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We enjoyed Iceland so much on our first visit that we went back for a second trip, and there's likely at least one more visit in the future.

Iceland just hits different - it's as if you entered a parallel reality where nature exists, but follows a separate set of rules. And it doesn't hurt that the people are inviting and Reykjavik is a great place to explore.

Oh, that moss

A combination of moss and rugged rock landscape
Early inhabitants deforested the landscape, leaving behind what have become giant fields of this green moss.

Rolling rocky hills with patches of moss, and hazy moist skies in the distance
It's everywhere, and it contrasts beautifully with hazy skies.

Mossy terrain next to a road

Not everything is covered in moss, however, like this beautiful vista (which was inundated with several feet of ash during the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruptions).

Lava tubes

A cluster of people walking across rugged rocky and mossy terrain, with hazy moist skies in the distance
Iceland is dotted with nearly 500 lava tubes, some of which are open for visitors.

Very rugged terrain with person-sized holes where lava once flowed
Landscape near Þríhnúkagígur

Looking 700 feet/215 meters upward from the bottom of a lava tube towards a small aperture where the sunlight enters
We went inside the dormant Þríhnúkagígur volcano and (I swear this is true) ran across Yoko Ono on our way out. Sorry for the lousy photo - check out their website for many, many amazing shots.

Glaciers, of course

Glacier in the foreground, with rocky moss-covered hills in the background and a semi-cloudy sky
While Greenland is more icy than Iceland, and Iceland is greener than Greenland, there are still plenty of glaciers to explore here

A glacier largely covered with ash, much of it stacked in little cone shapes
These black mounds are all over the glaciers. During the volcano, black ash fell on the ice making the glacier absorb the sun's heat rather than reflecting it. As the glacier melted, the ash traveled into cracks, which became these piles as the surrounding ice disappeared.

A man walking into a broad crevice in a glacier
A sense of scale

That plane

In 1973, a US Navy C-117D crashed (with no deaths) on the beach near Sólheimasandur. It has since become a bit of a tourist attraction, as it cuts an amazing silhouette against the Icelandic landscape.

Airplane fuselage on a volcanic rock beach
It's right there on the beach, and you can walk right up to it (and inside and on top of it)

Inside of plane, where the pilots would sit, with much of the nose of the plane missing
The nose is definitely missing a few components

Interior of the fuselage with 16 bullet holes
It wasn't shot down, but people have shot at it since then

Me, standing outside of the plane, viewed through a bullet hole in the fuselage
My wife took a picture of me checking out the plane

Lush green Þakgil

A lush ravine between two rocky hills, with water flowing between them, somewhat close up
Þakgil is absolutely beautiful. Pretty much anywhere you take a photo, you'll end up with an amazing background picture for your laptop.

Turning around, a somewhat more distant view with the water in the front and a few tents in the background

Front passenger in the car, leaning out the window to take a DSLR photo of the lush green hills in the distance

Waterfalls? Oh yeah.

Large horizontally spread out waterfall with a rainbow
Just a little snapshot at the Gullfoss waterfall

Waterfall with a 60 meter drop
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Woman taking a photo of the waterfall
That green moss again!

A basaltº on the senses

Through some geological magic, basalt flows at the Reynisfjöru Beach and the Hálsanefshellir cave have created a series of massive octagonal basalt pillars.

A woman standing in front of a hill made up of naturally-formed octagonal stone pillars
My wife, for scale

A cave entrance made up of basalt formations
If you visit, however, make sure to watch out for unexpected sneaker waves.


A sign pointing to Þórustaðastígur
Icelandic is a fascinating language. For example, it's got around 85 words for snow. And the thorn) symbol (Þ) is an old English/old Norse symbol that sounds like "th".


I could write another page just about Reykjavik - the people, the colorful buildings, the metropolitan feel, the street art, the food, everything. Well worth a visit.
A woman drinking coffee in front of a wall covered with giant hemispherical bumps
Until next time, Iceland. Until next time.

º My deepest apologies for the cheesy play on words. Not really.


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