Day 3: Reykjavik > Hveragardi > Selfoss

Sun light streamed into our room at the Villa as we woke up.  It was 8am and since we were getting picked up by the Happy Campers bus, we only had a few minutes to get our luggage packed. Only minutes after rolling out of bed, our ride arrived!  Kyle and I threw our luggage into the back of the vehicle and hopped in.  The bus weaved in and out of Reykjavik’s narrow streets — stopping occasionally to pick up other couples.  As we made our way to our destination, we conversed with the other travelers.  These people had be to all ends of the earth including Antarctica and now they were going to explore Iceland!  I was thrilled to be among people who shared the passion to explore the rugged areas of the world. the happy camper When we reached the Happy Campers offices, we were happily greeted by the workers.   We were ushered to the desks to fill out some paper work before being handed the keys to our “home” while we were in Iceland.  After everything was signed, one of the workers took us out to our Happy 1 Camper and showed us all it’s bells and whistles. Happy 1 - Happy Campers Since the camper was a manual, Kyle was the sole driver during our trip, and unfortunately, he had very limited manual driving experience.  Needless to say, we had our fair share of embarrassing moments; however, after a few hours of practice we made our way to the Ring Road.  Our adventure had begun! The Journey Begins The clouds were low and it was raining as we made our way to Hveragardi, which was about 40 minutes southeast of Reykjavik. Ring Road On our way to Hveragardi, we were happy to confirm that the landscape was indeed still green, and not browning.  The scenery was stunning.  Even though it was raining, we decided to hike with we reached Hveragardi. The town of nearly 2,200 inhabitants nestled closely to the steep mountain slopes.  As we drove through the quiet town, we notice steaming areas hot with geothermal activity.  Heading north in town, we made our way to the Reykjadular trailhead.  We had read in a travel blog that you could swim in the heated river at the end of this hike, so naturally, we felt compelled to do the hike. There were only a few cars at the trailhead.  Excited to hit the trail, we quickly changed into our swimsuits, pulled on our rain gear, and set out on our first hike in Iceland.   Since it was pouring, we decided to leave Kyle’s camera in the camper — now we wish we would have brought it! Reykjadular trail The hike was absolutely breathtaking.  The trail was easy to follow, however, it was incredibly windy making some of the steeper parts a bit more challenging. Reykjadular The three kilometers trek in took us up a mountain and led us zigzagging along the edge until we reached a steaming valley. IMG_20140901_152902319_HDR-2 As we walked along the geothermally heated river, we scouted out the perfect place to jump in.  We passed other parties (some clothed and some very much not clothed!) already enjoying the warmth of the river.  We headed to the bend in the river and hop in. Reykjadular Since it was drizzling and cold, the warm river felt great. the Reykjadular trail We lounged in the warm water for nearly an hour before deciding to make the trek back to our camper. Peaceful outhouse Feeling refreshed, we decided to head to Selfoss.  We ended up eating Domino’s pizza for supper (lots of food for cheap since we didn’t eat at all during the day).  While sitting out in the parking lot, 3 Icelandic boys, probably around 7, thought our camper looked interesting and just decided to open our door and hop in — they thought our American accents were hilarious.  After getting bored with us, they went to terrorize the customers of another restaurant. Since it was getting late and we were planning on catching the 9:15am bus to Landmannalaugar in the morning, we camped at Gesthús in Selfoss.  For 1000kr, this campground offered free Wi-Fi, a large communal kitchen, and clean bathrooms with free showers.

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