Over a month later, you can't say I didn't warn you.
So: Iceland - a land that drives you to a constant state of wonder and awe; a land that plays tricks on your mind with its eternal sunshine and ever-changing landscapes; a land where the people are very friendly, ice blond, and on the quieter, reserved side.
Below will be a barrage of amazing photos, because anyone who steps foot onto that 103,000-square-kilometer island is suddenly a gifted, profound and stunning landscape photographer - the land makes it that easy! And boy, does it hit every item on the spectrum. So T and I packed our Kia Sportage (our transportation, accommodation, changing room, kitchen, and general home-away-from-the-home-we-don't-have-anymore for 10 road-trippin' days) and headed onwards.
The south is nuts: it's all waterfalls and lush green mountains, then gigantic blue glaciers, then huge snowy mountain fjords, then flat, black moon terrain, then huge waterfalls all over again. Once you circle round to the north, it settles into just lush green mountainsides, until you get to Myvatn, where you see the largest volcano smack dab in the center of the freaking island, then sulfur pits that would literally melt a human being, then crazy lava rocks where they filmed Game of Thrones (Jon and Ygritte cave!), then Detifoss, which is so powerful, it makes you realize how men looked at that energy and wanted to put it to use.
Then you venture into the Westfjords, which are so pretty you want to cry (and see the puffins!). Then we made out way to the center, to do a little mountain-roading into Landmannalaugar, which we thought would be a secluded haven (hot springs! hiking! isolation!) from the masses of tourists around the Golden Circle (obligatory), but was unpleasantly surprised to find it also packed.
We also spent time in Reykjavik, went for a hike to the second highest waterfall (Glymur, great name), and slept like babies for the first time in 10 days (a bed! a sweet, glorious bed! with curtains over the windows and a cushioned mattress!). Reykjavik is a cute little downtown, the suburbs being like most other suburbs, with the most expensive alcohol you'll ever have the pleasure of enjoying (70% tax).
Our takeaway: Reykjavik is pleasant, and the smaller towns are charming if mild-mannered. The real gem is the rest of it: the most beautiful country you will ever see. I mean, hauntingly beautiful. It's so gorgeous, we were literally exhausted from being in a constant state of awe. Halfway through, I craved something boring to drive through so I could zone out for one second.
Iceland is the kind of place that for everything after, you'll always compare it to your first love; your first look at true expanse; your first real terror and wonder of this huge, wild world.