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ICELAND TRIP
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Spent the week leading up to Christmas driving around Iceland and it is definitely a place to put on the list.

It was a place neither of us had visited and we're both keen to see the northern lights - unfortunately that didn't happen. Still, it is full of stunning vistas.

It is an eerily different place to visit compared to the forested areas we're used to. There are few trees and most of the countryside is open, exposed and appear barren. Mountains are always in view - it is a spectacularly beautiful place though. It is very much big sky country and things are very spread out. A quite strong wind was almost always blowing adding to the otherworldly feeling.

Driving is a very different experience to home. Roads are (with a few exceptions) single lane roads with no guard rails, despite the often sphincter tightening drops on both sides. A lot of them also happened to be covered in ice which made the unrequested, but fortuitously fitted, studded tyres that much more of a useful thing. I certainly wouldn't venture north or up any of the passes without them and we did come across another couple completely stuck trying to drive over a pass. Their winter tyred Hyundai could barely remain stationary on the road, not helped by the wind that was so strong I could almost not remain standing. We turned back to follow them down to safety not least spurred on by the wind pushing our car sideways :shock: - the wide open spaces made for some seriously powerful wind.

We drove for hours without seeing a single person or vehicle on a couple of occasions and it emphasised how big the place is. Although the map may say differently 50 miles is a long way when you're crawling along on ice at less than 20 mph.

The Kuga we had as a hire car is fairly big, but it was dwarfed by some of the jacked up full-size trucks and SUVs coming the other way on tyres that wouldn't look out of place on a tractor.

As for vehicles they have an eclectic mix of everything. From clapped out 80s/90s Micras to Cayenne Turbos and everything in between including lots of American metal. 4x4s make up more than 50% of the cars you see outside Reykjavik and there are some odd ones too (Corolla 4x4 among them).

The two below are on the extreme end of the scale, but not massively different to many other vehicles.

The days were short, the sun barely rose and started setting soon after. On the upside it meant being able to have a long morning in bed, lazy breakfast and still get to do sunrise photography. By 5 PM it was completely dark and as streetlights were few and far between it was properly dark outside. In the few breaks in the clouds we did get there was an amazing starscape with so many more stars visible than we normally see.

If we're ever going back in winter we'll definitely request studded tyres and also get some crampons for our boots. We walked up to and around the Allthing site. It was in total less than a mile yet took nearly two hours. The paths and roads were covered in solid ice making our sturdy hiking boots fairly useless and we had to turn back from another site because there was simply no way to safely descend (or ascend) the path.

And finally, the obligatory Geyser picture.


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DeskJockey
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Now fueled by heavy oil...

That looks great. Definitely a place I'd like to visit sometime. 8)

8) I'd love to go there, it does sound more like another planet than another country.

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Get in the back of the van

Great report Alex. Your first two pictures are particular good 8)

I love it when you can drive for hours and hours without there being anything else on the road. The thought "I'm fvcked if I break down" crosses the mind now and then though :lol:

How expensive did you find it in the end? Comparable to Denmark & Norway?

Marv said...

Great report Alex. Your first two pictures are particular good 8)

I love it when you can drive for hours and hours without there being anything else on the road. The thought "I'm fvcked if I break down" crosses the mind now and then though :lol:

How expensive did you find it in the end? Comparable to Denmark & Norway?

There was definitely that feeling although it was less worrying about breaking down and more about sliding off the road and (eventually) hitting whatever hard object would finally bring the car to rest.

I haven't done the full sums on costs (never do), but the gut feeling is that it is roughly 3/4ths of the cost of Denmark. Only the touristy stuff was eyewatering, especially the Blue Lagoon. It was a lovely experience, but in essence it was a heated outdoor pool + towel hire + two smoothies and the cost was nearly £60 not including fuel :shock:

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DeskJockey
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Now fueled by heavy oil...

Thanks for posting Alex. Mrs B would like to go for her 30

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Ben
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"you don't look like a fussy eater"

Fantastic photos. Sounds as if you had a great time.

I used to stop over in Keflavik when flying back from work. It always looked amazing from the air, but I never had time to explore.
Definitely somewhere that I shall have to return to. The women are quite easy on the eye too.

ETA. When I was travelling through - circa 2010 - I found that it was much cheaper there than it was in the UK. I don't know what it is like now though.

Updated January 2, 2013 at 10:23 PM

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Plump eyes?

Awesome, I'm off on sunday for four nights 8)
Can't wait to collect my Ford Ka:lol:

Unlucky with the Northern Lights, but looks like you got some damn good photos anyway. Herself is a photographer and the Northern Lights is why she chose Iceland. I just want to do rally stages and eat whale/puffin/shark/hotdog:lol:

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The Evo forum really is a shadow of its former self. I remember when the internet was for the elite and now they seem to let any spastic on.

IaFG Supercharged Muppet Division

Looks like an awesome place to visit :)

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Time Tracking Software

unzippy said...

Awesome, I'm off on sunday for four nights 8)
Can't wait to collect my Ford Ka:lol:

Unlucky with the Northern Lights, but looks like you got some damn good photos anyway. Herself is a photographer and the Northern Lights is why she chose Iceland. I just want to do rally stages and eat whale/puffin/shark/hotdog:lol:

I would consider contacting the rental company and ask for studded tyres and also get some crampons for your boots otherwise you end up stuck or moving very slowly.

Her indoors is definitely the more talented photographer of the two of us - so the better shots may be hers (can't remember who took what).

Of the above food selection I would go for the hotdog and perhaps puffin. Be warned that all food containing the word "shark" or "skate" is also preceded by the word "putrid" - you're perhaps better off with the singed sheep's head.

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DeskJockey
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Now fueled by heavy oil...

It is truly a stunning place to visit and would thoroughly recommend it to everyone. It is like nowhere else I have ever been to and is firmly in the top three of countries I’ve been to.

I’d been wanting to go there for years but the cost of the flights was always an issue but now that Sleazyjet have opened up a route there, the deal I managed to get was flights and four nights accommodation for £250. The hotel was little more than a youth hostel with separate bed rooms, but then I hardly spent any time there. As far as costs go, it just proved to me just how expensive London is as everything was a comparable price and fuel was actually slightly cheaper.

I’m definitely looking at going back this year as I barely scratched the surface, I managed to drive the whole of route 1 as well as a few days doing the touristy stuff, but there is so much more to do.

DeskJockey said...


Looks like the alter-ego to Dave's Defender. Wonder if they've also got a white 500E parked in their garage? :D

Shame they don't do Ferry's from Scotland to Iceland anymore. I'd have to go there in the summer though. Getting studded tyres fitted to the 968 would probably be a PITA ;)


Marv said...

DeskJockey said...


Looks like the alter-ego to Dave's Defender. Wonder if they've also got a white 500E parked in their garage? :D

Shame they don't do Ferry's from Scotland to Iceland anymore. I'd have to go there in the summer though. Getting studded tyres fitted to the 968 would probably be a PITA ;)

I did think it could be the second version of Boris.

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DeskJockey
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Now fueled by heavy oil...

Enjoyed reading that and some excellent pics 8)

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BMW Car Magazine

Boris is far more rugged than that ;)

It does look amazing, driving on the ice is great fun and the scenery is like you say, truly epic.

The clear sky was one of our favourite parts of it, with no light polution it genuinely looks like watching space as apposed to just seeing the stars, very eerie and cool. It's on the list but i'd like to take my own car I think, just to add another sticker :lol:.

Keep hunting for the Northern lights, they're amazing.

Dave!

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I came here to drink milk and kick ass..... and i've just finished my milk!!!!

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