Thoughts of physically exhausted Vanessa on hikes: "if these seniors that started out behind me and managed to overtake me 0 to 100 real quick, then WTF am I doing", "if these children and dogs can climb and descend these steep inclines, then so can I", and "hold up, IS THAT GUY HIKING THE STEEPEST AND MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE MOUNTAIN....IN FLIP FLOPS???!?!!? ARE YOU FORKING KIDDING ME???"

(For the record, flip flops guy made it further than me up the mountain and watched me basically crawl my way up, NBD. You don't even want to know how I made it off the mountain. It was pitiful 😂😭)

We (and by 'we' I mean 'me') drove around Iceland for almost 4 days in our cozy little VW Polo rental, and experienced Snaefellsnes, the Golden Circle, and the south coast. It was amazing to see the varying and dramatic landscapes of Iceland, and how quickly the weather changed as you drove into another region. As well, there's nothing quite like being the only vehicle on a single lane highway, with miles stretched ahead of you that weave between eclipsing mountains and over lakes. Honestly, I felt like I was the star in a car commercial.

If you have a few days in Reykjavik and want to kill half a day, definitely do the Mount Esja hike! It's accessible by bus from the city (~1hr ride), and from the top of the mountain you get amazing views of the city (seen in the background of photo #2 and #3). We were also able to refill our water bottles from the streams, and I'm going to sound very GOOP-y here but, goddamn, that was the crispest and freshest water I've ever tasted.

My fat a$$ planned to wake up in the early AMs on two occasions because I thought it would be a genius idea to photograph some sites at sunrise (Kirkjufell + Kirkjufellsfoss, and Skógafoss). Key word: planned, because that failed as I couldn't wake up in time, but I did manage to get photos without tourists in them at 5 am. I really don't know how I wasn't able to get out at sunrise to photograph Skógafoss—I SLEPT IN A TENT ON SITE. (Here's a photo!)

If there's one thing I recommend doing in Iceland, the one thing I'd do again despite the physical activity involved, it's hiking to see Glymur, the second highest waterfall in the country. It's a picturesque hike that requires river crossing, rope grasping, and a healthy dose of pettiness/competitiveness to (attempt to) beat the Icelandic seniors that overtook you on the trail. Photos starting from -I'm staring out within a cave and pretending to be in LOTR- to the last photo with the two waterfalls are all photos from the hike, plus this side photo of one of the inclines we had to climb →

Honestly though, I really enjoyed those hikes despite constant complaints from tiredness on the actual hike, and photographing Iceland is always worth every early start.

P.S. The photo of Gulfoss below flips when you hover over it.

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