Iceland Glaciers & Dirt Roads
2010 Iceland Ring-Road Driving Trip
This part really centers on the eastern area of Iceland’s ring road which is home to many a roadside glacier. It’s funny because as your driving along you pass a bend and are like ‘wow, that’s the most beautiful glacier I’ve ever seen!’ and then you drive a little further ‘Whoa! That one is even better!’ which goes on for a good couple hours. Flocks of swans flying parallel to your car with icecap mountains in the background helps too.
It’s really pretty amazing and at one point you find yourself driving directly towards the biggest glacier you’ve ever seen [literally the biggest in Europe] while 2 other huge ones are on either side of you. If I had a 4×4 I would’ve been able to get closer, but frankly at this point in my journey I wasn’t going to put my car through too much more. Some of the roads to the glaciers were a little too hard core for my little beast of a car. After my car stuck incident my survival instincts [Tanya’s voice in my head saying ‘Ian bad! Death!‘] was in full swing.
Once you get out of that dark and creepy area, you start getting into nice grasslands with sheep and numerous jumping reindeer warning signs. Something I should mention for people thinking about doing this trip as well is make sure your perfectly ok with peeing on the side of the road. You might go hours without seeing a store, much less a gas station, so keep that in mind. I peed on the side of the road probably 20 times on this trip, no lie. Tanya would not have liked this little adventure at all. Also, there are hardly no trees. Early settlers cut them down and now because it’s on the arctic circle it takes like 50 years for them to grow back.
There were swans everywhere in Iceland, and these guys set up shop with a nice view. They didn’t seem to mind me too much and I didn’t get pecked to death like every other bird in Iceland. It was clearly mating season.
Past Höfn there is a tunnel where you go through a mountain and end up on the other side where the really amazing views continue. Tanya and I had just gone to New Zealand the past December [which is known for dramatic landscapes] and Iceland seriously blew it out of the water. It’s strange that Iceland isn’t more touristy, maybe people just like bathrooms on their trips and are boycotting…dunno.
Very cool and amazingly isolated area. I think I pulled over at this point and was just like ‘wow, this is unbelievable’. Then I hoped my car started up as I hadn’t seen anyone in awhile.
This began one of the best parts of the trip. Once you get past the eastern fjords [I’ll cover those in part four] you get to another dirt stretch where baby sheep were all gathering in the road just waiting to be made into lamb chops. It hangs out in the valley for awhile and then suddenly you realize, oh this is going to be a mountain pass. On a dirt road. With no real guardrails to protect you from certain death. It eventually pulls you up into glacial territory where you realize had this not be Summer this would be a scary scary drive.