Sometimes the best memories are those that you didn’t plan, or even what results from things going wrong.
It’s four hours before our flight back to DC and we’re meandering along the Icelandic coast as we make our way toward Keflavik. We’re only here for a long weekend, and we’re trying to squeeze as much adventure as possible into our trip.This is Iceland, so, really, we’re not finding it that hard to do. We make a point to pull over at anything that looks interesting and are making very poor time – but that’s part of the charm of our trip.
We’re continuing along the coast through a field of jagged soot-colored rock when we see what we think is smoke or steam off in the distance. It’s rising in a great column, visible from miles away, the way steam pours out of a smokestack at factories back home. I, of course, assume that must be what it is – some great manufacturing plant, obviously, what else would it be? My husband isn’t so sure. We turn onto the first road we see that’s heading in that general direction, and navigate toward the mystery smoke.As we make our way toward our destination we began to realize that whatever it is, it is quite a bit larger than we realized. We finally pull up to a small parking lot, and discover that we have found our way to a large geothermal field called Seltún. We still had a few hours before our flight, so we get out and start wandering around the boardwalks situated over the boiling pools.
Turns out there’s a small hike up the side of a few hills – and we have an few hours before the flight so… why WOULDN’T we try to climb it?
Now, there were a few “markers” for the “trail”. If you can’t tell from my sassy punctuation, we ended up off said trail. The grass and mud made it difficult to discern exactly where we were heading, and before we realized it, we were off course. Some parts we were on track, some off… mostly muddy and rocky.
But… we did get some good pictures.
Did I mention I did this in flats? As you can image, they got eaten up/caked with mud pretty easily, but… it was the only pair I had. The previous day I had literally walked the rubber soles off of my boots (cheap glue I guess?!) while at a a geyser. Like you do. I didn’t have the other pair of shoes with me, so instead of wearing the wet remainders of a boot (turns out you need a sole to keep out the elements), I rode back to the hotel like this:
I keep it real classy, y’all. Note the mud-stained jeans. I don’t remember how that happened, but knowing me, it probably involved me tripping over something.
Anyway, after slipping and sliding up the hill in really inappropriate shoes, we ended up in the steam we had spotted from the road. It was a beautiful area, and just another example of how, in Iceland, you can just drive in a random direction and stumble upon something amazing.
Iceland is like no other place on Earth – in fact, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like Earth at all.
Sometimes the best memories are those that you didn’t plan, or even what results from things going wrong. I’ll never forget losing 2 pairs of shoes to Iceland. Apparently that’s the sacrifice the island demanded.
With so many resources on the internet it’s really easy to research a place and approach trips with a checklist of “must-sees”. While this can be super helpful, don’t forget to get a bit lost and wander around sans gps/Yelp/Tripadvisor/Google/Guide Book. You’ll be glad you did, even if your destination eats your shoes for breakfast.