Land of Fire and Ice

We did it - we officially made it to Iceland! It's Kylee, taking over again! Ever since we bought our tickets, it hasn't felt real. Even when we landed and were driving this morning, it didn't feel real. Well, that could be because we landed at 4am and drove around in the dark for a few hours until we decided to pull over and take a nap. Once we woke up and started seeing the BREATHTAKING scenery, it hit us. We are in ICELAND. The land of fire and ice as they say. 

We have a lot we want to see in the next week so we hope you guys follow along with us as we celebrate our 1st anniversary (I know - 1 year of being married already)! 

These blogs might be more photos than words because words just cannot do the place justice.  Plus, the wifi here isn't really that good and I cannot get data on the laptop so infrequent posts but we will do it! We will give you historical info when we know it but we hope you follow along with us! If you don't follow us already - @stripedmoonstudios and @_kyleewilliams - we will post as much as we can, when we can!

But what is a trip without flights being screwed up? It's not a trip at all. We can thank Southwest for that one. Without going into too much detail, we got on and off our flight twice just to get to Baltimore. It was a very long (and frankly stressful since we weren't sure we were going to make it in time) trip. Needless to say, a lot of stress but we made it there with some time to spare (and got a free voucher out of it)!

Now, I would love to tell you where we are going throughout our trip but I can't pronounce them. I mean really, how do you say Grundarfjörður, Eyjafjallajökull, or Gljúfrabúi? Yeah, didn't think so. We have started using the first few letters as our destination (we got that tip from a blog we read before coming here). But shockingly, the whole country is really easy to navigate. LOTS of round abouts and there is one road, road 1, that goes around the whole country. Gas, that was a little difficult to figure out but we made it and were off to some adventures!

We headed north to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula (another fun name). Every stop we made was more beautiful than the last. It really is one of the most beautiful countries we've ever been to. We stopped at a bunch of different mountain ranges and, of course, got to see/pet some super cute and friendly horses!

One of the stops we loved was Búðakirkja which is a tiny village with one hotel and a single black church that stands alone within a sea of lava rock. It was beautiful! The first church was built in 1703 but has been restored and redone a few times. There are still a few original pieces in it such as the bell. Around it is fields full of lava rocks with moss growing on them. It was such a beautiful place to be. You can walk down to the ocean and see all the mountains and climb onto of the lava rocks for a better view!

Another place that we stumbled upon was called Rauðfeldsgjá which is a very narrow canyon within the mountain. It was awesome to see and even better when you got to go in and see it! You can actually hike through it (but it is recommended that you have a guide - so we didn't). 

The last place we hit up was the Kirkjufell mountain with a waterfall right by it. It was such a cool mountain due to it's shape and isolation and then you add a waterfall - it was perfect. It is one of those iconic photography spots that every photographer has to photograph so naturally, we went there!

The first night we stayed on a horse farm and woke up to beautiful horses around our place. It was really great to be able to wake up and remember that, yes, you re actually in Iceland and it wasn't a dream!

First we hit the Golden Circle. That is a big tourist spot so naturally, we had to go. First stop: Thingvellir - there the North American and European tectonic plates are drifting apart. This is one of my favorites just because you get to walk in-between them - how cool is that?!

Next we saw The Great Geyser - known to be the first geyser ever written about in print. It was not as big as Old Faithful but it was more faithful! It went off every 5 minutes it felt like! IT was cool too because you can see a "bubble" that produces right before it goes off!

The last thing we saw in the Golden Circle was Gullfoss waterfall. This one was 2 tiers and large. It is also one of the largest in Iceland.  Fun fact: it was once threatened due to foreign investors wanting to harness it's power for electricity. The daughter of the man who owned it got a lawyer and even threatened to throw herself off of it if construction started. In the end, her efforts saved the falls. We are sure glad she did that...

At night, to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, we got a tiny little cabin out in the middle of nowhere with no internet, wifi, anyhting. It was great to be off the grid for a while!

The next day, we got our our way and went on the long drive to the Håifoss waterfall. We had to drive about 4-6 miles on F-roads (which are roads not paved, gravel roads, full of pot holes, and are recommended to have a bigger car to go through). It was a little rough but once you were there - worth it. WOW was it breathtaking. There are no words to do it justice but to see that, the trip was worth it already. Even if we had a horrible trip the rest of the time (which we won't), it was worth it. It was one of those places that you never think you will be able to see in person because it is just that beautiful. 

Once we forced ourselves to leave, we headed down to Gjåin which, in my opinion and the theory of the people who live here, was built by elves and trolls. It was full of little paths up to different things and waterfalls that had tons of different path flows. It was an awesome place to explore. We felt like we were kids again exploring things and crossing rivers on stones.

We tried to get to one more waterfall after this but our GPS screwed us over and took us a crazy way to we decided to just use our hard copy map instead (which is actually what we have been using ever since). By the time we got to the waterfall, it was too dark to see anything but you could hear it. So we decide to sleep there. Yes, right next to the waterfall. How many people can say that?! We slept inner car which is not as bad as you may think! A little condensation but overall, a good experience! 

Off to another adventure today! We will post when we can but we can always post on Instagram/facebook with data!

PS - THANK YOU to everyone who has wish us a Happy Anniversary! We cannot believe how blessed we are to have all of you in our lives and...we made it one year! Lot more to go but this is a great way to start it.

Until next time..

- C&K