RTW Trip Roundup

My year (plus some) trip over three continents has finished and I’m still processing everything I saw and learned! I visited 20 countries in total. Here’s a list of each country with something I will remember about it, as well as a gallery of photos which hadn’t previously made it onto the blog.

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Icelandic Food

The strangest thing I think I've ever eaten... smoked puffin breast at 3 Frakkar in Reykjavik

The strangest thing I think I’ve ever eaten… smoked puffin breast at 3 Frakkar in Reykjavik

I’ve been traveling around central and eastern Europe for the past few weeks and getting my delicious fill of wiener schnitzel and goulash, but I’ve also been craving some of the Icelandic delights I had during my road trip a few weeks ago. The amazing fresh seafood and awesome lamb dishes were undeniably sumptuous, albeit a bit above my backpacker price range.

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Iceland Road Trip: Day 5

Strokkur, Geysir's neighbor, erupts every 4 minutes or so

Strokkur, Geysir’s neighbor, erupts every 4 minutes or so

I arrived at Gulfoss, one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, at just about 2 o’clock in the morning. I had drunk a lot of Red Bull before the drive because I was nervous about getting drowsy, and the drink worked better than I had expected. Full of energy, I decided to just go ahead and visit the falls in the twilight, which turned out to be a magical experience.

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Iceland Road Trip: Day 4

Seriously, looking at this sky never got old.

Seriously, looking at this sky never got old.

I initially wanted to visit Snæfellsnes National Park on day 4, but I quickly realized that it was an overly ambitious plan. As it was, I spent most of the day driving even without making the detour onto the peninsula! I definitely could have used another two or three days with the car to see more sights. It just means I’ll have to go back one day.

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Iceland Road Trip: Day 3

Europe's Most Powerful Waterfall meets the Yank without a Chain

Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall meets the Yank without a Chain

From Bakkagerdi I headed to the northern coast of the island and visited Dettifoss, “Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall,” and the area around Myvatn – “Midge Lake” or “Fly Lake” in English. The road up to Dettifoss was the worst I experienced and I was terrified of getting a stone in my windshield. The insurance for the car doesn’t cover any windshield damage, which didn’t seem like such a big deal until I realized that it is actually very possible to get a stone kicked up at you from another car on these gravel side roads. Fortunately, this didn’t happen to me and I made the round trip to Dettifoss with my car intact.

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Iceland Road Trip: Day 2

The port and mountain view at Seydisfjordur in eastern Iceland

The port and mountain view at Seydisfjordur in eastern Iceland

On my second day I drove along the gorgeous eastern coast of Iceland and visited the small towns of Seyðisfjörður (Seydisfjordur) and Bakkagerði (Bakkagerdi).   I had my first real meal at Seydisfjordur at Hotel Aldan – delicious Atlantic salmon and beet salad – and went on a nearly 6-hour evening/night hike at Bakkagerdi. It was great to get out of the car and stretch my legs for a little while!

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Iceland Road Trip: Day 1

Where I slept in my Nissan Note on my first night, with views of a waterfall behind me and the ocean in front.

Where I slept in my Nissan Note on my first night, with views of a waterfall behind me and the ocean in front.

On the first day of my five-day roadtrip around Iceland’s Ring Road, I picked up my car at Keflavik airport at around midnight and drove through the night toward Dyrholaey on the southern coast. The first couple of hours I was driving through dense fog and was excited and jet-lagged and nervous all at the same time. I’d never rented a car on my own before, much less driven so many hours in such a short time. Around 2:30 in the morning the fog lifted and I saw the gorgeous summer sunrise and I knew that I had made the right decision in coming to Iceland.

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