Iceland – West, Part I
Note: This blog post is part of a series documenting a two-week road trip through Iceland. To view the collection in full, click here. For individual posts in this series, please head to the bottom of the page where the individual links are located. Thanks for reading!
While everyone has varying objectives when they travel, most of us tend to have a few similar goals. Whether it's an aspiration to learn about a specific culture, the prospect of freedom from our daily routines or to obtain a greater appreciation for life outside our own neighborhood, traveling can unlock infinite fulfillments. Potentially the most rewarding, though, is the opportunity to learn more about ourselves through our experiences.
I've found that my most sought-after travel destinations all have one thing in common – isolation. I'm drawn to open roads and expansive horizons. I find peace and perspective in experiences that make me feel small, insignificant and fragile.
There are certain places that leave an immense impact on you as a person. Places that really make you feel alive. Places that grant you a deeper appreciation for your life. For me, that's Iceland.
Chelsea and I spent two weeks living on the road in Iceland. Our camper van, a Citroën Berlingo, served as our car, our living room, our kitchen and our bedroom – and I wouldn't have done it any other way.
We picked up the van and stopped at a nearby Bonus supermarket to stock up on food. We hadn't slept in nearly 24 hours. We shook each other awake and headed to our first stop.
After an hour and a half driving through desolate fields, farms and distant mountain ranges, we arrived at the pearly-blue waters of Barnafoss. Located on the river Hvítá in Borgarfjörður, this waterfall (along with its nearby companion, Hraunfossar) flows out of an old lava field.
Hraunfossar comes from the Icelandic word for lava (hraun) and the word for waterfalls (fossar). Barnafoss loosely translates to waterfall of the children.
From here, we headed towards the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula was, by far, our favorite location – so lovely that we went back a second time.
Known as "Miniature Iceland," the peninsula is home to vast lava fields, an Icelandic national park, the Snæfellsjökull volcano and our two favorite towns: Arnarstapi and Stykkishólmur.
Note: My summarization of the Peninsula is continued on Part II.
One of Iceland's most popular churches, Búðakirkja, is also one of its oldest. Built in 1703 by Bent Lárusson, it's now listed in the National Museum of Iceland, but rests in the care of the Búðir parish.