200608-iceland

iceland 20060815-20060823

day one

we arrived at ~23.oo to Keflavik airport [Rykiavik KEF – an international airport]. our accommodation for the first night was in fithostel in keflavik so we walked to that town from the airport (it’s ~8km, took us ~1h20minutes). we moved in and got healthy sleep. hostel is maybe not nicest building, actually Keflavik is not nicest town but both are ok, besides – it was just the beginning.

day two

i woke up somewhere around 8, took short walk around town. weather was nasty – little bit of rain, fog, cloudy. and went back to the airport to pick up a car from hertz office.

i got fully tanked blue toyota yiaris – to be – single serving car. extremely carefully i took my way from the parking and driven to back keflavik to pick up my trip companion – Thomas. we put all our backpacks inside, did tiny shopping – just bread and sth to drink and drove toward great adventure. we just passed outskirts of reykiavik and went thru Geysir – it’s name of the place describing quite well what can be seen there. it’s a field of few active hot water springs with one especially active. the biggest spring/geysir strikes every few minutes with the few meters high water/steam pillar. whole place smells .. fishy (or i should rather say old-egg-like – because springs contain lots of sulfur). we also climbed mountain just behind field of hot springs and saw really great landscape made of fields, mountains and small rivers.

we took of and after short time reached second tourist attraction – Hvalfjörður Tunnel. [afaik it’s the only one paid part of road in iceland – not very expensive – 1000isk for ordinary car]. weather is not perfect – but further we go we get more and more sunshine. next attraction on our way – Grábrókargígar – dead volcano. already ~ten kilometers before it landscape changes to frozen lava fields. full of low lava rocks [just like pumice] with very simple vegetation on them: moss and something grass-like. we took a hike around volcano hill and took off. next breathtaking experience was a gas station. i’ve never tanked a car before. but after some struggle with gasoline intake i did it! we’ve been following road 1 thru beautifull, mainly flat area. at the evening we reach Goðafoss waterfall. some pictures session + 30 minutes spend on mobile phone because… i was needed at work. we’ve taken north road 845->85 and reached Mývatn lake. we drove all around it and took a hike on one of Vindbelgjarfjall a mountain that gives great view for surrounding areas. we took a corporate-wise lunch-break and then got back to driving on road 1. next sight: Námafjall geothermal active area. first – a small blue lake with suspiciously yellow sand around and really fishy smell of old eggs [ sulfur all around ]. when we cam closer to it we’ve noticed points under the surface of water from which hot springs were striking. some of them ware as powerfull that we could feel ground shaking. water in the lake was really hot [ 60 degrees? maybe more ]. all around the lake there was nicely industrial set of pipes taking probably hot water/steam directly from most powerful sources to the power station nearby. we drove a car few km further and took another break. this time it was field of awefully stinky geyzers / hot mud. really hellike place. with nature wonders like mini-mountain [ ~2m high ] that that outputs awfully smelling steam. then we took a ride to Krafla powerstation [ just few km north from ringroad 1 – on 863 road ]. and then… down the road 1 to the east… great views on velleys with rivers. [ it’s pointless to add such a comment.. we almost got used to the sights ]. in the evening we’ve reached Seyðisfjörður – a small, beautifully located village surrounded by 1km high mountains with small port in ocean’s bay. we’re kind of desperate to find a roof [or rather flat surface and a roof] to sleep, after short negotiations we’ve rented a camping trailer [2000ISK/person/night] standing in front of fully booked IH hostel. hostel was not perfect – not much comfort, clean toilets and showers… but looking like those from my primary school – kind of old, kind of broken. but that didnt count – we’ve eaten first warm meal and enjoyed cosines of the place – it just had that thing – maybe school-like look, maybe fact it was full of ‘old things’ [ books in the corridor, furs on the walls, old furniture…]. it was perfect. we went around the village during the evening, we’ve seen local fest with-no-apparent-reason and for the first time in my life – aurora borealis. we took healthy sleep in warm camping trailer – who needs 5 star hotels anyway?

day five

morning… somewhere around ten actually – we’ve woken up. fog.. fog.. fog.. all around. no sun. just fog. humid cold air from the bay: ugly. we took off thru 1km high mountain – ‘ve never driven in a car in such a fog trhu mountains [select any of those – still it’ll be true]. visibility – maybe 15 meters. with speed of ~20km/h we’ve climbed a mountain and…left fog area behind our backs – just like that. there was only sunshine around. we got back to Egilsstaðir and then on road 1 to the south. major part of the road that was gravel – especially one that goes thru mountains. amazing views on mountains all the way. we reached south edge of iceland and followed the coast line untill Höfn – small town located on peninsula, ~5 km away from ringroad. on the way between ringroad and Höfn we’ve saw radiotelescope – i’ve looked it up and it seems it’s part of GPS ‘The Crustal Dynamics Data Information System’ controlled by NASA [ more info ]. we’ve decided to stay in the hut on the camping [ 2000ISK/person/night ]. wooden hut was nice, clean, new, equipped with electric heater and power outlets – what more would you like? at the evening we’ve drive to closest entrance to the glacier [called in that place Hoffellsjökull]. we’ve driven as close as possible, but had to stop at small river and took a hike for ~4 km across the valley with view of ice coming from the hills in front of us. the closer we got the colder it was [but still worm enough for t-shirt]. finally we reached a lake formed at the bottom of glacier. we got back to Höfn and took sleep there.

day six

woken up [by dozen of phonecalls from work, somewhere before 7.oo our time], we got back on road 1 and drove to the west. we’ve took a hike to the other glacier – this time at Jökulsárlón. lazy tourists can be picket up almost directly from ringroad by amphibia and then can enjoy trip around lake at the bottom of glacier. since we’re not lazy tourists we took a walk few km along the bank of the lake full of floating icebergs. we took off again, picket up two hitchhikers and together. we’ve took a stop at Vik – small village at the ocean. things to notice: they have a beach… with black sand. and amazingly shaped rock clifs. the closer we’re getting to Reykiavik – the worse weather was getting. on some parts of the way just fog & rain & visibility for maybe 30 meters. but we arrived safely to the capital. it was evening, but we walked around a bit, took some pictures, tanked the car. we left reykiavik to have a sleep at the parking next to fithostel in keflavik.

day seven

night in the car… was not that bad after all. in the morning we’ve moved our things to the hostel where we had last night booked. i’ve driven a car back to the Keflavik airport, left it ther and got back to the town. last attraction we’ve planned was visit to the blue lagoon. we took a cab [ 500ISK/person/one way]. blue lagoon is geothermal spa & geothermic active region. when we reached it weather was bad – rain, wind, maybe 13C degrees. we took a walk around, saw a ‘green’ power station and took swimming pool/spa for ~4 hours. i have to say that this [and only this] attraction is over-marketed – i’m unsure if it was worth 1400ISK/person. outdoor swimming pool with salt, stinky water – sure it’s nice but nothing special. we got back to the hostel at the evening. took sleep.

day eight

cab raid from the hostel to Keflavik Airport [ 1060 ISK ], 1.5h spend after check-in [ they have open free, open hot spot there – that’s nice ] and finally we took off somewhere at 15.3o local time. we ware back in center of goteborg at ~21.oo.

[to be updated]

remarks

* taking to much money is pointless. almost everywhere it’s possible to pay with credit card
* weather was perfect [but maybe we’ve been just lucky] – ~20C degrees during the day, ~8-10C during nights
* if you plan a journey and can fly from copenhagen – i suggest to start and finish your adventure with iceland in Akureyri – the town is small – you can have slow walk from the airport to the center of the city in maybe 20-30 minutes. and there are offices of major car rental companies there – so it’s perfect place to start without paying additional airport fees or just wasting time to travel from the airport to the city.
* taking ~10 meet/fish cans from sweeden was perfect idea, we’ve also took ~1kg of risins, ~1.5kg of chocolate – all of those ware priceless. in iceland we’ve been just buying something to drink, bread, some vegetables [onion, onion, onion ;-]
* gsm coverage is acceptable around ringroad [but not on all parts]. one problem siminn has most of the coverage but it does not seem to provide gprs services. so my blackberry/fat nokia worked only where og vodafone was available [that means in Keflavik, Reykiavik and Alureyri only]. maps of coverage can be found at here

usefull links

http://atlas.lmi.is/kortaskjar/viewer.htm – quite a good map of iceland

http://www.iceland.pl/ – quite a good source of information about iceland [in polish]

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