Well , no one has really traveled till you visit one of the youngest countries in the world, Iceland. Well that is geologically speaking!
To experience such a variety in landscape , one have to cover large distances under normal circumstances. Well this, was like none other. I badly wanted to give Iceland a try as since I saw one of the episodes of Jeremy Clarkson’s Motor world featuring the 4×4 culture in Iceland so many years back. Well now after innumerable number of movies and memorable shots filmed there. There I was taking a trip to , well one of the most amazing countries ever.
The whole country has to be covered, somehow in 5 days. In a country where you can spend 5 days climbing up a glacier , covering the country by car in 5 days seemed challenging. Every one mentioned 7 days is minimum, but I was up for a challenge. Obviously I had to give up some of the sights since we were short of time. But which one should I let go?
Day 1 – Reykjavík and West Iceland
On a short trip every second counts. So we got a car immediately once we landed at the airport. A very pleasant and well-behaved gentle man from the icerental4x4.is company where we had hired the 4×4 from was there to welcome us. Once the usual briefing of the rental car was done , he got into the Iceland specific rules
- Hold the door tightly when you open it as the winds in Iceland are pretty strong and can blow away or damage the door completely
- Be very careful when crossing rivers and any damage to the chassis and the under part of the car is not covered in any insurance
- Be careful about the stones thrown at you from other cars as once you leave the main road most of the roads are bumpy
- Keep your eyes on the road as the scenaries are good and since there are few crash guards installed, chances of driving off and totaling the car are really high.
- Weather is really unpredictable and the fogs are really thick
- When in south of Iceland keep an eye open for storm warnings as storms in the south can be especially damaging to the car as it will pick up the ash dust from the volcanic eruptions and remove the paint job totally.
- The last one was to wear the seat belts.(That was a no brainer listening to the above points)
Once the briefing was over , we went into a grocery shop or a super market to get stuff for our trip as we were planning to cook our own food and eat less outside. Oh did I tell you , its pretty expensive there in Iceland. Anything they have expect hot water has to flown or shipped in literally :).
It’s interesting that in the highways how people in Iceland has learned to live with roundabouts and not traffic lights as we passed an immense number of roundabouts and not traffic lights on the way out of the city.
Our plan for day 1 was to spend some time in Reykjavík and then head off to the west to see the Kirkjufell mountains. We skipped the Glymur water fall on the way , as it involved a 2 to 3 hour trek from where you could park the car. We started off with Hallgrímskirkja. The architecture was truly amazing. I spend a lot of time trying to get the whole church in one frame in my DSLR , but I needed a more expensive wide-angle lens.
This is the road map of what we covered in Iceland on day 1
This is one of the areas which we had to sacrifice to see around in Iceland. The North Western Fjords was left because the sheer amount of drive there has to be to cover the area. Our drive up the West coast took us through the towns of Akranes and Borgarnes We visited the Kirkufjell mountains and the waterfalls around it. Here is what I saw through my camera during the trip
At the end of the day it was quiet windy and cold and the fog came upon us so very fast (with just 10 Minutes between warm sunny evening to fogs with visibility limited to 10 or 20 meters). We were planning to camp in Bordeyri in North Western Iceland , but due to the really windy and bad weather we decided to get a guesthouse. We stayed overnight at Guesthouse Tanghaus , which is in a unique site and should be enjoyed in a nice sunny day , which unfortunately we couldn’t.
Sigvaldi EggertssonJuly 20, 2015
Hi. This is a good blog you have here but I think some corrections are needed.
There are traffic lights all over the city of Reykjavik, I do not know where you ended up to think we use more roundabouts than traffic lights.
Ca 70% of food consumed in Iceland is locally produced and therefore it is expensive, it would be much cheaper to import everything (this was cited as one of the main reasons to join the EU, get cheaper food)
I wonder why you hired a 4×4, nothing on your route warrants such expenditure, they also get more wind (with greater side area) and are therefore much more dangerous than normal car.
There is no place called Varmahlio, it is Varmahlíð (or if you do not have the Icelandic letters, Varmahlid)
UnnionthemoveJuly 20, 2015
Thanks a lot for your comments. Much appreciated. Its nice to know about the food being locally produced. Its really nice. About the roundabouts when leaving Reykjavik, as our GPS was always mentioning about “taking the second exit” , at so many roundabouts , which really stood out. We took the 4×4 so that , we wouldn’t be ill equipped to explore something out of the main route when needed, for eg: The abandoned plane crash site after Vik and a few short detours. Thanks for pointing out the spelling mistake regarding the place. I have corrected it.