Iceland. The land of fire and ice. It didn’t disappoint.
Also the land of wind, cold and rain. And waterfalls.
We landed in Iceland on a four day layover, courtesy of Iceland Air. On our way to Germany to pick up our bike for a couple month ride we decided to stop in Iceland and drive the ring road, the Golden Circle. This road, which is mostly paved or smooth gravel, is where you can drive a normal rental vehicle. Any of the interior road require a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle for the difficult, rocky roads and river crossings. Since we had our camping and cooking kit along we decided to rent a small van and camp around the island and mostly cook for ourselves to see how much money we could save over what the horror stories are.
Arriving in Iceland at 0430 we went directly to the rental agency and picked up our van. We were out of the airport and past Reykjavik before the sun had been up an hour.
Headed north, our destination for the day was Dynjandi waterfalls on the north side of the island. Stopping at as many waterfalls and sights as we could get to we ended up on dirt roads as we rode to coastline on the way north. The track is built so at times you are directly above the edge of the water, sometimes as much as 100 meters below you, without a guard rail. It’s usually not too bad unless you have a Mario barreling at you way too fast, at times taking up most of your portion of the road also.
Dynjandi waterfalls are a tourist destination and we could see why once we were there. The falls are multi-tiered and cascade down to the fjord from the main falls at the top of the cliff. The main falls are like a multitude of chandeliers as they mix together during to the upper pools. Absolutely beautiful.
We back tracked about 30 kms to a campground on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Choosing a great pitch overlooking the bay we quickly set up camp before walking to the cliffs and a hidden hot springs tucked romantically into the rocks. A young couple from Israel shared the water and views with us. The night temperatures got down to 3°C, from a high of 7 degrees. It was windy and misty all night leaving to a very chilly night and morning packing up camp.
The Golden Road runs around the perimeter of Iceland. The interior road, or F roads, are off limits to small rental vehicles because of the rocky terrain and multiple water crossings.
Driving to the geothermal area of Myvatn we don’t the night in the view of several volcanoes. There is a blue springs there also. And like the more famous Blue Lagoon, it is very expensive and very crowded. We choose instead on old hot springs that the locals have been using for many years, the Secret Lagoon. It was less than 100 kms from Reykjavik, inexpensive and not crowded at all.
The day before we got to the springs, and back to Reykjavik, we stopped at Glacier Lagoon, at the base of the largest icefields and glacier in Europe, the Vatnajökull National Park. This icefield covers sq meters.
As the icebergs calve off the glacier they melt in the lagoon to a size that allows them to float down the river, under the bridge and out to sea. The icebergs colors varied from white to blue to dirty. The dirty ones were from high winds blowing sand from the black sand “Diamond Beach” on to the ice. It was an amazing sight to be so close to so many enormous chunks of ice.
We went to Iceland on a layover to Europe flying on Iceland Air. The stopover was free for up to seven days. Our van rental cost US$340, food $85 (we brought some food with us and split one $25 meal of not so good fish and chips), $160 lodging (1 hostel night before leaving), fuel (US$1.60/l), and extras (about $100). It is possible to see Island, the land of fire and ice, inexpensively. You just have to plan ahead.
On to Germany.