After our first month in Iceland, we had hardly scratched the surface. We knew Reykjavík fairly well, and had spent time on the South Coast, the Golden Circle, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords… With all the hopping from one sight to the next, we barely had the chance to relax and become familiar with the culture. So our relationship with Iceland after a month felt superficial. We were obsessed by its bizarre beauty, but needed to get to know it a bit better.
Mike: I’ll never forget the death-hike we took in the Hengill mountain range. The landscape was insanely beautiful, but mostly it’s the fear that will stick with me. The fear, and then the utter relief I felt when it turned out my friend wasn’t dead after all.
On my first night, I woke up at around 1am, completely confused. Outside, it was still bright daylight and it took my sleepy brain a long time to remember… oh right, summer in Iceland!
Mike: Certainly not fish jerky, which was among the most fantastically awful things I’ve ever eaten. This will earn us scorn from a lot of people, but I was shocked by how delicious my whale steak was. And I love Skyr.
An Icelandic Hot Dog with everything. Delicious and affordable. But probably the best food moment was eating freshly caught scallops on the Viking Sushi Tour
Mike: The sheer ruggedness of the land. Before arriving, I kind of thought… well, we’ll still be in Europe, how crazy can it be? But Iceland’s wildness is really something. Gorgeous, isolated, and often dangerous.
When our landlord turned out to be a pilot, and asked if we wanted to see Iceland from the air
, I almost died!
Mike: The weather was a real downer. Icelanders confirmed that we arrived during the coldest, rainiest summer in years, and it put a major damper on many of our plans.
No volcanic eruptions! Frustrating, since two volcanoes (Hekla and Katla) were overdue to explode. I’d love to photograph a volcano in action, and always kept an eye on the weather reports.
Funniest / Weirdest
Mike: Our first sunny day in Reykjavík… fine, the sun was nice, but let’s not kid ourselves, it was still quite cool. But to the Vitamin-E-deprived locals, it was beach-party time. Guys at the bar had their shirts off, soaking in the rays, and people were even laying on the grass in bikinis. Meanwhile, we kept our winter coats on.
Icelanders often make this sharp inhaling sound instead of saying “yes”… it’s just part of their speech, called an ingressive, but I could never get used to it.
How Expensive? From 1 (cheap) to 10 (expensive)
Mike: 9. Iceland only dodges the dreaded “10” because I know Norway is out there. But this is the priciest place we’ve ever lived. Even cooking at home, camping, trying to avoid costs wherever possible, we’re burning through our savings at a disturbing rate.
I would give it 7. It’s true, living expenses are through the roof but the natural beauty of the country is for free. You just have to find a way to see it all on a budget.
People from Iceland are…
Mike: … stylish, tall and blond. Everything I’m not! They’re also extremely friendly and trusting, which has come in handy when we’ve been forced to hitchhike, and seem to have a very down-to-earth approach to life.
… blessed with a great sense of irony and humor. For proof, just consider their election of the Best Party
Iceland in Three Words
Mike: Glaciers, Volcanoes, Waterfalls
Incredible Nature Photography!