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  • Punchdrunk Panda Travels: 6 Days in Iceland (Part 2)
  • founder's bloglifestyletravel

Punchdrunk Panda Travels: 6 Days in Iceland (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the 1st instalment of Punchdrunk Panda Travels: 6 Days in Iceland
 
Day 4: Black Beach of Vik and East Coast
Because we had prioritized glacier walker yesterday (who wouldn’t?), we left our journey to Black Beach of Vik today. To be honest, I had very low expectations of this so-called black beach.
 
I grew up in the Philippines and fine white sand beaches was something I was accustomed to as the standard of a great beach. But I found myself equally amazed by the Black Beach. It was quite the opposite of a white sand beach, really. It’s not really a place where you can sunbathe (hello, winds!) or even run (hello, pebbles) but the rock formations were just amazing. Geology Rocks (forgive the pun)!

Iceland - Black Beach 

This was my first time seeing basalt columns. Geek fact: basalt columns are formed during rapid cooling of lava flow following a volcanic eruption. Fractures form during the cooling, and an extensive fracture network may develop and result in the formation of columns, which are usually hexagonal.

Iceland - Basalt Columns

As a side note, I saw this lighthouse that has been transformed into a B&B. I may not afford it now but one day, I will go back to Iceland, splurge, and rent this for a weekend. #splurgelist
 
Iceland - Light House
 
After this first glimpse of basalt columns, we headed further East to Vatnajokull National Park to see Svartifoss. One will have to take a short hike to witness another geological wonder. A more common and memorable name for this waterfall is the Black Waterfall as dark lava columns surround it.

Iceland - Svartifoss

These basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architecture, most visible in the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykavik, and also the National Theatre (be patient, you’ll see these photos later).
 
Last stop for the day and also, I was getting anxious because it’ll also be the last shared point with my friends. After this, they head further east and north, literally circling the country, while I drive back to the city. “No goodbyes, just see you later!”
 
Ah, the Jokulsarlon Lagoon… clearly, one of the best landscapes I’ve seen in my life so far. I can say that I’m fairly well travelled and it’s not my first time seeing glaciers. But this is just insanely beautiful!

Iceland - Jokulsarlon
 
Day 5: Reykavik (pronounced rey-ka-vik) and Northern Lights
Today, I got the chance to be a city girl again. Everything was a bit more familiar and accessible. Reykavik is a really small city in terms of points of interest. There’s really not a lot except for fancier restaurants, cool cafes, great coffee, and quirky shops. The photo below is a photo of The Laundromat Café. To be honest, food is average but the concept is cute. The idea to combine laundry and socializing in a nice, comfortable surroundings where you could eat, chills, and do your laundry, first opened in Copenhagen (1 of the 4 locations in the world). I really want to bring this idea either to Canada or Manila!

Iceland - Laundromat Cafe
 
If you want something cultural, one can visit the Hallgrimskirkja church and take the elevator up to get a panorama of the city.

Iceland - Hallgrimskirkja Church

Iceland - Reykavik
 
There are also more cultural things (i.e. Sun Voyager, Harpa, etc) that are just of little interest to me since I just have a preference for natural wonders than modern man-made ones.
 
It was raining the whole day so I was worried that the Northern Lights Tour that I booked will get cancelled. I’ve been geekishly checking the forecast for the Northern Lights and was really crossing my fingers that I’d see one tonight.
 
At 6pm, I haven’t received any call, which only means that the tour will push through! But before we head off for this Northern Lights chase in a Super Jeep (haha, yes, splurge moment), I had to have the Lobster Soup that everyone is just talking about.

Iceland - Sea Baron Lobster Soup

It’s this super tiny but very authentic restaurant called Seagreifinn (or Sea Baron). So yum!

By 830pm, we got picked by our tour guide / photographer to witness the Northern Lights. It was quite a chase since we basically had to look for an opening in the cloudy skies. Think of Twister (the tornado chase movie) but much safer and a lot colder!

Finally, after an hour or so of chase, the Northern Lights started dancing on top of us!
 
Iceland - Northern Lights

Iceland - Iceland Outdoors

To manage everyone’s expectations, it’s not going to be as bright as how it shows up in the photos. P.S. You’ll also need to know how to work your camera to capture this. Smartphones won’t do. What I saw was a hint of green but a streak of white light dancing in the sky. If the skies were clearer, I probably would’ve seen more color. It was amazing nonetheless!
 
Day 6: Horse Riding Tour and Departure
Last day and last hurrah in Iceland. I’m not a morning person (you can ask my boss about my tardiness at work everyday) but one thing that can get me up after getting home at 1AM the night before is horse back riding, not just a regular horse but an Icelandic horse.

I actually do not know how to ride by my boyfriend and I have equal love for these friendly creatures.

Iceland - Horse Back Riding

Unlike other horses outside of Iceland, Icelandic horses displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and gallop. The two extra gaits are the tolt and a flying pace. In the 2-hour ride this morning, my horse tolted most of the time. It was quite scary in the beginning since a tolt is an explosive acceleration and speed but surprisingly comfortable too.
 
Trivia: Icelandic horses are not vaccinated. When a horse leaves Iceland, it’s always a one-way ticket. Also, they actually discourage non-local seasoned riders to use their gear when they ride these horses to avoid spread of any disease.
 
So yeah, this is pretty much 6 days very well spent in Iceland. I can confidently say that Iceland has so much to offer, whether you decide to only stay in the city or venture out to an off the beaten path. I know I will eventually go back and I wouldn’t mind seeing the same things I’ve seen (and then some) the next time.

  • Nathania Go
  • founder's bloglifestyletravel

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