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.
Early inhabitants deforested the landscape, leaving behind what have become giant fields of this green moss.
It's everywhere, and it contrasts beautifully with hazy skies.
Not everything is covered in moss, however, like this beautiful vista (which was inundated with several feet of ash during the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruptions).
Iceland is dotted with nearly 500 lava tubes, some of which are open for visitors.
Landscape near Þríhnúkagígur
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.
While Greenland is more icy than Iceland, and Iceland is greener than Greenland, there are still plenty of glaciers to explore here
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 sense of scale
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.
It's right there on the beach, and you can walk right up to it (and inside and on top of it)
The nose is definitely missing a few components
It wasn't shot down, but people have shot at it since then
My wife took a picture of me checking out the plane
Þakgil is absolutely beautiful. Pretty much anywhere you take a photo, you'll end up with an amazing background picture for your laptop.
Through some geological magic, basalt flows at the Reynisfjöru Beach and the Hálsanefshellir cave have created a series of massive octagonal basalt pillars.
My wife, for scale
If you visit, however, make sure to watch out for unexpected sneaker waves.
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.
Until next time, Iceland. Until next time.
º My deepest apologies for the cheesy play on words. Not really.
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