[ I C E L A N D] 2 0 1 6 : 14 Days & 4 Friends (Go Green In Iceland) written by Ping Pratakviriya

Sawadee Krab, Hello all! My name is Ping. Previously, I've seen countless photos on Pantip and Facebook of those who traveled to Iceland......I also got to see Aurora scene......Immediately, I fell in love with Aurora....and thinking that..... “I must also be there and see it with my

[ I C E L A N D] 2 0 1 6 : 14 Days & 4 Friends (Go Green In Iceland)

[ I C E L A N D] 2 0 1 6 : 14 Days & 4 Friends (Go Green In Iceland)


Sawadee Krab, Hello all!
My name is Ping.

Previously, I've seen countless photos on Pantip and Facebook of those who traveled to Iceland......I also got to see Aurora scene......Immediately, I fell in love with Aurora....and thinking that.....


“I must also be there and see it with my own eyes!"

This trip got started by one of my seniors inviting me after I graduated.
“After graduated, you haven't started working yet, right? "
I agree wholeheartedly....oh well, where should we go?
“Let's go to Iceland, I'd like to have shots with Aurora" Oh my! It's just where I wanted to go.

So there started our trip.




Then, we got 4 people who share the same passion about Aurora in which 3 of them are my senior. We 4 people are perfect for a car. Then, we book our flight with Lufthansa from BKK (SUV) > Frankfurt in order to transit at Germany and take the Iceland Air for Reykjavik.


Our flight ticket is 32,700 THB per person.

(My impression on German flights is the German beer. It takes long time flying to Europe and with this yummy beer, we can have a long sound nap.)




How many days ?

We travel in mid March. We take off on 20th March because the weather is warmer and there's still a chance to see the Aurora. Meanwhile, we can visit waterfalls and several other tourist attractions. It's a once and for all trip.

We chose to stay there the longest possible and planned to roam around Iceland which takes about 14 days. So our trip is from 20th March to 5th April (including traveling and transit time.)




Where are our destinations?

Once we have the date, we start to plan the destinations for each day. I and one of my seniors love taking photos (P'M) so we are responsible for planning the trip as well as finding the places to take photos and hunting Aurora. Other two seniors are booking the accommodations each day and places to eat.......so that we know what to eat and do in each town. Here is our plan.

Day 1 (21st March: Keflavik Airport – Lagoon Car Rental - Hotel - Kirkjufell Mountain)

“Where is the Aurora?"


Day 2 (22nd March: Kirk -The Golden Circle - þingvellir - öxarárfoss - Geysir - Gullfoss - Bruarfoss)

“Secret Path of Waterfall"


Day 3 (23rd March: Seljalandsfoss - Gljúfurárfoss - Skógafoss - Airplane wreckage)

“We can Take the Long Way."


Day 4 (24th March: Skógafoss - Vik - Halldorskaffi - Snow Mobile - Black Sand Beach - Dyrholaey -Reynisdrangar)

“I Think You Won't Make it. "


Day 5 (25th March: Vik - Mossy Lava - Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon - Svartifoss - Glacier Walk - Jökulsárlón)

“Coming to Iceland, We must Go for Glacier Walk."


Day 6 (26th March: Vatnajökull Ice cave – Jökulsárlón Diamond Beach)

“Cookie Run"

Day 7 (27th March: Jökulsárlón - Guesthouse Hólmur - Höfn - Vesturhorn - Brunnhorn - Coast - Egilsstaðir Town)

“Windy Day"


Day 8 (28th March: Egilsstaðir - Dettifoss - Selfoss - Krafla - Lake Myvatn Nature Baths - Dimmuborgir Guesthouse)

“Engine Oil is Low"


Day 9 (29th March: Hverir – Godafoss- Einishus Cottages)

“Summer House in Winter Night"


Day 10 (30th Marc: Godafoss - Aldeyjarfoss – Akureyri – Hamborgarafabrikkan - Christmas House)

“Rest"


Day 11 (31st March: Akureyri - hvítserkur)

“Change Plan"


Day 12 (1st April: Kirkjufell - Arnastapi - Londrangar)

“Somewhere"


Day 13 (2nd April: Kirkjufell - Reykjavik City – Hallgrimskirkja - Harpa)

“Real Reykjavik"


Day 14 (3rd April: Blue Lagoon – Car Rental - KEF airport)

“Surprise"


Day 15 (4th April: KEF - FRA)

“Goodbye Iceland"





How ?

The only way to roam around Iceland for the tourists is to rent the car, but which company? From what I've read on Facebook, the conditions of car and services of each company has both pros and cons.....It all depends on luck and the car when we actually got.



We decided to rent the Toyota Rav4 4x4 Automatic of Lagoon Car Rental from 21st March, the day we landed, to 3rd April, the day before departure.

Thank you for the sample photo from Google.




How much ?

This trip we employ the public money system in order to spend it easier. This includes the rental car, hotels, food and others that we all spend together. For other personal expenses like if we want to eat well, drink expensive things, it's up to each one of us.

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Photography Devices

Camera : D810 / D750 (Mostly, the Timelapse)

Lens : 14-24 , 20 , 24-120 , 70-200

Let's get started!!!

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Day 1 (21st March: Keflavik Airport – Lagoon Car Rental - Hotel - Kirkjufell Mountain)
“Where is the Aurora?"


We arrive at Keflavik airport at around 16.00 p.m. We fly to Iceland but why we land at Argentina where the sky is so white? After getting our luggage, we contact the rental car company in order to take us to receive our car and check for everything, including the conditions of the car (we check everything but the level of the engine oil, haha).

I share the sim card with a senior. I have low budget and I just needed to make a few calls, so let's share. We buy a sim card on the Iceland Air flight. Once landed, we register the sim card as per instruction. But, it's not working! Something got us since the beginning of the trip but we might just do it incorrectly (still have positive thought.)

Once we got the car, we go to receive our Pocket WiFi at certain place in Reykjavik. We are quite confused with the left side steering wheel but soon we got used to it. (Caution: there're cameras for speeding, we should not drive faster than 90 km/h. The GPS from the company will warn us if we drive faster than this limit (so lovely). And the GPS also warn us to slow down where the cameras are located.)


When we have our Pocket WiFi, we are now heading towards the Kirkjufellllll Our first mission is to hunt the Aurora since the first night at Iceland.....Let's go! And here is our Aurora!

Oh no ! ... Where is it? Our mission is failed since the first day TT




Day 2 (22nd March: Kirk -The Golden Circle - þingvellir - öxarárfoss - Geysir - Gullfoss - Bruarfoss)
“Secret Path of Waterfall"


The mission of hunting the Aurora at Kirk last night failed miserably. But that's alright, we are going for sunrise this morning.

The weather forecast said it'll be raining all day. Oh no! it's such a right name of Kirkfufell, we fail since the morning.


This is our first time to actually use the GPS that come with the car....and she takes us to the closed route!.....The GPS takes us to the closed route during the winter where the warning sign is there to block us. This wasted our 2 hours time TT

(Caution 1: We need to check for the route prior to every trip in Iceland from http://www.road.is/).)


But some luck is there with us as we see some horses greeting us along the route.

“What's up, little horses? "

When we are near the þingvellir, the weather is clearly changed. It's like our body is ready for snow.

We arrive at þingvellir National Park around 15.00 p.m. and drive further to öxarárfoss which is not far away.

That we wasted 2 hours earlier, we need to cut out some places by voting. The unfortunate place is Gullfoss.

After that, we keep on voting of where to go first between Geysir and Bruarfoss. Both photographers desperately wanted to go Bruarfoss first. "You have power when your hand hold camera, haha". (It' quite difficult to go to Bruarfoss as there's almost no sign. We rely on some guide from YouTube which is not clear at all.)

There, our mission to find Bruarfoss got started. After searching at the YouTube, we find that Bruarfoss is located in the summer house area but we don't know the exact location. We drive here and there around an hour before decided to park at the middle of the alley and started to walk ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvBvbct6e3Q but not in details).

We have to use our high instinct to guess. It's almost becomes a coin flipping thing. We must go up! We walk to find many "footprints", we must have come to the right place! We follow the footprint to find.....Bruarfoss, our main attraction of today.

It takes long time before we are here, please allow us to stay here a bit longer.....

It turns out that we stay here too long, haha. When we reach the Geysir, the sun is gone and we can't take photos.





Day 3 (23rd March: Seljalandsfoss - Gljúfurárfoss - Skógafoss - Airplane wreckage)
“We can Take the Long Way"


After two lost days in Argentina, today we are in Iceland TT, my tear is almost out. The sky is clear and it's the first time we see the sun, so happy.


We arrive at Seljalandsfoss around noon.

While the sky is open........the slight rain is there.....We get nervous with the mother nature whether she will take us back to Argentina or not....

(Caution 2: Rain coat for Seljalandsfoss. The short definition of this place is tall, huge, strong...... I didn't prepare the rain coat as I thought our winter jacket could prevent the wet a bit......It really is, partially. The rest is my body and the camera also get to experience the water.)

Gljúfurárfoss is the waterfall close to Seljalandsfoss. It's within walking distance.

Three of my seniors have the rain coat with them. I'd rather sit outside and dry myself.....I give up for this.

The sky continues to open here at Skogafoss.

The rainbow is vivid.

The highlight of today is the Airplane Wreckage on the southern coast. Previously, we could drive in but due to some incident, we could no longer do so. We must park outside and walk in.

...The round trip is only.....8 km.....

Let's warm up before walking.

The surrounding view helps ease our exhaustion.

Finally, we are here, at the Airplane Wreckage. 4 km is not that far when we talk while walking.


Once we got the shot, our hidden energy is all gone. So the way back of 4 km seems much farther than when we came TT. We are walking like the walking dead on the way back.




Day 4 (24th March: Skógafoss - Vik - Halldorskaffi - Snow Mobile - Black Sand Beach - Dyrholaey -Reynisdrangar)
“I Think You Won't Make it"

Last night we stayed at Hotel Skóga which is near to Skógafoss. We stayed there for the Aurora but still we didn't see it....due to the sky was completely closed TT but we still have the morning light!....When we wake up, we are welcomed by the rain and soon the snow follows.....We can have the full fun with snow now.


Most of our program today stay in Vik. From our research, there's a famous restaurant in Vik named "Halldorskaffi". We plan to charge up our energy here but some hillarious story happens due to miscommunication.

Once we take a look at the menu, we find it's quite expensive (for us TT) (but most of the restaurant is at this price rage). We order lamb, hamburger and soup to share. But the staff said, when ordering the lamb, it's a free soup. From the miscommunication and it's quite difficult to understand the English accent from some Iceland people, repeat, only some people, the staff understood that we order three soup and three lamb. So we got 3 lambs for that meal.....We have to pack for our next dinner.

(Caution 3. We need to have a clear communication when ordering food TT but the lamb is so delicious.)

Let's get back to our program for today. After sending off two other seniors to the Snow Mobile activity, I and my other senior have plenty of time to take photos around.


Let's enjoy the nature view of this town.

Before sending the two seniors off for the Snow Mobile, the weather got worsened. Finally, the hail falls with the snow storm.

I give a blessing to both of them that "I think you won't make it, haha". The weather is worsen to its worst.

But since the Snow Mobile ticket is already booked, they must go.

After both of them have enjoyed the Snow Mobile, we are now heading towards the Black Sand Beach in Vik.

We enjoy the black beach and strong wind near the coast with our landmark of today.

The wave is very strong.

Today we missed two attractions which are the Dyrholaey and another angle of Reynisdrangar due to we drive pass it and spend too long time at the Black Sand Beach.

Since we arrive at Iceland, We haven't seriously traced for Aurora. So tonight, this is our mission.

“Ok, let's do it since we have slept 3 nights without doing anything." Regardless of how the sky looks, we are going out of town to hunt for the Aurora. It seems like the chance for Aurora is also there.

The weather forecast said the sky is open but the KP is only 2....Therefore, we go back to our hotel to rest early in order to wake up at midnight and drive out to some place out of the city, empty and free from city lights. Along the way, we try to look out.

"Did you guys see something green? haha" Soon, I take out my camera to shoot something and I see something green.

That's right, it's Aurora!....But it's very thin, extremely fade.

The Aurora, our hero for tonight....comes with storm....

After a few minutes with the Aurora, we must get on the car to hide from the storm. Still, our hope is there.

We decided to drive up to hide from the storm with the hope that after the storm is gone, the sky will be beautiful.

And it's just like what we thought though the Aurora is less vivid.

Our statistics now is that out of three days, there's one day that we see the Aurora which is not a bad beginning.




Day 5 (25th March: Vik - Mossy Lava - Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon - Svartifoss - Glacier Walk - Jökulsárlón)
“Coming to Iceland, We must Go for Glacier Walk."

After feeling satisfied with the faded Aurora last night, the weather this morning is also pleasant. We depart from Vik to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. And along the way, we go pass Mossy Lava first.

Both way is paved with green rocks.

Since we have limited time this morning, we hurry to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. We must walk on foot for about 2 km.

(Actually we can also drive in but the road is still in dirt.)

Finally, we are here at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.

It's very beautiful.....Since our today program is packed, we can't roam around Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. We stay only at the foot of the mountain TT

I will come back again, F Ja (I can't pronounce it, let me call it like this.)

Again, we spend too much time with Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon that we have to cancel Svartifoss because we didn't have enough time.

We then hurriedly go to Skaftafell National Park for the Glacier Walk!?

Let me go back a bit. While planning the trip, I didn't aware of what the Glacier Walk is.

We pay 3,xxx THB, I wondered whether it's worth our entire afternoon? At first, I wanted to cancel this activity as it took too much time.....

Luckily, we didn't cut it out, otherwise, I will have a big regret!

The Glacier Walk is a walk on the ice. The guide lets everyone wear Crampons, the shoes with the claws for holding tight on the ice. The guide also gives everyone the Ice Axe in case we need to hold onto or drill something (it's more like drilling for fun.)

Here is the scene shooting for THE MARTAIN also (from what the guide said).

It's here that we can truly feel the icy country.

After the Glacier Walk mission, we quickly head towards Jökulsárlón Lagoon.

Soon, we arrive at Jökulsárlón Lagoon.

We watch the ice sitting on the shore before being sucked back into the sea again.




Day 6 (26th March: Vatnajökull Ice cave – Jökulsárlón Diamond Beach)
“Cookie Run"


Vatnajökull have many activities to offter. Our main mission for the entire morning and the afternoon is Ice Cave!?

Most of the ice is melted during when we visited. The cave we are going is Waterfall Ice Cave.
It's the only place that the ice remains at the end of March (We're very lucky to get to visit though a lot of them also have melted.)
Ice Cave in each year is also differed depending on the changing weather in each year.

It's crystal blue color.

The fare for private tour is quite expensive so I must take lots of photos with limited time.

(Although it is a private tour, the place is still a public one. At certain times, there're a lot of tourists inside.)

There's an ice cave at the foot hill but not the popular one.


Ice Cave is a place where we will never forget its beauty!

After the Ice Cave, we stop by at the Jökulsárlón Lagoon to charge up our energy before moving on.

From our visit on the other day, we find today visit different......

The many ices that day have been melted and most of them have been blown away into the sea....TT

Only a few is left on the shore....

Surprise!

These pieces of fat are waiting to disappear.

Cutie!

Jökulsárlón is quite spacious and huge. There's both Lagoon side and the sea side called Diamond Beach.

The beach is full of small and big ices sitting there for us to appreciate.

The seascape shots are quite difficult as the wave is strong and it's very dangerous.

(We must get wet in exchange for these beautiful shots.)

After being wet, now I know how to take....(after the salt, I learn).

After getting tired from running here and there, it's time for food. Not a far drive out of Jökulsárlón, we find this restaurant (hotel service is also available and we spend a night here.)

Our mission for today is unfinished. Although the weather forecast said the sky is closed.......

We will go for Aurora hunting!? (We will risk and see after noticing that the sky is open.)

Our hero shows up on time......This time is more vivid than the first time.

This is another lovely day.....Out of 6 days, we see the Aurora 2 days now.....Such a lovely achievement.




Day 7 (27th March: Jökulsárlón - Guesthouse Hólmur - Höfn - Vesturhorn - Brunnhorn - Coast - Egilsstaðir Town)
“Windy Day"


The Aurora last night made us quite exhausted. We go see places in the day time and trace the Aurora at night....
Today is our last day on the southern coast of Iceland so it's another long hours of driving day.
We continue driving to find the animal of Santa Claus....the reindeer!?

Iceland is a country where you keep seeing horses from time to time along the road. Sometime at a close up shot, sometime from afar view.

We just have to watch the way indefinitely. We finally come across a large herd of horses.

Most of them are quite friendly, hehe.

Then we head towards the Guesthouse Hólmur which is a reindeer farm. It's unfortunate that we didn't check the information well. This place is only open during the summer TT. So we have to continue driving to Höfn. Another unfortunate thing is today is the Easter Sunday.

Most of restaurants in town are closed....TT What can we eat now?

(Caution 4: We have to be sure about the holidays in each city in order to have enough stored food to eat, otherwise you will get starved like us, haha).

We decided to drive further to the next town in case food and restaurant is there (Luckily that we had big breakfast so we are still ok for now).

Upon entering the Vesturhorn, we stop at the Café at the entrance for food.Then, the owner asked for the entrance fee if we are going for photography at Vesturhorn.... It's 800 ISK each (if I remember correctly). I'm not sure if we are fooled but we told them that we wanted to take photos so we must pay.

We continue driving and reach the Vesturhorn. But the weather today is so cruel to us.

It's so windy that we could be blown away (we try by jumping and our position us changed when our feet hit the ground again......)

The sky is also closed and it's cloudy the entire day.

It's so windy........

Brunnhorn is nearby the Vesturhorn.


The Vesturhorn has black sand. When it's very windy, the sand is blown up like small storm going in our mouth and hitting our body....soon, we give up TT (We must turn back to the black sand that keep flying up when taking photos.)

After being defeated by the wind at Vesturhorn , we move towards the Egilsstaðir Town.

*** The road from Vesturhorn to Egilsstaðir Town is quite difficult to drive. It's the route along the mountain and the sea coast.

Certain road is rough and in slope (some road is inaccessible during the late winter. Due to snow coverage, we can't drive on the main road, the no. 1 road. So we must drive along the coast which is a detour route.)***

The road is dangerous and the wind is extremely strong (the wind blows up the snow from the ground and shivering our car almost the entire route.)


Finally, we make it to Egilsstaðir Town safe and sound. We go to our hotel and cook our dinner.

The weather forecast tonight said it's KP4 but the clouds could be there...Finally, our Aurora comes with the cloud.

And the snow also joins in, making the sky quickly closed and immediately ended our mission as well...TT

(Tonight, we take the Aurora in front of our hotel, Kaldá Lyngholt Holiday Homes.)




Day 8 (28th March: Egilsstaðir Town - Dettifoss - Selfoss - Krafla - Lake Myvatn Nature Baths - Dimmuborgir Guesthouse)
Engine Oil is Low."


Egilsstaðir Town is located on the middle of Iceland.
But the weather is completely different. It's like they are in different country! The snow covers almost the entire town.
And the weather is clearly much colder.
(After long drive, I see the console car warns "Engine oil is low" but I didn't care much which is quite bad.)

Let's get crazy with snow ><

Then, we continue to Dettifoss which we are yet sure whether the road is open, let's take a risk.

(We checked the condition of the road the night before to find that the road was closed but we anticipated that the snow might be melted during morning and afternoon, so we probably.......can go?)

Dettifoss is the backdrop for Prometheus which we also hope to see it with our own eyes.

Luckily, the road is open (the shoveled snow car is there to help clear the way.)

Here it is, Dettifoss!

This is the closest we can get (the other side of the road is closed.)

Thank you the shoveled car for letting us see Dettifoss (Since the time is not enough, we must cancel Selfoss as we have to walk 2 km further in. We have to cancel again, TT)

Our next destination is Krafla Lava Field. It is the mouth volcano where we can drive close.

But since the snow is heavy during the winter, the road is closed. We must park at the foot hill and walk up...

Here it is.......Klafla Lava… Field

(Caution 5: Make sure you have well information about tourist attractions in each season and don't fool yourself that it must be there.)

...A clear view of Klafla Frozen Field ...

After getting disappointed from Klafla Frozen Field, we also cancel Lake Myvatn Nature Baths and move it to tomorrow instead. Then, we go check in at Dimmuborgir Guesthouse to rest and go for Aurora hunting agian tonight. Before taking nap, we discuss about places for tonight mission. The weather forecast said it's KP4! Again, but Myvatn, where we stay, has the closed sky. Nonetheless, we can drive out to risk for open sky. After consultation and calculation, our destination is Godafoss which is about 60 km away. After having solid plan, we can have a good rest, yay!

I wake up again around 23.00 p.m. by a senior saying "hey, it's time to wake up, it's almost 23.00 p.m."

We must have extra time when driving at night on unfamiliar route.

Soon, we go for our Aurora hunting mission at Godafoss.

After driving for a while, the Aurora is at our head. Today is the first time we see it this clear. It comes in big lane.

When seeing this much, we hurriedly drive to Godafoss. Soon, the car warns us again, "engine oil is low."

Oh no, I'm more interested about Aurora, so I couldn't care less about it, haha. That we are in hurry, so I didn't pay much attention but continue to drive.

But we drive pass that location so we have to u-turn and drive back on a single lane road.....We stuck in snow, haha, MAYDAY MAYDAY

"The Aurora is there, the car is stuck, the weather is negative."

Finally, we can continue driving.

Come back to our Aurora again, wow!!!!


The temperature at when I took this photo is -13 degree Celsius and the location is a spacious, open, and windy, so painful.

Finally, we have to aerobic dance to fight with the coldness under the Aurora which comes to us from every direction.

The most important thing for tonight is to endure the coldness.

Soon, the performance is finished when the moon is out....and so as the clouds as usual....But just this, I'm already very satisfied from 3 hours in the coldness. Yet, it's more than worthy.




Day 9 (29th March: Hverir – Godafoss- Einishus Cottages)
“Summer House In Winter Night"

From the “engine oil is low" incident yesterday, we must solve this problem.
But the actual problem is none of us have car knowledge, haha.
We agree that I and P'M will take care of this while the other two seniors enjoy the warm water soaking time.
(Lake Myvatn Nature Baths – is a hot water pool similar to Blue Lagoon but with less people.)

I start to check the engine oil to find it's at the middle level (the color is rather black.)

I start to panic, I understand that the black means it's dirty and we must change the engine oil.
We drive to a car garage and wait 3 hours for the mechanic.... still, he didn't seem to show up any time soon but then a guy walk out to help.
He said “You don't have to chance the engine oil, you just need to buy it and fill it up yourself, no need to wait for the mechanic."

.....Give my half day back to me....

(Caution 6: At least one of the members should have car knowledge.)

After that, we drive to gas station to buy the engine oil but what type? Only Google can help.

Finally, we ask for help from the staff at N1 in which they are very happy to help and also give us some information.

“Partly, because the weather is cold so the car warns you that the engine oil is low. Even at the middle level, if the weather is too cold, it can also warn you the same thing." After that, I contacted the rental car company and informed them about this matter in which the company is willing to help and take the responsibility.

They said "You keep the engine oil bottle and the receipt and give it to us on the day you return your car and we will credit it to you."

I'm so happy now. Even I forgot to check the engine oil when I received my car, the company is willing to take the responsibility.....lucky us.

Enough for this long story, let's get back to our mission, haha.

We move onto Hverir where the smoke from the volcano is constantly flying up. Sometimes, it's a lot, sometimes, it's not much depending on the location.

Candid is quite cool.


Last night we enjoyed the beautiful Aurora at Godafoss and today let's go enjoy the evening light at Godafoss.


Soon, after the enjoyable photography time, it's time to go back to our hotel to charge up energy and get ready for Aurora hunting mission.

Tonight we stay at Einishus Cottages which is the summer house (the inside house is very beautiful with an attic and hot water pool.)

When we asked the owner for the best location to hunt for the Aurora, they said "Just stay here and you will definitely see it."

So here it is. Our location for Aurora hunting mission tonight (this is not hunting, but waiting, haha.)

Here it comes.......as per expected....

Tonight is a bit colder than last night. Since we can't stand two nights straight coldness, we hide inside the house.

(We set the camera outside and watch it from an attic. It's so good. We can enjoy the beer and plying the guitar while watching the Aurora, so happy.)

Suddenly, our Aurora bursts out!? >< I'm so happy tonight.

That it bursts out like this, we must also keep some memory shots.

The colder it gets, the more vivid the Aurora is, especially when the sky is open.....It's so good, we see the Aurora 4 nights out of 9 nights.




Day 10 (30th March: Godafoss - Aldeyjarfoss – Akureyri – Hamborgarafabrikkan - Christmas House)
“Rest"


It's another day that we change our plan. Since last night we enjoyed the Aurora for very long time and that we already got Aurora shots as well as evening light at Godafoss, we cancel our morning plan.
Before travelling again, we check the road condition to find that the road to Aldeyjarfoss is inaccessible so it also has to be cancelled.
We then head towards Akureyri, Santa Claus town.
Akureyri is a small cute little town. It's like the capital city of the northern Iceland.
We plan to have food at Hamborgarafabrikkan. It's a famous burger restaurant. The menu here is like a newspaper that they just give it to customers.

After our energy is charged, let's go walk around.

This town is very beautiful.

So as the people ><

Wandering around on the easy day and enjoying the surrounding atmosphere, we also accidentally see the Akureyrarkirkja Church.

Then, we go to the Christmas House which is not far away. There's almost no people when we arrive in the evening. Most people are here during the summer......

After that, we stay here tonight at Akureyri H.I. Cottages.

(It's a two story (like usual) wooden house with an attic and hot water pool.)

Tonight we also plan to hunt the Aurora but the weather forecast said it'd be cloudy.

But we didn't believe and wanted to see it ourselves. We wait until late night and walk out to find lots of clouds, haha. So we give up and go back to bed.

Let's just think of it as taking a rest after two night straight of Aurora.




Day 11 (31st March: Akureyri - Hvítserkur)
“Change Plan"


Each landmark on the northern Iceland is very far from one another.

It is about 200 km from Akureyri to hvítserkur.
It's such a long journey but.... we can make it even farther....haha.

From what we discussed last night, we wanted to take a risk again with Kirkjufell.
(Oh well, we wanted the Aurora with Kirk.) So we cancel the accommodation at Hvítserkur.

And change to stay at Kirkjufell instead (luckily that our first night hotel is still available.)

So, after arriving at Hvítserkur and enjoying the attraction, we still have another 220 km drive in order to go to Kirkjufell ... Today is indeed going to be a long long day.


There's a sheep farm on the road, so we make a quick stop, "what's up, human!"

Here is our tonight dinner.....Oh no, it's not like that...

We have a long journey to catch so we can't stop here too long.

The view along the road is just cheaty.

And finally, here we are at..... Hvítserkur, dinosaur rock.


A shot from above

Again, we are on the road to Kirkjufell and it's still a long journey ahead. The route from Hvítserkur – Kirkjufell is quite far and at certain point, the road is rough but not as bad as the road from the south to the north.

After such a long drive, our expectation is......

The Aurora and Kirkjufell!? Suddenly, the rain pours down.....another failing day.

...We decided to leave Hvítserkur for the rain here.




Day 12 (1st April: Kirkjufell)
“Somewhere"


Since we have a sudden plan changed, we need to plan for places to visit again today.
And since the weather is bad enough (raining since the morning and it's forecasted to be cloudy the entire day TT), we decided to drive to the eastern coast which is not so far from Kirkjefell.
(We have to check in again to another hotel in the evening at Kirk).The place that we are going to visit is Arnastapi – Londrangar.
The sea coast here has a lot of birds.....they are having great time flying around.

So cute..

We stop for photography here before soon reaching Arnastapi.

Here is the Arnastapi with strong wave going through the hole. I wait here quite long and my senior kick my tripod....(the most trusted person is also the most harmful one.)

The coast of Londrangar is also not far from Arnastapi but it's equally windy.

The wind is so strong that our hand is stiff. We finally have to give up and go back to Kirkjufell.

Our accommodation tonight is right at the foot hill of Kirk. Here is the view from our accommodation.

The evening the sky is open for evening light. Hopefully, the chance for Aurora is also... possible.


The view in front of Hálsaból Sumarhús, House no ll (from AirBnB.)

The weather forecast said the KP is 5 tonight, it's quite a strong one but the cloud is also there (oh no.)

Tonight we are waiting for the Aurora while keep checking for the clouds (that we are staying at Kirk makes it easier to check the clouds.)

Until about midnight........ Fate begins to feel us, after two nights failure at Kirkfujell......

the cloudy sky start to open and shine its beautiful to us.

"Mission Complete !"

I keep taking the Timelapse even after the clouds are gone and the Aurora is faded.....

Let's say our effort finally is answered.

We stay here until about 03.00 a.m. When the Aurora is almost gone then we go back to bed.

We now are completely torn...




Day 13 (2nd April: Kirkjufell - Reykjavik City – Hallgrimskirkja - Harpa)
“Real Reykjavik"

Our journey is almost come to an end and so as our body that traveling at day and hunting Aurora at night.
That we took the Aurora photos last night until almost 04.00 a.m., we wake up late....
We check out almost at noon and head towards Reykjavik (we get back to downtown area again, yay!)

One of our seniors knows Thai people in Iceland (let me refer to him as P'T.)
We also bring him small gifts on our first day at Iceland and today P'T volunteers to take us around Reykjavik.
The first destination that P'T takes us to is Perlan. It's a dome which is similar to the Planetarium in Thailand.
We have the downtown Reykjavik 360-degree views from this top floor.

We see both city and nature view. I feel envy people in this country.

From here, we can see the Hallgrimskirkja Church where we plan to visit in the evening.

Let's stop for food at hot dog (hot dog here has softer bread and smell better than the hot dog at N1 gas station, it's delicious ><)

Continue to Roam Around

Here are the friends of P'T who volunteers to take us around, such a fun group of friends.

Before the light is gone, let's go back downtown and visit the Hallgrimskirkja Church.

Harpa in the Evening

The color is also changeable.

Tonight we stay at Guesthouse Aurora which is located in the same area as the Hallgrimskirkja Church.

The hunting Aurora mission seems difficult tonight as the lights are a lot.

Actually, we want another night of Kirk with the Aurora but the road is too far. If we go, we might not be able to come back and sleep.

Oh well, let's take it as a night of resting and cook our dinner.

...But..very coincidentally that one of the seniors walk out and find.......the entire lane of Aurora.......

going through Guesthouse Aurora and other parts of the city (the name implies it already.)

We quickly take our photography devices and go to the Hallgrimskirkja Church.

The chance like this is rare! We clearly see the Aurora despite the city lights.

I can't imagine how much we would see if we go out of town!?

But soon the Aurora is gone....like usual but I'm already very satisfied with this. Let's go back and continue eating, haha.

...But tonight is yet finished. P'T invited us to enjoy the downtown Reykjavik, the night life area, hehe.

Down town Reykjavik is not very crowded, so as other area. But in the night time......it is.

The music played in the pub here is nice and very unique. More importantly, the draft beer is very fresh and delicious, hehe. Each glass is about 300 THB.




Day 14 (3rd April: Blue Lagoon – Car Rental - KEF airport)
“Surprise"


This morning, please allow me to use the photo from my mobile as our destination is the Blue Lagoon!
After almost two weeks of sun, rain, wind, cold, snow, wet from the sea, the hot water soaking time at Blue Lagoon would greatly relax our body.
We choose the premium package which includes bath robe, slipper, free drink at the water bar and sparkling wine at Lava Res (in case we order food.)
We can stay in the water for as long as we wanted!? (soaking in the hot water under the cold weather is so right.)

Water Bar – It's the drink exchange area. The cool draft beer in the hot water is simply called happiness.


The food at Lava Res. is extremely delicious (the water and the bread is unlimited served.)

After getting tired from hot water pool in Blue Lagoon, we have to return the car back to the company before 18.00 p.m.

I also remember to inform them about what we discussed earlier about the credit returning thing.

The staff is nicely acknowledged and process it for us. I'm very impressed.

After checking the condition of the car and find no problem, it's time to say goodbye to it.


Our initial plan is to have the rental car company send us to the airport and we will stay at the airport on our last night in Iceland.

This is because we have an early flight from Iceland to Frankfurt and staying at downtown hotel is inconvenient (we might miss our flight.)

But we have to change our plan as P'T invited us to stay at his house and invited us for dinner too.

He offers to take us to the airport the next morning... My deep gratitude and thanks to know overseas Thai.


But before that, he offers to take us to tour other place, haha.

(I can't remember the place) It is the tectonic rift between America continent and Europe which is larger than the one in þingvellir.





Day 15 (4th April: KEF - FRA)
“Goodbye Iceland"


The last morning in Iceland we wake up sadly at 05.00 a.m. in order to reach the airport by 07.00 a.m.
It's two weeks time that we travel and spend time in Iceland. We escape the heat for the cold (and it's too cold that we have to ask for mercy.)
We get to see the Aurora with our own eyes and now it's our last episode in Iceland so we got a bit sad.


Soon after boarding, we arrive at Frankfurt. We wait to transit the flight like the way we came (8 hours...TT).
We spend times by resting and wandering around the airport. If we have more time, we would also roam around Germany.
After that, we take flight back to Thailand.


Iceland is such a charming country. It offers a fascinating journey around the country, including many places that we didn't get to go.

It is partly because some places didn't open this time and sometimes we were running out of time.

This journey opens up the wider world and offers many different experiences to us. This is the first trip to Europe for some of us.

We get to learn many new experiences in life. We learn our mistakes and cope with unexpected incidents.

I hope I have chance to talk and share my experience again. See you again (if I still get to travel.)




Final words


1.For those who plan to travel to Iceland, you must spare plenty of time to enjoy the nature as it's beyond beautiful. The photographers also must spare plenty of time for each attraction as there're really a lot of angles for shooting.

2. Do not underestimate the wind, it's really very strong.

3. If we are hunting for Aurora in the winter, we must have good winter jackets as it will make us stay longer during the coldest hours at night.

4. It's only certain route that is difficult to drive in Iceland, for instance, the road from Vesturhorn the north. The rest is fairly easy.

5.Pocket WiFi that we use only have signal at certain area but some area it just shuts down.

6.Staying at hotel is also a good idea as we can have the Aurora right in front of it.

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For other photos, you can check them out from my Facebook page. Andi f you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them ><
https://www.facebook.com/wanut.p

Lastly, please enjoy the Iceland Timelapse.

Do not forget to click for HD too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80g9lUiqYfE

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Thank you so much for reading until this line :)

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