Adventures in Iceland!

This past May, I went on the most amazing two week solo tour of Iceland. With it’s harsh environment it truly felt at times that I was at nature’s disposal. Nonetheless, this added to the excitement and beauty that is Iceland. There’s a surprise around every corner so you never know what to expect!

Reykjavik

It was super convenient taking the FlyBus from the airport to downtown. I had wonderful accommodation at Grettir Guesthouse right in the heart of the city. After checking in, my hosts directed me to an amazing bakery which I highly recommend…Bakarí Sandholt. One of the most amazing apple pastries I have ever tasted.

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The main shopping area is called Laugarásvegur where you will find plenty of bars, shops and restaurants.

Reykjavik

Reykjavik

I wanted some traditional cuisine and was told to try fermented shark and dried fish which is typically chased with a shot of vodka.

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Fermented shark & dried fish @ Icelandic Bar

Áskirkja Church

Hallgrímskirkja Church & Leif Ericson statue

After Reykjavik I started my solo road trip around the country. The car rental company, Blue Car, conveniently brought the car to me which made the process super easy.

Hveragerði

First stop was Hveragerði, only about an hour from Reykjavik. The area is known for it’s natural hot springs. I didn’t get a chance to do that particular hike but I ended up hiking a trail just northwest of the town.

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My first Icelandic horse encounter

Þingvellir

I carried on my journey to Þingvellir. I wasn’t expecting much as I was told there wasn’t much to see in this area. The drive to this place was incredibly beautiful and was pleasantly surprised once I arrived to the park. I had my first glance at a waterfall and there were various paths to walk. I ended up spending a few hours here just exploring the area.

Driving to Þingvellir: Hallvik

Driving to Þingvellir: Hallvik

Driving to Þingvellir: Hallvik

Driving to Þingvellir: Hallvik

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss

River Öxará

River Öxará

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Kerið

I wasn’t expecting to be blown away as it’s a crater after all but it was like nothing I had ever seen before. The red volcanic rock was strikingly beautiful.

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Kerið

Kerið

I then headed to my accommodation in Reykholt and made a few friends along the way…

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That night I stayed at Guesthouse Fagrilundur. Received an incredibly warm welcome from the owner and the next day had an amazing breakfast with the rest of the guests.

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Geysir

After breakfast, I headed to Geysir, only a 20 minute drive away. This is a popular attraction on the Golden Circle circuit so it’s best to get there early.

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Gullfoss

Gullfoss is also on the Golden Circle circuit. Another very touristy stop but incredibly impressive up close.

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Steig

Next stop was Steig, just outside of Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland. Some amazing views along the way despite the horrendous weather.

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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Skógafoss

Skógafoss

That night I stayed at Guesthouse Steig, a clean and comfortable place located just off the ring road. My only caution on staying here is the road is quite rough for small cars so my ride in and out was very uncomfortable.

Reynisfjara beach

I woke up the next morning to more wind and rain. The weather here can be quite treacherous and has been known to blow car doors off. I spent some time exploring Dyrhólaey & Reynisfjara.

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Reynisfjara

Reynisfjara

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As I continued on my journey the scenery was incredible. I encountered some interesting rock formations & moss fields on the way to Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

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Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

Once I arrived in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, I went on a breathtaking hike in Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.

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My accommodation that night was at Hörgsland Guesthouse. Very comfortable and convenient in an unbeatable location.

Hörgsland Guesthouse

Hörgsland Guesthouse

Skaftafell

Next stop was Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. More breathtaking scenery on the way…

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I spent the day hiking at Skaftafell. First part of the hike was to Svartifoss waterfall. It’s a relatively easy hike and a popular one.

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Before you get to the waterfall there’s another trail to the right which is less popular but definitely worth the hike. I only encountered a few people on this trail with amazing views all around and you hike alongside the Skaftafellsjökull glacier on the way down.

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I headed to my accommodation for the night at Skyrhúsid Guesthouse in Hali which I absolutely loved.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Early the next day I went to Jökulsárlón, another very popular stop on the Ring Road. It does get crowded very quickly but it’s definitely worth doing a cruise through the lagoon. They run every hour or so.

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I continued on my journey around the Ring Road and came across a beautiful place called Almannaskarð. There you have amazing views and a perfect place to do some impromptu hiking.

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As I continued on my journey, there was plenty of captivating scenery along the way.

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That night I stayed at an Airbnb in Djúpivogur, a charming little town on the East coast.

Berufjörður

The next day I continued on my way to the north and spent some time in the Berufjörður region. Another beautiful area which I wish I could have spent more time. The road heading through it was quite rough but well worth the ride. So many beautiful views at the top of the mountains overlooking the fjord.
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Dettifoss

Heading to Dettifoss waterfall, the weather took a slight turn and started snowing quite heavily. Some roads were closed as well so always be prepared. On the way back I had to take an hour detour but it was worth it as it’s a breathtaking sight to see.

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As I mentioned, I had to take a detour on the way back as my accommodation was in a place called Keldunes. I highly recommend this place though and I doubt you will find it in any tourist guide.

Keldunes

Keldunes

Ásbyrgi canyon

Keldunes is only about a 15 minute drive from Ásbyrgi canyon which is incredibly convenient. I decided to spend the whole day as there are quite a few hiking trails to explore.

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That night I stayed at Fossholl Guesthouse, a stone’s throw from Godafoss waterfall. It’s a pretty good location but not as comfortable as the other guesthouses I had stayed at so far. It felt a bit dated overall but the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly.

Godafoss

Godafoss was literally right across the road from my hotel.

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Myvatn

I headed on my journey to Myvatn, famous for it’s natural baths, lake and volcanic rock formations.

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That night I stayed at a place called Mörk homestay in Hvammstangi. It was a very friendly accommodation but I didn’t particularly like my room (there was basically a curtain and furniture separating my room from the next door room).

The next morning I had a wonderful breakfast at my accommodation and headed back to Reykjavik. More stunning waterfalls, rivers, fjords and snow on the drive back.

Borgarfjörður

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Barnafoss

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Hvalfjörður

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Þórsmörk

Back in Reykjavik I decided to do one last hike to Þórsmörk, the most challenging hike I have done which lasted about 6 hours. To do this hike you need an off roading vehicle so having a guide is a good way to go. We started at 8am, stopped off at Seljalandsfoss for a little bit and then drove to Þórsmörk where we started the trail. It was all uphill from there and those that have vertigo or are scared of heights will have a problem doing this hike. Some parts of the trail were narrow (less than a foot wide). Most of the snow was still on the ground so good hiking boots were essential as it could be quite slippery. On the way back down the trail, we all just slid down the mountain.

This was definitely one of the highlights in Iceland and what a way to end my Iceland adventure!

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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Iceland, I will definitely be back!

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Favorite Song Picks of 2012

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  • Trampled by Turtles, “Alone”
  • Milo Greene, “1957”
  • The Lumineers, “Stubborn Love”
  • Atlas Genius, “Symptoms”
  • Grizzly Bear, “Yet Again”
  • Of Monsters and Men, “Lakehouse”
  • The Helio Sequence, “October”
  • Father John Misty, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
  • Lord Huron, “Lonesome Dreams”
  • First Aid Kit, “The Lion’s Roar”
  • Lianne La Havas, “Don’t Wake Me Up
  • Patrick Watson, “Into Giants”

 

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December 17, 2012 · 11:39 am

My First Coachella!

This past weekend I made my way to Coachella like so many others for the first time. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect but figured it would be an amazing opportunity to see some amazing artists over the course of 3 days.

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My Coachella Setlist 2011

The Coachella 2011 set list was just announced so I can finally plan what bands I’m going to see. There are a few conflicts but I have a pretty good idea of which ones I’m definitely going to check out.

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Travel Wish List: #1-Norway

Norway has been on my mind for quite a while now so naturally it’s at the top of my list. A nature-lover’s paradise, at almost every corner stunning wilderness lurks to overwhelm the senses.This is the land of the Vikings, Northern Lights, spectacular Fjords and A-Ha! I had the chance to visit Oslo in 2009 but didn’t get a chance to see the beautiful landscapes that Norway is most famous for. As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of remarkable sights to see.

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I love LA!??

I recently made the move from LA to San Diego for a new job and was really happy to get a fresh start, meet new people and be in a different environment. The key word here is different and now I realize what a unique place Los Angeles is. Like many others I have a love/hate relationship with the city and still over the years have not picked a side.  Being away I have started to appreciate the great things and even the unusual things that most out of towners sneer about. I’ve always held the belief that if I could just show these critics the good they would change their minds about LA…hmmm I wonder if the task would be that easy. The city itself has so much to offer, so much diversity, amazing food, spectacular views,  an awesome music scene among other things but the insane traffic and superficiality seem to be the things that embody the city. That got me thinking…what other mistruths exist?

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