Two girls lost in Iceland
The Adventure of…
Day 1 Keflavik-Seljalandsfoss-Skógafoss-Kap Dyrhólaey
Going to Iceland – we both were so excited. We couldn´t believe that in a few hours we would have 10 degrees instead of 30 degrees. So we really had kind of a temperature shock when we arrived at night. At 23.30 we picked up our camper. A nice guy of rent.is gave us a short introduction how to use the car. Afterwards he showed us a place nearby where we could spend the night.
We totally forgot that the next day would be a Sunday but luckily the supermarkets in Iceland are open every day. After shopping our tour started.
Our plan was to travel anticlockwise around the island. So we drove to Grindavík from where we continued along the coast. We enjoyed the lava landscape and were fascinated by this foreign and lonely world.
After Ölfusá we stopped again because we spotted some people sitting on the ground searching for something. We thought that this looked strange. So we had to check it out. We asked some of them what they were doing. They explained us that you can find little blue eatable berries there. They recommended us to cook some jam of them. We weren´t sure about that idea but we collected them and ate them right away.
Boosted by the berries, we continued our journey. From the road we saw some steam in the air. We were sure that there were some hot springs. So we drove into the direction of the steam and even walked a bit. But in the end we saw no hot springs at all- just some leaking pipelines. The only funny thing was a horse in a greenhouse.
In the late afternoon we arrived at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss: two really impressive waterfalls. The first was romantic, the second one was more powerful and you could walk to the top.
For the night we found a really nice place in front of Kap Dyrhólaey. There, we crested some rocks and had a nice view on the surrounding landscape.
To have some Iceland feeling on our plates and our stomach, we had some fish balls for dinner. It´s just like meat balls, but made of fish. Really nice!
Retrospective, day 2 was the best day of our trip.
We slept very well in our campervan and woke up with sunshine in our faces. So we jumped out of the car took out the camping equipment and had a nice breakfast outside.
In a good mood we were back on the road and soon reached Kap Dyrhólaey. We liked the rocks. They were placed randomly somewhere in the ocean. It must have been taken lots of years until they got their shapes. They must have survived all kinds of weather: sunshine and storms. Probably they were already there when the Vikings lived. What did they think about the rocks? Just a really impressive and peaceful place…
Afterwards we drove to Vík. A nice village with a really nice beach with black sand. In Europe we are used to white sand, so it was unfamiliar for us but really beautiful. We walked a bit along the waterfront and soon we were alone again. We laid down on the beach and enjoyed the sun in our faces and the sound of the ocean.
On the way to the Jökulsárlón we had to cross a glacier area. Fascinating how close the glaciers were to the road. So we took the chance to visit one of them: Svínafellskökull. We walked on a small path along the glacier.
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In the evening we arrived at Jökulsárlón. We both were tired and it was cold. Although we were hungry, we weren´t keen on cooking. So we thought we could walk a bit to get warm again. On the way to the lake, something popped out of the river. Oh my god, there were seals! We couldn´t believe it. The cold was forgotten. We were too excited watching the seals. When the sunset started the scenery was colored red, yellow and orange. The sun reflected on the lake with the ice rocks and on the clouds around. A magic moment!
However, we were still hungry. But now we had enough energy to cook. We put the pasta on the cooker and to stay warm we run around our camper. The others must have thought that we were mad. I have never been so sporty while cooking.
It was foggy in the morning, so we decided to stay in bed a bit longer. We hoped, if we drive far enough, that the weather will be nice there. Unfortunately it didn´t work. So we decided to leave the car in Höfn to walk a bit around.
If the weather is nice, Höfn is probably a beautiful place. And it is a good place for bird watching. We could watch some of them feeding their babies with fish. On the beach we found some crabs skeletons and some common mussels.
In the car we turned on the music to drive off the weather. Suddenly we spotted some red animals. Red animals? That can be hardly possible. When we came closer, we realized that were half naked people. Or to be more precise, half naked people in a hot pot. We were so excited that we did a full braking and turned into a small path. Yes we were right it was our first hot pot in Iceland. Of course we took the opportunity to jump it and enjoy the hot water surrounded by mountains with snow it.
We woke up and the weather seemed to be a bit better than the day before. In the morning we had a look around. We camped at Berufjörður. It looked very mystic how the fog floated over the water. At the shore we discovered an old and dilapidated boat and some swans. It was a scene like from an adventure movie.
We left the peaceful place and drove the whole day because the weather became bad again. Close to the road we saw some waterfalls and the lake of Egilsstaðir. Furthermore, we could spot a house which was covered with grass. There were no windows and the door was really narrow. The people who lived there in former times must have been much smaller than we are.
The plan was to enter the national park Jökulsárgljúfur the next day. So we looked for a sleeping place close to the national park. In the evening, a small part of the cloud cover opened and a few shafts of sunlight touched our skin. In the background we saw a rainbow. We survived the rainy days!
We woke up and heard some noise. If you are somewhere far away from civilisation you are not used to noise anymore. And that noise sounded like screaming people. We got out of the car and had a look around. Yes there were people. Running people. We camped next to the route of the “ice and fire run”. And the screaming people were cheering the runners on. What a surprise in the morning!
After a short time we reached Selfoss and Dettifoss. Both were very stunning. Dettifoss is the biggest waterfall in Iceland. We were amazed by the rainbow coming out of the gorge and all the water which looked more like cream because it was so rough. It´s hard to describe.
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The next stop wasn´t pleasant, it was stinky. But it is was worth seeing it. It is called Námaskarð. A place with bubbling sulfur springs and a smell like rotten eggs. Our plan was to have lunch there but because of the smell we lost our appetite. So we drove to a place where we had a good view on Mývatn. Mývatn was that nice that we had a closer look around the lake. There was a small path along the lake, where we walked, relaxed and enjoyed watching the ducks. They were just so funny. The lake is so clear that you can see them diving on the ground and then popping up again. It must be a special species of ducks because German ducks do not dive such a lot. It was hard to part with the beautiful lake but we wanted to drive to Húsavík today.
In Húsavík we looked for a campsite to spend the night and found one a bit outside of the town.
That day we had to get up early. We dressed in all our thick clothes and then drove to the whale watching centre in Húsavík. There we got one more overall that we won´t be cold at all. Then the tour started. We were very excited to see some whales. The crew was very kind. Their enthusiasm about whales was transferred on us. One of the crew members even spoke German and gave us some useful tips about Iceland. After one hour of sailing we were far enough away from the coast and the search started. The crew told everybody to have a look around and shout in case there was a whale. Finally, we saw two Humpback whales. They trusted us and came close to the boat. They must have liked us so we could admire their impressive size and elegance. On the way back we enjoyed cinnamon buns and hot chocolate.
After the tour we walked through Húsavík. It is a really pretty small village with a beautiful tweedy church. There is also a whale museum and whale restaurants and a whale sculpture.
Next stop was Goðafoss. Another waterfall, but we couldn´t get enough of Iceland’s waterfalls. We had a nice view on the Goðafoss from the car and had lunch inside. In Icelandic latitudes it is sometimes more comfortable to stay in a warm car.
But after lunch, we got out of the car and had a walk around. We saw some fisherman fishing salmon and admired the way, the water of the river has formed its way through the landscape. Then we continued to Akureyri, the capital in the north. There we looked for a camping place because we wanted to shower the next morning. In the evening we went to the bath room. It was a clear and dark night and for the first time we saw some northern lights. First we weren´t sure because they weren´t that strong and it looked a bit like the light of the street lamp. We decided that we must see them outside of a town before we leave Iceland again. We hoped that there would be one more clear night.
In the morning we went for a walk in Akureyri. We liked the houses with the nice fronts. Because it was Saturday, it was lively but not too busy. We had a look around in the shops and even met some trolls. A special attraction in Akureyri are the traffic lights. The red light has the shape of a heart.
It was a long journey to Deildartunguhver. At half way, we had lunch. We cooked some pasta and met three other Germans. The funny thing was that they were also from Stuttgart, our home town. They told us that they were camping in tents and were freezing every night. At that moment we were so happy to have our camper.
In that part of Iceland, we saw lots of horses. We stopped to stroke their soft noses. They enjoyed it.
For the night we looked for a place next to Deildartunguhver. The weather wasn’t that clear. So no northern lights today.
We visited Deildartunguhver in the morning. It´s the biggest hot water spring. Lots of houses get their water for showering from the spring. It´s cool how people can use the hot water here. In Germany you always have to warm up the water and in Iceland it just comes out of the earth. And another good thing is that you can buy cheap tomatoes there.
Next stop was Borgarnes, a village at the south coast. We had the idea to go for a long walk and we already had a destination. It was a small chapel on the other side of the bay. Only problem was that there was only the street but no path and we didn’t want to walk next to the cars. So we decided to walk straight through the grassland and ended up in a paddock. It is not that easy to get out of there again. The only way was to clump through a muddy and boggy area, to jump over a small river and to crawl under an electric fence. After we succeeded in leaving the paddock we were so dirty and hungry that we didn’t want to go to the chapel anymore. We walked directly back to the car. The good thing was that afterwards we felt so warm that we then took out our hot pants. Only for 2 hours, but still we felt like on real summer holiday.
Then we drove in direction of Reykjavik and turned into the golden circle.
That night the sky looked very clear. So we decided to stay up and go out at night. We were lucky. There were lots of northern lights that night. Although it was cold, we jumped out of the car. It was so fascinating! Some lights were always present and very strong. Some lights were weaker and moved over the sky. For the perfect picture we didn´t avoid any efforts. We even climb the top of the car to position there our camera. We couldn´t get enough of it. It was so magic! Not till the lights became weaker, we went to sleep.
The Golden Circle is a big tourist attraction in Iceland. Many tourist who stay in Reykjavík do a day-trip there. But we saw the rest of Iceland and so the Golden Circle wasn’t that stunning for us anymore. We were spoiled by the beauty and loneliness of the rest of Iceland. Principal it is really nice there but for us there were too many other people around.
First we had a look at Kerið. We had to pay a little entrance fee there to obtain the nature. It was very windy so that our hair looked like the one of the sheep. We liked the color of stones and tried to find one of every different nuance: red, purple and black.
Next stop was Gullfoss. The waterfall was divided into two parts. The one on top had some steps, the other one was very narrow. So there was foam and small water drops in the air. We really liked how deep the canyon was. The water formed it in thousands of years.
Then we went to Geysir. A very high water fountain. People are standing around and wait until it comes out. There is a small bubble which becomes bigger and bigger. Suddenly it explodes. Although everybody just waited for that moment, people are surprised and jump back.
In the evening we also had a look at Þingvellir. That is a massive stone valley, where Icelandic people used to have their court. There is a place for hanging and a place for drowning. But we tried not to think about that and just enjoy the way nature has built the massif.
At the last day we did some sightseeing in Reykjavík. We ambled through the shops but didn’t buy anything. And of course we had a look at the main tourist attraction like the big church, Hallgrímskirkja, the town hall and the harbor. Afterwards we wanted to have some lunch. In our guide was a fish and chips restaurant recommended. Searching for the restaurant we rushed through the streets. Then we saw a big sign, saying fish and chips. Hungry and happy that we found it, we went it. After having eaten, we came out of the restaurant and saw opposite another one. We realized that was the one which was recommended in our guide Anyways, the fish was nice there as well. And it was a welcome change to pasta, what we mainly ate during our trip.
Before we had to go back in the plane, we decided to have a relaxed last evening. So we booked the Blue Lagoon for 6 o´clock. It was really nice. All people walked around with white silicate masks in their face. Of course we also had to try it. It looked really funny, a bit like ghosts. People, who booked a premium package, could also walk around with green and brown faces. The water has a enjoyable temperature, but after a while we had to get out and drink something. It was too warm. Clean, tired but happy we went to the airport. We gave back our car and left Iceland at 00.15 o’clock.
Summing up we really enjoyed our road trip through Iceland. It was very varied. That was due to weather and landscape.
We were used to continental climate and were surprised how fast the weather can change in Iceland. One minute sun, then suddenly clouds and rainy, sometimes foggy and then sun again. The weather changed due to strong winds. That wind can be so strong that we were sometimes afraid to lose one of the doors of our car. Or to go outside to pee. Girls will understand what we mean 😉
But as fast as the weather changes also the landscape changes. It´s only one island but still we had the impression to travel through many different countries. Lava reminded us of Lanzarote, fir trees of the Black forest in Germany, hills and the sea of Scotland and Ireland.
We both loved the loneliness. Our only travel companions were sheep, Icelandic horses and gulls. Sometimes we saw some houses. Sometimes we saw some broken houses and sometimes we only saw the signs for the houses but no path. It was strange to have so many people around when we arrived at Reykjavik. We had to get used again to crowds, traffic jams and high-rise buildings.
If we come again to Iceland, we would love to see the highlands and the landscape in winter. It would be also interesting to experience midsummer, when there is light 24 hours a day.
Our Tips for other travelers in Iceland
• In theory you can pay everywhere with credit card. However, our German credit card didn’t work at petrol stations. Sometimes there are petrol station without any service man, so make sure that your credit card works. Another possibility is to buy a card for payment with a specific amount of money on it. We bought one at N1. That´s the most common petrol station in Iceland.
• Every time we saw Olis petrol station, we went in to get a coffee for free. We didn´t check it out if other petrol station also offer free coffee.
• A cheap supermarket is Bónus and you get everything there.
• If there are baby gulls sitting on the street, they don´t want to kill themselves. They just mistake roads for rivers. Watch out, they can´t fly away. So we tried to sidestep them.
• You can drink all water. It doesn´t matter whether it is from a river or from the tap.
• If you want to visit the Blue Lagoon, you have to pre-book it.
We wish you a nice time in Iceland – Enjoy it!
Hanna & Janina
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