Chelsea Ruggiero