🇮🇸 July 24, 2021 - Return To Normal: Iceland by Camper Van

Written By Amanda

Anxious to travel abroad as COVID started to calm down, we decided to head to Iceland. We have always wanted to go and it was one of the few countries open to vaccinated US travelers (and their children). The trip was somewhat spontaneous for us with only 6 weeks to put it all together verses our typical months of planning we were used to Pre-COVID. We knew we needed to be flexible and there was always this looming fear that we were not officially going until we got there. It was odd pulling out all the winter gear at the start of summer but with the heat and humidity rising in NC, it was worth it.

Day 1 - Thursday, June 24th

Raleigh → Boston → Reykjavik
Evelyn ready for travel
Evelyn ready for travel

We took an evening flight from Raleigh to Boston. Everyone was very excited to be in an airport having not traveled in a while, especially Evelyn. Once past security, we had some time to kill so we checked out the Delta lounge (a perk of Tommy’s new credit card). Evelyn definitely enjoyed our time in the lounge or more specifically, the cookies. When boarding our flight we had to plane side check our carry-ons to our final destination. We were not too thrilled but said a little prayer as we handed them over. Once in Boston we found a quick bite to eat and visited the kids play area for Evelyn to get out some last minute energy.

Day 2 - Friday, June 25th

Reykjavik

Our flight from Boston to Iceland went very smoothly. It was relatively short for an overnight abroad trip at 4.5 hours. Between the dinner and breakfast service, Tommy and I maybe got 1 to 2 hours of broken sleep. We made a deal with Evelyn that she could stay up until midnight. When the time rolled around she did not fight us and passed right out.

Arrival into the Keflavík airport and through immigration felt almost too easy. We were lucky that we could arouse Evelyn enough to walk herself through the process. Once we got to the baggage claim area, we were confused by the very long line wrapping itself around the room and between baggage claim carousels. We finally figured out that it was the line out of the airport and it was so backed up because everyone was getting COVID tested. Although the hour and a half wait to exit was a little annoying the process was very organized. Evelyn climbed up on the luggage cart and was able to get in a nap. Airport staff circled the line multiple time with bottled water and chocolates giving us extra “for the baby”. Oddly, there is a duty-free store in the baggage claim area. Apparently, since goods are expensive in Iceland, people usually buy drinks/alcohol from duty-free before leaving. Since we were stuck in line for while, we thought “why not” and popped in and bought a bottle of liquor for evenings at the campsite. I could not believe the shelves were wiped clean! So this truly is a thing!

Our COVID tests were very thorough. Evelyn was lucky to get by with just a cheek swab. Once done, we were so excited to be “let out” but then had to wait awhile for transport to the rental car company and an additional 3 hours for them to fix the heater in our camper van. Tommy was anxious to get going but I knew we were under quarantine until we got our COVID results anyway so there was no rush. Once we finally got our van, the excitement set it. Although meant for 5 people, we thought it would work perfect to comfortably fit the 3 of us. Nor did Tommy feel it was too large to drive.

Before leaving for Iceland we purchased a few items we found very helpful for our trip. Quick dry camp towels were great for campground showers as well as shower totes. Sleep masks were a must for trying to sleep when it was light 24 hours a day. As well as a Multi Ports USB Car Charger to keep all our devises charged while in the camper van. We also love any opportunity we we have to bring along our favorite Rumpl blankets.

Weather was cold, windy, and rainy but we had mentally prepared ourselves for that. On our 45 minute drive into Reykjavik, we already had a few encounters with sheep and got a glimpse of the island’s otherworldly landscape. The apartment we rented was, of course, not ready when we arrived. Still officially quarantined and starving, we decided to go ahead and put the camper van to use in the parking lot of our apartment! I whipped out some ramen from one of our bags. We cooked it up and then we all took a nap. All the camp meals I had prepacked was already going to good use! We all awoke with the pressing need to use the restroom. As apart of our quarantine we can not use public restrooms or common areas. Luckily, we were all able to finally check into our apartment.

To our surprise, we received our COVID test results by 4 pm. Since we were all negative, we were free to explore the city! We finished up our showers and did a quick load of laundry to wash out our airplane clothes. We were out exploring the city by 6 pm. We popped into a grocery store for quick snacks and caffeine to keep us going. Evelyn discovered the joy of paprika chips and that she can talk Daddy into any candy if she says “I just want to try something I can’t get at home”. We checked out Hallgrimskirkja, which seemed to be the perfect first stop. The church’s architecture sums up Iceland well with its columns representing volcanic basalt and the statue of Leifur Eiriksson (the true discoverer of North America) out front. We went to the Old Harbor and walked around Old Reykjavik. By that time, hunger and jet lag was settling in as well as more rain and cold. We had a hard time finding a restaurant. Lots of options but very limited menus and we just hadn’t done our research since we thought we would still be quarantined at this point. We finally settled on Svarta Kaffið, a restaurant advertising “the best soup in town”. That definitely caught Tommy’s eye. There were only two soups being served (which change everyday). We were worried about Evelyn but she loved the meat soup and accompanying bread bowl. We made it back to our apartment and into bed at Tommy’s mandated “stay up unit at least 9:30 pm on the first night” rule. It was very strange going to bed with the sun out but blackout curtains and eye shades were very helpful. We had 24 hours of daylight in Iceland and actually did grow to miss seeing the moon.

Day 3 - Saturday, June 26

Reykjavik → Þingvellir National Park → Fontana Spa → Gullfoss → Geysir

We were up early and ready to head out into the country side. The forecast called for sunny weather and we wanted to take advantage of that while we had it. Having seen Reykjavik the evening before, we were ahead of schedule. To our surprise, we could not find a coffee shop that opened before 9 am.

Loaded with caffeine and pastries from Reykjavik Roasters, we headed to our first tourist destination on the Golden Ring, Þingvellir National Park. This was our first experience figuring out how to pay for parking and translate the National Park’s points of interest. Not 100% sure what all we saw, but I know that we did visit the drowning pool, Öxarárfoss, and Almannagjá (the gorge between the North America and Europe tectonic plate). Evelyn was very interested and tried to absorb the geography lesson.

Since we were ahead of schedule, we were able to squeeze in a visit to the Fontana Spa. We enjoyed relaxing in the geothermal baths and attempted a plunge in the lake. The lake was way too cold for our southern blood. We were able to take the bakery tour where they demonstrate how bread is made in the warm ground (heated by geothermic activity) and taste the bread slathered in thick Icelandic butter. Evelyn was the only kid on the tour and the guide often used her as his helper.

As evening approached, we tried to see how many more activities we could squeeze in. We stopped at a restaurant (Hlöðuloftið) which was a part of a farm. It was very interesting that the dinning room over looked the cow barn (and smelt like it too). The only item on the menu - burgers. Although delicious, it is a little weird to see the cows you are eating. Evelyn got to play at the playground and there was this sweet farm dog that would go between protecting the kids on the playground and the horses out in the field.

After dinner, we drove out to Gullfoss. We were able to see a beautiful full rainbow that had formed over the massive falls. For our first night of camping, we decided on Campsite Geysir. None of our campsites were pre-booked and only somewhat preplanned. We had a trip itinerary and did as much as we could in a day while constantly monitoring google maps for the closest campsite (some being more concentrated than others). We checked in and picked any parking spot we wanted in a big open field. The evening was beautiful but we could not hang outside the camper van without being swarmed by flies. It was 8:30 pm and having already eaten dinner, we decided to walk over to the Geysir area. We walked past boiling mud pots, hot springs, and viewed the most active geyser, Strokkur. We got to see it erupt several times 30m into the air about every 10 mins or so.

Sleeping in the camper was a bit tight and odd with the daylight coming through the poorly hung curtains but we all feel asleep quickly after our very full day.

Day 4 - Sunday, June 27

Geysir → Sólheimar Eco-village → Kerid Crater → Gluggafoss → Seljalandsfoss → Skógafoss → Vík

Up by 8 am to a pretty much still sleeping campsite, we started to realize that Icelanders are not morning people. After a campsite breakfast of instant oatmeal and coffee, we headed back on our tour of the Golden Ring. Our first stop for the day was the Sólheimar Eco-village. A completely self-sustaining village founded in the 1930’s. We hoped for some fresh pastries and more coffee at the cafe but they were out of a lot of goods because of a party they held the night before. The coffee was good though!

Next, we stopped at Kerid Crater. It was a really neat experience to walk around the edge of a volcanic crater and then down into it to the crater lake. It was one of our many otherworldly experiences in Iceland. The diversity in the landscape and the weather we had already seen at this point was indescribable! Another side note, we had been warned about how crowded Iceland would be in the summer and around the Golden Circle. We were starting to see that it was nothing even close to being as crowded as the national parks in the United States.

Making our way through Selfoss, we popped into a grocery store for some fresh bread, cold cuts, cheese and of course, paprika chips for lunch. We had a small plug-in cooler but we did not trust it to keep anything too cold for long. From there, we trekked out to Gluggafoss, one of many beautiful waterfalls we would see just sitting off the side of the road. We enjoyed our lunch with a view of the falls and then hiked up to it. We were very impressed at the time but had not yet been out to Seljalandsfoss (and all the other falls we would see).

To get to Seljalandsfoss from where we were we drove 10 miles on a bumpy dirt road surrounded by fields of beautiful blue bonnet flowers. Seljalandsfoss (a waterfall you could walk under) and nearby Gljufrabui (a waterfall hidden back in a canyon) were beautiful to explore but it did come with getting very wet and muddy. At this point, we are realizing we are going to see A LOT of waterfalls in Iceland.

From there we drove at Skógafoss (another waterfall) and hiked along the shoreline to the top for a view. We then drove and took a quick hike out to Sólheimajökull glacier. Evelyn was not amused that we did not hike out on the glacier. There are tours where you can do that and we will definitely look into that for next time.

Next, we attempted to hike the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck. I thought that I had read it was a 45 minute hike but when we got to the trail head, the sign said 4-5 hours. We opted out as it was already 4 pm. We then made the treacherous drive up to the Dyrholaey overlook and lighthouse. We hoped to see some puffins. The dirty road there made a steep climb with sharp curves. Heavy fog was rolling in making it difficult to spot and dodge all the sheep. Once up there, we could not see anything but a wall of fog. We had to then brave the way back down.

As the weather worsened, we saw that as a sign to stop touring for the day. We stayed at the Vík Campsite where they had beautiful new shower and kitchen facilities (with WiFi!). Unfortunately, it was too windy and rainy for us to even attempt leaving the camper to enjoy them. I was nervous the wind would keep us all up that night 9 and possibly blow over the camper) but again, after such a busy day we all had no trouble sleeping.

Day 5 - Monday, June 28

Vík → Reynisfjara → Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon → Vatnajökull National Park → Hofn

We woke up ready to see the sites around Vík we were not physically able to “see” the day before due to the heavy fog. We went out to the Reynisfjara black sand beach where we able to view Dyrholaey and Reynisf rock formations. Seeing the enormous basalt stacks next to the ocean was amazing. Evelyn of course enjoyed attempting to climb them.

Before leaving Vík, we popped into the Icewear store and did some shopping for souvenirs. Iceland is very expensive, so we knew we would not be buying much and getting all our souvenirs at one store made the tax refund process at the airport much easier. We popped into the attaching grocery store and picked up our lunch for the day.

Our next stop was at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. This was a beautiful canyon with rushing water through it. We decided to take the steep path up to hike along the edge and look down into the canyon. At this point, the sun came out in all its blazing glory and it got HOT. So much so, many locals were hiking in their bras. We anticipated this would be a quick stop but ended up spending well over an hour here.

Next, we spent a few hours hiking in Vatnajökull National Park. We hiked to Skaftafellsjökull (a glacier) and Svartifoss (a waterfall). Even though we hiked out to a glacier, it was surprisingly very hot and sun exposed. It became a family joke that the hottest we were in Iceland was when we hiked to the glacier. Evelyn was a trooper but it was definitely the most tired and uncomfortable we all had been. We took a break at the park’s cafe for a beer and ice cream to cool down. Fatigue was definitely setting in but after the national park we pushed on to Glacier Lagoon. Seeing all the icebergs floating in the lagoon was amazing. There was even a seal that would pop up occasionally and check out the tourists. Next time, I would like to take one of the boat tours offered.

We stopped that night to camp at Camp Hofn. By now, we learned to take advantage of the water boiler in the campsite kitchens verses pulling out the portable camp stove. Evelyn also encouraged use of the kitchen because there was often WiFi. Here we enjoyed our first campsite shower. Although so welcomed, it was unfortunately on a timer (200kr for 6 mins) which I had to share and coordinate with Evelyn.

Day 6 - Tuesday, June 29

Hofn → Dettifoss → Ásbyrgi → Mývatn

Today we had a full day of driving (5+ hours) ahead of us as we made our way up the east coast to the northern part of Iceland. We were up and on the road early, skipping our usual campsite oatmeal, opting for breakfast bars on the go instead. The drive up the east coast along Route 1 and 95 was a destination in itself. We passed many horse farms, fishing hamlets, road side cliffs and waterfalls. We even had several wild caribou sightings! With a portion of the trip being on dirt roads and having to go over several one-way bridges the drive took about an hour and a half longer than expected. Somewhere midway, we found a grocery and stopped in to pick up some lunch. Evelyn had her first train station style pizza and loved it! She also enjoyed a donut topped with black licorice candy.

Our first destination in northern Iceland was Dettifoss (the second most powerful waterfall in Europe). Coming in from the east, Google Maps lead us astray by taking us up route 834. This ended up being a very long and bumpy 30km drive up a dirt road. Once at the falls, we figured out we were definitely on the less touristy side. We tried to convince ourselves we had the better view but I’m not sure how true that is. Ultimately, we would have preferred the paved road. The drive kind of spoiled the mood at the falls and at this point, we are starting to get waterfall-ed out. We decided to drive another 30km north (instead of 30km south the way we came) to see another tourist site and then come 60km down on the west side of the river on the paved road. Not a part of our original plan but we made a stop and hiked a bit around Ásbyrgi, a horseshoe canyon steeped in Norse mythology. It was worth the stop as we attempted to make our way back to a paved road.

Once in the Mývatn area (our final destination for the day) we realized it was getting a bit late to fit in everything we wanted. At this point we decided to make getting to the Mývatn Nature Baths a priority. We made a quick stop at Hverir (another very smelly geothermal area) and Grjótagjá Cave (featured in the Game of Thrones) before having dinner at Vogafjós Farm Resort. Again, we were greeted by the cows at this farm restaurant as we entered. Tommy and I enjoyed some mouth watering lamb and Evelyn stuck with the hamburger with a side of fresh milk. She noted that the milk at home taste like water in comparison.

With full bellies, we made our way to the Mývatn Nature Baths for the evening. Arriving at 7p we were there until closing at 10p. These baths felt a little more authentic with its milky blue water, slimy green algae growing on black lava rocks, and of course the very strong smell of sulfur. The baths were the perfect way to relax and unwind after a full day of driving. Unfortunately, the smell of sulfur remained in my hair for a few days (despite several washes) to remind me of our visit. We camped that night nearby at Camping Vogar.

Day 7 - Wednesday, June 30

Mývatn → Dimmuborgir → Hverfjall → Krafla → Goðafoss → Akureyri → Pingeyrakirkja → Húsafell

We woke up this morning with the pressing reality that our trip would soon come to an end, we were about as far north as we planned to go, and we needed to make it back to Reykjavik by 3 pm Friday to be COVID tested before our flight home. That meant another full day of driving … if weather would allow. Again, we were not sure how far we would get today. We just started checking things off our itinerary as we visited; ultimately, hoping for the best. We woke up that morning to a wind advisory weather alert. We thought we had already encountered Iceland’s high winds so for them to actually issue a warning seemed serious. Tommy was nervous about how safe it would be to drive our high profile camper in strong winds.

We started off the day with an easy walk around Dimmuborgir (a paved trail through several lava rock formations) and viewed the nearby Hverfjall (volcano) from the parking lot. We then back-tracked slightly to Krafla. To get there, we drove past one of Iceland’s many large power plants which use earth’s energy to fuel the country. We parked at the Leirhnjúkur trail head and hiked out to the lava fields. This was one of my favorite hikes in Iceland. It was surreal to hike in the still steaming lava fields. You were very aware that you were actually walking on hot active earth. Adding to the unearthly feel was the extremely high winds we were continually fighting against. Evelyn dramatically kept repeating her goodbyes throughout the hike, “If this thing erupts know that I love you”. From there we attempted to visit and hike around Víti (Krafla’s crater lake) but the strong winds only allowed for a quick visit to the overlook.

Cautiously driving out of the area, we made our way to Goðafoss Waterfall. We enjoyed a side trail down to the river bank below the falls for a unique vantage point. We popped into a nearby coffee shop to regroup and make a plan for the rest of the day. We decided to keep pushing on despite the windy driving conditions, attempting to get in as many tourist sites as we could.

We drove through Iceland’s second biggest city Akureyri and it’s extremely long tunnel on our way to Glaumbær and the Turf House Museum. We were unsure of this stop at first. We did not know if it was a tourist trap but needed a break from the camper van. We ended up thoroughly enjoying our visit to this traditional style home insulated from the elements by grass. I loved the continuous smell of fresh cut grass (one of my favorite candel scents) while in the home. We then took an additional side trip out to Pingeyrakirkja (a scenic church on a cliff). We could have done without the drive out to this remote church but it made for a good stop to quickly cook up a roadside camp dinner. The strong winds continued, making it impossible to even step out of the van.

Following dinner, we pushed on for 2 more hours of driving to our targeted campsite. It was a little rough arriving at 9:30 pm but having already eaten dinner there was not much left to do but sleep. We camped at Húsafell, one of our favorite sites. We all slept well with the trees and clouds blocking out some of the sun. I regret not spending more time in this beautiful area. Next time I would like to take one of their tours out to the ice caves, nearby glacier, or hike out to the natural hot spring. Time also did not allow for a visit to the Krauma Hot Springs.

Day 8 - Thursday, July 1

Húsafell → Barnafossar → Reykholt → Snaefellsnes Peninsula → Gerduberg Cliffs → Ytri Tunga beach → Saxhóll volcano crater → Kirkjufell → Stykkisholmur

Today we made our way back to the Ring Road stopping at Barnafossar (yes - another waterfall). This was actually one of my favorite falls as it was not so massive and powerful (like other waterfalls in Iceland) that you could not take it all in. I loved seeing water flowing over the black lava rocks. We also made a quick stop at Reykholt to take a peak at a historical geothermal pool.

Once on the Ring Road, our goal was to make a side trip circling the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We made our first critical gas mistake of the trip. We knew that gas stations were sparse so we tried to never get below 1/2 a tank. We were at 1/4 tank having accidentally bypassed the town we aimed to get gas in. We were also targeting what our tour company advertised as discounted gas stations. Knowing we could not make it to the next major village, we ended up stopping at the first station we could find and learned that the “discount” was really only about a dollar on a full tank.

Once on the peninsula, there was heavy fog and we knew we would not have a very scenic day. We drove out to the Gerduberg Cliffs. You usually can see these off the main road but we could barely see them even when right up on them. A little discouraged about the weather, we went to our next stop, Ytri Tunga beach to look for seals. We cooked up a camp meal for lunch and since we knew the weather would limit us, Tommy let me sneak in a nap.

Fed and rested, we hiked out on Ytri Tunga beach and got to see at least 50 seals perched out on the rocks. It was a bit of a tricky walk as we were slipping and sliding on all of the seaweed. As more people came, we got to see the seals all work their way off the rocks and swim out to sea.

From there, we made our way to Saxhóll volcano crater bypassing our planned stops at several small towns and scenic outlooks because of the fog. At the crater, we made the steep climb to the top for a neat view inside. Then we drove to Kirkjufell which is supposed to be the most photographed spot in Iceland (a waterfall with a mountain in the background). We quickly figured out that this was probably because this seemed to be where the cruise boats dock.

We enjoyed dinner in the nearby town at an outstanding traditional restaurant called Bjargarsteinn Mathús. We arrived a little before it opened and were greeted and welcomed in by the manager despite the fact that it was a reservation only restaurant. The manager was taken with Evelyn and promised to only feed her dad pickles for dinner. Evelyn and I shared a 5 course traditional meal (complete with a fried seaweed and fish skin salad) and Tommy had the lamb (minus the pickles). Evelyn ate most of the blueberry sorbet and the lava cake. We were complimented on Evelyn’s behavior when the manager stated “wow - she is very easy” in broken English. He made Evelyn promise to save the receipt as a souvenir and bring her children back when she is older.

After dinner, we drove on a bit more to the town of Stykkisholmur. Once arriving into town Evelyn was ecstatic that the town had Wifi. This quickly went away when we chose a spot at our campsite, Tjaldstæði, behind a hill to block out the sunlight for sleeping. The campground was shared with a golf course and it was neat to see people golfing at 10:30p before going to bed.

Day 9 - Friday, July 2

Stykkisholmur → Borgarnes → Gerlingadalur → Bridge between Continents → Grindavík

Camping in Stykkisholmur proved to be 100% worth the side trip when we discovered the town had a bakery/coffee shop. We usually love to visit these for breakfast while on vacation but had not seen many in the Iceland country side. We enjoyed a nice latte and pastries with the locals before starting our day.

Today, our main goal was to get our COVID tests done which are required to return to the US. Again, there was the pressing feeling that we won’t know if we are going home until we get there. We had appointments scheduled in Reykjavik but did not want to spend our day waiting around in the city for our appointment time. We read that once registered you can stop at any clinic to be tested during their testing hours. A town we were driving through, Borgarnes, happened to have their 30 minute testing window around the time we were passing by, so we decided to give it a try. We lined up a little before opening at 11:30 am with other travelers and were done by 11:45 am. A lot of stress, but it ended up being super simple and we were free to go about the rest of our day touring!

With the worry of getting our COVID tests behind us, we decided to target hiking Gerlingadalur, Iceland’s newest active volcano. We knew it would be a long hike, so we filled up with lunch prior to starting out (again bought at the grocery and cooked roadside in the camper van). We did not do much in depth research on the “trails” to the volcano aside from getting there, parking, and then finding a volcanologist to help guide us. We did not find a volcanologist but followed behind several other tourist. I am also never embarrassed to ask questions when needed. As we began to hike, Tommy noted that the returning hikers did not appear to be as “thrilled” as you would think they would be after seeing an erupting volcano. Turns out the volcano had stopped spewing lava that day and the volcanologist were predicting that it was completely done. The news did not stop us. We were just so excited to be there and we continued hiking up on the A trail (which at the time we did not realize was blocked off by lava flow) and somehow found our way over to the B trail to view the crater. It was a tough 2.25 miles straight up (and then another 2.25 back down). Evelyn was not amused because the black hardened lava did not look liked the lava she had seen in Minecraft. I personally was still very excited about the unique opportunity.

After our hike we visited the Bridge between Continents and had fun taking pictures of Evelyn in North America and Daddy in Europe. Driving out to the sight, you gain an understanding of the term volcanic desert.

Then we went to dinner at the Fish House in Grindavík where we planned to camp nearby for the evening. While eating, there was a TV showing a close up of a volcano erupting. We where explaining to Evelyn that that is what it was supposed to look like when the waitress came up and told us that was an actual live feed. We were shocked! Turns out the volcano actually started erupting after our hike! We were all ready (though way too tired) to head back right away and do the hike over again. We decided that if the volcano was still erupting in the morning, we would adjust our plans and go back first things.

That night we camped at Campsite Grindavík which was one of our favorite of all campsites. They had free unlimited showers and a really nice playground where Evelyn was able to meet two girls from Iceland and play until 11 pm. We felt relief that night when we got our negative COVID test results and hoped for smooth travels home. We all loved Iceland and definitely could spend some more time there but we were all starting to miss nighttime darkness.

Day 10 - Saturday, July 3

Grindavík → Blue Lagoon → Keflavík

When we awoke the next morning, we headed into the campsite kitchen for some WiFi and got some advice from several campers who had been visiting in the area for the volcano over several days. With the volcano still erupting, we decided to head back but this time take the C trail up the right side of the volcano which was supposed to give us a better view into the crater. We found another coffee/bakery shop and then hit the trail this time finding a closer parking lot.

As soon as we started the hike, we could tell that it was definitely different from the day before. Before we could even see any of it, you could actually hear the loud rumbling and bubbling of the lava. Less than a half mile in, we were at the very base of the old lava flow and could see the new red lava flowing in the distance. From there we decided to get a closer look at the crater taking the steep hike up the adjacent mountain ridge. The trails in the area were more like indented walking paths from previous hikers since March and the climb up and along the ridge was often very scary. Thick fog would roll in and we would often lose sight of our endpoint. We could only hear the volcano getting louder as we slowly got closer. After 3 miles up and along the ridge line, we made it to the crater viewpoint. We sat for several minutes, amazed as we watch the lava pop and spew out of the crater. It was definitely worth the tough hike up and then even tougher making our way safely back down.

From the volcano, we made our way to the Blue Lagoon where we had 2 pm reservations. We felt like one last trip to a spa would be the perfect way to end our vacation. The Blue Lagoon was larger and more touristy than our previous spa visits. It was a great experience but not our favorite compared to the others we had visited. I had a hard time getting over the fact that the white slimy stuff on the bottom of the pools and along the edge of the lava rocks was actually the remains of everyone’s washed off face masks that was included in your visit.

That evening, we aimed to get to a campsite early to pack up as much as we could before our early morning flight. We found a restaurant in town where I could get an Icelandic hotdog. At the Vogar Campsite, Evelyn found more local kids to play with while Tommy and I searched every inch of the camper to make sure we did not leave anything behind.

Day 11 - Sunday, July 4

Keflavík → Minneapolis → Raleigh
Evelyn ready to head home
Evelyn ready to head home

We were up early for our 9:30 am flight home. Evelyn said a very tearful (and tired) good-bye to our camper van. Although it was one of the easiest driving experience abroad, Tommy was very happy to turn in the keys and be done with the responsibility of a rental vehicle. After checking our bags, we turned in our paperwork to duty free to get our tax money back for the few items we had purchased and then had smooth and easy travels back home!

Until next time!

Evelyn ready to sleep in her own bed
Evelyn ready to sleep in her own bed

We cannot wait to return to Iceland again in the future! The country now ranks as one of our favorite destinations! There are many things I would like to go back and do: more spas, puffin watching, glacier hikes, Glacier Bay boat tour, airplane crash site, visit the west fjords region, ice caves etc. There were also many hikes in central Iceland I would love to explore but would probably be better when Evelyn is older.