Don't leave! I didn't include that many sheep pictures.
There are horses and puffins, too!
But mostly sheep.
I wrote about how my planned trip to Greece with a friend turned into a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants adventure to Iceland by myself to iterate the wonders of the unplanned.
Now, a little more on that fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants adventure to Iceland by myself. If I haven't made it clear enough already by my other posts and endless updates about it on social media, I am head over heels in love with Iceland...
And not just because of the sheep.
Iceland has a lot to offer. Hot blondes at every turn, really, really clean bathrooms, and bell peppers on chicken burgers! That pretty much sums it up.
I'm totally kidding. Iceland has the most wildly diverse series of landscapes I've ever seen, the best drinking water in the world, friendly farmers who will give you their angora pj's, and sheep! So. Many. Sheep.
One minute I'd be driving along fields of daisies, then I'd blink and be surrounded by black volcanic rock, then I'd sneeze and be careening down winding, snow-capped mountainous terrain, then I'd turn my head and realize I should pay attention to where I'm driving.
If you read my post about embracing the unplanned, you know that it was a stranger on a boat in Greece that put the idea of ditching it all to go to Iceland into my brain.
We would cross paths in Reykjavik for one day, and my trip would be otherwise entirely solo. Thankfully, he was there to pick me up at the airport and set me up in his hostel that first night. #platonic.
The next day, my friend left and I had to come up with a way to spend the next 8 days. I went to the airport, bopped my way down the line of rental car desks until one had something available (thanks, Hertz!).
I don't know if anything leading up to or following that moment, driving out of the airport, alone in a rental car in ICELAND, all stocked up with snack food and music but woefully unprepared in terms of clothing and sleeping arrangements will ever compare.
I had borrowed my friend's guidebook, ripped out the map, and circled the places I wanted to go. Iceland is actually very easy to navigate in terms of road signs and major highway (yes, one).
I didn't end up being able to cross every spot on the map that I wanted to go to off my list. Beyond that, I didn't get to stop at every little photo-op pull off spot that I wanted to. Beyond that, I swam under a freezing glacial waterfall but didn't get in any hot springs!? For these reasons and more, I will drive Iceland's ring road again and again and never feel like I've had enough.
I started with the Golden Circle. Home of the original Geysir!
I drove clockwise because I'm neurotic (I like my circles clockwise, my numbers odd, and puppiiieeees!).
Thus, I visited the golden circle, the Westfjords, Husavik and the North, Icebergs and the East, Vik and the South, and finally circled back to Reykjavik 8 days later.
I spent all but two nights in the rental car. Thanks to the true story mentioned above about the farmer and the angora pj's, I was able to spend the nights in the car in relative warmth.
Driving the Westfjords is scary at times. It has those careening, mountainous roads I mentioned earlier. But it's all worth it to spend some time with these puffins! Don't forget to read my guide to seeing puffins in Iceland.
See? It's not all sheep.
It was the end of June when I visited, so it was relatively warm and the sun was never setting. I slept with a scarf tied around my eyes.
I was fortunate that the first few days of my trip were warm with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.
I was also fortunate that the remainder of the trip was cloudy and rainy and brooding! Surprise!
Cloudy days made for easier driving (think again if you think I had the forethought to pack sunglasses), easier sleeping, and super cool, moody pictures.
After visiting the Westfjords I discovered the lesser appreciated wonders that are the North and the East. If you go to Iceland, heed my warning and explore more than Reykjavik and the Golden Circle.
The further you get from Reykjavik, the more wonderfully isolated you feel, the further apart the gas stations get, and it might be hours before you see another car on the road. Oh! And the more sheep you'll see! See below.
At some point the car phone charger I had purchased stopped working. I had to park and squeeze the cord in a few spots to keep my phone alive. Over the span of three or four days, my phone was dead most of the time.
I nearly ran out of gas once (maybe more). I got lost once (maybe more). I got a migraine from eating too much junk food and dunked my head in glacier water.
I felt more disconnected from the world than I ever had and it was so super cool.
Travel tip: Let your phone die. Get lost and don't take pictures.
As many pictures as I took, there are these few days missing documentation where I was lost, alone, and eating so much junk food it made me sick. I felt like Kevin in 'Home Alone 2: Lost In New York'. Only I'm a grown woman and Iceland is the opposite of New York.
And a Yaris (thanks, Hertz) is the opposite of a limo. I'm exaggerating with my "opposites". The opposite of a limo is a Smartcar! Or a bicycle! Or legs!
All in all, I fell in love with Iceland for a million reasons including but not limited to the landscapes, the weather, the animals, the capital R Romance, the flowers, the fog, the squishy ground, the hot dogs, the hot chocolate, the hot chicks.
Driving Iceland's Ring Road is something I will do again (and again). It's beautiful, it's magical, and let's not forget about all those sheep!
Keep an eye out for my travel guide and itinerary suggestions so you can start planning your own trip!
Here's a few sneak peek travel tips:
1. Bell peppers on chicken burgers are not that good.
2. Stop for hot chocolate every chance you get. See the cool mugs!
3. Embrace the sheep. I didn't try to take so many sheep pictures, they were just...there.
As always, thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow the sloth!
Don't worry, we have plenty of posts in which I gush about Iceland...