“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.”
– Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta
I’m happy to say that I’ve started my journey, or my “road to truth.” And that road begins in Iceland.
So, why Iceland? I’d love to say I’ve always dreamt of seeing the original Geyser, walking on the largest existing glacier in Europe, or partying under the midnight sun in Reykjavik. But those would be lies. Similar to most people I know, Iceland was a remote, unfamiliar, and confusing place in my mind (who would live on a country made of ice?) But if you’ve seen Mighty Ducks 2, you’d know “Greenland is covered with ice, and Iceland is very nice!”
After I decided to travel Europe for 7 months and set the June 1 date, the next step was booking a flight. I decided on only two flight criteria:
1. Must go to Europe.
2. Must be inexpensive.
Using the online travel search service hipmunk.com, I began to search every imaginable route from USA to Europe, such as Chicago to Paris, Cleveland to London, Philadelphia to Frankfurt, and so on. Then, I found the winner: New York to Reykjavik.
I found an insanely cheap one-way flight from New York’s JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland on Icelandair for just over $300. I immediately emailed my traveling buddy, Mike. That night, we booked it. So although I’m a little ashamed to say it, the reason my road starts in Iceland is because it was the cheapest flight I could find to Europe.
So while I knew embarrassingly little about a European country that is roughly the size of Virginia, as I learned more about the island, I realized we were in for a treat. Iceland contains some of the most magnificent and diverse natural sights in the world, as well as one of the biggest party cities I’ve ever experienced (more about this in a later post).
For the past 6 days, we have been roadtripping around Iceland’s perimeter “ring road,” aweing at the countless volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes, fjords, craters, mountains, glaciers, and lava fields. For lodging, we’ve been staying mostly in hostels and guesthouses in quaint 400-600 person towns. The only exception is the night we spent in Akuyeri, the second largest city in Iceland (behind Reykjavik), which has only 15,000 people still. It feels like we met all of them.
I’ve never seen such a diversely beautiful, yet desolate, place. Instead of trying to describe it, I’ll let these pictures do the talking:
Part 2 of Iceland pictures can be found here: Adventures Around Iceland (Part 2).
Our adventures featured in Chicago Tribune’s daily, Redeye:
My friend Steve Markley, columnist for the Chicago Tribune’s Redeye paper and author of Publish This Book, has been traveling with us through Iceland and writing about our experiences. I encourage you to read Steve’s Redeye columns on our adventures, which are descriptive, funny, and pretty candid: Off The Markley.
This Saturday, June 16, Icelanders are celebrating their National Day. We’re lucky to be spending the weekend in Reykjavik, the capital city known for it’s nightlife on a normal weekend. I’m positive this weekend will be a wild one and I look forward to sharing it with you next week.