#ICELAND 1. BREATHING ICEAIR [Keflavik. Blonduos. Akureyri. Godafoss. Húsavik]
We start our adventure in Keflavik Airport. We must drive 527 km until Húsavik. It is the longest jourmey, so we decided to do it the first day and start like that our trip.
Our adventure started in Barcelona airport, where we took a Vueling flight at 22.20 heading to Keflavik airport, arriving at 01.00. Keflavik airport is small but well equiped. We had booked a hostel in the surroundings because we had previously read that it was not posible to sleep in the airport’s floor, something that I am used to when flights depart very early or arrive very late, to save money. It’s not like that: some people were doing this. The hostel that we had booked included pick up service at the airport, so our driver was just there waiting for us. The hostel’s name was “Guesthouse Alex by Keflavik Airport”, and as I’m writing, it is very near ot the airport. I recommend this if you arrive late or if you depart early in the morning. They also took us back to the airport the next morning, where we got the car we had rented.
Prior to our departure, we had rented with Geysir a Hyundai i20. Firstly we chose a Hyundai i10, but then we saw an offer, for a Little more we could have Hyundai i20 with GPS. If you are going to drive though the Ring Road only, a car like this is enough. If you want to go to the interior of the island, a 4×4 is needed.
We left Keflavik heading to the north. Since the beginning, I was shocked and excited to see the volcanic soil, lava rocks covered in moss, the pretty mountains that look like newly emerged and upholstered in a green carpet and crowned with fog on the top… And all the times we stopped (very frequently we wanted to), I loved to see how that apparently soft green carpet hided a rocky and porous soil, with many holes and risky, and of course, to breathe the Icelandic pure air. It was something that I was very excited about, since I read in a book (a recompilation of stories and letters) that a girl from this country wrote: “I am astonished to see how foreigners come and the first thing they do is to breathe deeply, as if the never had had breathed yet”.
Iceland is a country, like the Nordics, expensive in the standard of living (at least compared to Spanish life). BONUS supermarkets are a good option (cheap) to buy and thus to be able to picnic or eat in the car during the day. Its symbol is a piggy; you can see them from the road. I noticed that inside them, the area of meat and yoghurts (chilled) is in a separate room, closed with a door and you have to enter inside to get things. I dare to think that this isolated area has no heating input as the rest of the supermarket does, and products are preserved at room temperature.
On our way we find plenty of hitchhikers, especially young people. We picked up a British boy, who was 22 years old and he was traveling alone with his backpack and tent. We picked him up right off the BONUS, past Reykjavik, and left it at Blonduos. It was kind of raining, and he was going to climb up one of the mountains to camp there. I hope he did not get too wet.
On the way between Blonduos and Akureyri, the surprise of seeing a waterfall was now normal. There are hundreds or thousands. The earth bleeds water. And there are so many rivers. And sheep. So many! Out there loose in the middle of nowhere, as if they were wild.
Near Akureyri, the road ascended at some altitude, and we saw the first spots of snow, as well as great valleys that seemed wonderful to me. It was like contemplating an almost virgin land.
Finally we reached Akureyri. It is the second largest city in the country with about 18,000 inhabitants approx. It is located inside a fjord and it is a small town with pretty little wooden houses. We appreciated staying overnight here but then decided to continue to Húsavik so that next day would not be so heavy. Also, we did not find anything special to this city. It has some wooden houses, plenty of souvenir shops and sweaters, and a very modern church.
Just outside of Akureyri in the east, you will find Jolagardurin, which is a Christmas little house where you can buy many gifts for Christmas.
Few kilometers further on, we visited the first great waterfall that Iceland had prepared for us. It is Godafoss, perhaps one of the most symbolic. Its name means “the waterfall of the gods“, and tells the story that when the Icelanders decided to convert to Christianity, they threw here the statues of their ancient gods to give them a good farewell. We liked it a lot, although we did not know that we were going to love the following ones even more.
From here we go now to Húsavik, as it is going to darken soon. To do this, we go back a few kilometers and take the road 85 to the town. We stayed in Árból Guesthouse. If you stay in Húsavík I highly recommend it, it is a large wooden house and very comfortable. Húsavik is a village of about 2,500 inhab. It is considered as “the whaling village of Iceland”, and the truth is that we liked it a lot. But I’ll tell you this in the next post. See you soon!