We spent our Thanksgiving week in Iceland. Our wish for going around this time was to see the northern lights. But the nights turned out cloudy and rainy, except for one when the sky cleared up briefly and we had a glimpse of the celestial wonder – faintly. We were not disappointed though. Iceland was so beautiful and had so much to offer that we almost forgot the main reason why we traveled there during the cold winter days in the first place. For one, Iceland has a dramatic and diverse natural landscape that would take anybody’s breath away.
On our first day, we headed straight to Snaefellsness Peninsula, the westernmost point of the country. With spectacular glaciered mountains and volcanic peaks, stunning fjords, countless waterfalls and salmon rivers, dramatic sea cliffs and rock formation, charming fishing villages dotting the coastlines, lush valleys and lava fields, etc. – Snaefellsness is considered a miniature Iceland as it provides a sampler of what the whole country offers best.
Bjarnafoss, one of the many waterfalls in the area, gracefully flowing into basalt rocks.
Hjalmar, our driver/guide, outside the Songs of Cave. It turned out that Hjalmar is an opera singer. He regaled us with a beautiful aria inside the cave and while we were driving. It was such a good treat. It seems like everyone we met in Iceland had an artistic bent. It’s either they’re a musican or a writer, plus something else.
The winter weather was ever changing. The locals say that if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait five minutes. It can be dark, rainy, and windy one minute then bright and dry the next.
The Icelandic winter days maybe cold and short (with about 5 hours of daylight) accompanied by unpredictable weather elements, but at the end of each day we felt surprisingly exhilarated rather than depressed. Hjalmar told us that, “These mountains, these glaciers, we draw great energy from them.” There’s probably some truth to it. (And their beautiful, powerful nature is what probably gives the people of Iceland their artistic juices. )
- We booked a private trip to Snaefellsnes Peninsula with AT Iceland Tours/Daytrips.is. We recommend their services. It was great to have Hjalmar Georgsson, the company owner, as our driver/guide. He’s very knowlegeable and passionate about his country and, of course, his music:)
- This trip may be easily done on your own in the summer but we don’t recommend it during winter. It’s important to have a knowlegeable guide with you in wintertime who knows which roads are passable and which areas are closed for visits. We also recommend that you do this trip in 4×4 jeep in the wintertime.
- Dress in layers during winter. Waterproof outerwears are recommended.