Iceland In The Off-Season

If you’re exclusively a sit by the pool of an all-inclusive resort in the sun sort of person, then Iceland probably isn’t for you. However, if you love the great outdoors and a bit of adventure then you should definitely book your trip today!

I briefly visited Iceland in September 2011 and had a blast of a time. At that time of year there weren’t very many other visitors around and it often felt like we had the entire beautiful island to ourselves. Even the rain didn’t dampen our spirits – although it dampen pretty much everything else at one point or another!

The landscapes of Iceland are a lesson in extremes. On the one hand you have the tectonic activity of the Mid-Atlantic ridge creating and stretching new land into existence. As a consequence, there’s also a glut of geothermal activity. On the other hand, there’s the icecap and glaciers of the central mountains, inexorably wearing the island back to dust.

We arrived in Keflavik airport early in the morning, picked up our hire car and headed straight for the bridge between two continents, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are slowly moving away from each other.

Bridge between two continents (Europe on left, North America on right)

Bridge between two continents (Europe on left, North America on right)

Our first geocache on Iceland

Our first geocache on Iceland

Keeping warm, Icelandic style

Keeping warm, Icelandic style

Dante woz 'rer

Dante woz ‘rer

The rest of the morning and a chunk of the afternoon were relaxed away at the Blue Lagoon natural spa. The grey skies, spots of rain and chilly air made its geothermally-heated waters all the more appealing.

Messing about at the Blue Lagoon

Messing about at the Blue Lagoon

Misty times at the Blue Lagoon

Misty times at the Blue Lagoon

That evening we explored the stark but charming capital of Reykjavik on foot. Along the way we tried some rather ‘unique’ foods, including Hákarl (cured shark meat that, to the uninitiated, smells and tasted like rubber soaked in pee) and smoked puffin (which was much more appetising). We also tried whale, which I felt bad about and wouldn’t make a habit of, but nevertheless decided to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik (notice the blue bits in the sky!)

Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik (notice the blue bits in the sky!)

Sólfar - alegedly means Sun Voyager... although that requires some imagination - in Reykjavik

Sólfar – alegedly means Sun Voyager… although that requires some imagination – in Reykjavik

On our second day we did a circuit of Iceland’s Golden Circle. Along the way we took in the dramatic Gullfoss waterfall, the hot springs at Haukadalur (that include Geysir, from which we get the word geyser) and Þingvellir, site of the World’s first parliament.

Some Icelandic locals

Some Icelandic locals

Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall)

Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall)

Geysir - the original Geyser (now dormant)

Geysir – the original Geyser (now dormant)

Strokkur (churn), Geyser's upstart neighbour

Strokkur (churn), Geyser’s upstart neighbour

Laugarvatn Fontana pool and steambath

Laugarvatn Fontana pool and steambath

Laugarvatn Fontana - great view from the pool

Laugarvatn Fontana – great view from the pool

Bread baked geothermally in a tin , just six inches below the surface... no, really! (And it was good!)

Bread baked geothermally in a tin , just six inches below the surface… no, really! (And it was good!)

Getting soggy at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) - looking across the rift from the North American Plate to the Eurasian Plate in the distance

Getting soggy at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) – looking across the rift from the North American Plate to the Eurasian Plate in the distance

The last full day we spent on Iceland included a couple of hikes. The first was into the hills across the bay from Reykjavik. The second was across the moon-like landscape of a massive, ancient lava flow to Sturtshelir, the longest lava cave on the island. Along the way we also got to see a bunch more geothermal sites and waterfalls, not to mention the remote Icelandic home of Erik the Red.

Hiking near Reykjavik (which is across the bay in the distance)

Hiking near Reykjavik (which is across the bay in the distance)

Fresh mountain stream

Fresh mountain stream

Is it just me, or does it look a little brighter?

Is it just me, or does it look a little brighter?

Deildartungsguhver (!!!) the fastest flowing geothermal spring in the World

Deildartungsguhver (!!!) the fastest flowing geothermal spring in the World

Hraunfossar (Lava Falls)

Hraunfossar (Lava Falls)

Crossing the Hallmundarhraun lava field to get to Sturtshellir (we'd already driven over 6 miles across the flow)

Crossing the Hallmundarhraun lava field to get to Sturtshellir (we’d already driven over 6 miles across the flow)

Sturtshellir (Sturt's Cave) is almost a mile long

Sturtshellir (Sturt’s Cave) is almost a mile long

Langjökull (Long Glacier) icecap, the second largest in Iceland

Langjökull (Long Glacier) icecap, the second largest in Iceland

Húsafell - what passes for a forest in Iceland

Húsafell – what passes for a forest in Iceland

Reconstruction of a Viking long house at the site or Erik the Red's home

Reconstruction of a Viking long house at the site or Erik the Red’s home

We were underground for much of our final morning, having decided to do some geocaching in a couple of caves to avoid the rain. This wasn’t a particularly well thought out plan, of course, since the rainwater had to go somewhere. And most of it seemed to go down the back of my neck.

Getting muddy in Selgjárhellir

Getting muddy in Selgjárhellir

Sue doing the hard work in Selgjárhellir

Sue doing the hard work in Selgjárhellir

Rich getting soaked again...

Rich getting soaked again…

Still, we might have left Iceland a bit wet, but we also left very happy. And itching for the day we can return, no matter what the season!

"Can we go to the airport now, please?"

“Can we go to the airport now, please?”

This post was inspired by the photo themes Off-Season from Krista (Daily Post), Wet from Jennifer (Jennifer Nichole Wells) and Beautiful from Dale (Spun With Tears).

If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person like me, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, the first three Jaspa’s Journey novels will soon be available to enjoy, both as ebooks and in paperback! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

 

Advertisements

About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Environment, Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Iceland In The Off-Season

  1. I too loved iceland and would recommend anyone go. I’m hoping to take my husband back in the near future. Loved your photos. Trip down memory lane.

  2. One brief visit to Iceland and have been kicking myself ever since for not arranging to stay longer. Now I have to go back! Thanks for the reminder of how spectacular it is.

    • Jaspa says:

      My visit was also much to brief, Rob. But assuming I’ll get to go back, do I return in the summer to give the longest days for exploring, or the winter to experience the Northern Lights? It’s a dilemma!!

  3. These are so lovely. It looks like you had a great time!

  4. mukhamani says:

    Thank you it was just like being there:)

  5. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Windy | Jennifer Nichole Wells

  6. Pingback: Burning Tires in Urbino | litadoolan

  7. Pingback: OFF SEAson : : The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge - Sylvain LANDRY

I'd love to hear what you've got to say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s