ICELAND: Travelling Solo
Iceland is the country at the top of all those lists: Best Place in the world to live, happiest place in the world and the all important safest place in the world.
I would also add easiest place to travel to and in.
I used the company Reykjavik Excursions on my last trip. It was easy to book all my tours and airport transfers before I left Canada.
This trip to Iceland was just a stopover on the now very popular IcelandAir scheme. Most of the tour companies pick you up at your hotel or guest house. In my case I was staying with a cousin so I was picked up at the most convenient location for me.
Below is my tour of the south of the island.
1. Skogafoss : One of the first stops on the tour. You get enough time to hike up to the falls and look down the impressive 60 meter drop.
Skogafoss: Almost there just a little further!
2. Along the ring road we stopped at The farm Þorvaldseyri. Behind the farm you can see Eyjafjallajökull which erupted on April 14th 2010.
3. One of the stops along the way was the site of a once massive glacier. It has been retreating quite quickly. The shrinkage of the glacier is striking. The melting ice leaves behind the mounds of black ash behind. This is a site that will really get you thinking about global warming and its effects on places like Iceland.
: Walk inside the basalt cave, the rock formations are pretty amazing.
Reynisfjara: The waves at this beach can be very unpredictable. Rouge waves can occur at any time so listen to the tour guide and don't go in the water or near it.
There are now warning signs telling tourists to be careful after a tourist drowned here in 2015.
Reynisfjara: Pull up a basalt column and have a seat. Enjoy the view and have a ponder about the local legend. It is said that originally two trolls were trying to hoist a three-mast ship up from the sea, but were caught in daylight and turned to stone.
The black sand beaches of Vik are so black you get the impression that you will be covered in soot when you touch it. But really it is soft and leaves nothing behind.
The tour stops at Vik for lunch. You can spend your time strolling along the beach taking in the stunning views or stop in to the sweater factory. A lot of those lovely Icelandic wool items in the gift shops come from the factory in Vik. I choose just to look, My grandparent brought my sister and I each a Lopapeysas the traditional yokes sweaters when they came to Iceland in the 1970s. They were so itchy i could never wear mine. Yet still I try them on and I can't get it off quick enough.
Traditional Icelandic soup. Once you get over the sticker shock of the prices for lunch, just enjoy it.
Yes, I agree $20.00 for a bowl of soup is expensive, but you're not in Kansas any more Dorothy!
5. Skógar Folk Museum: This is such a peaceful stop, if you want to learn about Icelandic history this is your moment. The gentleman that started this museum was 14 when he started collecting. Many of the buildings have been moved to this site creating a wonderful living outdoor museum.
Inside the museum, much to my fishing heritage delight, was everything I needed to know about my Icelandic ancestors who were fishermen from Westman Island. I really could have stayed here all day and chatted with the curator, learning such things as why the fisherman had double thumb gloves and how the fisherman used to grease their clothing with, lýsi, or fish liver oil, to make it waterproof.
Seljalandsfoss Is the last sight we went to on the tour. The October sun was setting and you can get some lovely pictures. There is a walk way around the back of the falls and offers a spectacular view.
Our tour of the south coast was about 9 hours in total.
Since it was October it was dark by the time we were back to Reykjavik. The old town were I was staying is not accessible by the large coaches, so the driver asked if he could let me off just a few block behind Hallgrímskirkja church.
Sure, not a problem, I never thought twice about walking alone in Reykjavik at night in the dark. I could see the church so I knew where I was going and it was no big deal.
If you decide to head to Iceland by yourself, I highly recommend it. The people are friendly, the weather in the city is marvelous and the food is yummy.