Adventures in Iceland - Day 2 (South Coast)

A well awaited and deserved sleep later, our second day was planned as a south coast drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. We woke up early to leave our hostel by around 7 AM so we would have time to drive, explore and take a lot of pictures !
However, along the way, we quickly realized no icebergs would be seen that day... But that didn't stop us ! Check out our first Iceland Road Trip day ! 13 hours, almost 400km and hundreds of beautiful shots...

In the dark morning of March 14th, we went back to the car and started to discuss the plan for the day. We wanted to drive to Jökulsárlón and back, with stops along the way for waterfalls and lunch. We packed our snacks, my friend had her computer to copilot with me using the mobile Wifi we had rented with our car, and off we went ! 

Wifi vs GPS ? 

Since none of us both have smartphones, (I only have an old 2012 flip phone that can barely access facebook) we decided to get portable Wifi with our car so we could have access to internet on our laptop to check the weather, road conditions, restaurants in the area or even have Skype in case we needed to call someone for help or anything. The price for the GPS was almost the same as the Wifi, and allowed us to do so much more than only find our way.
Plus, I do believe a GPS isn't necessary, especially since GPS systems don't always take into consideration closed off roads or non accessible paths and might get you in trouble, or even lost. 

Websites we used on the road 

Vedur.is  - Weather forecast for all regions, alerts for wind gusts or storms, precipitation and aurora for the whole country as well as smaller more precise regions where you might be headed that day. 

Road.is  - Road conditions updated many times a day showing the road surface condition, accessibility of the roads and sometimes weather (wind or snow). They will also provide alerts for regions where weather might make driving difficult. Follow all closed off roads carefully ! Most rental cars are not allowed on closed off roads. 

(Example of the road map of Road.is)

Safe Travel.is is also recommended as they also provide weather alerts and road closure notifications.) Good for hikers or campers as you can leave your itinerary with them in case anything happened to you while in a remote location, and rent Personal Location Beacon for emergencies. Follow their social media for live feed alerts ! 

Google maps - This goes without saying. Check itinerary, check Google Street View, verify the closest gas station... 

Hot Pot Iceland - Good map to check nearby gas stations ! Their map shows different pools, natural hot springs (accessible and also not accessible, depending on the water temperature) and offers 


We thought to stop for a morning coffee somewhere on the road in a small city when we'd meet one. It ended up being a little earlier than expected... 
Leaving Reykjavik, already going through a few detours because of a couple missed exits on the highway (oops), we left off for road #1 south. 

About 10 minutes out of the heart of the city, the sky darkened, a heavy slushy rain started falling heavily. I slowed down a little and followed traffic with our small car I wasn't used to quite yet, but everything was well. It's just rain, after all right ?
Then about 3 minutes later, it all changed to snow, and wind picked up. Strong wind gusts that would push the car hard enough I had to grip my steering wheel with Hulk hands. Snow was piling up on one side of the road because of the sideways 100km/h wind gusts, visibility was about 1.5 car in front of me. We were going around 50 km/h on a road whose usual limit is 90. I couldn't wait for it to stop. This lasted about 15 minutes, which felt like 30. 

Thank god for my copilot who dealt with me. I was trying to keep calm and just follow everyone, not caring if people wanted to go faster and keeping in my lane. There was no way we could have stopped anywhere as there is no shoulder to stop in nor exits we could drive to.We had checked the weather and roads before leaving too, and nothing of the sort was announced, so there ARE chances this can happen to you too ! This was right on the Hellisheiði plateau, in the mountains out of Reykjavik, before Hveragerði. Then, we went out of the blizzard and heavy rain came back, which was already better. Comes the zig-zag down slope of the Road 1 descending on to Hveragerði, where I was so glad to stop to take a breather and a small break.
We stopped for coffee at the road stop's Bakery, Almar Bakari.

Astarpungar and coffee in rainy Hveragerði.
The ball is a fried dough that resembles home made donuts with raisins.
Very yummy, everyone should try some !

The stop that is just by the main road if you exit in the village by the roundabout has two gas stations (N1 with a corner store, Ollis stand), a Bonus grocery store, an information center with maps, bathrooms, a pharmacy (+Apotekarinn) and a small expo on the 2008 earthquake. I liked the road stops in smaller cities because most of them had wall mounted TVs that displayed the Road.is information on travel, weather and road webcams !
Note that most road stops like this have bathrooms that you'll have to pay to use (100-200 isk in coins). We didn't see card machines to use but I have heard a few places do. 

Once we got our coffee, ate a little and checked the road, the sky cleared up a little ! We got very lucky for the rest of the day, having strong winds but only small drizzly rain that was very manageable. Next on the way was Hella, where we only wanted to stop for the sign because we're old ladies with stupid humor. 

We got a good laugh out of it haha. After this short trip, we made our way down through the city of Selfoss, in which my friend told me Björk used to live, so if that's something of interest to you, you should stop there ! But our real first stop of the day was at the tall waterfall of Seljalandsfoss. Already out on the road a couple minutes before arrival, we could see it in the distance and it was surreal seeing it before our eyes ! Once on site, we park the car, and get ready for some amazing view. 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall (+ Gljùfrabui waterfall, hidden at the end of the walking path)
About 15 minutes past Hvolsvöllur going south-east
Parking : 700 Isk (Card payment)
Toilets, small shop and food stand available at the parking lot. 

I also saw a young woman at the site who I thought might have been someone I've seen before... The 66°North coat and big smile...
Surprise surprise, it was Sorelle Amore ! (@Sorelleamore on Instagram !). So I couldn't resist to go and say hello ! I watched all her Iceland vlogs before going on this trip, so it was nice to see her there. I even got a selfie ! (Nevermind her glorious face against my tired puffy raccoon eyes) 

Thank you for your time Sorelle ! :) 

We also walked the path along the site to go check out the smaller hidden waterfall at the end of the path (Gljùfrabui) ! Because of our lack of waterproof boots and coats, we didn't enter the cave like structure but my friend did venture out in the river to go check it ! 

The walking path
(See those long, tall ice formations on the rock walls ? Remember those...)

My friend at the hidden waterfall 

That smaller waterfall was at the end of the path. Once we were done there, we walked back to the main site. At some point, on our way, we hear a loud cracking noise just beside us, and we quickly realized it was the big ice chunks who broke and fell down the slope ! We almost got hit by the big rolling chunks, it was nerve racking ! With the noise, I almost thought it was rocks falling, which made my heart jump haha. We were fine though ! Just a good laugh #survivor2k18 

After this emotion, we went back to the car and had a quick lunch with our groceries. Not a bad picnic spot, dare I say ! 

But with much more on our plate that day, we took the road again to head to the other famous waterfall not too far from there on road 1. However, with our time, we decided to go and pass it to go straight to the Black sand Beach close to Vik. We could stop at the waterfall on our way back. So down south we went on road 1, and then cut to road 215 to head to Reynisfjara beach. 

Once at the parking lot of the beach, the wind was incredible. It was still raining, even though it wasn't that much. We headed towards the sound of the crashing waves to see the northern Atlantic ocean spread in front of us. 

Reynisfjara Beach
Access : Road 215, south bound from Road 1 (NOT through the village of Vik, which is farther).
Parking : Free
Facilities : Small restaurant, bathrooms. 

I had never seen a beach with waves that big and scary. Be very careful when visiting, and don't try to break rules. No one will feel sorry for you if you play jackass and get swallowed by a rogue breaking wave that'll take you to the cold ocean and keep you... 

Leaving the beach, we stopped at the cute church that was on the hill and also at the Visitor Center, which was the loneliest, most remote visitor center I had ever seen. A lonely, small building on top of a small hill overlooking the ocean, in a field, by a mountain, kept by an adorable young woman. They had bathrooms, have coffee or tea for sale and a small movie about Iceland as well ! 

At the church, just in front, the wind was so strong I had to hold my camera strongly with both hands to even get a nice non blurry picture. We got pushed around by wind, so it's really no joke when they say to hold your car door when you open it to not have it rip off ! 

Back in the car, shielded from the wind and rain, we decided to cut our trip short. It was the afternoon already, almost 2:30 PM if I remember well, and there was no way that in this weather, with me being as tired as I was, that I could drive to Jökulsárlón glacier or even the Skaftafell Park and then go all the way back to Reykjavik without risking anything. We decided to skip Vik as well, since we had lunch already and I had seen a cute church already. So we made the decision to just slowly head back to Reykjavik, stopping at Skógafoss which we had skipped on our way to the south. So, a litle decived about missing the glaciers, but more than happy about not driving in the pitch black of night on wavy roads in possibly more heavy rain, we headed back north west. 

Access : well advertised on road 1, through the village of Skògar. Visible from far away too.
Facilities : Bathrooms, Hotel close by, restaurant and food stand close by as well.
Parking : Free 

We didn't stay too long there as we started to be a little cold and tired, and going up the insane amount of stairs wasn't an option at all. By surprise, on our way back we met the famous 2010 Volcano that threw ash over western Europe : Eyjafjallajökull [ˈɛɪjaˌfjadlaˌjœːkʏtl̥] try and say that !

After this short stop, we got hungry, needed another stop before our way back to the Hostel so we stopped in Selfoss for a snack and some gas for the car. My friend tried the famous Icelandic lamb hot dog at the Nestì corner shop/N1 gas station where I used the gas pump for the... second time in my life ? All in Icelandic too ! It's actually very easy. Most stands had english options too. 

1. Enter card (with pin !) - Some stations accept payment inside the store, if present.
2. Enter PIN (Usually 4 digits, but if your card has 5 digits, enter it anyways and press OK)
3. Choose amount in ISK to fill up. (500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, etc...) Price was around 210 ISK/L
4. Enter pump number
5. Go ahead and pump gas (usually gasoline, unless your car is specified diesel)

My friend's approval : hot dog was very good ! 

Our last part of the trip home consisted of stopping at Hveragerdi again to get food at Bonus, but coming short at 6:30 PM just at closing time, trying to find a restaurant I had heard of in the village that is actually closed in winter and deciding on just going back home directly, this time thankfully under good skies and only a little rain and limited wind. We got back to the Hostel by 8h30 PM, after a 13 hour day, so glad we did not decide to go all the way to Skaftafell... 

Coming home that night my friend would have liked to go to the Gròtta Lighthouse, but I was so exhausted from the driving and stressful roads I promised we could go in the morning when I'd be awake and ready to drive in the dark before our Golden Circle tour. 

Which we did ! Tomorrow, Golden Circle tour post with many more pictures with precious guests...
Icelandic Horsies ! 


0 件のコメント: