his was our second visit to Iceland, but our first up the northern area. Over the course of our 10-day road trip around the country, my mind is repeatedly blown by dramatic landscapes at every turn. I can’t remember how many times I asked the husband to stopped the car just so we can quietly immerse in all its glory. (Of course, to take some photos too, who am I kidding?)
We left our guesthouse in Akureyri early morning to maximize the daylight. It was late in October — the subtle autumn air is already starting to transition to winter feels, skies are overcast and it’s been raining every now and then.
The gloomy weather doesn’t bother us, though. As they say, in Iceland, if you don’t like the weather, just wait for 5 minutes. The condition changes rather quickly. True enough, the skies cleared a bit and the clouds stopped crying.
Halfway through our journey, we found a pit stop along the road that faces a view of Hraundrangar mountain peaks. The shape of the mountain top is uneven and edged which makes it stand out from other bordering valleys.
We fill up our bellies during this time. Long drives in Iceland can span for hours so we always prepare our food before we leave the guesthouse. Restaurants and food stops are only found in the main towns so make sure to always bring snacks and drinks before you head on your way.
Not long after we continue our drive, we notice a ‘cloud-like’ thing from a distance. It seems like it’s right on the road we’re trailing.
We wonder as we get closer, “are we actually driving through that ‘thing’”?
YES, we did! It’s not like we have other options.
Of all places where it’s clear, the thick fog chose to settle in the middle of the road. Ha! The mysteries of nature, isn’t it? :)
The day turned into night-like.
Iceland fog feels like a cloud that has fallen from the sky. It’s really thick! We could only see two meters ahead and we don’t know where the road leads us. This is not even a straight road we’re talking here. It winds up around the valleys and could lead to a cliff. Seriously, slow down if you must! We did and it felt like forever to get through. But better safe than sorry, right?
There are other cars speedy driving the opposite lane. I guess they are locals and probably used to this ‘thing’. After a while, the surroundings become bright again. We made it! It felt like we drive inside a cloud and it was amazing!
After almost a 100-km drive from Akureyri, we arrived in a small village north of Iceland called Varmahlíð. The drive only took less than two hours, hence, we’re tad too early for check-in when we arrived at Hestasport reception.
It is the first time we reached before noon. We were driving about 200 to 300 km days prior so we’re literally just spending the night in other guesthouses/hotels we booked in. The cottage was not yet ready then but thankfully, Mirto called up someone to get it done soon. He gave us the key, directions on where the cottages are and other safety reminders just in case.
We made a quick stop to a nearby grocery store to buy food supplies, then followed the directions Mirto gave us. When we arrived, my heart skipped a beat out of delight!
This place is a DREAM!
The cottages are located uphill, few minutes from the town center. It’s isolated, private and serene – it felt like we have the whole Iceland to ourselves.
If there is heaven on earth, then this must be how it is. It’s really beautiful and cozy! I’m glad that we came early, we have more time to make the most of our stay.
We enter into a spacious cottage fully equipped with everything we need. There a self-catering kitchen and dining facilities, furnished living area, comfy queen-sized bed, heated bathroom and shower, bed linen, towels and bathrobes, strong wifi and cable TV, and access to the natural hot tub outside.
Everything was spotlessly clean and the heater’s already turned on. That’s quite a thoughtful gesture given how freezing it is outside. We easily settled in, snuggled — it felt like we’re home. There are only a few places that have that kind of impact on you. And to us, this is it.
In the afternoon, we drive to a nearby stable to make friends with Icelandic horses. I’ve never seen horses as gentle as the Icelandic breed. They come close, love being pet and we loved doing it for them, too.
Similarly managed by Hestasport, the company offers riding activities with experienced guides. We had a lovely tour around Skagafjörður on a horseback and it was so much fun! I’d share more about the experience in another post.
Before sunset, we headed back to our cottage for an early breather.
Cool air, warm bath under the moonlight and the world all to our own – this is the perfect staycation! Hubby and I talked about the beautiful experiences we’ve had, how incredibly blessed we are and everything in between.
We even imagined ourselves renting the whole place with our family and friends on a summer weekend, grilling BBQ, enjoying a hot bath and making memories together. Or coming back right here when we have kids to take to horseback riding. I even lovingly asked the husband to buy the cabin for me. Ha! We’re just dreaming of course. But if living in a countryside is as whimsical as this, then it may not be a bad idea at all.
It feels so good!
We prepared and ate dinner, then curled up in bed.
The following morning, we are greeted with the warm rays of the sun!
It’s amazing how dark skies clear overnight in Iceland like nothing happened the day before. We looked outside and as if we’re not yet fully sold, the valleys are completely out this time around!
We took advantage of the light and shoot some more photos.
And one last look before we go!
I have always been in awe of the images I see of Iceland online but being there and seeing it with my own eyes is like finding a long, lost beautiful love. There’s an unexplainable feeling that connects you deep into your being. You wouldn’t want it to end.
Our car was rented from Lagoon Car Rental.
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to?