Alien, treeless landscapes. Eerie, fog-covered swaths of land stretching for miles. Waterfalls that seemed to emerge from nowhere. Iceland had intrigued me since I was twenty. The photos I saw captured a world that existed only in fairy tales. There were other places on my list that I wanted to explore, but no where else captured my curiosity quite as much the aisle purposely misnamed by the Vikings.
Legend has it the Vikings realized Iceland’s existence in search of what would later become America. Led by three ravens, Floki Vilgerdarson sailed from Norway, following their path. One flew back to the homeland, one circled, and landed on the ship, and the third, brought Vilgerdarson to Iceland. He wasn’t the first one to actually find the country—Irish monks lived there previously. But, that’s seriously one badass origin story.
I’ve always been a bit obsessed with fairy tales and folklore. Almost as soon as I could read, I devoured the Greek myths. I’ve read the Inferno more times than I can remember. I got really mad as a kid when I first saw the Little Mermaid and saw that Ursula didn’t cut off her tongue and that each step Ariel took on land didn’t feel like she was walking on sharp knives. And that she married the prince at all (in the original, she dies brokenhearted). I guess all of that doesn’t go with the whole “Disney” approach. And, my cat is named Loki. (And, yes, I also watch Grimm.) And everything I read about Iceland made it feel like a magical land.
And it was.
This past March, I flew into Reykjavik with my good friend Zac and we spent a cold, incredible week there. One morning we were lucky enough to capture the solar eclipse and we were treated to two appearances of the aurora borealis. I have yet to find words to describe what the experience was like. I can talk about moments—moments where we were standing at the foot of the mountains and felt so so small. Moments where the beauty of the blue fairy cave left me completely awestruck as it reminded me of places I’d only seen in my dreams. Moments where we pulled over on the side of the road to watch as the aurora danced across the crescent moon and the night sky. But, there are no words to describe the place. It’s just somewhere you have to go.
If you have questions about where we went, where we stayed, or what we ate, just ask!