Iceland!!! It’s really hard to describe the beauty of this country, so writing a blog post about my trip might actually be pretty difficult. Here it goes anyway…

I’m bringing you back to May 2016 – I’m in the car with my co-worker Derrin and we’re headed to lunch in the middle of the day. She tells me she wants to plan a trip to Iceland and I freak out! “I want to go to Iceland, OMG, OMG, OMG!” I’m not sure if I invited myself or what, but next thing I know we’re looking up plane tickets and find out they’re SUPER CHEAP for “teacher convention weekend” in November. Within 24 hours our tickets were purchased! Planning this trip was spontaneous – my kind of trip!

Now I had the next 5 months to save up.

As it got closer to November, I started looking up weather reports and found it was supposed to rain for the entire time we were there. This was followed by a multitude of text messages to Derrin of sad faces and me digging out my rain and snow gear. Not only was it going to rain for four days, but it was going to be in the 30’s!

The night we left for the airport it was even raining in New Jersey! Talk about a crappy drive to JFK airport…. Kevin was a great driver though and I’m happy we got picked up by a car service. On the way there I photographed the rain.


We got on our 8PM flight to Reykjavik, Iceland and slept the entire way. (Only a 5 hour flight – not bad!) We arrived at 6am their time, 1am ours. We were exhausted. The familiar orange and purple lights of a Dunkin Donuts called to us as we got our caffeine fix and walked through the airport. After renting a car our first stop was the Blue Lagoon! We were extra excited because we’d be walking into the cool blue geothermal hot springs just as the sun was rising. Our idea of the perfect first morning!

We arrived just in time to find out that tickets were sold out for the entire weekend. Yay! Our perfect first morning had just fallen apart, but we were optimistic and found another hotspring an hour away. It’s a secret one and it was AMAZING!

The following photos are from the outskirts of the Blue Lagoon property… The only part our ticketless selves were allowed to see.


Matt driving us to the secret lagoon as we took in the landscape. Absolutely stunning. Lava rocks covered in moss as far as the eye could see. We drove along the ocean and didn’t see a tree for hours. At this point I was wondering if I’d see a tree the entire trip.


Once we got to the lagoon we enjoyed an hour of soaking in the hotsprings. It was so relaxing. We met locals and the FIRST thing they asked us was about the election! haha 


Once we convinced ourselves to leave the hotsprings we drove out to Vik. There were only 5ish hours of daylight in Iceland at this time of year so we had to be wise about how we spent them and we really wanted to see the black sand beaches and the airplane crash site that’s so popular on instagram.

Below is the Eyjafjallajökull volcano – the one that erupted in 2010. Below that are the snow-capped mountains surrounding the beaches in Vik.


Icelands famous plane crash (Solheimasandur) was as awesome of a sight as we had imagined. So surreal! The only issue was the million other people who were also there. Below images are creatively cropped and/or photoshopped to remove the 20 other people who were there at the same time.


We were finally starting to think, “I can’t believe it hasn’t rained yet! Maybe it won’t rain at all!” as we walked away from the plane crash. Just then it started raining. Go figure. We decided to head into the town of Vik and grab a bite to eat at a recommended restaurant. They had great food and we were happy we stopped there.


After dinner we drove in the dark all the way back to Reykjavik to finally arrive at our airbnb in the middle of the city. We slept so well that night! The next morning we woke up to pouring rain as we headed out with a tour company who was going to bring us hiking on a glacier. Eagle Man was our guide and he was the best! We loved him.


We drove for over two hours to get to the glacier we would hike on only to find out that the rain caused the pathway to flood and it was not passable.  We were so bummed but kept good spirits. We walked out to the glacier anyway to get a look at it. I took my camera out from inside my jacket for a few moments to take a few photos, but it was too dangerous to get too creative and spend a lot of time shooting. It was downpouring!


The glacier was gorgeous. I am really disappointed we didn’t get to hike it. All of the black areas on the ice/snow is ash from recent volcanic eruptions. How cool is that?!

Since we didn’t want to waste our 5 hours of precious daylight Eagle Man agreed to take us to the “Black Sand Beach” in Vik and to the famous waterfalls nearby. I’m so thankful that he gave us that experience.

Below are images from the black sand beach. The waves were insane! I’ve never in my life seen an ocean so angry. Keep in mind it was POURING rain out the whole time we were there. My camera came out of my jacket momentarily and then was quickly put away sopping wet. Eagle Man called it “speedo weather” and he was right!


After we left Vik we went to the Skogafoss Waterfall followed by the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – two very famous ones. As we drove up to the first one, Eagle Man shouted “Who likes gravity?! Who likes liquid?! Alright! Here’s a waterfall!!!”

The first waterfall is pictured below and by the time we got to the second one I didn’t even take my camera out of the car. It was too rainy. The first waterfall was huge! It was so loud. The wind carried the water and mist all over the place. Gene and I were able to walk up pretty close to it, but it was kind of scary.

At the second waterfall you could actually walk behind it – which we obviously did. The rain wasn’t going to stop us from experiencing all there was to see and do, even in the rain! We held onto the railing tight and tried not to let the wind take us. 


By the time we got back to the airbnb we rented we were soaked through and ready for dinner. We went to The Old Icelandic Restaurant and had some of the best meals we’ve ever eaten in our lives! The four of us were so incredibly happy.

After dinner (after the rain mostly cleared up) we drove out to the coast to catch a glimpse of the northern lights only to find out that the clouds were too heavy and thick. We weren’t seeing any aurora borealis, but we did eat a few boxes of cookies and laugh a lot! We were bummed about the amount of clouds, but were hopeful for the following night when we would try again.

The next morning, Gene and I walked around the city to experience some Icelandic culture. We found out that Reykjavik is a very touristy city and we were disappointed to find that we didn’t get to really dig into the culture there. Either way it was beautiful. We did our best to avoid the super touristy spots and instead went to art galleries, the church overlook, down the back alleys and up the side streets to find small coffee shops and stores that were off the beaten path. It was a wonderful day.





Derrin and Matt had gone snorkeling throughout the day and we met back up at 5pm. As soon as we got together they were frantic to leave the apartment because the app they downloaded told them that there would be a very small window of time in which the northern lights might be visible and we had to leave right away to not miss it.

We obviously left right away and drove to the coast.

When we got there, there was cloud coverage again and we were really upset. To top it off, it was dark out and we were having a hard time telling what were clouds, what were breaks in the clouds, if we could see sky or what. We stared into the clouds until our eyes hurt from straining. Then…. all of a sudden… there was a very visible break in the clouds. We could see stars!! We stared into the opening for what seemed like ten minutes and then all of a sudden we gasped. Was that the color green? Was that the aurora?? We jumped out of the car screaming! It was all of our first time seeing the northern lights and most definitely the most exciting part of our trip. We had about fifteen minutes of the aurora borealis flaring in and out of sight while the opening in the clouds drifted above us. It was breathtaking. 


We went home happy that night – the last night of the trip.

The next morning it was “speedo weather” again. We opted out of going to the national park and decided to have a big brunch at Snaps – another amazing restaurant – before heading to the airport. (Gene and I had gone there the morning before and loved it so much we went again!)


On the way to the airport the sun only slightly peeked out from behind the mountains – the most we saw of it the entire trip.


We absolutely loved Iceland. Even with the poor weather. I would recommend it to anyone who loves nature. (I’d also probably recommend going in the summer!) I hope you enjoyed looking through my adventure as much as I enjoyed shared it with you! If you ever plan a trip out there, get in touch & I’ll give you my best travel advice! <3


99% of the photos in this blog post were taken by me with my Fuji X100T. A few of the images (some of the selfies with me in them and the portraits of Gene and I at the glacier and rock columns in Vik) were taken by either Gene, Derrin, or Matt.