our last full day in iceland began bright and early when we awakened in our little patch of grass on the property of a local farmer. we had hoped to get some breakfast in a little reception/lounge type area inside, but it wasn’t open by the time we were ready to leave, so another day of yogurt and french press coffee it would be. we bid farewell to our sheep friends and departed.
our final destination for the day was the capital city of reykjavik, where originally we planned to spend the day doing city tourist things. but after our previous day spent in akureyri with all the cruise ship people, we knew it would be better to squeeze in another outdoor adventure and then hit up reykjavik for a much shorter time. 🙂
glymur waterfall is the second tallest documented waterfall in iceland. the hike is a a four-ish mile, 1200+’ elevation gain loop, with all the best hiking amenities. caves, log bridges, rivers in canyons, ropes and cables, dangerous and rocky exposed climbs, and lots of overlooks along the way. but, i’m getting ahead of myself.
even though it was beautiful and sunny when we arrived, the weather forecast looked slightly suspect, so we packed up gear for all manner of possible conditions and set off. when we reached the cave, we knew this hike was going to be fab.
the coolest part of the hike up was for sure the log bridge river crossing. i may or may not have done it twice so derek could get photos from different angles. (ie: doin’ it for the ‘gram).
then, we began to seriously climb climb climb. there’s a lot of pictures of my butt and the top of derek’s head during this stretch. but eventually, we arrived at the first of many overlooks.
we continued to climb. and take more pics. and climb. and take more pics. we were leap frogging with a friendly couple who we were able to exchange photographer duties with. the trail was pretty brutal, i won’t lie. very rocky and steep. and we were sort of dreading coming back down.
the waterfall was very pretty and definitely better than walking around reykjavik all day.
when we arrived at the top, a decision had to be made.
our options were to turn back around and brave the steep, rocky, treacherous trail back down. or. literally ford the river and come down along the less tricky and steep side of the canyon. ok. there really was no decision. ford a river?? sign me all the way up.
we walked along to find a good spot that we thought would be easiest, peeled off our sock and shoes, rolled up our pants, busted out the hiking poles, and away we went. the water was FREEEEEEEZING. and the rocks were slippery. and it was definitely an adventure. but so cool. and we survived.
the hike back down from there was really uneventful. well, except for a wardrobe change with it started raining. it was pretty miserable though. no good views. no fun amenities. rocky and not entirely un-steep and my knees were shot.
anyways. time for reykjavik, i guess. we made our way into the city. derek parked our little campervan, and we transformed into city tourists. first up. obviously. a bakery. braud, to be exact. one of each, please.
once we were sufficiently stuffed with carbs and sugar, we walked over to the picturesque church, hallgrímskirkja, for some photos and a quick listen of the organ inside.
we spent the afternoon walking around the touristy shopping area, searching for gifts for all of our peeps back home. we happened upon the iconic rainbow painted road. i think it’s pride related but i couldn’t help making mariokart references to rainbow road.
shopping and people and city life sucked the life out of me, so we made a spontaneous decision to get out of there and check out flyover iceland, a virtual 4D tour of iceland which we had heard fantastic things about. it was pretty cool. expensive. short. but definitely worth the experience. but, no photos allowed, so this paragraph will have to do.
for dinner, we found an interesting little spot, serving all you can eat iceland soups (and waffles and jam). the record is something like 13 bowls of soup. i made it through two. so close. of course i wasn’t so full that when we stopped at an ice cream shop near our campground, i didn’t two giant scoops. sadly, for one scoop, i selected licorice flavor, expecting something similar to the ice cream i had on my creme brulee a few day’s previous, only to find out that this licorice was more like actual licorice and not tasty. oh well.
well. that’s just about it. we rolled into the campground in reykjavik, which was a basically a parking lot converted into a camping compound, and it was HOPPING. we were able to do a load of laundry and i took one last shower (my third total haha) before our upcoming long day of travel.
we had a relatively lazy morning, before making our way back to keflavik, where our campervan rental company was located. we of course obviously stopped at the bakery from our first day and picked up a couple of those cinnamon rolls that had been on my mind for ten straight days.
then we cleaned out the camper, did some final packing and rearranging, turned in our little chariot, and caught a shuttle to the airport. and then the joys of international travel really set in. long security lines. flight delays. a packed flight. and the grand finale… getting held up in customs, where derek’s passport was confiscated by the least helpful and grumpiest customs official whom i still day dream about kicking in the shins. (like we insisted in the moment, it was all a mistake, and the state department passport people fixed us up pretty quickly once we were home).
whelp. that’s it. our epic 20th anniversary trip to iceland is in the books. it was so amazing. and sort of feels like a dream at this point. back to real life, i guess…