At some point Geoff and I decided to take two weeks off in October. This break was intended to be used as a vacation in order to recuperate from a (thankfully) very busy year photographing weddings and portraits. We had planned on perhaps going to an all-inclusive resort somewhere warm… to relax and slow down and truly have a vacation. In the end, we somehow ended up in Iceland with our friends Monica and Graham on a very adventure-driven “vacation” that included hiking several miles every day and surviving on dry gluten-free sandwiches and Coke. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I do know that in the end, it was worth it. We’ve been fortunate enough to photograph weddings all over the US (including St. John), but we’re crossing our fingers for people to start getting married in Iceland or that someone wants to hire us to take their vacation photos for them. Pack us in your suitcases! We’ll be helpful! We can tell you how to get gas (it’s a complicated process for Americans) and why you should avoid the local liquor (everything tastes like black licorice).
Iceland is gorgeous, magical, freezing, adorable, and utterly unpronounceable. We met a lot of cats and hung out with a lot of livestock. We got directions from some Icelandic dude wearing woolen mittens and listening to heavy metal so loud through his headphones that I’m not sure how he wasn’t deaf already. We drank at the Lebowski Bar. We almost ate at the Chuck Norris Grill but it was full of things Monica and I were allergic to. We saw black sand and the northern lights and so many waterfalls that after a while we stopped pulling over. We drove a completely unprepared Ford Explorer over a lot of lava rock and a few rivers. We saw a seal swimming in a glacier lagoon. We had a tour guide named Thor who led us into a 2-3ft tall ice cave where, a few hours prior, a bunch of Asian tourists balled themselves up and literally rolled through. We ate ketchup whose website translation was “SuperGros.” We contemplated eating “hard fish”… which is dried fish strips soaked in Icelandic Schnapps (in the end, we didn’t, because… ew). We ate in snack caves. We met a cat named Elvis who would ride around on your shoulder. We plugged our noses to see the sulphur pools and mud pits. We took a lot of pictures.
Because 98% of people responded with one word (“Why?”) when we told them we were going to Iceland, so we’re here to show you that it’s not all ice (that’s Greenland, you guys… although there is still a decent amount of ice and snow, but also sun and fields and beaches). And while it was certainly not a relaxing vacation trying to figure out whether or not you’re voiding your rental car warrantee fording rivers (you are)… or hiking along steep cliffs in a combination of sun, snow, rain, and wind (watch out!)… or getting thrown to the ground in 70mph winds while trying to photograph the northern lights (oh god, watch out again!)… or hitting your head on the ceiling of sharp 3″ high ice caves (#@&$*%!!!!)… we’d go back in a heartbeat.