Posts From Iceland


First camp in Iceland (Lagafljot, Iceland)

Journal entry for Thursday 25th Jun, 2015 (day 521, miles 11414)

The ferry turned out to be quite comfortable. We had a small two-birth cabin with bunk bed and a private shower/toilet. The seas proved to be pretty smooth with only a gentle swell to test our sea-legs, and had we needed it a number of cafe/restaurants provided a range of food (we brought our own with us).

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First taste of the highlands (Egilsstadir, Iceland)

Journal entry for Friday 26th Jun, 2015 (day 522, miles 11596)

As we got underway this morning we did not know what the day would hold. Our plan was to venture into the highlands of SE Iceland and see how far we could get on the Icelandic F roads (mountain 4x4 trails) before our way was barred by a "closed road" sign. From last nights camp our way led up a steep series of switch backs on paved road to an alpine plateau and then south for some miles to a spot that provided our first views of Vatnajökull the massive ice sheet that covers a good portion of SE Iceland.

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Puttering along the coast (Reyðarfjörður, Iceland)

Journal entry for Saturday 27th Jun, 2015 (day 523, miles 10637)

Today we visited the towns of Reyðarfjöur, Eskifjörður, Nesaupstaður, (try saying those names 3 times fast) and camped the night on the southern side of Reyðarfjöur. These are all small sea-side communities, in picturesque settings; though today with cloud covering the mountains and keeping the sun at bay not particularly photogenic. The route between E10 and N11 involved some steep switch backs, dense fog and a 600 meter long oneway tunnel. The tunnel confused us for a while. The signs at the entrance seemed to indicate that access was controlled by a set of lights (clear - go, red - don't go was how we interpreted the minimal signs), but we noticed a number of vehicles exit towards us with out seeing any red light. Eventually we asked another driver about the process and discovered that there were two passing spots in the tunnel so "just go ahead", was the advice.

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Shaggy Sheep (Berufjordur, Iceland)

Journal entry for Sunday 28th Jun, 2015 (day 524, miles 11770)

Today we continued following the coast line south, entertaining ourselves with views of wind (and rain) swept headlands, precarious roads, isolated communities and sheep that are in various stages of shedding their winter coats. This place sure does have dramatic scenery.

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Stone eggs, and big trucks (Hofn, Iceland)

Journal entry for Monday 29th Jun, 2015 (day 525, miles 11852)

Today we continued with wind and rain swept fjords, though now there is a bit more traffic, and the road surface is mostly sealed as we are on Highway 1. Mid morning we stopped at a little village (Djupivogur) to see a display of stone eggs called Eggin I Gledivik. The display was put together in 2009 by a local (and internationally recognized artist) Sigurdur Gudmundsson.

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A drive on Joklasel Glacier (Joklasel, Iceland)

Journal entry for Tuesday 30th Jun, 2015 (day 526, miles 11893)

I decided over night that one of the things I wanted to do in Iceland was to ride on a Glacier in one of the large-tired vehicles, "Jeeps" they call them here but they are really Toyotas, Nissans, Dodges - anything but Jeeps. So this morning before setting off, and among our other chores, we dropped in at the information center to find out that to get such a ride we had to drive a little way West down Highway 1 to a hostel where we would find a group called Glacier Jeeps.

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Icebergs and birds (Joklasel, Iceland)

Journal entry for Wednesday 1st Jul, 2015 (day 527, miles 11916)

The attraction on Nina's list for today was a place "where icebergs float down the river into a lagoon". Well as it turned out that spot was only 20 miles down the road from last nights camp and despite the rain and fog it was easy to spot as the parking lot, just off the highway, was jam packed with cars, RVs and buses. This mind you on a road where 2 cars a minute is a traffic jam. So we pulled in and parked and became for the day part of the zoo. We did indeed stay there all day (and camped the night there as well) hoping to get a break in the dreary weather to take some photos with good light but alas - that did not happen. Regardless we still took lots of photos. Photos of ice flowing in the river/lagoon first oneway and then another with the changing tide. Photos of ice on the nearby beach which is where some of the flow finishes up after leaving the river. But mostly of the birds darting into the river for small fish. And while we did not take any photos of this we were thoroughly entertained by the antics of our fellow tourists as they rushed to get photos and in the process parked their vehicles like a random collection of pickup-sticks.

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A few water crossings (Vik, Iceland)

Journal entry for Thursday 2nd Jul, 2015 (day 528, miles 12088)

We had a second go at the ice/bird photo thing this morning as the light seemed better and from time to time seemed to promise that we might actually get some sun. But again this was a false promise so we added to our collection of somber images.

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Confused cow (Hella, Iceland)

Journal entry for Friday 3rd Jul, 2015 (day 529, miles 12207)

If you don't get the title of this entry look carefully at the udders of the cow (which one you ask, precisely is the answer). There is an island off the southern coast of Iceland called Vestmannaeyjar and the first part of todays plan was to take a zodiac boat tour of the island. So after observing the previously mentioned cows we drove to the headland where we thought we would find the tour company. Alas no tour company, only a ferry terminal. Only then did we discover that we had misread the guide book. The tours were conducted from the main town on the island. No more needs be said about our planning and research skills.

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Broken Eggs (Landmannalaugar, Iceland)

Journal entry for Saturday 4th Jul, 2015 (day 530, miles 12280)

Today we planned on seeing the northern end of the Laugavegurinn hiking trail. This required 40km or so north on a secondary though paved road until we came to the start of the track to Landmannalaugar. The first few kms of this track were surprisingly smooth and I got going at an unusually fast speed for our truck on this kind of road (30mph), which turned out to be a bad idea. The sudden appearance of a series of pot holes which I could not avoid, some violent rocking of the camper, some loud crashing noises from inside the camper, and we have two cartons of eggs upside down on the kitchen counter with yuk oozing out of the cartons. It took 30 minutes to clean up that lot. The result, 4 destroyed eggs, 6 that were cracked enough that we decided to have them for lunch (fried) and a reminder to take it easy.

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Towards Reykjavik (Grindavik, Iceland)

Journal entry for Sunday 5th Jul, 2015 (day 531, miles 12418)

This morning before leaving Landmannalaugar I took the opportunity to try out a thermally heated natural pool right by the camping ground. My theory that the morning would be less crowded was correct and a good thing too, as the water temperature was very inconsistent and to stay pleasantly warm one needed to be right by the inflow of hot water. So suitably refreshed I helped Nina pack up and we were underway. With us today was a young Romanian women we picked up (as a hitch hiker) yesterday seemingly stranded in the wilds of Iceland as we were traversing the 50 km track into Landmannalaugar. She was traveling with us again today as a means of getting back to a more "main" road.

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Looking for a nail job (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Journal entry for Monday 6th Jul, 2015 (day 532, miles 12464)

As planned we arrived at the Blue Lagoon early (if you call 9:30 early) but to our surprise we were told that they were booked out. It is the first time we have ever heard of a swimming pool being "booked out". But that was the case, seems they limit the daily population to 3000+ and in the summer mornings the spots are all reserved mostly for the tour bus brigade. So we departed towards Reykjavik without being soothed by the calming hot waters of the Blue Lagoon.

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Laugarvegur (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Journal entry for Tuesday 7th Jul, 2015 (day 533, miles 12464)

We made another hike into downtown Reykjavik today so that Nina could have her nail job. While she was at that task I occupied myself wandering around the port and downtown tourist areas. The main concentration of activity in the city was along and around a street called Laugavegur. Not only was this street crowded with tourists, shops where said tourists could spend their money, and places to eat but it was also crowded with locals showing-off or strutting their stuff. The local boys and young teens seemed to delight in riding their skate boards down the sidewalk (foot path) using members of the throng as slalem poles, older teen boys could be seen demonstrating their gymnastic prowess by vaulting over hand rails and other fixed object, while the older members of the male population got their jollies by driving their vehicle (truck, van or car) down this narrow street with windows down and music blaring. I saw one guy in a late model Mercedes go down the street three times in the space of 20 minutes. I guess 1950's style "cruising" is still in fashion here.

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Blue and Gold (Pingvellir, Iceland)

Journal entry for Wednesday 8th Jul, 2015 (day 534, miles 12657)

This morning we were away early (for us 7:00am) in order to have enough time to drop by the local RV dump and still make it to our 10:00am appointment at the Blue Lagoon. As it turned out we were at the BL by 8:30. Being excessively early for things is a common mistake when I am organizing the timetable.

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Snaefells Peninsula (Stykkis, Iceland)

Journal entry for Thursday 9th Jul, 2015 (day 535, miles 12799)

After a bit more touring of Pingvellir this morning we set off on what feels like the second half of our Icelandic journey. We are now headed into the western and northern reaches of Iceland. Today our destination is the Snaefells peninsula, which is named after the ice capped mountain at the tip of the peninsula.

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I thought it was summer (Budardalur, Iceland)

Journal entry for Friday 10th Jul, 2015 (day 536, miles 12964)

We traveled around the tip of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula today. Lots of old lava flows, volcanic craters, huge mountains, wonderful fjords, this truly is a picturesque place. By following some rough tracks through lava beds we got to the very tip of the peninsula. It was a windswept (an understatement) bleak place. Reading the information signs I was amazed, this place was a landing spot for fishermen and their boats. Here it was the middle of summer and I am dressed in a modern down jacket feeling like I am freezing yet in the 1600's French fishermen worked these waters and used this very spot as a base -- brrrr. Just to make the point there is an abandond well at this spot, a well that is accessed by a short tunnel - thats right the well itself is underground.

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The Travelin-Tortuga (Patreksfjordur, Iceland)

Journal entry for Saturday 11th Jul, 2015 (day 537, miles 13099)

This morning we finally caught up with Kathy and Rick of travelin-tortuga.com. We met them for the first time back in May at Overland Expo, but we have been following their website since 2009 on our North/South America adventure where it (their website) was an invaluable aid to finding camping places. Back in May we had discovered that both they and we planned to be in Iceland at the same time and hence made an agreement to try and "meet up". Well this morning it happened. So we spent until early afternoon together exchanging Iceland info and talking about things "travel". It was fun and the talk of future travel plans may have inspired Nina and I to some new adventures.

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A morning with the Puffins (Pingeyri, Iceland)

Journal entry for Sunday 12th Jul, 2015 (day 538, miles 13254)

From our camping spot we had a 50 km drive to a place called Latrabjarg a top scenic spot in Iceland renowned for its high cliffs and the thousands of sea birds that nest in those cliffs. The drive was another of the now familiar spectacular Iceland roads.

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The wild west (Drangsnes, Iceland)

Journal entry for Monday 13th Jul, 2015 (day 539, miles 13424)

The town of Isafjordur was an early stop on todays travels. It was quite a sizeable, and neat place. The local tourist information place informed us that some of the F roads are now open and that, may have the effect of changing our plans. We got a pamphlet giving the location of RV dumps around the country, useful info for us mobile house dwellers, and we got a few groceries and fuel. A small aside about buying fuel might be in order. Many fuel stations in Iceland (and more generally in northern Europe) are un-attended and to buy fuel at these one requires a credit card that operates with a PIN not a signature. But of course none of our US cards will work in these places (the US banking system is slowly coming into the 21 century, and we are told that 'next year' we will be able to get such cards from US issuers), but fortunately we have an Aussie card that will work. The other problem with these places is one must specify the monetary value of the fuel to be bought. Hence at these places we "top up" but don't fill-up. At this stop we could pay inside the convenience store and hence we could fill our tank completely.

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A Little Mud (Kollafjordur, Iceland)

Journal entry for Tuesday 14th Jul, 2015 (day 540, miles 107884)

Todays adventure took us up road 643 on the Eastern side of Drangajokull Peninsula to a town called Djupavik. True to the claims of our guide book this was a remote and wild place, Steep mountains on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the eats, drift wood from Siberia on the beaches, very occasional buildings, a scattering of tourist vehicles, and eventually muddy roads as the weather turned wet as we progressed north. he village of Djupavik turned out to be only three or four buildings, an abandoned herring processing factory and a lot of derelict vehicles.

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Runners in Blue (Hofos, Iceland)

Journal entry for Wednesday 15th Jul, 2015 (day 541, miles 13702)

Driving south this morning from last nights camp we passed a number of individuals running along the road towards us. They all seemed to be dressed the same way in tights and a blue wind-breaker. Each appeared to be carrying an "Olympic" type torch and they were separated on the road, with a gap of approximately 5 km between each runner. What on earth was going on. We have since asked at a number of information centers but no one has been able to enlighten us.

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Astronaut training (Tjornes Peninsula, Iceland)

Journal entry for Friday 17th Jul, 2015 (day 543, miles 13868)

Chores kept us around the campground this morning so by the time we got underway the weather had stabilized and guess what - its a sunny day. Our first stop today was one of the big tourist draw cards in Iceland Godafoss (water fall of the gods) a quite impressive waterfall. The name derives from (as legend has it) that one of the early kings was required to make a decision at the annual parliament about whether Iceland would become Christian and after much deliberation he decided in favor of the "yes" case. On his journey home after the parliament he threw all his idols of the Norse Gods into this waterfall.

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Dettifoss (South of Dettifoss, Iceland)

Journal entry for Saturday 18th Jul, 2015 (day 544, miles 13931)

The weather changed for the worse overnight so this morning we were greeted by rain and howling winds. Not a good start to a day of sight seeing. A bit east of last nights camp we came to Aybyrgi, a gas station, visitors center and campground at the northern end of a spectacular gorge. The significant thing about this gorge is that (scientists believe) it was carve in a matter of days by a huge flood as a result of a volcanic eruption under a glacier. Despite the rain we took a short walk to some of the viewing sites.

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Hot ground and cold air (F88, Iceland)

Journal entry for Sunday 19th Jul, 2015 (day 545, miles 14046)

As you will see from the photos todays weather was no better than yesterday, but also like yesterday we "soldiered on". The first part of the day was taken up with a visit to Krafla a geothermal power station and general thermal area, and then Namafjall both with lots of "Yellowstone" like sights. After that the weather pretty much killed our sightseeing enthusiasm and we decided to move on (after circling the lake at Myvatn).

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Snow, black sand, fresh lava (F910, Iceland)

Journal entry for Monday 20th Jul, 2015 (day 546, miles 14134)

The snow was gone in the morning, at least at our elevation, but all around us the black mountains were covered in a fresh layer of white. Not deterred we continued south of F88 slowly gaining a little altitude so that by about 10:00 am we were high enough to be back in the white so we stopped (on the road) for breakfast and to take in the surreal scene. Within a few minutes of getting underway again we met a lady ranger (going the other way) and got the now standard lecture about "no off road driving" but also some advice and a pamphlet about a recent lava flow (2014).

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Pots holes and crappy weather (Bakkagardi, Iceland)

Journal entry for Tuesday 21st Jul, 2015 (day 547, miles 14230)

This morning we said our good byes to Iceland's mountain roads and headed towards Bakkafjordur the last of the places on Nina's "must see" list. After a few hours of grey skies, low cloud, and a stretch of wall-to-wall pot holes. We pulled up at a sea side cliff face to join a few dozen other tourists there to look at the nesting sea birds. Based on all the info we had read about this place we expected something really spectacular. But it was really not very impressive. We had concluded a little earlier in our Iceland adventure that there was a lot of "over hyping" in our guide book and other travel literature about this island.

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Waiting for the ferry (Seydisfjordur, Iceland)

Journal entry for Wednesday 22nd Jul, 2015 (day 548, miles 14294)

There is nothing interesting to report abut today. All we did was get ready for the ferry tomorrow. Spend the last of our Iceland currency on fuel and groceries, wash the truck, dump the holding tanks and find a spot in the campground at Seydisfjordur with the hundred or so other motorhomes that would be catching tomorrows ferry.

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