So after completing a tour of the Southern Ring Road in Iceland we headed back toward Reykjavik and the Western Peninsula. We had added a last minute concert that we did not want to miss and decided not to do the entire ring road because of time constraints.

Waking in the early morning and starting the day with bacon (because for some reason I equate van life and bacon synonymously) we hit the road to do the Golden Circle tour on our own. The Golden Circle is a popular tour that leaves daily from Reykjavik so if you do not have a car you can easily book a bus day trip.

Luckily, because we were up so early, and because we weren’t far away from our first stop, the Geyser, we enjoyed the frigid morning walk with minimal tourists, as the buses had not yet started to arrive. I am not going to lie, it might look gorgeous in the photo below, but it was FREEZING. I mean frigidly cold and after only about 15 minutes I was running for the gift shop.


But of course you have to see the geyser, which involves waiting multiple minutes as the water begins to bubble and gurgle like living cauldron. I was very glad we arrived so early because we were able to see the sun rising behind it, which was magnificent.

I also was able to capture this vid.

In fact, when I was waiting to take this picture, my phone was out in the cold for too long and right as the geyser spewed out,  I tried to snap the picture but my phone turned off and would not restart. I had no idea if I had captured the picture or not but that was my cue to get to warmth. About 20 minutes later, after we were back in the car and I plugged the phone in, this was the shot I saw. It was magnificent and beautiful all at the same time.

Then we were over to Gullfoss Waterfalls.

Gullfoss in Þingvellir national park

By the time we arrived at Gullfoss, there were tons of buses and tourists that had already arrived. If I thought the chill at the geyser was bad, to get down to the waterfall viewpoint you have to walk down some stops with a turbulent and frigid cross wind. Needless to say, it was very cold down here. There is also a path that you can walk along the ridge on the left side of the photo.

After a couple snaps, I was headed back to the gift shop where I found a piece of Icelandic art, which I loved and bought.

There are a few other stops on the actual Golden Circle tour but we had hit them on our trek across the Southern Ring Road so from Gullfoss we were headed back to Reykjavik and out of the city again toward the Western Peninsula. This was a detour off of the ring road and there was big effort for us to see the Northern Lights since they had somehow still alluded us on this trip.

What I absolutely loved about this drive is that there were very few cars on these roads, we had the whole Peninsula to ourselves and it was a great drive. We listened to crazy playlists from Amazon such is a song for every state, and tried to guess what we could and laughed when it wasn’t a good choice.

music, and cold glacier air. It was a great day.

We stopped often for photos and even to enjoy a walk along a secluded beach we saw from the road. It was a really beautiful place.

This was another of my favorite churches. It was really interesting to think about living here and trudging to a church in this beautiful place every weekend.

I couldn’t stop taking photos, everything was so  vibrant and amazing, it was hard to choose which pictures to even add here without overdoing it.

We ended up spending the night at a farm and ran around with Icelandic horses in the morning before heading back toward Reykjavik completing the full loop.

After much driving, which Laura did the majority of (Thank-you!) we were arrived back in Reyjavik a few hours before the last show on the Icelandic Airwaves Concert, featuring MUMFORD & SONS. I feel so extremely lucky to have been able to get last minute tickets to this concert. It was truly THE BEST ending to this month long trip, I could have ever dreamed of.

We were one of the first few people there and so with a wild and rainy downpour we whittled away the afternoon and Laura concocted the best dinner we had yet with chicken, broccoli, and a crazy cheese sauce. We ate ALL OF IT.

It was so delicious. After dinner we cleaned up and waited a few more minutes for the front doors to open. Skipping through the rain we were inside and walking to the front of a very small venue that Mumford and Sons would be performing at.

Notice here, this is a much smaller van then the Escape Camper Vans we rented when we went around the National Parks. My recommendation is definitely to upgrade to the one above this. It was quite cramped for the both of us when we would put the bed down every evening.

After some really great opening performances, Laura and I slowly crept to the front for when Mumford and Sons came on stage.

I don’t know how they do it but I was overcome by so many different emotions during this concert and every time I get to watch them live. As of right now I have seen them perform in Rome, the Leeds Festival in the UK, at Giants Stadium in San Francisco, and now at the Icelandic Airways concert in Iceland.

I just have so much love for their music. It moves my soul every time. Thank-you. It was complete privilege being able to be a part of this night. 
After the concert was over, Laura and I drove to a campsite nearer to the Blue Lagoon and doubled for a lighthouse point. It was hard to get a picture in the night but it was defintiely an amazing place to wake up the next morning. We went to the Blue Lagoon before the sun rose and enjoyed the warm water there before it became very busy.

Then, as the sun was rising, we were heading back tot he van and getting ready to clean it up and drop it off at the airport. Our trip was at it’s end. A couple hours later we were both saying goodbye at the airport and zipping back to different part of the U.S. My heart was so full, there was so many people I had gotten to see after long years apart, so many new friends made along he way, so many spectacular sights to see. I mean if anything this trip has given me an even bigger zest for this world and different cultures. It did nothing to lessen the travel bug that has borrowed itself thoroughly into my soul.

Even though the Northern Lights have alluded me in both Finland and Iceland I now have even more incentive to make it up North again to see them.

However, getting to see Nix when I got home was quite amazing! I brought a basketful of chocolates from all the different countries for my neighbors to try in gratitude for watching her. It was a proper reunion.

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.

P.S. a couple months after we got back from Iceland I received the Mumford and Sons poster in the mail from Laura. She was SO SNEAKY she bought it when I went back out to the car after the concert. It has turned into one of my absolute favorite pieces of art. THANK-YOU.