MYVATN, Iceland -- On the day we planned to see the spot where the wildlings made their camp and Jon Snow and Ygritte made some sweet medieval, alternate-universe love, the temperatures in northern Iceland hovered around freezing while the wind gusts were as powerful as a category 1 hurricane.
Welcome to my "Game of Thrones" spring break in the real-world land that stands in for most of the regions beyond the wall in .
Before you even land inthere's a pretty good chance your airline has already presented you with a plethora of options for seeing the sights in Iceland, and in recent years, a "Game of Thrones" tour has been added to the tour company offerings to appeal to fans of the wildly popular HBO series and the George R.R. Martin books it's (mostly) based off of.
I studied up on the different ways to visit the multiple filming locations that include just about all parts of the island nation and finally decided that renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle and hitting them on our own -- while also making some side trips to learn aboutand other oddities -- was the best way to go.
I've compiled the results into the above gallery featuring some of the actual locations where key moments of the series have been filmed. In some of the wintery scenes that resulted there wasn't enough snow around to film a blizzard and -- as you'll learn in the slideshow -- geothermal steam actually had to be used to simulate snow during filming at one point.
That was a couple of years ago. Talk to Icelanders today, and they'll tell you that the winter just now ending has been much more harsh than anything they've seen since "Game of Thrones" first hit the public consciousness. In fact, we enjoyed not one, but two Icelandic blizzards during our time there this month.
It almost makes me think my "Game of Thrones" vacation gave me a better taste of the land of endless winter than what even the show's actual characters had to endure.
Then again, I never had to flee from any white walkers, so I suppose I still prefer the first-world problem of a little inclement weather on vacation to life beyond the wall.