Iceland | Selfoss and Golden Circle
Iceland | Selfoss and Golden Circle
We debated on staying in Reykjavik, or staying out in the boonies, and although it would be convenient for restaurants and museums to be in the city, we really wanted to be able to see the Northern Lights.
We decided to stay up a dormant volcano near Selfoss. The roads here aren't as clear as the highways, but still easy to drive. We thought, without waking the kids, to drive out each night, we may have a better chance out of the city since there would be less light pollution. So far, we have not seen them, except on the plane, but it hasn't kept us from getting up several times a night to check!
This is the rawest, most magical country we have ever visited. Driving from the airport, we were in complete awe, there was nothing but snow covered mountains which are mostly flat on the top since they are made from volcanic soil, and erode quicker over time. There were no trees or brush, only rocks, boulders, and snow. They say if you don't like the weather, give it 5 minutes and it will change. We are finding this is absolutely true. The pictures below were all taken on a 2.5 hour drive. We love WOW Travel Airline!! They are a super affordable way to get from the US to Iceland or Europe, the staff is friendly, helpful and the free carry on luggage was recently increased. For our family of 4, we brought 4 backpacks (John had one which he put all of his clothing in a compression sack, Peaches and Pops shared one, I had one with a laptops and camera equipment with my clothes and one for books, homework, toys, snacks...), a booster seat, and car seat, and could get them all on without any additional fees. We squished our snow bibs, huge hats, gloves and waterproof clothing into a Sea to Summit - Outdoor Gear compression sack, and were able to put that into a backpack with all of our other clothing. Make sure you pack enough travel sized toiletries, as we have found trying to buy shampoo and conditioner quite expensive ($79 US Dollars for both so we are using dish soap, haha.) We did not shop around but at the particular store we were in, that was the most affordable. We also found alcohol and snacks were cheaper if purchased in the duty free shop before leaving the airport instead of in a grocery store. Alcohol has it's own store, beer and wine are not available at the supermarket. We got our car through Rent A Wreck Iceland, and so far have been super pleased with it!! It was more affordable than many other companies. It has new snow tires, everything works perfectly, the exterior looks like it's brand new, overall great condition! The friendly and patient man (who's cousin is OZZO Photography, check him out, AMAZING photos and videos, he even did a Major Lazer video here in Iceland) met us at the airport by the luggage, although we were late (had lunch and went to duty free before heading to get rental car) he waited for us (I didn't realize they weren't located at the airport.) He walked us outside, we signed the paperwork in the car, dropped him off at his car in the next parking lot and off we went! The cars come with no gas so you have to scoot up the road less than a mile to fill up immediately ($110 USD for our 4x4 car) but you bring them back with no gas as well! The gas stations are by no means plentiful but they are around. I was worried when we got to 1/2 tank of gas that we'd have to go back towards the city to get more gas but they had it available at several locations on the Golden Circle.
I want to come back and see it when it's lush and green but if I only come once I am so so so happy it's covered in snow, it's a sight I could only dream of.
Pops read a book about Icelandic Horses called Elska. Since then, she has been so excited to see these gorgeous horses! These beautiful, friendly horses are seen on the mountainsides all over Iceland, although they are tame, they appear wild with their huge pastures covering fields and fields of wide open space. While driving we stopped to meet them. They put their heads over the fence and love for you to scratch their ears, they are some of the friendliest horses I have ever met! In the states when someone is standing outside the fence, it's unusual for all the horses in the pasture to come put their heads over and want to visit but not here! We decided to go to a stable to find out more! The particular one we went to has over 350 horses and most of them go on vacation (stay in the pasture) during the winter while 50 or more come in and out to be ridden. They are a 5 gaited horse, and one of the extra gates outside of walk, trot, canter, is the tölt. It's a smooth ambling pace faster than a walk that can reach speeds as fast as a canter. We love these mouthy, funny, playful horses!!!
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