+ Menu

The time I almost died in Iceland…


Rekyjavik, Iceland

I know this title is pretty click-bait-y, but it is a true story, I promise! Zach and I bought an impromptu trip to Iceland the year Perry was born. We knew we wanted to start a family soon but weren’t sure when that would exactly happen, so we hopped on a deal when we saw one pop up (these were the good ol’ days of Wow Air).

I ended up being 8 weeks pregnant on this trip, but it really didn’t limit us too much. The only thing I couldn’t really participate in was the Blue Lagoon, a light blue natural springs pool. We went over spring break and were only there over the course of about four days. We stayed in downtown Reykjavík and took day trips out throughout our stay.

Reykjavik, Iceland cathedral

Okay, I’m getting to the heart of the story. The premise of this tale is that we did not really prepare for this trip like we usually did. I take great joy and excitement in planning our excursions, especially international ones like our trip to Ireland and France. Because this trip was purchased fairly last-minute, we really hadn’t done a lot of planning. We had a Lonely Planet book and our bags, thinking that was enough.

When we arrived in Reykjavík after our red-eye flight, we got in line at the only car rental facility that still had cars left. We were so tired, and I regretted not reserving our rental car in advance like I usually did. By the time our turn arrived, there was only one type of car left! It was a manual, tiny car – I can’t even remember the make and model!

A view of Reykjavik, Iceland

This car gifted us so many laughs and scares throughout the trip. Zach had only driven a manual car maybe twice before (and I had never driven one), so there were countless times where we stalled during turns or unintentionally revved the engine at people crossing the city crosswalks!

We allotted one day to drive down to Vík, known for its black, sandy beach. Vík was a three hour car drive away, so we ventured off one morning, stopping at a couple of waterfalls along the way.

An Icelandic horse

We were about 5 miles out from Vík when we approached a fairly large mountain. Perhaps it was just a very large hill by Iceland standards, but I can assure you, it looked like a mountain. We began the ascent, and the higher we got, the slower our car drove. Zach tried changing gears but to no avail. The hill was too steep for his gear choices. We found the car slowing down gradually until it stopped…and then began going backwards!

Terrified, Zach was able to back the vehicle onto a landing about halfway up the hill. We decided to turn around and just begin the ascent up the mountain again.

A waterfall in Iceland

On our second try, Zach approached the hill with speed, but as we made the climb, we found the same events occurring. The car began to slow down until it crept to a crawl. It finally stopped, and yet again, began descending backwards down the hill. Right as the car went backwards, a tour bus swooped down the hill in the opposite direction. I should interject and note that Zach and I were terrified at this point. He magically was able to once again back the car onto the landing halfway up the hill.

A view of Reykjavik Iceland

We pulled out of the landing and drove back down the mountain, deciding that we couldn’t emotionally handle a third attempt at that point. We never made it to Vik, but at least we got to enjoy some waterfalls on the way.

Moral of the story – always plan ahead.

Marie Elizabeth Photography in Reykjavik, Iceland

Marie Elizabeth Photography | DC Newborn Photographer

Marie Elizabeth Photography specializes in fine art Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography based out of Washington, D.C. She also serves the areas of Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Silver Spring, College Park, and Riverdale Park. 

It is always an honor to serve as your DC Newborn Photographer. I provide a custom, luxurious experience to lead you every step of the way, beginning with a planning guide to make you feel confident and prepared, a consultation to achieve your portrait goals, a client wardrobe, hair and make-up artists, and finally, artwork to adorn your walls and preserve your memories forever. Let me be a part of your story today.

Meet Marie

portrait experience

A stress-free

Hair and make-up, wardrobe, location - I've got you covered.

Before your children grow

stopping time

creating timeless memories

A mother



Read more about the luxurious experience


Leave a Reply

follow @marie.elizabeth.photo