Small car, embarking on big adventures! The Iceland highlights


The boyfriend has got style. I already knew that -of course-, but after our trip to Iceland I’m even more convinced of it. Picture this: the two of us are walking on Djúpalónsandur, my favourite beach in the Land of the Nice in the Snaefellsnesarea. Black little stones, cool lava sculptures, wild sea … He takes me to the side, says ‘You know I love you …’, goes down on his knee and proposes. On my favourite beach in Iceland. That’s the guy I must marry! He even conjured up a ring. I had never expected that to be honest!

My favourite beach, even more
My favourite beach, even more. There are worse places to get The Question

I must admit: I was a little bit nervous going to Iceland again. It would be the first time the boyfriend came along (it was my seventh visit). Would he like it? Hate it? Think it’s boring? I even had nightmares about it. I just wanted him to love the second love of my life too. It turned out that he liked it as well: the scenery, the waterfalls, hanging out with my friends …

His favourite was Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls. We were lucky: the sun was shining and we got a rainbow. We climbed to the top of the waterfall. We got stopped by a Canadian lady who wanted to take a picture of me and him “You wear such fancy hiking clothes. It’s really interesting to see how people hike here.” I wore a dress, walking shoes and an Icelandic lopapeysa, the boyfriend chose a suit jacket. It stood out against all the boring hiking clothes other people wore. {I’m sorry if I insult some of you. Hiking clothes are useful when you’re really hiking. Climbing up Skógafoss is basically climbing stairs which can be perfectly done in a dress and a suit jacket.}

The two of us in our 'fancy hiking clothes'
The two of us in our ‘fancy hiking clothes’
Skógafoss
Skógafoss

When we were ‘upstairs’, we even saw a double rainbow, something I had never come across before. It was our lucky day!

Double rainbow
Double rainbow

Another highlight was Jökulsarlón. In those ten years since I first set foot on the Land of the Nice I had never been there in broad daylight. Two years ago I was there at dusk, but we couldn’t see that much. As real tourists we took a boat and marveled at the sights we got. We even saw some seals. Too bad the sun wasn’t shining, yet we admired all the ice sculptures in this glacial lake that has only been there since 1932.

Jökulsárlón
Jökulsárlón
The better Rorschach test
The better Rorschach test
Jaws
Nature made a sculpture of Jaws
Ice ice baby
Ice ice baby

Food was a really important issue during our trip. ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘Where is the next opportunity to have dinner?’ were questions that popped up regularly. Sometimes we drove for a couple of hours without encountering a proper place for food, so this time we had to plan in advance. Normally we don’t do that. I must admit that I was really surprised at the exquisite quality of the food we had during our road trip. I was expecting it to be much less.

The best thing our travel companion G and I ate was a creamy Skyr ‘volcano’ dessert in Pakkhúsið in Höfn (can’t find a website). It was mouth-watering both for your taste buds and your eyes.. It had grey-green coloured meringue to resemble lava rock and ‘running lava’. The tops of the bill were the added pop rocks that created little explosions in your mouth. It caused a lot of laughter and joy! I never met a dessert that had this effect.

The volcano Skyr dessert
The volcano Skyr dessert

Another restaurant I’d love to eat again, is Salka in Húsavík. I had lightly salted cod, cooked in two ways with mashed potatoes and yellow beetroot. Served with radishes, vanilla infused cod sauce and crispy rye bread. I must say it was delightful. My fellow travelers were utterly delighted with the pan-fried arctic charr spiced with homemade herb tea, served with potato purée, poached egg, fried mushrooms, sausage, green cabbage and nuts.

The most lovely place we stayed, was a hostel in Berunes. The building was 100 years old and had a lovely and cosy living room. The view is supposed the breath-taking but thanks to a huge amount of mist we couldn’t see the fjord at all.On the downside, there was no decent wi-fi …

The best place we stayed was Guesthouse Visir in Húsavík, above a fishing factory. Yet it was spacious, it had wifi, a really nice living room … In the guesthouse we didn’t hear or smell anything of the factory. I can really commend it. It’s one of the few affordable places in the Mývatn-Húsavík area.

The living room of the hostel in Berunes
The living room of the hostel in Berunes
We even had a dutch book in our bedroom
We even had a Dutch book in our bedroom

Travelling is about learning. One of the main practical things we learned, is that one should rent a proper car from a proper company. We rented a rather old car from a cheap company. They forgot to tell us that they have a network that fixes your problems along the Rte 1. The car had trouble driving uphill. That was scary in the east where parts of the Rte 1 still have a gravel surface. Cars, even small ones, should be able to drive this road, but ours had problems there. The scenery in the east was breathtaking but when driving uphill, on gravel, facing hair pin bends we really couldn’t enjoy it at all.

Maybe rental companies should give tourists advice on what car one should take? Icelanders complain sometimes about tourists driving around dangerously, but no one ever asked about our plans. As a tourist you don’t know what the roads are like, so advice and information would be welcome.

The most beautiful area we visited was Myvatn. The bubbling, stinky grey blue mudpots and steamy hot rocks of Hverrir:

from the muddy post of Hverrir
from the muddy pots of Hverrir
Steamy rocks
Steamy rocks

The volcano Krafla was one of the most impressive things we saw. The crater with the bright blue water, the thin hot earth, the colours … We walked through the lava there which meant crossing some mental borders for me, but it was worth the fear (and hey, if you see a three year old kid do it ahum …)

One of the Krafla craters with deep blue water
One of the Krafla craters with deep blue water
Colours ...
Colours …
Lava walk
Lava walk
Lava
Lava
Another crater
Another crater
Even more lava
Even more lava

If you’re in the area, you don’t have that many options to eat. We commend the Vogafjós cowshed café: plenty of food, fresh milk from the cows (you can look into their stable from the café) and a most lovely view on Lake Myvatn.

Vógafjós cowshed café
Vógafjós cowshed café

Dimmu Borgir is a Norwegian metal band who was named after a lava field in Iceland, so we just had to visit it (again). The boyfriend was a little disappointed that the sun was shining (as usual he was metal all the way) whereas G and I enjoyed the sunshine a lot.

Mountain goats at Dimmu Borgir
Mountain goats at Dimmu Borgir
Sun sun sun
Sun sun sun

In the northwest we thoroughly enjoyed the Öxnadalurvalley. Such beautiful scenery. Another highlight in the west is the Settlementcentre in Borgarnes. You get both the story of the first settlers in Iceland and one of Iceland’s most famous  stories, Egill’s Saga. At one point you can stand upon a wooden ship that’s moving. Also the different pieces of (local) art that depict Egill’s Saga were quite charming. It gives you a very good introduction to both topics.

On the last day of our roadtrip -the one with the proposal!- we went to Snaefellsnes, my favourite part. It only reveals its beauty on sunny days and hell yeah, we were unlucky. The volcano-glacier was in the clouds the whole day. Yet, we decided to take the trip to the top of the glacier. And I must say: we took the best decision of the whole trip: we paid 2000 ISK for a ride to the starting point from which the snow cat mobile would leave for the top. The guy at the desk said: “Any car can do it, it’s not steep”. The first part uphill, there were two women giggling in the back of the 4WD jeep: “No no not steep hihihihi”. The road got worse and we saw we would never have made it with our own car. I’d even recommend a 4WD there.

The trip to the glacier with the snowcat mobile worried me as mist got thicker and thicker. I thought it would be a waste of money. But then a miracle happened: a few meters from the top the sun was shining!

On Snaefellsnesjökull
On Snaefellsnesjökull
Our little tank
Our little tank

We ended our trip with a four day bliss in Reykjavík. It was as it should be: hanging around with loads of friends, relaxing, going to pubs and coffeebars. Especially our two Laundromat visits were so cool: with Hjörtur and Inga Rós who were pretty excited because of a job interview that might get them back to Copenhagen and on Sunday with Heida, Elvar, Alex and Elias.

All together at Laundromat
All together at Laundromat

Heida and Elvar decided to take us on a ninja trip to the golden circle with Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions: Thingvellir, Geysir and the waterfall Gullfoss. I had been there before four times, but it’s always good to get back there. And Kristof  had to see these gems as well of course. Afterwards we went to a BBQ at Elvar’s parents. From their house we could see Hekla (that had been a while for me).

G at Thingvellir
G at Thingvellir

It was lovely to be in Iceland again. And the good thing is: at the end of October I will be back. If Katla keeps quiet, that is …

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6 thoughts on “Small car, embarking on big adventures! The Iceland highlights

  1. I’m still waiting for that proposal and we already have been in Iceland together the first time, now I’m going on my own without him…just the other way around, you lucky girl!

    Like

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