Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Island) is an island south of the mainland. It is a short ferry ride to get there. The Vestmannaeyjar Islands consist of many islands, all created from volcanoes, so what did we do? We took a 1.5 hour boat tour around the islands. On the boat ride, we saw where the Barbary pirates landed and raided, multiple volcanoes, tons of puffins and the ever changing rock/islands. One of the giant rocks that came out was the largest puffin breeding colony in the world, estimated to have 4 million puffins. The rock formations where highly dynamic, the tour guide was able to point out everything that has changed year to year. We even got to go in the caves with the boat and at the end, the tour guide pulled a saxophone out of nowhere and started played in a cave. What an odd but cool experience. There was also a golf course of all things on the volcanic island. Every year, the people living on the island have a huge festival that 250,000 people go to (Iceland’s population is only 350,000), but sadly we missed it by a couple days.

Glacier Climbing

I ate spaghetti, the cheapest food you can get in Iceland so I could do something super cool on my last few days in Iceland. For my last full day, I ended my trip with a glacier climb of Sólheimajökull with about an hour of ice climbing with crampons and ice axes. This was the highlight of the trip. We obtained full ice climbing gear from our guides which were amazing. One was from England, the other was from Sweden and looked like twin vikings and acted like the Weasley twins from Harry Potter. They were hilarious and very knowledge about glaciers. I can now mark glacier and ice climbing off of my bucket list. The glacier it self was a bit odd. Being in Iceland, land of the volcano, most of the glacier was preserved in volcanic ash giving cool contours and random little piles of ash from holes in the ice that have long melted away.

Iceland’s Independence Day

June 17 is the Icelandic 4th of July. They gained independence from Denmark and the city erupts into a city wide festival including live music, parades, Icelandic horses, a ton of children activities, kung fu, gymnastics and so much more. You name it, they do it. This is also the day when Icelanders take over Iceland from the tourist. This was the one day when no one spoke English by default. Kids took over the park, kinda scary. This was a pretty cool event and a must see for anyone craving a bit of Icelandic culture, not watered down by tourist.