And the adventure has begun!
We’re staring down the business end of this trip, the adventure, thrills and spills are now in full swing. This means not only am I taking more photos than I have ever taken on any trip before, but I’m also more tired, more keen to use downtime as nap time. But I promised you all a daily blog, so I’m going to deliver!
On Wednesday morning we woke naturally, an hour before sunrise, figuring that jetlag and the time differences were working in our favor. We strolled from the hostel to the nearby Viking memorial in Reykjavik, just across from out hipster-decorated hostel, tilted “Kex”.
The sun never really rose, but it was a great practice run for the next few days. The day started off rainy and never really cleared.
Nevertheless, the road still needed road travelled, distance covered and destinations to be arrived at.
We started our day out easily (or so we had intended) by heading to Thingvellir… In the pouring rain! After walking around and trying a few shots, realizing that we were going to not enjoy it as much, and not get the shots we wanted, we instead chose to scout, take photos, and vowed to return. Heading back to the car park, we noticed the park gift shop, and stopped for a quick bathroom break. Of course, it was quick for josh, myself however, got caught by the old “need to go so bad you don’t notice your cubicle is out of paper” problem. Being a tourist spot, I figured someone would speak English. Calling out pathetically from my stall, for anyone, ANYONE to give me some paper fell on deaf or non-English speaking ears. So I cautiously creaked open my stalls door, checked the door next to me, awkwardly moved from one to the other, and finished my business. Thankfully nobody witnessed this embarrassing manoevure.
Continuing on, we hit the gravel backboards as we headed towards Hraunfossar, a waterfall famous for being 150m long with water leaking through the volcanic spring rock into crystal blue flowing waters below…..
Upon arriving, we found that the rain that had continued all day, had stuck around the entire island, meaning that our crystal clear blue stream was now an angry murky flood-like brown. Much like a chocolate milkshake. Not crunchy.
The persistent rain had definitely put a dampener on things. We wanted to get out and take shots,but the hassle and technicality of taking the rain cover on the camera, our own rain jackets and gloves getting saturated each time we got out of the car, eventually became a joke. Boots wet, shoes wet, sprits saturated. We headed into Borgaines for a quick meal and fuel stop, and continued onto the Snaefelessnes peninsula, Home of the Snaefelessnes glacier.
The rain was clearing by this time, and we became hopeful that the sky would clear and we could actually see something apart from grey and endless precipitation of varying intensities. And it was so. Nature treated us to some spectacular light as we crossed between hills and valleys en route to the peninsula. It was nearing the end of a long day, the rain was lighter but continued to hang around like a bad smell. The sunset over the tip of the peninsula was growing more intense as the time wore on, we chased through rain clouds to get to a perfect spot. Finding a few lovely mountains (as you do in Iceland) we grabbed a spot and did our thing.
Afterwards, we realized that we had to find somewhere to park the car for t h night, as our car would be our beds. We went looking for a mountain hut that josh had marked on his map. Our road was 10km long and the search area roughly 4km of that towards the coast. We spied a few places in the dwindling daylight. The first place that we thought was the hut, turned out to be a pile of dirt, which happened to be in the same shape. The second,vi told josh was actually a mobile phone reception tower, because it had the telltale receivers mounted on a pole. Unconvinced, he still opened the door, and confirmed yes, it was a mobile phone tower. Lastly, we found a building that had lights and was tucked away down a short gravel road. This turned out t be an electricity supply station. Deflated, tired and over looking, we pulled our car off the road and slept where we were, in the car.
I got a solid 4 hours sleep before waking up desperate to go to the toilet, but feeling limited by the temperature outside. Josh went first, proving that I wouldnt die if i went outside. So embarrassingly, I ambled out into the cold, and went about my business bushman style. It got me over the fear of doing it, and no doubt it won’t be the last time I do so! I don’t think I need to explain how the rest of the procedure went, so I’ll simply say I slept very well after that, accompanied by the sleeping bag warming my cold wet toes.
On Thursday morning, we awoke – yes, you guessed it- an hour before sunrise.
Pulling myself out of the warm cocoon of the sleeping bag was near impossible. It had rained overnight, and the warmth of us inside the car had fogged up the inside. After rearranging things again, we set off in search of sunrise.
Today’s destination was the Snaefelessnes peninsula once again, as we wanted to see as much as we could of this environment. The whole day was bitterly cold, but thankfully, we encountered very little rain. We had beautiful sunshine, brilliant blue skies, magnificent vistas and rainbows. It was magnificent in all ways possible. I feel so lucky to be here seeing these scenes.
Sunrise was elusive again as offshore clouds gave us a slow morning, color appearing intermittently from our chosen vantage points. Afterwards, we headed up an unexpected mountain road, which led us into the mountains towards the Snaefellesjokull glacier! The higher our little rental car, named Squish, climbed, the more bitterly cold it got. The wind was so icy, the air so fresh that it hurt to be in it, with or without gloves. It was SO cold that it was beginning to override my desire to take pictures. Instead for brief moments I huddled in the car praying for my hands to return to their normal tanned color, rather than the red, raw angry and clenched they had become.
It was this road that led us, undoubtedly, to the best shots of the day.
I cannot find a more suitable description for the views we got, other than “awe-inspiring”. I thoroughly look forward to processing those photos!
Eventually we ambled down, a sleet shower forcing our cold bodies into the warm car to return to a coastline bathed in sunlight.
Spending a night in the car presents two unique problems: space and personal hygiene. Girls will sympathize with me here, we NEED to shower daily. It’s just got to do with the design of our bits. The second motivation for coming down off the mountain was to get to a bathroom, so I could at least go and give myself a sponge bath before continuing onwards. What we found instead was an empty campground and a shower block, with Hot water… It was heavenly. I washed everything and bathed for a few minutes in this glorious hot water, the pain of the cold outside was melting away. I walked out of the shower to find that josh had cooked us a noodle lunch, which was a great relief, as we had not had a meal yet – and it was 12.30pm!
Josh had booked us on the Ferry to cut the driving time between Snaefelessnes and the Westfjords, so we had to start getting to the departure harbor for the afternoons ferry ride. This is where, dear reader, I am blogging from now. If there was ever a “white knuckle ferry ride” this would be it. There’s some heavy trucks upstairs, and civilian cars parked on the other. Don’t know whose smart idea it was to put all the weight on one side, but in these outer regions of the big seas, we’re swaying violently, teetering side to side in the motion of a seesaw. This is particularly scary as each down means we’re looking at the ocean, and each up is more sky. I’m trying not get the motion sickness…
Tonight, a higher level of auroral activity has been forecast. We’re going to see Dynjandi, a tall, many-tiered waterfall with the hope of catching a sunset over it, or light cast onto it. From there, there will be another night spent sleeping in the car, before moving onto a shipwreck in the morning and diving towards Akranes.
Have a great day… See you soon!