Monthly Archives: January 2016

Iceland Adventure Tour: snowmobiling on a glacier

We booked our adventure tour in Iceland for our second day. We had a few different tours to choose from but ultimately wound up choosing the super jeep tour Golden Circle and Langjökull glacier; we had already been to  Þingvellir national park so we skipped it during the tour and spent our time visiting the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall and Langjökull glacier with an activity add-on; 1 hour snowmobile tour on Langjökull glacier.

We got picked up at the hotel at 9 am by our tour guide, Hos, and jumped into his super jeep to begin the tour. Our first stop was the Geysir geothermal area which was about an hour drive from our hotel. Since it was still dark at 9 am the sun was just starting to show as we reached the geyser area. The Geysir field is situated at the northern edge of the southern lowlands, at an altitude of 105-120 m above sea level.

Our guide dropped us off and told us he would meet us at the lodge located down the hill. We walked over to the geyser which immediately exploded into the air. Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 meters in the air (about 230 feet). We didn’t see it reach that high (we probably saw it reach closer to 50 feet) but it was still amazing to see. Our guide told us the water temperature in the geyser channel reaches 125 degrees Celsius (257 degrees Fahrenheit). It went off every 15 minutes or so but since we didn’t want to keep our tour guide waiting we just watched it go off twice. I didn’t get a picture of it going off but here it is as it was winding down.Geysir Geyser geothermal areaThis was our view on our way back down the hill.

We wound up having some time to kill in the lodge which gave us an opportunity to buy some warmer gear in the shop. Tom bought a warmer hat and I bought a pair of gloves. At this point we were just getting used to the exchange rate and thought we were paying $10 for the gloves but they wound up being closer to $40. For the rest of the trip we made sure to check the correct rate on our phones.

Our next stop was Gullfoss waterfall. It wound up not being the best day to go since it was incredibly windy. So windy that I could not stand still once I got out of the car. Taking a picture was nearly impossible but we quickly snapped a few and then walked up to get a better view of the waterfall from an overlook on a cliff.

ali and tom at gulfoss waterfall Gullfoss waterfall

IMG_5448 IMG_5492At this point we were freezing and headed inside for lunch.IMG_5493Our tour guide had told us that Iceland isn’t known for any one meal but that if he was to say what the Icelandic meal was it would be “meat soup” which is basically lamb noodle soup. We ordered a bowl to share and both agreed we didn’t particularly enjoy lamb in soup (although we didn’t tell our tour guide this after he was raving about it).

IMG_5507Tom’s new hat. Kills me.

We had some cappuccinos to refuel and then were on our way to the highlight of the day, Langjökull glacier. I don’t think I can accurately put into words just how incredible this part of the day was. It took over an hour to reach the top of the glacier and even though there is a route the tour guides follow to get up the mountain, the entire mountain is covered in snow and there are no visible roads, you are basically just driving straight up a mountain. The super jeeps have spikes on their wheels that allow them to get up without sliding down but it was a bumpy ride and definitely adrenaline inducing. About halfway up the mountain the tour guide got out to let air out of the tires so we could get the rest of the way up the mountain. While he stopped to do this we got out to enjoy the view.

IMG_5508 Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.30.34 AMThis is also when we snapped a quick picture to announce our engagement on social media.

Once the air was let out of the tires we got back in the jeep for the drive up the rest of the mountain to the snowmobile rental location. It was basically a little shack in the middle of nowhere on this huge mountain with snowmobiles lined up out front.IMG_5494It wound up being just Tom and I along with three other people and our snowmobile guide. Tom and I decided to share a snowmobile because I wasn’t sure how I would feel driving.
IMG_5511 IMG_5510 IMG_5509 Tom drove on the way to the glacier and was going up to 70 mph. We were following our guide who was leading us to the glacier and I was taking in the view while holding on for dear life. It was so much fun. At one point, another couple did flip over but the snow was fresh and powdery so they weren’t hurt. Once we reached the glacier we all stopped to take pictures and take in the view.
IMG_5234 FullSizeRender

IMG_5248On the drive back to the cabin I decided I’d attempt to drive. I actually found it less scary to be the one driving than the one on the back. Probably because I felt more in control but we were flying on the way back. Our guide even took us down steep parts of the mountain where you weren’t allowed to use your breaks at all because if you did there was a chance you would spin out of control and the snowmobile would roll down the mountain (that’s all I needed to hear to not even think about touching the breaks).

It was by far one of the best experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. On our drive back to the hotel our tour guide decided to stop at a small town to show us a small natural hot spring. IMG_5501

The legend of this hot spring is that if you wash your face with this water it will heal any eye problems you have. I told Tom to do it (he has bad vision) but he just stuck his hand in. It was crazy how warm it was!IMG_0210IMG_5499 IMG_5500This town also had it’s own greenhouse. You’ll see these greenhouses all over Iceland because this is how they grow their vegetables in the winter.IMG_5498IMG_5497The hot spring led out to this lake which was also warm — we saw a man nearby swimming off his dock!

Once we got to the hotel we were more than ready to relax. We changed into clothes for dinner and headed to the Northern Lights bar for a drink before our reservation. We wound up running into the man who sat next to us on the plane who was with his friend who met him in Iceland from Nice, France. We chatted with them for awhile about our respective adventure tours (they did glacier hiking and toured an ice cave). They also were staying at the same hotel as us in Reykjavik – so ironic! northern lights barI’ll be recapping our two days in Reykjavik early next week! I also already put together a “Guide to Iceland” that I’ll be posting next week as well so if anyone is planning a trip in the future I can give you some good recommendations!

Have a great weekend!