Thursday, May 25, 2017

Iceland's Black Church, Budakirkja

One location we were very excited to visit was Iceland's black church: Budakirkja. Located in Budir on the far western tip of the Snaefellsness Peninsula, this little old church sits alongside a lava field. It's incredibly uncommon to see a church painted black (of all colors), and so we were intrigued. There are at least three black churches in Iceland but this is the only one we were able to visit. The wood is treated with the same material used on boats, which provides the black color and protects the wood from the harsh Icelandic climate. The church is surrounded by a low stone wall, and the grounds contain an old cemetery. While we did not go inside, the inside is refurnished and you an enter via a key at the nearby Hotel.

If you have any interest in odd architecture, this is certainly a stop to take advantage of. While we were visiting, a small tour group did also arrive, but it was not difficult to get some decent photos after waiting for a short while. The nearby lava field provides plenty of photo opportunities to keep you busy if you prefer to keep your shots tourist-free.

What do you think of this spot? Creepy, or beautiful?

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

ICELAND: The Snaefellsness Peninsula

We left Reykjavik around 7:30am to head towards our hostel on the Snaefellsness Peninsula (lovingly referred to as the Snuffaluffagus Peninsula throughout our trip). It was a 3 hour drive, but we planned to take extra time for stopping at sights along the way. It was a rainy day, but nonetheless beautiful. Iceland is an enchanted place, and although the sky was grey there were plenty of rainbows (more than I've ever seen within a week) to balance the dreary weather. 

Our first stop was to visit Gerduberg - geometrical basalt columns that cause the rock face to appear as though it has been folded into an accordion. This unique geology can be found right off the road, and is easy to approach. 

Following that, we stopped at Ytri Tunga, a beach which hosts a seal colony. We did see a couple of seals, but they were rather far and difficult to photograph. Regardless, the location was tranquil and the nearby farm and land was populated with sheep.

Thus started our journey through the Snaefellsness Peninsula, which included some of our favorite Icelandic locations. This small area contains so many unique & beautiful sights, which we will explore in the upcoming posts! This is part of a series of posts about our trip to Iceland.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

ICELAND: The Golden Circle | Part III

Iceland's Golden Circle is a popular tour of some of the most incredible natural attractions nearby Reykjavik. We would recommend going clockwise from the city as this will allow you to see the main attractions first. The entire trip can be driven within about 4 hours, but you should plan a day to complete the sights if you enjoy photography. In addition to the main 3 stops (Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss), we also added on some stops to some lesser-traveled destinations - which was super rewarding. You can read part I of our tour along the Golden Circle here, and part II here

To finish our Golden Circle tour, we headed south to stop by the Kerid Crater. Kerid (pronounced like Kerith) is a colorful  site: green moss contrasts the underlying iron-rich red soil, all along the rim of an aquamarine lake.  For a small fee (approx $5 USD) you can walk along the rim of the crater, as well as around the lake. Our visit was rather windy, but if you are patient enough to wait for the water to still, the reflections are worth it. 

Finally, we couldn't resist stopping at a lava field along the road. These alien landscapes can be found throughout Iceland and each one seems uniquely different. The thick layers of moss and lichen form a spongy carpet over the ground in a way that seems unlike most flora you'd find on our planet. This is just one of many reasons why Iceland has a reputation for seeming otherworldly. 

Overall, our trip around the Golden Circle was incredible. We saw more within the span of one day than we have seen in many National Parks within the US. If you are ever in Iceland for only a short period of time, I strongly recommend you find the time to visit these locations.
This is part of a series of posts about the Golden Circle in Iceland.
Check out the other posts here.

Did you tour the Golden Circle? Which was your favorite part?

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