Next Stop: The Unknown
I’m Nils Nissan, a camper van belonging to Rent.is’ camper van fleet, and I’d like to share the story of my latest road trip with you. At the beginning of April I was rented by two fun girls in their mid-twenties who wanted to have an Icelandic adventure.
I took them counter-clockwise around the Ring road in seven days and it was just marvelous. To be fair, the girls weren’t very lucky with the weather because it was pouring non-stop for the first three days, so they could not go hiking as they had originally planned to do. But luckily they had me! Like a knight in shining armor I protected them from the heavy rain and the icy wind, and I kept them cozily warm thanks to my heated seats.
Together we saw endless lava fields, beautiful heaths, moon-like stone deserts, wintry ice floes and stunning lakes. There were many cool things the girls wouldn’t have seen or done if it hadn’t been for me: Right on our first day, we followed a road sign towards a place of interest without knowing where it would lead us and got a glimpse at traditional Icelandic houses.
On our second day, the girls read about the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in their travel guide and spontaneously asked me to take them there. It was one of the most beautiful places on the trip but they would never have seen it had they taken the bus around the island. Also, they wanted me to find the most breath-taking places for them to spend the night. As they soon realized, I was totally up to the challenge. Just have a look at the pictures. Do I have to say more?
It was on our third night that the girls completely fell in love with me: As I mentioned before, it had been raining for three days in a row and you’ll be aware of the fact that cloudy skies are not exactly the best prerequisite for seeing the Northern lights. So, flexible and – most of all – mobile as we were, the girls had a look at the cloud forecast and decided to drive much further north than initially intended where there were supposed to be clear skies at night.
The chances to see the Northern lights were very slim – after all, we were in April already. But the girls were determined to try. They made me drive further and further, first into the sunset, until a sliver of clear skies appeared on the horizon, and then into the night until we reached about the only place on the entire island which was supposed to be cloudless.
I found a nice spot for them which was perfect for watching the skies, and they finally let me rest. It wasn’t long until I was woken up by a shriek of excitement because the northern lights had indeed appeared. The girls had not had much faith in it. But I had promised to take them to the correct place, and I delivered. That night they didn’t only sleep well because of my comfy mattress but because they had experienced something magical.
In a very good mood and with the weather getting steadily better, we continued on our journey towards Mývatn. It was still very wintry up north but beautiful nonetheless. We even managed to spend the night at a spot with views of the lake and the girls were woken up by bright sunlight announcing a wonderful day for hiking – finally!
The girls were also delighted that I could take them to hotpots that are popular with locals and not only with tourists, so they could experience the real Iceland and take a bath whenever they felt like it. Also, I have more than enough space for two large backpacks and enough food for a week, so there’s no problem if you want to escape from civilization.
Of course I also carry a cooker on board, which you can use to prepare a hot meal or drink. I have to admit though that the girls had a hard time using it in the wind, rain and cold temperatures. At some point they threw in the towel and confined themselves to cold sandwiches and the occasional burger (and free coffee!!) at a petrol station.
Humans! Thank god I don’t have these problems. Just give me some diesel and I’m ready to go!
The girls were even surprised that I was coping so well with all the potholes in the gravel roads. I didn’t want to spoil their trip with a flat tire, so I reliably carried them over the gravel to many destinations off the Ring road. But beware! If you want to go along the F-roads leading into the highlands, you should opt for an all-terrain vehicle. Also, when I met the girls they were still in doubt about whether to get gravel protection for me along with the insurance. I am honestly glad that they did. After all, would you want to undergo a gravel shower if a local rushes past you on a gravel road on their monster truck at 80 kilometers an hour without insurance?
Unfortunately for the girls, we didn’t see any elves or trolls but the landscapes were so fascinating that they could easily imagine them to exist. You might be wondering now how the girls got water, showered and went to the loo? Well, there’s an abundance of rivers in Iceland and it is really very hard to die of thirst. Just make me stop at one of the rivers and refill any empty bottles you’ve got.
Concerning the other two issues: If you’re not a fan of bathing in hot pots or icy rivers, there are plenty of swimming pools where you can use the showers if you pay the entrance fee. And if you dislike the idea of answering the call of nature in the wilderness, there are many petrol stations which of course have proper toilets. My girls said the following map was very helpful: www.hotpoticeland.com
Our trip was really a lot of fun and if you’re adventurous, spontaneous, like driving, and if you can stand a day or two without a shower, I’m the prefect choice for you! I look forward to my next road trip and hope it’ll be just as cool as this one!
Your Nils Nissan
Read more: Destination Iceland
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