In Iceland: 6 New Things

I have mentioned before that there were certain things that I missed out on the last two times I was in Iceland so I had to go back and do them. These are the 6 things I found on my final trip to Iceland this year.

KeriðPhoebeGill1509181259

Along the Golden Circle route along road 52, there is this amazing attraction. Now if you go on a bus tour it’s likely they will drive by this but I needed to go see it, you see I don’t like when my list isn’t complete! So when I had the opportunity to drive to this place myself I jumped at the chance. PhoebeGill1509181359There is a small car park at the crater and you have to pay to see it. It’s $3, €2 or 300 kr. So really cheap! I think it is well worth it to maintain this amazing site. You get an information leaflet when you pay so I wont spoil all of the wonderful information it gives you.

Öxarárfoss in ÞingvellirPhoebeGill1509181307

I had constantly seen pictures of the waterfall in Þingvellir and because I only had a half an hour when I was on the bus tours I couldn’t wander off and explore this are properly. So again when I had the chance I spent hours wandering around Þingvellir and I am so glad I did. The waterfall is beautiful and peaceful. It’s really amazing.

Walking Between Two ContinentsPhoebeGill1509181230

Again because there was no time to explore Þingvellir when I went on the tours I decided to do something that I had wanted to do for a long long time. I decided to ignore everything else and go for a walk. I passed by all the crowds and walked through a fissure in the earth. No one else was walking this path, it’s not a new path many people have done this walk but it felt like I was the only one who knew about it. Thousands of people were in this area during my time at Þingvellir but I didn’t see one other person on my walk. It was wonderful, peaceful and beautiful.

Standing Behind SelandjafossPhoebeGill150917033

South Iceland is an amazing part of Iceland, there are lots of people on this route so people free shots may be difficult but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Sometimes taking pictures isn’t important, sometimes you just need to be in the moment. Thats how I felt when I was sitting on the moss covered wall behind Selandjafoss. I didn’t bring my big camera, I only had my phone, I didn’t care if I got an amazing shot or the best angle. Standing behind that waterfall is amazing, everyone else thought it was amazing, everyone was polite and smiling and letting people take pictures. For a few minutes everyone was in agreement, standing behind a waterfall was humbling and wonderful.

Found A Hidden FossPhoebeGill150917023

Very close to Selandjafoss there is a hidden waterfall, except it’s not really that hidden, there is a campsite in front of it and its got tourists coming to it all the time. It’s not a secret to tourists or the Icelandic people but it’s as if the earth wants to keep it a secret. You are definitely going to need your waterproofs if you want to see it but it is a lot of fun going into the rock to see this hidden gem. Although I could get a good picture of this with my GoPro it was still beautiful to see.

Going Down The Road Less TravelledPhoebeGill1509161072

I was trying to find a somewhere, that I will have to go back to because I didn’t have a 4×4 car, but as I was driving around I went down a road and found this beautiful waterfall. All I could imagine was camping here and paddling in the water. (Except I would probably get frost bite, I mean Iceland may look like a Hawaiian setting but it doesn’t have the weather) What I loved is that I didn’t see this waterfall in a guide book, I didn’t hear about it on the internet, I don’t even know where it is. So my beans, find it, come upon it naturally and enjoy it.

There is so much more to see in Iceland and I am very happy I get to see more coasts, more roads, more attractions and more hidden gems. Iceland is always somewhere you can go back to. I love it there. Knowing me, I will be back sometime soon but for now I am very happy.

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Svínafellsjökull

I have seen people go on glacier walks and I just thought it would be an amazing thing to do but it is very pricy and I just don’t have the money. So this trip I wanted to touch a glacier, not get on one, just put my hand on it’s amazingness.PhoebeGill150916239panoSide note, never get on a glacier if you don’t have a guide. Glaciers are incredible but they are also dangerous. There is a memorial to two people who never made it back as you are walking on the path down to this glacier, remember them if you think about going on to one.PhoebeGill150916778Vatnajökull is the the biggest glacier on the island and it branches down over so many mountains it’s pretty unbelievable. So I was driving along the south coast of Iceland and looking at all the glaciers around me, so much beauty in one drive!PhoebeGill150916113I pulled into a rest stop and saw the symbol for a tourist attraction down a unnamed road. You can drive this in a two wheel drive, I had a van with three cracks in the window and the sheet metal would shudder and sound like thunder if I drove over bumps quickly so I drove very slowly.PhoebeGill150916817I parked up and walked to the site and it was just absolutely incredible. Glaciers have to be the most beautiful natural thing. Compacted ice and that gorgeous soft blue colour, it was just simply stunning.PhoebeGill150916930I sat there for a good while listening to the noise a glacier makes, the creaking and the ice dropping into the water. I could listen to that all day. Although I didn’t get to touch it. I am thrilled that I got to get so close. Like with so many other places in Iceland, I will be back.

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Self Driving in January

Let me preface this post by saying, I have never been in a Nordic/Scandinavian country during winter and I don’t have much experience with snow at all really.

Now I thought driving in Iceland would be a lot different to how it was. This first picture is what I thought the One road would be like, wet but clear roads but oh how I was wrong! I went on the 1 road and the 49 and the 36 roads. If you are not used to driving in snow, please be careful. You concentration levels go up and journeys take longer so factor that into your plans.

PhoebeGill150112068 The three days I was there, the weather was changeable and had strong winds. The roads for the first two days were like this photos below. All the roads where snowy and icy, all rental cars have studded winter tires which help dramatically.

I also went on a Grey Line tour, the busses are great on the snow and ice and it can take a lot of pressure and stress off your trip. A lot of people opt for Super Jeep tours (they look like a lot of fun) or bus tours. I think my Grey Line Golden Circle tour was around €65 per person. It was a full day from 10:30am – 7pm

PhoebeGill150111086 Tips for Self Driving:

  1. Weather changes very quickly. Pull over if you are nervous (In a safe place) and wait for it to pass.
  2. Go slow, Icelandic people can drive fast but you don’t have to, go slow, they will over take you.
  3. Watch the roundabouts, you can drift very easily.
  4. Remember, a journey that takes 2 hours might take you 4 or 5. It takes two and a half hours from Reykjavik to Vik but it took us over 5 hours, with breaks and the crazy weather changes and the fact you have to concentrate more.
  5. If you are driving around the country I recommend you have enough petrol, stop off and fill up the tank even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Just in case.
  6. If there are high winds, loose snow can cause really bad visibility, keep calm and find the yellow post at the side of the road. It is usually because you are in between a mountain, it will pass.

Some websites I recommend:

  1. How to drive in Iceland
  2. Road conditions for the whole of Iceland
  3. Safe Travel Iceland 
  4. 112 Iceland App

PhoebeGill150111590This photo above is what happens when loose snow is pushed by the wind. It is terrifying in the dark! Generally if you want to travel great distances you go first thing in the morning when its dark, make smart choices, you can always turn back.

Driving in Iceland was an experience! It is scary and difficult but it is kind of fun and you do get used to it. Just remember, never go into dangerous situations, keep calm and drive carefully.

Happy (Safe) Travels!
PhoebeGill150109017