Iceland/July/2014

May 26th, 2015, 03:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
Iceland/July/2014

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...
Anastasia_131 is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 09:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1
Thanks for this info- we are planning a trip this July and what you wrote will definitely help us plan!!! Were the main roads ok for a 2wd? Would it be crazy to drive on gravel w/a 2wd in any areas?
Inkx is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 11:23 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,534
Nice start to your report. Looking forward to hearing more, especially about your driving experiences since we plan to drive a little when we are there in September.
MaineGG is offline  
May 30th, 2015, 04:38 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,040
Great start...looking forward for more.
xyz99 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2015, 02:39 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
Hi all, thanks for a warm welcome, I will definitely continue the review.
@ Inkx: main roads are ok for 2wds, but it is illegal to drive on gravels by the car of that type. If you rent a car and are going to drive F-roads, so definitely take a 4wd.
Anastasia_131 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2015, 04:40 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
I'm off for a trip in late July - 16 days around the Ring Road. I will be renting a 4WD and had guesthouses as well.
GreenDragon is offline  
Jun 9th, 2015, 03:32 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
Day 1
We arrived at Keflavik International Airport where we welcomed by Mikky from Reykjavikcars who led us to their office. We took our Suzuki, and Mikky instructed us about passing fords. And we started.
We did not plan to stay in Reykjavik for long at our first day, so we went purposefully to a famous shopping mall Kringlan where we spent considerably more time than we expected, but we bought some food (that came really handy in the evening) as well as a sim-card.
It took us about 40 minutes to get to Thingvellir. Thingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is unique because of the special tectonic and volcanic environment. We saw all these cracks, the Thingvallavatn lake. The impressions were overwhelming: beautiful nature, quiet lake and sudden understanding that we are finally there!
Then another 40 minutes to get to Geysir. It left us with mixed feelings: tourist centre, hotel – and people, people, people. We diligently looked at Geysir (there are signs) and went to Gullfoss. Having noticed a lot of cars from afar, we decided to have lunch and make for Hveravellir by Road 31. There geysirs were small but very nice, and there were wooden paths between them. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily, and we hurried back.
And couldn't help stopping at Gullfoss. There were only several cars at the parking, and a heavy rain turned into a continuous one. So we got an outstanding breathtaking view – and hurried to a guest-house.
We arrived there around 10 pm and found out that there were nothing edible till morning, as everything was already closed. Happily enough we had some reserves of cold food from Kringlan, and our very kind host offered us hot tea. So, everything turned up really well during our first day in Iceland.
Anastasia_131 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2015, 06:15 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 229
I'll be in Iceland in late July for only 2 days as a stopover on my way to Paris. I'm particularly interested in the weather since I am coming from the U.S. where it is hot in July. Enjoying reading your report.
powhatangal is offline  
Jun 10th, 2015, 04:52 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
We are hoping to stock up on snack foods (and buy a small cooler) when we arrive in Reykjavik, especially as we have several long travel days, and want to avoid what happened to you - arriving at the lodging after everything is closed for food.

Kringlan looks like a shopping mall - is there food for sale, like a supermarket? We plan on keeping bread, maybe some meat/cheese/snack bars throughout.
GreenDragon is offline  
Jun 12th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
@GreenDragon
Hi! Thanks for reading my report! Kringlan is a mall, but it has Bonus grocery shop where we bought all necessary things.
Anastasia_131 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2015, 02:32 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,876
Inkx/GreenDragon -

<>

For our 12 day trip 8 or so years ago we hired a 4WD but even so, our car hire company agent stressed that our insurance didn't cover us for the F roads. Frankly though some of the B roads were bad enough.

And don't assume that the weather Anastasi had to put up with is typical of Icelandic summers - when we got there in late July, there was a heat wave and day-time temperatures of about 25C.

Anastasia - loving the start to your report.

Keep it coming.
annhig is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 02:24 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
Day 2
In our second day in Iceland, we decided to take our time and in a relaxed manner explore the southern coast and waterfalls, especially tourist must-sees: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. So we were walking lazily, looking at the picturesque scenery from under the hoods under the mild rain.

We took Road 1 and reached Seljalandsfoss (about half an hour from Hella), and then, in another 30 minutes – Skogafoss. We found Skogafoss a bit more impressive and somehow serious than its roaring counterpart. Moreover, it is possible to climb up to the top of Skogafoss and admire the breathtaking landscape.

It took us another 30-40 minutes to reach Cape Vik. We looked at benches and picnic tables – and decided to have lunch in a car (during the journey depending on the situation our Jimny served as a warm and dry house, an umbrella, a cafe, a very uncomfortable bed (once), and a reliable friend).

After that we drove to Cape Vik. The rain started just pouring, but it was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I put my foot in a running shoe on the black slippery watery grounds – and went towards the sea. However, the cataracts of heaven finally opened – and we had to run back to the car, and observed the beauties of nature through the windscreen.

After that we decided to go back to Hella and went to a restaurant Hellubio where we had a delicious lobster soup (among other things). After that we went to the hotel that we had booked here in Hella.
Anastasia_131 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2015, 02:00 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
So sad you got rained out - but at least you tried!
GreenDragon is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 03:15 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 41
Day 3

It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Landmanalaugar from Hella (roads 26, and then 208). We also sneaked a peek to Haifoss waterfall. The road was good, but closer to the place it became a real road for a real 4WD. But still we drove smoothly.

This day the weather was more favourable to two travelers, and the sun was coming through the layer of light-greyish clouds. First thing we saw was an outstanding view point - and we realized where we just arrived. The view was breathtaking and luring: green valleys, unearthly triangle mountains, a tranquil blue lake that seemed more plasmatic than liquid. Absolutely crazy combinations of salad-green and coal-grey.

We continued our way and reached camping, a very good one, with a lot of tents, shower/WC, thermal springs, tourist information point and a food van. And horses. These wonderful stumpy animals with long fringes and thoughtful looks.

We had a brief hot lunch and went to see the outskirts. We chose the easiest track and went up to the mountains. The moss was like a thick soft carpet. We saw some snow, another strange plasma-like lake, shadowy dream-like colours surrounded us. I think we walked about an hour without saying a word – each of us was so overwhelmed and self-absorbed.

When we returned to the camping, we were exhausted but happy. We dined in camping (tried disposable grill for the first time), fed the horses with some bread (of course we have asked and got the permission). Swam in a thermal spring. By the evening it started to rain aloud and got colder. We had no tent or sleeping bag, so we simply slept in the car. We decided to allow one adventurous night, and it was quiet, warm, and pretty uncomfortable. But I wanted to feel myself as a real traveler able to sleep under the stars.

Day 4

We woke up pretty early. It was cold, legs and arms were absolutely numb. Well, our Jimny was the smallest (and the cheapest) 4WD possible, but I thought it would be even worse for two adults to sleep there.

Everything was grey: the skies, the land, coffee in our plastic cups and cold sandwiches. But it was also somehow lovely.

We decided to spend that day in a very relaxed manner, just driving to Vik and watching the land beauties. My husband wanted to see the remnants of the crash landed plane, and we added it to the list.

The plane is located around six miles off the main road west of Vik. He inserted the coordinates to the navigator, and we started. Surprisingly enough the road led us somewhere in the middle of the island. We hoped that finally it would turn back to the coast, but plains, red-roofed houses and small waterfalls were passing us by – and we were still getting further and further away from the coast. We reached the highlands and realized that the treacherous gadget somehow chose the wrong way. So, we had to do the whole way back.

On Road 1 we saw a group of tourists and stopped to ask the way. I think they were Spanish, and they were very helpful. They did not know exactly the way but one of them used his GPS and showed us the road on his electronic map on the screen. It turned out that we were quite close to the place. We found the gravel, lifted a barrier – and there we were.

Well, the plane (what rest of it) looked really really sad and lonely – only ocean, only sand and an incarnated Icarus with broken wings. Ohhhh, a bit creepy even despite it was daytime and sun beams were making timid attempts to break through the layer of clouds.

After that we went to Dyrholaey. Black sand in rays of sun looked like fresh asphalt. We even managed to see puffins – and a lot of photographers with big-big cameras hunting for good shots.

We dined in Vik. I failed to find where to stay in Vik, and booked a hotel (Katla Hofdabrekka) very close to the town. Well, in Astrid Lindgren's “The Brothers Lionheart ” Katla was a dragon-monster. But this Katla was really likeable: picturesque location, fantastic views, we had a very cosy room and finally our own shower! We decided to have a small rest and then go out again – but fell asleep till the evening. When we finally woke up we had to rush to Vik to replenish the supplies of food before shops closed.
Anastasia_131 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2015, 07:07 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
"only sand and an incarnated Icarus with broken wings"

Wonderful stuff
GreenDragon is offline  
Sep 11th, 2015, 12:36 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 106
more! more! more!
MileHighHC is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2015, 10:58 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 34
Wonderful detailing Nastya!

Planning a trip for summers 2016 and this is going to help a lot.. Where is the rest of your report?
shveta86 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2016, 02:54 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
Shveta, check out my trip report, it may help as well!
GreenDragon is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
hannahsog
Europe
6
Apr 14th, 2015 03:24 PM
trudytrudo
Europe
3
Jan 28th, 2015 04:14 AM
Pamo2
Europe
10
Dec 20th, 2011 02:55 PM
nancyclare
Europe
4
Aug 16th, 2011 04:47 PM
Neal623
Europe
27
Jan 27th, 2010 01:36 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:54 PM.