Our Iceland Trip July 2016

With Phil, Shirley, Tim and Allison



The people of Iceland are very friendly. We got along very well with only English, since most folks can speak English.
Most products are 2 to 3 times the cost of the US. Dinner out in a restaurant (if you can find one) is $40 per person.
We carried staple foods with us in a large hard-sided suitcase, breakfasts and lunches.
Each night we stopped at a Bonus Supermarket and bought good fresh bread, Pork or Lamb packaged in a great sauce, and a fresh vegetable.
That cost was usually about $35 for the four of us adults and those meals were great. Liquor is very expensive at $6-8 for a beer.
We used credit cards everywhere including American Express and had no problems.
Rental cars are expensive as is everything. We rented a Dacia Duster diesel and it was adequate for 4 adults. It was a peppy little SUV. We drove 1500 miles.
There are 325,000 residents in Iceland who serve a average of a millon tourists at any given time, and do a very good job of it.
We kept wondering how towns of 1000 person or less could afford such churches, bridges and 5 mile long tunnels.
For us the weather was great, clear every day with highs in the 60s F, but that is very unusual. It is usually rainy and windy.
There are virtually no wild animals to see except in the far north east of the island. But there are many many birds, as well as lots of sheep and horses.
There are no preditors of any kind in Iceland.

The first day we drove half of the Golden Circle going about 100 miles west, then 60 miles south.
We started with Phingvellir National Park.

The separation between the Eurasian and the American continental plates goes through Iceland.
To be exact it goes through the Phingvellir National Park causing a deep gorge with rocky sides and some nice water falls.

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Next we drove past the Geysir geyser area and on to Gullfoss Falls. It is Iceland's most famous falls with its double cascade.
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Iceland is very expensive so we spent each night at an AirB&B home, homes where the family shares a bedroom or an adjacent cottage.
The first one was at the city of Hella overlooking a nice river and the Volcano that played havoc with European air traffic in 2010.
At this time of year, here at 66 degrees north latitude, the sun sets at 12 nidnight and rises at 3 am.

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The next morning we drove the other half of the Golden Circle starting off with the Vik Area, the southern most tip of Iecland.
On the way we passed beautiful farms that had been covered with ash in 2010.

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The area features spectatular geologic formations, long Black Sand beachs, Puffin colonies, and views of Ice Caps.
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Myrdalsjokull Ice Cap measures 25 miles in diameter with a height of 2300ft.
Farther to the west is Vatnajokull Ice Cap that measures 50 miles by 100 miles and rises 2800 ft
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From there we stopped at the Pipe Organ Rocks area.
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That afternoon we drove 240 miles to Stykkisholmur and the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
There we stayed in our next AirB&B home. It was another cottage in an open area between the ocean and the vast mountains.
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We hit Iceland at the peak of the haying season.
All bales are round, about 5 ft in dia and are enclosed (right in the bailer) in heavy cling wrap.
There is too much bad weather to let them sit unwrapped.

That evening, since there was plenty of sunlight until midnight, we drove around the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
This area is classified to Eastern Spiritualists as having extreme power.
In Olafsvik (pop 900) there was a magnificent church.
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Perhaps it was the "power", but anyway we met up with killer birds.
As soon as we were out of the car, they started dive bombing us, missing us by only inches.
We found the real reason, their chicks.
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The next morning we drove into Stykkisholmur (pop 1091) to see their port and their church.
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From there we had 60 miles of dirt road. But it was gorgous on this cloudless day.
The wild flowers were also beautiful.
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Since cafes are hard to find, and lunches cost $15-30 per person, we brought our own food and had it by the sea.

That night we stayed near Akureyri (18,000 pop), the second biggest city in Iceland.
Here we saw the cruise ship Amadea all the way from Nassau.
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Our home that night was part of an old farm.
That evening, as I sat in a local hot tub on the shore, I watched whales nearby.
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The next morning we drove to the Myvatn region where we saw Godafoss Falls.
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Next on to an interesting lake made from volcanic rock.
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From there we headed for Dettifuss Falls, the largest falls in all of Europe
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Nearby Selfoss Falls


Finally that long day, we drove up to Husavik, alleged to be the whale watching capital of the world.
It is only a stones throw from the Arctic Circle.
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The church picture is of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, but here he is raised from volcanic depths.
This was our one night to splurge with eating out - $100
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Iceland is THEE place to bring your wild vehicles, since you can drive on extreme mountains and on glaciers. This one was from Europe.

The last day we drove back across the island to Reykvavik.
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All the churches in Iceland are the same faith (by law) from Lutheran and other.
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There is a plaque there about Leifa Eircsson given by the USA to Iceland.
Also the green thing is a bathroom. Bathrooms usually cost $2 per use.

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Our Flight back was great. We left at 5pm Fri and arrived at 5pm Fri just keeping up with the sun.
I was very lucky to get a bunch of pictures of Greenland.

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This is Hudson Bay
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Driving in Iceland
The roads were usually paved, but be ready for gravel.
The 90 kph (55 mph) speed limit was about what it should be for the narrow winding roads.
There were no highway police, but some speed cameras.
Gas cost $1.75 US per liter.
Google maps and road guiding works well, but you will have to buy data for your phone.
The cell phones always had voice and 3G equivalent and often 4G (H+).
We felt it was worth our $10 a day for full service on one of our phones.
Though there were very few trees in Iceland, the scenery was always spectacular.
Always snow capped mountains, water falls, rivers, and lots of green meadows, full of sheep and Icelandic horses.