As someone living in Freysnes in the Vatnajökull region, for 3 years now, sometimes I cannot believe it has already been this long. When I first moved to Iceland, I had only an idea of what the country would look like. I even did some research, like anyone moving to a different land to their own would, and was delighted by everything that I found. I was ready to experience it all for myself!
Coming from a town with 158.000 habitants to living in a natural reserve with only 80 people to casually interact with, is something I am sure most people would agree counts as a pretty drastic move. It requires some adaption – and I was up to the challenge and excited about my decision – one that I would make all over again in a heartbeat.
“Have you seen the view?”
The first thing that people usually ask me nowadays is “How can you live so isolated?” and I always throw a question right back at them – “Have you seen the view?”. How many people can say that they have a glacier, a few volcanos and the highest peak of Iceland as a backyard? Not many, but lucky for you, I’m about to give you a glimpse into it.
For starters, working for the local hotel – Hótel Skaftafell – has its perks. I can just wake up in the morning before work and go on a walk to Svínafelljökull glacier. The path to this beautiful glacier is around 20 minutes, if you are not stopping every two minutes for photos or to enjoy the view that is. Skaftafell National Park is also remarkably close at just a 5-minute drive down the main road.
I will admit that in my first year, I was more focused on settling in my new life, rather than exploring. But I did manage to see my first northern lights, my first midnight sun, had my first visit to Jökulsárlón, a magical glacier lagoon by Vatnajökull filled with unsuspecting seals and young brides in their wedding dresses and I visited Svartifoss, my favourite waterfall mainly because of the eternal rainbow surrounding it, and I even had a tour of my first Ice cave!
Since then, I have discovered many different places around me and revisited old ones. And if there is something, I can tell you right now, is that every single place I visit will feel like the first time, every time.
The perfect meditation place
My favourite place to visit on those days where I’m not working hard at the hotel, is Svínafelljökull. I love reaching the top of the hill and sitting for a while looking down at the glacier – It’s form, the sounds of the ice cracking, the birds, the feeling that you are completely alone in the world, early in the morning before the unsuspecting guests who I checked in the night before show up looking for adventure.
Then look around to enjoy seeing Skaftafellsjökull, the park, Skeiðarársandur, Skeiðarárjökull, Lómagnúpur, Vatnajökull and on a truly clear day as far as Vík. I could stay there for hours, a perfected meditation place for someone who prefers the open air.
When it is safe again, we will all be here to welcome you and share it all again! Everywhere you go, you will notice how passionately we talk about this place. Every Icelander has a profound pride in their home. In a way that is how I feel as well, as a proud unofficial ambassador for the Vatnajökull region.
Want to get inspiration, insight and a perspective of everyday life by a local nature lover? You can find me wandering around the area or follow me on instagram: @theworldbyvioleta.