Arctic Mission : The Land of Ice & Fire
It was a cold winter morning, we have just landed in Amsterdam's Schipol Airport. Our second flight out of 3. We were about to catch our third flight in 20 hours to Reykjavik, Iceland.
We went out of the terminal to get our big breakfast in one of the cafes, we had to wait for another 3 hours. So we spent our time just chilling and enjoying our morning coffee.
It was our first time to Europe, my fourth continent. For this KANO project I decided to take 2 friends with me. Meji, a high school friend with whom I'll spend the next 10 days exploring 'The Land of Ice & Fire' and my other friend, David, will also be joining in the next 3 days, as he would need to be flying all the way from Melbourne, Australia.
We finally boarded our flight and 4 hours later, there we were in Iceland.
It was certainly a big change from our tropical life in Indonesia. It was -2C when we arrived.
We got our rental car, and drive straight to our hotel in Reykjavik. It was 3 pm and the sun was already setting. As we arrived at around 4pm it was already getting dark. So we decided to explore a bit of the city, and went to Hallgrimskirkja church for a little sightseeing session.
Our second day, or our first morning, was the beginning of our roadtrip. We started early and when the sun is out, we drive to the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula. It was about 1 hour drive from downtown Reykjavik. As it was early winter, the road was almost empty. We only seen about 3 other cars going our way that day. So obviously we took our chance to take photos in the middle of the road!
Reykjanes is certainly one of kind destination. It is eery yet beautiful. For us it felt like walking on another planet. The light house, the mud pool, the weather that day and the smell of the sulphur, just intensify this experience.
The next day was our big day. It has been one of my life goals to go to the arctic region, and today we will do just that. We were catching 2 short flights to Grimsey island, the only place in Iceland that is crossed by the arctic circle. We flew from Reykjavik to Akureyri to Grimsey. I can definitely say, that those are the best flights I've been on so far.
We had about 2 hours to explore the arctic region, and we tried to used our time well before the arctic storm hit and stopped us from going back to civilization. If we were late to catch our flight back, we will be literally stuck at the edge of the world.
Finally David arrived, and so we left Reykjavik for our adventure going around the golden circle of Iceland. It is certainly one of the most scenic road I've driven on (and the most slippery). When we were driving on this road we realized that this country is called 'Iceland' for a reason.
Iceland is also known for its glaciers. There are just so many of them. One of them is even the biggest one in Europe. Most glaciers are also very accessible, and if you go on a tour, you can go onto or into one. What we did was we get into an ice cave in Vatnajokul near Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. It was definitely the highlight of the trip.
The weather was getting worse, and there was no way we can push our way further north. We were stuck in Hali, a small village near Jokulsarlon ,for 2 days, because the road was closed due to the arctic storm. After days on the road and arctic storm, we finally decided to go back to Reykjavik.
In the end, we've been driving for the total of 1000+km, went to the arctic circle, venturing into a glacier, facing an arctic storm, and took tons of photos. We didn't actually see the aurora, despite it was winter and the aurora forecast looked all good. However, It didn't take anything away from the experience, aurora is an unpredictable force of nature anyway. Our trip has been filled with great joy, and every places that we visited are special in its own right. It is one of my best trip so far and certainly worth 25 hours of flying.
Iceland oh Iceland... It has been real!