During the 1st week of November myself, and my better half Kelly, embarked on an adventurous road trip with the intention of driving around Iceland in 4 days. With a fair amount of advanced planning we set off from Reykjavik for a 1400km journey into the wilderness, whilst we had created a detailed schedule there was no guarantee that it would go to plan! Oh well, what's the worst that could happen? We were armed with warm clothes, plenty of drinks, lots of sweets/chocolate and 5.7L V8 Grand Cherokee Jeep which had plenty of grunt, a loud exhaust and an unhealthy thirst for fuel.
Day 1 - Reykjavik to Nupar (274km)
This was, on paper at least, the most challenging day as there was so much to see in the limited hours of daylight. Ahead of us were waterfalls, windy cliffs, a mobile fish & chip van, lighthouses, a 1973 DC3 plane wreck and the Northern Lights........should be enough to keep us busy! Everything went to plan and the day was a success, the Northern Lights however did not make an appearance. We were sharing our hotel in Nupar with a huge bus tour of Japanese tourists, in fact there were only 2 other people and the staff that weren't Japanese that night. The Japanese, bless them, were so determined to see the Northern Lights that they spent hours running around aimlessly in the grounds of the hotel using torches to try and find 'natures spectacle'!!!! :-)
All of the photos are displayed in the order in which I took them, remember to click on each image to see the large version.
Day 1 - Reykjavik to Nupar (274km)
Day 2 - Nupar to Neskaupstaður (433km)
After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we set off in the direction of the East Coast, this was scheduled to be the longest drive of all but with less to see it would be a doddle............or so I thought. As with all of Iceland the scenery was extremely dramatic and we saw our first ever glacier, followed by another glacier and several dozen glaciers after that! Even so, it was hard not to be impressed by their magnificence and the mountains that surrounded them. As the day wore on we suddenly noticed that the windscreen was starting to steam up, the aircon had packed up in the car.......just as it was about to get dark.........just as we were about to go through the only unpaved part of the ringroad.........just as we headed up into the mountains...........JUST AS IT WAS ABOUT TO POUR WITH BLOODY RAIN! Ok, this was going to be a challenge and never in my life have I had to concentrate so hard whilst driving. In all this confusion we missed our turning and ended up an hour north of our next hotel, so we stopped for fuel and bought some stuff to clear the windscreen before heading back south.
For all of you who believe in fate you will appreciate that the above happened for a reason, as we headed back south the Northern Lights started to put on a show. We quickly found somewhere to park the car and admired the spectacle from high up in the mountains. Had we not missed our turning we would have been sat in our hotel eating dinner, given that this was the one and only time we saw the Northern Lights during our trip we were extremely grateful of the unplanned detour :-).
Day 3 - Neskaupstaður to Akureyri (337km)
Still on a high from seeing the Northern Lights we woke to a very frosty morning in Neskaupstadur. At this point I would like to mention the incredibly warm welcome and hospitality we experienced at the Hotel Hildibrand........and the food there is great. The guys who run this place are fantastic and this was easily our favourite hotel whilst touring around, quite some achievement as all our hotels were spot on. Overall Day 3 was probably the nicest drive of all, such varied and beautiful scenery all made better by the aircon in the car being brought back to life using the power of swearing alone. Mountains, snow, harbours and waterfalls all lie ahead with us finally arriving in Icelands' beautiful 2nd city of Akureyri. The highlight of this particular day was the sunset at Godafoss waterfall, this was the only sunset we saw but I will always be very grateful for the timing of it.
Day 4 - Akureyri - Reykjavik (380km)
The final drive south was expected to be the most boring and monotonous, even the locals said that we wouldn't see anything interesting. From my point of view this couldn't have been further from the truth, it was a wonderful drive. Being able to stand in the middle of a road, set up a tripod and take my time is heavenly from a photographers perspective. You could see a mile in each direction so at no point was to doing anything reckless! We saw many wild ponies on our journey but day 4 was the day that we saw the most and had the best photo opportunities. They are a little nervous but as long as you are slow, gentle and dont do any sudden movements they are very friendly (and I am not a horse person!). When we finally arrived back in Reykjavik we felt a huge sense of achievement, even if we were greeted with a huge downpour.
Day 5 - Reykjavik to ...........Reykjavik!!! (0km.....but plenty on foot)
It has to be said that Reykjavik is a very cute city and the best way to see everything is on foot. All of the main sights are within 20 mins walk, nothing is overly commercialised and the people are extremely friendly. The restaurants are superb, at no point during our entire holiday did we experience dining that wasn't tasty and fresh. My only regret was getting on the plane to come home! In fact, we enjoyed it so much we are thinking of going back next May to explore all of the areas that were inaccessible in November.
To summarise, Iceland is a place for adventure, time your trip to avoid the crowds and explore beyond the golden triangle. Personally I cannot recommend this place enough and to my mind this was the best holiday I have ever had :-)
All of the images on this site are the property of James Machon and are protected under Guernsey, U.K and International Copyright Laws. None of the images may be used (for copying, downloading, saving as digital files, printing or any form of manipulation) without prior consent of James Machon.