A few days after the wedding, we had finally caught up on sleep and I felt human again. We didn’t have any fixed plans but decided to get in the car and drive from where we were in Þingvellir national park along route 1. Route 1 is the ring road which takes you around the entire island and through some insane scenery. To drive from Reykjavik to the South East corner of the island takes about 5 hours, but takes you past famous waterfalls and eventually glaciers and the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón. The glacier lagoon is one of my absolutely favourite places on the planet, after we visited the Summer before. When we spent Christmas in Iceland with my family and I really wanted to take them there but blizzards meant we got about half way on the icy road before having to admit defeat and turn back.
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We both wanted to go again but weren’t sure if we could face the drive, so decided to just get in the car and see where we ended up.
Our first stop was at Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the two famous waterfalls on Iceland’s popular golden circle. We have been here many times before and even stopped for photos after our wedding, so we walked past Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss to go and check out the smaller waterfalls at the end of the mountain. We noticed a stream emerging from inside a cave and decided to take a look, as handrails down implied there was something to check out. Peering through the cave we could see light and so we carefully went inside, amazingly there was a 40ft waterfall hidden in the cave. It felt like a scene from Lord Of The Rings or some other worldly magical place.
We sat inside for a few moments watching the water crashing down, before carefully heading back to the trail. After the intense week we had with the wedding and getting everyone to Iceland, it felt so nice to be alone and wondering around aimlessly without a schedule or anything to worry about.
As we continued our drive, we started to approach Sólheimajökull glacier, where we had got married a few days before. We had been there before a number of times but it occurred to me this would be our last chance to go, possibly for years and that made me sad. When we pulled up in the carpark on our wedding day, naturally people were looking at us. A massive white superjeep filled with people in formal wear and me in a huge wedding dress is kind of conspicuous but as someone who hates being the centre of attention I just went into full on panic mode. The walk to the glacier takes about 15 minutes and takes you over volcanic rubble which was once under the retreating glacier. All I remember about the walk on my wedding day was complete and utter fear whilst trying not to trip over, I couldn’t remember any of the scenery or even seeing Sólheimajökull in front of us.
We decided to get out and visit the spot where we got married again, taking in the walk as we went. As it was a week day, the glacier was deserted and just us and another group were on the whole trail. It was strangely emotional going back and reliving it all again. We found ‘our’ fork, where we had the ceremony a few days prior and just sat there. All glaciers retreat and advance, but Sólheimajökull is sadly one which retreats more, so it’s actually shrinking. The way the ice surrounded the spot we got married made it look like a cathedral but I was amazed to see how much it had melted and changed in just a few days.
Thousands of drops of water dripping on the ice are the only sound you can hear, which is what I recall vividly from the wedding day. My panic faded when I was stood with Aaron and all other sound disappeared, replaced with that calming sound.
We got back in the car and continued our drive, through the little town of Vik and to Reynisfjara beach with it’s basalt columns and black sand. This is another one of my most loved places but today we decided to see it from a different perspective. On a big arch cliff which can be seen in the distance from the beach, sits a little lighthouse. We’ve talked about going here many a time but bad weather has made getting there impossible. As it was a clear day we decided to try it and whilst the drive was slightly scary, we got to the top without any issues.
During the periods of Midnight Sun and Polar night in Iceland, time gets confusing. As it was May the Sun did set and there was twilight like darkness which is more than you get in Summer, but the really long days make it easy to stay out doing stuff for hours on end. Now in Vik, we only had two more hours to drive to get to the glacier lagoon but it felt as though we had only been out for an hour, so we decided to carry on.
By the time we arrive, the tide had carried out all the icebergs from the beach, so we went to the lagoon and sat on the shore, watching young seals playing amongst the ice.
A group of ten playfully chased each other over, under and around floating icebergs.
The tide came in and pushed all the icebergs together, making a huge amount of noise. Some flipped over revealing their bright blue underside, but sadly the huge towering block of Ice I desperately wanted to see flip stayed put. By the time the tide began to retreat, the tranquil lagoon looked jam packed full of ice.
We had to head back but decided to stop at the gigantic glacier outlet near the lagoon, which comes down from the same ice cap which feeds Jökulsárlón it’s ice bergs. It’s impossible to try and convey how huge this outlet is, as it looks so small from a distance. It was truly breathtaking to see.
I asked Aaron to go and stand on the ridge infront of it, to try and give some perspective but it didn’t really work. We were the only people there and it felt so remote and calm, I could have stayed there for hours.
On the drive back to our hotel I read Aaron facts about glaciers from Wikipidia and quizzed him in an attempt to pass the time. Despite the drive being 4 hours it passed quite quickly, so we stopped closer to the South to watch the sun setting at 11pm. I’m not sure why but Midnight Sun and Polar night sun rises / sets are often really colourful and dramatic. It’s just one of many things I love about this part of the world.
Even though none of these places were new to us, we saw them from completely different perspectives, making this one of my favourite days from our honeymoon. I know it will be a while before we go back to Iceland and it felt nice to see some of our favourite places again as a married couple, as Iceland has been the setting for so many happy memories and now the happiest of all, our wedding day.