We did it! Last July, John and I took an amazing, long-awaited 2 1/2 week-long camping trip in Iceland to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary though we had to postpone the trip a year. (We took our 25th anniversary trip on our 27th anniversary. We seem to be getting into a pattern of delayed trips.) The delay, however, did give me time to do a lot of planning. I knew that we would not have a lot of room for food storage when camping and further, from what I read, we would not have a cooler large enough for ice. I also read that it was hard to get food in remote areas of Iceland. Iceland allows people to bring up to 3 kg of food into the country. So I did a lot of food dehydration and purchasing of powdered/shelf stable food. Behold, this is the 6 kg of food that John and I split between our luggage.

Dehydrated and powdered stuff including marinara “leather”, pulverized homemade hummus, and more. I also brought olive oil and balsamic vinegar so I wouldn’t have to buy a large amount in Iceland, which we wouldn’t be able to use up. We ended up eating about 2/3 of this food on the trip.

Departure and Arrival to Reykjavik.

We began our journey on July 10th with a 7 1/2 hour long overnight flight to Reykjavik. Visiting airports and being on a plane during the Covid-19 pandemic was stressful, even with both John and I vaccinated and wearing good masks. If I’d known how stressful it was going to be, I may not have gone. Given that all went well, it is probably better that I did not know. Although we did not get a view of Greenland from the plane (too cloudy), we’d been thrilled with a sight of the North Cascades and Baker Lake near the beginning of the trip, as we flew over our own state, Washington.

The North Cascades through the plane window. Oooooooh!

We arrived in Reykjavik, the capital and largest city in Iceland at about 6 am on July 11th. We picked up a rental car and drove into the city. Iceland’s total population is only about 350,000 so their big city is not so big. It is beautiful, however, with excellent restaurants and shops. When we arrived, their Covid rates were extremely low (zero) and they have a high vaccination rate. After walking around the city for several hours, we decided to eat at a restaurant, something we haven’t done in the U.S. since our 29th wedding anniversary in March 2020. Reykjavik is a great city for people like me, who have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten. Lots of restaurants label things, yay! We had an excellent brunch with beautiful, interesting, and tasty food, served on hand thrown plates! Here is one of my courses.

Look at the glaze on that plate! All of the plates at Kol restaurant were different and hand thrown. Oh yeah, the food was good, too!

Scenes from Reykjavik. The blurry sculpture in the top left is Monument to the Unknown Bureaucrat, Magnús Tóma, 1994. There’s rye bread ice cream in John’s cup. He got it from Lokki Restaurant. John claims that it was good. The glass building is the beautiful concert hall, Harpa. The other photos are various scenes of the city, including an image of Bjork!

West Iceland

On the 12th, we started our camping adventure! We spent the day picking up a camper van we’d rented, learning how to use the wireless hotspot (it worked amazingly well all over the country), loading our luggage, and shopping for groceries. From the Bonus Grocery parking lot, we headed to West Iceland, ending up at the campground in Hellissandur, on the NW tip of the Snæfellsnes Penisula, which John and I quickly named, “Snuffleupagus Penisula” because Icelandic is hard and we grew up with Sesame Street. I used my dehydrated, powdered green curry paste, powdered fish sauce, dehydrated coconut milk and some of the groceries to make a tasty dinner of green curry chicken.

We encountered public art all over Iceland, even in a small fishing village like Hellisandur. Hellisandur is further known as the “Capital of Street Art” with over 30 murals. This sculpture overlooks the harbor. I am pretty sure that saw a fin of a pilot whale out there. Exciting!After spending our first night in the camper van during an Iceland summer (24 hours of daylight), we found that we did not need sleeping masks. We soon got used to sleeping with a little light peeking through the window curtains. We got up and had a breakfast of fruit, coffee, and skyr (Icelandic style yogurt, which is much like Greek yogurt except that in addition to being strained, it also includes vegetable rennet and is traditionally made with nonfat milk.) We checked our GPS and hit the road!

The beginning of our trip was one of the rainier parts of the trip. The rain in Iceland wasn’t heavy but with the wind, which is often blowing and at times, extremely hard, it soaks right through you. I learned after our first short walk of a little over a mile, that rain pants are to be worn at nearly all times. Even when it is not raining, wearing rain pants over my hiking pants was a good wind breaker. We also learned to check the wind forecast in addition to the rain forecast whenever checking the weather report. The high most days there was about 13 degrees Celsius, which is not that warm for summer. We do a lot of hiking in local alpine areas in Washington so we had lots of layers, which we packed. I never had to wear my long underwear but on many days, I wore my t-shirt, a light hoodie, a lightweight puffy coat, a raincoat, a wool hat, gloves, rain pants, hiking pants, wool socks, and waterproof hiking boots.

I learned the rain pants lesson on day 3 of the trip, driving around the Snæfellsnes Penisula. We stopped for a short hike to Djúpalónssandur Beach in Snæfellsjökull National Park. During the short hike back, it was raining sideways and little water needles of rain soaked my hiking pants in minutes. I took a couple of photos, because Iceland (!), and we hightailed it back to the camper van to change pants and put on a rain pants layer.

We continued along the highway to the much-photographed Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss (foss=waterfall). Apparently, this mountain figured prominently in seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones. I’ll have to trust Wikipedia on that one. I’ve never watched the show. The rain and wind were still kicking up a storm so we stopped in the small parking lot for the site and waited for the weather to change, which it did, several times until it stopped raining. The wind still seems near gale force but we ventured out, cameras in hand. As the clouds were rolling by with impressive speed, I managed to capture the mountain, the waterfall, and a rainbow. Yay!

I hope you enjoy the photos! Next stop, the beautiful and remote Westfjords!

Kirkjufell Mountain, Kirjufellfoss, and rainbow!