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Tour of the North

This time a year ago we had finished finalizing plans, were double checking our packed bags/checklists and counting down the minutes until our trip. We were about to embark on a ten day trip in the Arctic Circle. We were headed to Iceland and Stockholm, Sweden. Almost a year of planning went into this, and it was well worth it. We planned our trip towards the summer months, which unfortunately puts us a month behind the Northern lights. We chose this time frame for a reason though. We wanted to have more day light over the night skies. Purpose, to cram everything we could into the week we were there. The 20 hours of daylight made these {insane} dreams a possibility.

Our trip itinerary: Tuesday: leave U.S. soil Wednesday-Saturday: Iceland Sunday - Wednesday: Sweden Thursday-Saturday:Iceland Sunday/Monday: U.S.A

First stop, once we got into Iceland, was coffee, asap. However, Iceland threw a wrench in our plan on this one for a bit... Our flight arrived on time, and we were out of the airport with our car at 7:30 a.m. (Pretty sure that is the most efficient we have ever been, probably a record.) Yet the stores and coffee shops in Iceland don't open until after 9! To kill some time we walked around, rearranged our suitcases, repacked our carry-ons for our adventure that day, which killed 20 minutes. Then we sat outside the coffee shop waiting for it to open. The barista opened the door at 9:05; we barged in as if it was the black Friday tickle me Elmo came out. We may have scared the barista with how eager we were, and quickly we drank our four espressos. They were delicious though and were made very fancy.

Now with caffeine on our side, we were off for our day.

First stop: Ikea...

Because we didn't even think about needing towels for the springs or waterfalls. Now, with towels, on to the real fun waterfalls, a deserted airplane, and black sand beach. Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrafoss were our first waterfall visits. It is roughly two hours from the airport, but from Ikea and the coffee shop, it was a quick hour. You cannot miss this Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It is massive and visible from ring road. Due to this being one of the first stops for a lot of people leaving the airport, they tactfully have put in a food stand, gift shop, and bathrooms. Which we graciously welcomed the bathroom after a few hours in the car. Seljalandsfoss was beautiful, but the real beauty was once you stood behind it. You couldn't hear the person next to you with how much force the water was dumping. The climb behind the waterfall is a bit steep and wet. Proper shoes are highly advised for this trip — ones with lots of traction and ones that you don't mind getting soaked. While Seljalandsfoss is forceful, it was not our favorite. Just a walk around the bend is Gljúfrafoss. This gem is tucked inside the cliffs. It is not massive like a lot of other waterfalls throughout Iceland, but it is magical. As you walk through the stream to get to it, the air swirling around you, midst from the waterfalls and small caves throughout you feel as if you have been taken to a scene from the Hobbit. With a large rock in the heart of the pocket, it is encouraging all to come to stand and view the full glory of mother nature from below.

Back to the car like the wet dogs we were, pouring out the water from our shoes, ringing out our clothes and blasting the heat to dry off the best we could. We were off for our next stop the abandoned plane, which is just a quick drive down the road. If we did not have the WiFi in the car, we would have missed this as well as a few other locations on our trip. What we quickly learned though, if you saw a bunch of cars pulled over at what appeared to be at nothing and if you saw a sign that looked to resemble a four leaf clover or an on and off ramp, it was probably something worth stopping for. However, this stop isn't just off the side of the road like the majority of the sites in Iceland.