After getting married in 2013, we decided that Iceland would be our honeymoon destination. A few delays for the weddings of our great friends later, we were finally able to lock down two weeks in May and June of this year. A five hour direct flight from Toronto to Reykjavik, including two checked bags each, we packed up our camping gear, booked a rental car, obsessed over the route plan, and locked down an incredible journey that would take us around the country.
What’s it like this time of year?
The most frequent question I’ve been asked since returning. Iceland certainly has some wild weather patterns and diverse landscapes. Raining for a whole minute minute, in a thick fog an hour later, snowy mountain passes, intense wind. The temperatures remained below 15 degrees in the day and above 5 degrees at night. In 14 days, 10 of which were spent in a tent, we were only rained on for about an hour. Much of the trip was overcast, but we did manage some sweet tans on the handful of bluebird days and a bit of nice evening light. Speaking of which, May to June are some of the longest days in Iceland, with the sun setting close to 11:30pm, and rising around 3am. It was strange to be sleeping in a tent and going to bed while it was still light out. I don’t think we ever fully adjusted to that.
The great struggle! This was to be our honeymoon after all. But I’m a photographer, and Iceland is a photographer’s paradise. It’s always a fine line to balance a vacation with the desire to get out an make great images in an incredible place. When it’s family first, you have to deal with the cards you’re dealt. You can’t hang out at a waterfall for an hour waiting on clouds to move, or be up at 2am when the sunrise and sunset might be firing, because you’ve got 300km of driving and 5 hours of hiking to do the following day, during normal people hours. So, you accept your cards and make the best images you can with the light you’ve got. Fortunately my wife enjoys the outdoors as much as I do and she’s willing to give me a few minutes to get a shot. I work better under pressure, bring on wedding season.
- Iceland has one main highway. Highway 1. Also known as the Ring Road. It’s 1,332 kilometers in length. We put 3,356 km on our rental car.
- I shot 3,081 photos on this not a photo trip. To be fair, Britt logged 1,041 on her iPhone.
- Hakarl (fermented shark meat) tastes like bleach. I was not impressed.
- There are campsites all over Iceland and I would highly recommend camping.
- There are suicide sheep (the local term) all over the country. Sheep outnumber humans 4:1. They love to run in front of your car.
- Speaking of cars, the speed limit never goes above 90 km/h and you must always drive with your headlights on. I finally remembered to do it on Day 12.
- ‘Hot pots’ are little geo-thermal swimming holes, like hot tubs, scattered across the country. Combine with a cold Einstök (Icelandic Micro-Brewery) for maximum enjoyment.
- I lost count of how many waterfalls we went to.
Enjoy this photo epic from Week 1 of the trip. Week 2 coming up next week.