My Absolute Favourite Place in the World
Ironically, this was a time when my camera ran out of battery. But maybe it was better that way.
My absolute favourite place in the world was totally unexpected. I hadn't planned to go there. It seemed like a big effort for one stop, but my travel partner was determined. After um-ing and ah-ing we decided to just do it – what were we to lose?
We were staying in Vik, a small town in Iceland, a two and a half hour drive from Reykjavik. We had made an old, creepy – definitely haunted – hotel our home for a few nights. Vik is shadowed by one of the largest volcanos in Iceland – Katla. So the town itself, is rather eery.
We got up early in the morning, the sun hadn't rose yet, although the sky was a deep blue colour casting a blue tinge on the world around us. Iceland in winter is really beautiful. Since the sun rises late and sets early, there's quite a few hours every day where it's not quite dark yet. It's as though those moments between dusk and darkness are on pause.
The town doesn't open until the sun comes up, so with no time to wait for the supermarket to open, we just left. We drove for four hours straight. No food. No stop-offs. Just us, the road and some good tunes.
The wind was particularly strong that day – the sheer force of it was unbelievable. The car was being thrown all around the road. Now this is Iceland, we thought to ourselves.
It was freezing cold and by the time we got there, we were starving. So we went into the only restaurant we'd seen for miles and helped ourselves to some creamy mushroom soup – essential. After filling our stomachs we went exploring.
I think authentic travel is kind of destroyed by our need to Google everything – and I'm no exception. But this time, I hardly researched before I went.
All I knew was Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon, where the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier is residing, causing it to drop parts of itself, or icebergs, into a lagoon.
Sounds like nothing special, but when there, it's really something. I'd never seen anything like it. Picture huge blue glaciers sit floating on a large lagoon – snow-capped mountains in the background. Photographs do not do it justice. There's just no way to capture the sheer size of it all.
The lagoon itself was incredible, tranquil and rather peaceful. The glaciers moved slowly, as if they're creeping up on something, ready to pounce. We made our way down to the black sandy beach where the lagoon meets the sea. Giant icebergs pick up a bit of speed with the force of the ocean pulling them out, gobbling them up. Some crash against the incoming waves, a battle begins – icebergs wash up onto the shore left to wait for their time.
The beach is scattered with icebergs far as the eye can see. It's hard to explain how truly breathtaking it is.
Something changed in me that day. It's as though I saw something I never knew possible. I remember the first time I saw a glacier, it was in New Zealand and I couldn't really comprehend what it was, or how old it really was. But seeing chunks of the glacier making its way into the ocean was something else. There's something so sad about seeing a part of history taken by the waves or left to rot on a black sand beach.
And I realise that one day, there'll be none left, and how lucky I am to have experienced the beauty of Jökulsárlón.
Where's your favourite place in the world? Where have you been left breathless?