Back to Iceland, in winter


Last time we traveled to Iceland, it was late summer and we got stranded in a snowstorm. Now, we’re going back – in winter.

Why? The country is beautiful, and spending most of two days waiting out the storm in a cold farmhouse resulted in us missing some areas and activities of interest.

We’ll be returning to the places we hurried through last time – Lake Mývatn and Akureyri – and also going to the Snæfellsness Peninsula, which wasn’t on our itinerary.

Why winter? I looked up flights on whim and ticket prices were low. And, really, it doesn’t seem like it could get much worse. We have plenty of experience driving in winter conditions in the Rockies, and on our previous trip it seemed to be the time of year the storm occurred that surprised many. We’re planning for short days and slow driving, and our SUV will have studded tires.

The one thing we didn’t consider when buying our plane tickets was the ongoing eruption of the Bárðarbunga caldera. The eruption, which began last summer, is the largest the country has seen in 200 years. The Holuhraun lava field now covers more than 84 square kilometers, or 32 square miles – the size of Manhattan. Fortunately, it hasn’t interfered with flights.

We still expect to get out this time, but instead of hiking boots we’ll be taking along cross-country skis and possibly snowshoes.