Iceland: The Summer Saga Introduced

I have unfinished business with Iceland. There are waterfalls I didn’t see my first time there. Ice caves I didn’t explore, and a glacier lagoon I am ashamed to have missed. I have also had a yearning to see the small fishing villages along the north coast since I last left the little island in the north Atlantic. Iceland leaves an impression like no other and it can feel like a drug.

Me taking in the northern lights on Valentine’s Day

My first trip to Iceland in February 2016 was a last-minute trip. I was starting a new job in two weeks and had a limited budget. With the help of a travel agent, I managed to research and book a flight, hotel, and tours in Iceland all within 2 days, and then I had about 36 hours to pack before my flight left Chicago. It was exhilarating, but also my least researched trip to date. Don’t get me wrong, I had definitely checked the northern lights forecasts, and knew I was going to snorkel the continental drift (still the coolest thing I’ve ever done). I just didn’t have time to ensure I did and saw all I could within my nine days in Reykjavik.

Glacier Lagoon was top of my regret list. So was missing the once tallest waterfall in the country, Glymur. Both were in easy proximity to Reykjavik. I also faced some harsh weather on my tour of the southern coast. The weather didn’t stop that day from being one of my favorite, but it would be nice to see what the waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beach look like without freezing rain. Lastly, there was my first love in Iceland, the Gullfoss waterfall. It was partially frozen over when I saw it, which made the glaciers look stunning enough to bring tears to my eyes, but ever since I have dreamed of what the falls may look like in their summery luscious green. Next week I will find out.

The upper portion of the Gullfoss waterfall in winter

I unexpectedly had some time off of work this month and the siren that is Iceland has never ceased. I also had someone reach out to me about helping her plan a trip around the country earlier this month, so it was an easy decision on where to spend my newfound free time.

I booked this trip with more notice than I did last time. This time I gave myself six days to prepare. Haha- seriously. The opportunity presented itself around 1:00p today, I booked the flight just before 5p, and I depart on Tuesday. I don’t have an itinerary or hotels set up yet. Just a flight and car, and the list of things I want to do again, things I missed, and a vague notion of the new adventures I look forward to having.

This trip occurs in August, a complete 180 from the wintry month I visited in before. While the 50 degree temperatures will be cool compared to Chicago summers, there is no snow in Iceland this time of year. My first trip to Iceland was nine days long and included two snow storms. This time, I have eight days, my own car, and the right weather to drive the Ring Road around the entire country.

That’s what’s great about Iceland. Every route is stunningly scenic with waterfalls and glaciers just off the highway, and it is safe enough not to have to worry about where you will be every moment. No planning is necessary to be amazed. Just make sure you’re prepared for mother nature. She can get feisty in the north Atlantic. But seeing how I survived in winter, I’m fairly confident I’ll survive in the summer.

Me happily surviving freezing rain in front of the sólheimajökull glacier

I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me. The day before I depart is the rare solar eclipse with the peak occurring in my home state, and the day after I return from Iceland I head off to celebrate my friend’s bachelorette in Michigan. Two things I wouldn’t dream of missing.

The one downfall to all the excitement is that I will be leaving Alan and Gambit behind for most of it. Not even the hours of shameless car karaoke and the land of fire and ice can keep me company as well as those two can. I will be with them for the eclipse, but Iceland and my drive up to Michigan are on my own. I hope the fishing village wifi is strong enough for Facetime. A girl needs her puppy! (j/k Love you, Alan)

There it is. The conception of my upcoming trip abroad. Iceland will be the first country I return to out of a feeling of unfinished business and deep emotional ties. It will also be the first journey I blog for Adventureontheside. I look forward to researching a worthy itinerary over the next few days and sharing all the excitement with you.

Credits: Article and images by Acacia Thornton.

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