Glaciers, Geysers & Horse Selfies: John Spence’s Iceland Travel Journal

Scott Dunn USA President, John shares his journal from a recent trip to Iceland and the country is even more incredible than he could’ve possibly imagined.

Day 1

Reykjavik is a small, safe, vibrant city and the capital of Iceland. It has become world-renowned for its nightlife and inventive culinary scene. Try to book a table at the trendy Fish Market. You’ll be treated to an impressive and delicious seven-course tasting menu, which features unique main courses like minke whale and puffin breast. Foods you won’t be able dine on anywhere else in the world.

After arriving at the Canopy by Hilton hotel and taking a cheeky morning power nap, I met our guide and my traveling companion Becca, a freelance journalist, who is hopefully writing wonderful things about Iceland and Scott Dunn. We drove for what felt like a short distance outside of Reykjavik, through some of the most amazing moss-covered lava fields, to an area where steam was bursting out of the ground all around us. Apparently, these surface geysers are supplying thermal energy for much of Iceland. From here, we set off on a wonderful hike where we came across a lovely river that had hot pools for us to bathe in. It was pure bliss.

Day 2

Wow! What a day! With an early start, we got on the road. We followed along a wonderful coastline with black sandy beaches, raging rivers, numerous waterfalls of all proportions (of course with unpronounceable names, like all things in Iceland). Savar, our expert guide, made us a surprise homemade picnic to die for.

After a wonderful lunch, we took a Super Jeep and then snowmobiled to the top of a massive glacier and we stood atop E15 (the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano). There were only four of us on the whole mountain top, in near perfect weather. A definite big moment.

During supper that night, we were informed midway through a delicious piece of cod to quickly hurry outside as the Northern Lights were shimmering. It was an amazing, jaw-dropping finale to a wonderful day. All of this in only two days, I was ready to pinch myself.

Day 3

Super Jeep Day with Einar Oli. He took us to the pretty Thórsmörk valley. Being a smart, expert guide, he managed to avoid most other tourists by doing the trip in reverse order. As we walked through the valley, it felt straight out of a film set for an ancient land of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. On the return leg we saw the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which at its eruption peak, it was spewing 500 tons per second. Your average car weighs around a ton, so that is an incredible volume of weight and ash.

Day 4

Back with Savar. Today was a little more mellow, spent exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This is a much quieter route, it felt like we had left the tourist trail behind. It was full of stunning scenery on twisty roads, nice walks, funny stops at whaling stations, sheep farms and horseback riding. Though the comical horses here are small in stature, make sure not to call them ponies! It’s a major faux pas. We also discovered glaciers, an eerie black church and continued our lucky streak with spotting seals.

My takeaway:

I just could not stop taking photos, mainly of scenery. Whether you are a photographer or not, you will want to capture this place so you can share its magnificence. Iceland Air, and now, its budget competitor, Wow, make it accessible from most major US and European cities by direct flight. Whether you have five days or two weeks, this is a place should be on everyone’s wish list.

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