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Trip Report Iceland/July/2014

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Hi! My name is Nastya, and here are some sketches (metaphorically speaking) about my journey to Iceland last year (July 2014)

The weather

Despite all the information on multiple websites, I was not at all ready for +5-+10 Celcius in July, and first days in the country passed in sheer shock and disbelief, especially after hot summer Moscow. The weather in Iceland is generally cloudy, rainy, and windy, with the sun peeping out the leaden greyness from time to time. Gloves and a warm hat are a must. However the extremes are rare too – we had a couple of almost dry and a couple of pretty bad days.

Clothes

Did you see a crazy tourist in jeans and running shoes? That was me, pals. Surprisingly enough, the shoes survived Iceland's sleet, snow, melting snow, stones, even glaciers, but refused to serve afterwards. So, don't repeat my mistakes, and remember to pack layered clothing, waterproof tracking boots, warm socks, water-proof windcoat and winter coat (both with hoods), gloves, and a hat (not a fur hat, but though).

Money

Take a card with you, and be happy. You won't need cash at all. I think there was no place where they didn't accept cards.

Accommodation

Iceland hotels are expensive, but I did not want to experience campings. Guest-houses were the golden mean I looked for. These are small houses of 5-8 rooms, usually the hosts live here too. The shower is shared, late returns are not very welcome (but the sunsets! how to miss all these sunsets!), but the overall atmosphere is really cozy and homey. I booked everything in advance, starting less than a month before the journey. Tip: if there are no options available on booking websites, write to a hotel/guest-house directly, as some of them are not on the websites, and others may offer a room even if the website says that they are fully booked.

Car

We booked Suzuki Jimny 4wd at a local company Reykjavikcars. We started to search quite late, and this one turned out to be considerably cheaper than its international counterparts. We payed something like 1300 euros for 14 days. We planned to go F-roads, and 4wd is a must for gravels. Such cars cost a bit more, but they allow to add a lot in the itinerary, or even to ignore the itinerary and do several kilometres to look closer at an unexpected waterfall or any other attraction.

Food

Restaurants in Iceland are again expensive. An ordinary dinner may easily cost more than 100 euros for 2 people. Moreover, kitchens usually close at 9-9.30 pm. Cafes open at 10-10.30 am. We had to adjust our carefree Moscow rhythm to a larky one in the evening and an owly in the morning. Actually we got used to buy food like bread, ham, cheese, skyr in supermarkets, so that we always could throw something in the furnace when other options were unavailable – otherwise we'd had to go out and howl to the moon (kidding).
Also, there is a very cool stuff called disposable grills – a wonderful way to have a nice dinner on fresh air.

TBC...

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