Before we even began planning our honeymoon, I've always dreamed of visiting the famous volcanic black sand beaches of Iceland. Unlike the shell covered beaches we're used to in the U.S., these unique coastlines are formed from lava and covered in ... you guessed it ... lava rocks. On the last day of our week-long journey, my dreams finally came true. After enjoying a much-needed slow morning at our hotel, we packed up our bags and hit the road. Our first stop — a slight detour north to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach — two of the most mesmerizing natural wonders of the world and undeniable pieces of evidence that climate change is taking place.
In fact, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon has been called "Ground Zero for Climate Change," and is used by environmental scientists to study the effects and speed at which global warming is occurring. You can literally sit and watch as chunks of ice break off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and float around in the lagoon until they get swept up in the current and wash ashore along Diamond Beach. The landscape is constantly changing as the ice continues to melt, and no two days look alike. It blows my mind to think this natural wonder didn't even exist almost a century ago, and as the planet continues to warm, I can only wonder what it will look like in the years to come.
After spending some time watching this fascinating phenomenon unfold before our very eyes, we decided to take a walk along Diamond Beach, where we dipped our toes in the warm lava sand, snapped some obligatory photos, and even collected a few lava rocks to take home with us. Funny story... If you decide to bring home Icelandic lava rocks, be prepared for confused faces and awkward questions. When we went through security at Keflavík Airport, the attendant pulled our bags aside and asked, "Do you have rocks in here? Yes? Okay, you can go." Then, when we crossed the Canadian border back into the U.S., the border patrol officer responded to our declaration of two sweaters and some rocks from Iceland with, "Okay... This may sound like a weird question, but... Are the rocks smooth, clean, and dry?" Fortunately for us, the answer was, "Yes."