On my recent trip to Iceland, tours with locals was on the agenda. Like my friend, Robin and and her daughter Elizabeth, we were trying to absorb the landscape but avoid the tourists. It was challenging, but booking a tour with a local was helpful as they could divert us to spots that weren’t as packed with tourists.
After we spent our first night in Reykjavik, we met our guide, Lisa and asked her to change up our tour a bit. Our original plan was to tour the city, but we had other ideas. Reykjavik is a cool town, but between all of us, cities and tourist shops had been on overload. So we ventured to the nearby Reykjanes Peninsula.
The roads weren’t designed for big tour buses, so we were in luck. We oohed and aaahed at the volcanic rock formations, took a quick rest on ancient moss, and played paparazzi with the local sheep. Icelandic fables talk of elves and fairies living inside of these magical lava formations, we wanted to find them for ourselves.
The moss is super soft, but delicate. We treaded carefully as is takes a couple hundred years to grow on top of sharp volcanic rock. Seriously, better than any memory foam mattress I’ve rested my body on. It’s like nothing that I’ve ever experienced before.
The sheep were so polite and came right up to our car as we played paparazzi. Then they moved along ... and so did we.
We made our way to the local Gunnuhver geyser. There were a few other tourists, but luckily no big tour buses were there, so we felt like we had the place (almost) to ourselves.
There were signs everywhere, warning you of the hot lava rock beneath our feet. We heard a couple of Icelandic tales about tourists who didn’t heed the warnings. We weren’t going to be one of them. These fables get told for centuries!
I was fascinated by the yellow deposits on the rock, signs of sulfur. And it smelled like it too, but in a natural, clean air kind of a way.
Our personal tour continued to the nearby coast. More lovely vistas and avoiding the crowds.
As we were walking back from our scenic ocean vista, we noticed a big tour bus pulling into the parking lot. Quick! Run! Seriously, though... most of our day felt magical and otherworldly. But Iceland is off the charts booming with tourists. I’ll talk about it a bit more in my other posts, but let this article sink in...
After a long day of exploring, it was back to rest. Thank goodness for black out shades. This was as dark as it got... just like the dimmer switches had been dialed back a bit. It never really got dark. I captured this shot at 2 AM from the Foss hotel.
You can read more about my Icelandic adventure here...
And special thanks to my friend, Robin Holloway for providing some of the photos. Thanks so much, Robin! It’s always fun to share photos when traveling.