Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Nothing Like You Thought Iceland Would Be

It doesn't look like much.  Things in Iceland really never look too impressive.  Nature is the biggest show in the country.  This is where I spent a lot of time in Iceland.  This farmhouse is only used by it's owners twice a year.  Once to let the sheep out to run free for the summer, and the other in the fall to round them up.  In the summer, hikers like me, rent it.
Why?  Because Iceland is more than just Reykjavik.  Because Iceland is a beautiful place that seems like something out of a dream.  It's completely different from anywhere else on Earth.  Oh yeah, and there aren't any trees.  There are a few, but the Icelanders put in an awful lot of work to get them to grow there.  A barren yet beautiful landscape is what Iceland is all about.  And waterfalls.  Lots of waterfalls.

This one is right in back of the house.  It was in a narrow gorge 50 feet from the door and it was about 30 feet high.  It was amazing.
 I have to say, the main reason that I came out to the highlands of Iceland was to hike in The Eldgja, a national treasure that is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  This area is rumored to be 15 miles long and is the site of a volcanic eruption.  It's a rift across south central Iceland.  It kind of looks like the Grand Canyon, but unique and amazing.
 It's worth the walk through absolutely nowhere.  The walk to the Eldgja is amazing.
 It seems like the road to nowhere, but the scenery is something that you can't see anywhere else in the world.  The quiet is so tranquil that you forget that the rest of the world is out there.  
 The bridges are for people.  The vehicles have to drive through the rivers.  There are signs with instructions on how to drive through a river.  It's surreal and exciting.
 Then, out of the blue, there's a sign telling you that you've reached the EldgjaIt's perched alongside the dirt road like it's the most normal thing in the world.  It is the only sign marking it in this region of Iceland.
I know that most people shy away from vacation spots like Iceland.  That is one of the reasons that it so appealed to me.  But, I guarantee once you've seen this place, you'll want to come back again and again.  Sure, The Blue Lagoon is nice, but the highlands is an experience that you'll never forget.
If you come during the round up time, you'll definitely never forget it.  There are many places that take you on a round up as a vacation tour.  It's worth every penny.
You need another reason to come to the highlands of Iceland?  Beyond the beauty, the quiet, the waterfalls, the surreal landscape, and the unexpected adventure?  Well, if you come in the summer, it never fully gets dark, and that's just incredible.
Try this one on for size.  You won't regret it.  You can spend a little time at the Blue Lagoon too if you want.  It's pales by comparison to the highlands.


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