Claire & Mathilde’s Iceland trip
In the heart of Iceland, wild paradise.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world.
It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
– Ray Bradbury
Who are we ? Claire & Mathilde, two young French women, true friends and both graphic designers. Discovering Iceland was a childhood dream for us. We took the decision to go on this journey only three weeks before the actual trip. Everything happened then really fast, from booking the plane tickets to pack our suitcases, and we were finally in Iceland! Because of our taste for adventure, our passion for the road, our desire for independence and freedom, we obviously decided to travel around this country in a camper van!
Arrival in Iceland
When we arrived at the airport we were very thirsty, so we went to the supermarket and unfortunately we did not have enough Icelandic krónas to pay for the water. The cashier saw that we were in an unfortunate position and nicely said to us, “No one should pay for the water”. He gave us the bottle of water as a gift and we were extremely surprised by so much kindness and generosity.
Later, we manage to find the agency and discovered the van that will be our home for the week.
We thought that sleeping in a car would have been hard and that we would have been tired. However, when we discovered the van, it was very luxurious. We could enjoyed WiFi, GPS, heater, and everything you could need to have a good night sleep and a nice journey.
On the NR: 1 road
DAY 1 //
Here we are, on the N°1 road, on our way to the Circle of Gold, Geysir, Gullfoss and the park Þingvellir. This was the first time we saw geysers of this magnitude. And the surprise was great! The smell of sulfur that emerges from geysers is fascinating. We took a lot of pictures and videos, then headed to the Gullfoss waterfalls. We felt very small facing these impressive waterfalls.
DAY 2 //
After a sweet and peaceful night in our van, we took the road to Flúðir. On the second day, we wanted to discover the fabulous scenery of Game of Thrones. After an hour of research on our GPS, we finally discovered the hut in the valley of Þjórsárdalur. It had a famous grassy roof and a museum was right next door. Then we stopped a lot on the road to admire the view that nature provided us.
DAY 3 //
We drove to the wild city of Vik.
In the morning we went to the Vik pool and we were very surprised when we saw the showers and realized that they were collective and that women were naked! In our culture we are quite modest and are never naked in public. We kept our swimsuits under a surprised and amused eye from the Icelanders!
Read more: Swimming pool etiquette
At noon we had lunch for the first time of our trip at a restaurant.
The wood on walls, the smell of Icelandic cuisine and the laugh of the Asian tourists on the table behind us will make us remember this lunch for a while. A very nice waitress came with the menu and took our order. We choose soup, shrimp salad, and a Pizza to share between us two. The food was served very quickly and was excellent. This local restaurant was a very lovely place.
We then left for Jökulsárlón.
On our way we stopped at the Skaftafell waterfall where you can walk behind it. It was a lot of fun and thankfully we had our KWays!
Near the waterfall we took a short hike to reach our first glaciers. It was so impressive that we remained speechless.
Surprises on the road that you never get tired of:
– The falls
– The foam
– The road that seems endless
Iceland’s roads are heaven and make it a magical country. The valleys, the mountains and their reflections on the water creates an amazing landscape.
After 400 kilometers we had to put gasoline!
Since everything was different than in France, we were totally lost! Thankfully a lovely Icelander explain us how everything worked and we manage to fuel up our van!
DAY 4 //
We had an appointment at 1pm at the lagoon of Jökulsárlón and visited it. When we arrived in front of Jökulsárlón there were way more tourists and many nationalities combined. The cold caressed our faces while the sun was heating us up. An icy sweetness, a frozen paradise.
Sausage, bread, cheese in our backpack, and we were ready to have lunch on the edge of the glaciers.
It is 1 pm, it’s time to head on the zodiac. We put on clothes adapted to the zodiac. Not very aesthetic but very warm! The guide, who seemed to be Indian or perhaps Pakistani had a strong accent but explained us with passion and joy the history of the glacier. With eyes and ears wide open, we listened attentively to his explanations. Next to us, an American family from Chicago was also amazed by the beauty of this paradise.
A great adventure!
We headed then to the farm and had an unexpected host to welcome us! A beautiful Golden Retriever ran to us happily. The smell of the farm, the horses, and the freshly mown grass reminded us our childhood.
The real home of happiness! We felt a real harmony between animals while two children were playing near the goats and feeding them.
We also discovered the village of Vikings. It was about ten kilometers from Höfn where a charming owner built a cinema scene.
DAY 5 //
On day 5 we started to hit the road back and took the direction of the Westman Islands! Breathtaking scenery, mountains and volcanoes were on the program! When we arrived on the island we decide to search for puffins. We did not find one and were very disappointed! We have to admit that we only had three hours on the island, which is a short period of time to observe puffins. However, we really enjoyed the beauty of the island and the architecture of the houses.
Back from the islands we we went to Flúðir to enjoy our first source of hot water, the secret Lagoon. The water hit 40 degrees and the sun was shinning. It was a perfect end of a perfect day.
DAY 6 //
Our last day. We brought back our ‘home’ to the rental agency and it was difficult to say goodbye, even though we knew from the beginning that this trip would have an end. We left and headed to the center of Reykjavik. A city with a lot of charm. What has marked us most was surely the bright colors of the houses, the pretty shop windows animated by the inhabitants, the lovely bars and the church with a very singular architecture. We searched for atypical objects and souvenirs and quietly went to the airport.
Our journey was punctuated by the silence of nature, the sound of the sheep, the multiple colors of the landscapes and the smell of the sulfur. Paced by our music in the van and the stops on the road, we shared many moments that will stay unforgettable.
Our van was not only our car, it was our home and the place where we were laughing and singing, the place where we were feeling safe and happy while discovering this amazing country.
Obviously, we came back to France with our heads full of endless memories and the heart filled with joy.
See you soon Iceland, wild love!
Claire & Mathilde
Read more: Our Destination Iceland
Happy Camping! #CamperStories
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