Iceland: The Eagle (North)

North of the wall.

This is by far my favorite location and blog post of this trip. It feels bittersweet to finally write about it. Maybe that’s why I’ve been avoiding it as long as possible. Just looking at the photos and remembering this beautiful day makes me emotional. I think both Kevin and I will tell you that we had a true connection to the land all over Iceland, though the North in Akureyri was especially special for us because of these beyond beautiful days.

PSA: This post is full of so many of my favorite photos of this trip. It’s a long post but I put in so much love into it!

Day Four

We started North Iceland with a banger.

We didn’t realize when starting the drive to a massive waterfall that there are in fact two ways to go about it. We did notice, however, the snow kissed landscape surrounding us on the drive so about halfway through we stopped and took a few photos in the crisp air.

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Aldeyjarfoss

I owe the credit to this destination all to Kevin. It also turns out to be both our favorite point of this whole road trip. Even with all of my research I was unaware of this place! If you’re headed towards Godafoss, I say jump ahead and complete the drive to this magnificent place first. Trust me, you don’t regret it. As if the black basalt columns along the raging waters is not a sight in itself, the entire magnitude of this place was enhanced as snow began to fall. In addition to this we had the place to ourselves which made it so much more epic of an experience. Of course I couldn’t help but take a million photos, but as always we often said to ourselves, “okay, soak it in” where we put down our electronics and sat in silence listening to the roar of the falls.IMG_8868IMG_8871IMG_8887IMG_8893IMG_8898IMG_8901IMG_8928IMG_8946IMG_8966IMG_8989IMG_8995IMG_8971IMG_8973IMG_8985IMG_9040IMG_8998

 

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I can’t imagine experiencing this moment with anyone else but Kevin.

Godafoss

This was certainly a waterfall kinda day! We stopped on the way back at
Godafoss. The snowy/wet weather made it less crowded thankfully! You have two options for views, but if you park across from the waterfall you can do what  I greatly enjoyed doing and explore the bottom and get an up close and personal view from below! Just watch your footing! I took a hard fall onto some sharp rocks that left me sore!IMG_9142IMG_9180IMG_9196IMG_9239IMG_9231IMG_9209

 

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Gotta do what you gotta do to get the shot, right?!

After getting entirely wet we escaped into the Godafoss cafe for an expensive ($31.83), simple lunch. Mainly we juts wanted to escape the cold for a little bit, but if you can hold out a little longer I’d skip over eating here.
We also made a quick pit stop at Grodja Cave. You might know it as the place on Game of Thrones where John Snow finally ya-knows. 😉 It’s a nice little visit, but nothing too remarkable.

Myvatn Nature Baths

Ah, the baths. I was very much looking forward to this. Although pretty pricey for us two ($90.95), it still is a less expensive alternative to the Blue Lagoon. And I’ve got to say…I think I preferred Myvatn! This alkaline geothermal area was as relaxing as it sounds. The grounds are kept up and it’s quite spacious. Kevin and I just floated around and I almost got a little too relaxed to where I almost fell asleep in the heated water. I would certainly go again where as to the Blue Lagoon- I’m not sure I would (though we’ll get to that in a later post!)IMG_9251IMG_9254

We did so much on day four! Writing back on this now, I can hardly believe it!

Day Five

But continuing on in the North!

Whale watching has been on my bucket list for so long now and I always felt a little dorky about it! Thankfully I found a partner who as well had it high on their list! And let me tell you….one of the most beautiful moments of my life. One of those moments that I would re-watch if it were on film and probably cry happy tears. Yeah, that beautiful.

Originally I booked the whale watching with Ambassador but the morning of I noticed the instructions told us to go to the Elding building for check in. So I’m not sure what exactly happened there, but it didn’t mess with our plans or expectations at all. Actually, the whole experience surpassed any expectations that I had by a million. I figured we would be lucky to see one whale if any. It’s going to sound cheesy but I feel as if the Universe truly had a role in today’s sightings because after a while of just sailing along…someone noticed a blow spout.

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And suddenly…they were everywhere. And I’m not saying this as a “fake-news” kinda thing. I’m saying this as that serendipitous moment where the whales are feeding in the area we are in and every other second we are shouting, “there! over there!” and pointing, “and there!”I  could have gotten whiplash from trying to spot them all! I wish I could have taken more photos of them, but it’s one of those moments that someday I’m going to share with my kids, and I’ll still feel as much beauty then as I did at this moment.

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On the ride back Kevin and I were the only ones sitting on the front of the boat. Heading towards the sun and bundled up, we both embraced every tiniest detail from the way the cold wind hugged around us to the sound of the water off the boat. If you ever want to feel small and magnificent, head to the fjords and just open your senses to the magnitude that is nature and grace surrounding you.

 

Afterward we just ate lunch and walked around Akureyri, which is a very charming town and considered the “capital of the North”.

 

If anyone is interested in where we stayed this was the first AirBNBs in AkureyriIt had a very charming bookworm feel, in my opinion, but Kevin thought it was borderline hoarder-ish

 

This was our second AirBNB, which we preferred much more. It was across from town on the lake and the host had such a chill vibe about her.

 

Northern Lights!!!!

“Two nights ago Kevin and I drove out of Akureyri to go Aurora hunting. As soon as we parked the car and I was about to go pee behind a bush he screamed, “right there!” And in fact, the Aurora Borealis was showing off! We then proceeded to witness the most incredible, majestic, magical performance my eyes have ever gazed upon. They danced right above us and I twirled around with them below unimaginably ecstatic. I photographed them and yelled at, “I just photographed the NORTHERN LIGHTS like a happy little child at Disney world… I can’t think of a better person to share this life changing moment with. This place…is undoubtedly life changing. ” I posted this on Instagram and feel as if it still resonates how I want. I could try and explain further the…pure bliss I felt as the dancing lady swayed above us and the deep enthralling excitement we felt as we jumped around beneath her, but I will never be able to fully explain it. Ever. Just know, it was truly the most beautiful moment of my life.

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Day Six

I’ll hurry through these parts because, honestly, day five really was a huge highlight for us on this trip. I mean, whale watching and northern  lights?! Kinda hard to beat that!

Dimmuborgir

We spent the early afternoon exploring the area known for its large lava formations and calling upon the Icelandic Yule Lads (which did not show themselves unfortunately). Even though the weather got a bit crummy on us we spent most of our time in this one cave taking dramatic photos and being silly.DSC09565DSC09567

 

 

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Detifoss 

And finally on our way out of North Iceland we stopped at Detifoss and enjoyed the wonderful rainbow on display for the world. You can see how bundled up I am and yet I was still freezing my butt off! The wind was also so strong it could have knocked someone over if they weren’t careful!

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OH MY GOODNESS, FRIENDS! That was so much for two days in the North! I know it was an overload of photos but I couldn’t help it! Everything in Iceland is picture-worthy and these couple of days in the North were nothing short of enchanting!

I’ll try and keep East Iceland shorter, but no promises! If you made it this far, thank you so much. Let me know if you’ve ever been to Iceland or plan on someday! It really is a place we don’t deserve but are so blessed to have on this planet!

Until next time, friends!

-Mary

P.S. OH! And if anyone in Akureyri has found a pair of round brown glasses! They’re mine! Guess they decided to stay behind for me!

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