Jason and his family continued their trip driving around the East Coast of Iceland and eventually down to the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, staying along the Ring Road. The popular road brought them up close to Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull.
“It’s pretty cool because when you’re driving around you can see it from the road,” Jason says. “The glacier is pretty massive.”
The glacier’s proximity to the coast has produced fjords, inlets of water produced by a glacier tongue connected to the ocean. The land in-between the fjords stuck out like fingers, Jason says, and when driving along them he didn’t know what to expect upon rounding the corners to turn back inland.
“It was fun to drive around the fjords on Iceland’s east coast as the terrain seemed to change every time you rounded the corner,” Jason says.
Another fun sight? Ice fields in Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon). The Ring Road crosses the lagoon by bridge. Beneath the bridge icebergs float out of the lagoon and into the ocean. See the map for an aerial view.
“The icebergs would float off under the bridge and then out to sea,” Jason says. “It was pretty neat to see them coming at you.”
Unfortunately, though Iceland featured many vast and empty roads, impressive sights like the ice fields and popular waterfalls drew crowds of tourists.
“By the end I was pretty overwhelmed by how many people would be at these spots.” Jason says. “One waterfall I only took one photo of because of the crowd.”
The best way to avoid the crowds was to get off the Ring Road and hike. Luckily there was no shortage of hiking trails and they were able to be pretty spontaneous with their plans each day thanks to the camper van.
“We would pull up a map and find all of the potential hiking spots and nearby waterfalls we wanted to see that day,” Jason says.
Though he warns it might not be best to wander off trails or wander by yourself in the country as there are dangers.
“There’s fissures, huge crevices, and steaming vents,” Jason says. “I’m sure you could get in trouble if you don’t know the terrain.”
Despite needing to be careful, most of Iceland’s terrain was beautiful to see thanks to all of the greenery.
“The terrain in Iceland was very lush, very green, but rocky as well,” Jason says. “There were steep mountains and grassy valleys. Everywhere was green due to all the rain and water they have.”
The rain had its drawbacks though too, with Jason having to shoot photos from his van and a storm they ran into that almost delayed their trip.
“One night we went over a mountain pass and it was super foggy, super intense weather,” Jason says. “We were trying to find out if we should wait the storm out or drive through it.”
In the end Jason and his family decided to drive through it so they wouldn’t lose a day of travel.
“It was the right choice because it cleared up once we got further south,” Jason says. “We could see a black cloud behind us as we drove away, but in front of us it was sunny.”