Ah, the Road Trip.
As I wrote in Part 1, we researched the things we really wanted to see in Iceland before leaving and very high (if not at the top) of both of our lists was the Glacier Lagoon. If you google 'Iceland Glacier Lagoon' you will be inundated with glorious images of other-wordly ice, breathtaking and ethereal. You will think "I WILL DO ANYTHING TO SEE THAT".
Anything, it turns out, is driving for 8 hours with two children under 5 in the car.
BUT. Adventure! Floating ice! Glaciers!
In all fairness, when we planned this trip we didn't realise it would take 8 hours. We thought it would be closer to 4.5. HAHAHAHAHAHA. 8 hours, dear reader, is what happens when kids get involved. What with their needing to be fed and watered, and then to get rid of that water and food and then be entertained and all. that. jazz.
About half way there, when we realised we were only half way despite driving for what we thought would be the total duration, we arrived in the semi darkness (perpetual daylight, remember?) in the pissing rain to the bleakest place in Iceland. Vik. With it's deep black,foreboding shoreline, and the sheets of rain falling in every direction, it felt like an omen. A very bad omen. My husband and I looked at each and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Should we go on? Should we try and find somewhere to sleep for the night? Should we just run into the ocean never to return? We wrapped up, dragged the babes through the rain and into the warmth of a cafe - chips and hot chocolate, we decided, would solve everything.
And it did. With full bellies and a break from the car exploring the rock museum, we found the strength to carry on. Driving that distance across Iceland was *mostly* amazing. The landscape could not be more different from one hour to the next. We drove through lava fields, past black beaches, around mighty waterfalls and finally we arrived to our campsite, at the bottom of a glacier.
Let's be clear, our children were rockstars. R O C K S T A R S. It's really quite ridiculous to ask two small children to be strapped into a small moving space for hours at a time and be happy about it, yet they did their best. They even enjoyed some of it. They really hated some bits, yes, but didn't we all?
Arriving at the campsite was absolutely magical. Sach was so excited about his very first camping trip, and even though it took another hour to set up, and despite forgetting the sleeping bags (thank God for the 57 wool blankets we remembered to bring) he thought it was amazing. And that joy spread through all of us and hunkering down, the four of us snuggled in that tent that night made the drive totally worth it.
At the time of our trip I wrote on Instagram:
That part about balancing our needs? This drive was the turning point for that. I mean, I like to think we're considerate parents. We love our kids and want them to enjoy the amazing sights whilst being comfortable and making sure to remember that they are small. But moving through the frustration of not being able to stop to take photographs or sight see everything was a really important reminder for us. A reminder that sometimes the 5th waterfall looks exactly the same as the other 4, and stopping at every crumbly shack that you want to photograph really isn't worth it. It reminded me of this blog post which says 'it's their day too'. The needs of the group, of the family, are greater than mine or his or ours.
After our night in the tent we woke and drove to the glaciers, battling the rain for the view. We pretended to be lava monsters, drank more hot chocolate in Vik and bought more Iceandic snacks than we could consume. I took so many photo of Sach doing a wee in exoctic locations that his 18th birthday is all set to be outstanding. We got home happy with our heads full of wonderous sights and a promise to give the car a break. For 12 hours or so.
// Iceland road trip tips //
This is the route we took and it was brilliant. The roads (in summer) are pretty quiet, flat and well signposted.
Get snacks. ALL THE SNACKS. I mean there's nothing better than a foreign food shop anyway, is there?
We camped here, and it was lovely and quiet and clean and beautiful.
There is really so much to see on this stretch of road that you don't need to do it all on one way - even though some of it is so alluring you might forget that. Break it down, there's always tomorrow.
Some waterfalls are better than others. Our favourite was Skogafoss which you can actually walk behind. Pretty cool.