Northwest Iceland (7 Dec)
This was going to be our most ambitious day yet, in terms of driving length and driving conditions.
The plan was to make it from Akureyri in the North all the way to Grundarfjörður in the west. That’s over 400km of driving across snowy, icy roads, and the weather didn’t start out great.
We started the day before the sun came up (that is, around 9am), and scrapped a mountain of snow off our car. It was pretty much snowing for the whole of yesterday, though thankfully the roads remained open due to the snow plows constantly getting snow off the main roads.
The weather didn’t look good at all in the morning – look at all the storm clouds in the horizon. This was pure, untamed nature.
We stopped at a gas station to top up on gas and grab a quick breakfast. So far I haven’t mentioned anything about gas stations – but we must have gone to at least 10 of them by now.
Many gas stations in Iceland are unmanned, especially those in locations far from towns. The way it works is that you have to insert a credit card and key in your PIN, then enter the amount of fuel that you’d like to top up (or you can top up till it’s full). Not all credit cards worked – you’d generally need one with a 6 digit PIN. From my experience, the DBS Woman’s World card worked quite well, as did the UOB Visa Signature card (which I used most of the time, since it gives 4 miles/$).
Breakfast was a hot dog – believe it or not, this was our first gas station hotdog, 7 days into the trip. Hot dog is probably the most popular Icelandic snack, and here they generally do it well – the hot dog’s usually tasty and quite succulent.
Hot dogs never really caught on in Singapore though – but it’s such an easy food to make and sell. Then again, I can’t recall having any good hot dogs in Singapore.
The northwest is dotted with quiet small towns along the main road – we opted to go off the Ring Road and into highway 82 to check out some of the towns. It was mostly going to be touch and go today.
Tried a can of Protein Coffee and almost puked. This was probably the most nasty drink I’ve had in a while – give me tomato juice anytime!
There were a few tunnels to navigate as the northwest was rather mountainous. Some of the tunnels are single-lane probably because it just didn’t make sense to spend money and effort on a double-lane tunnel when the traffic is so low. So, there are places where you could duck into while waiting for an oncoming car to pass. Not as scary as it looks since the tunnel is straight, and you’d get ample warning of any oncoming cars.
We were just stopping at random towns along the way. Each of them looked eerily quiet – I guess at this time of the year, people don’t really get out of their homes except to go to work or get groceries.
One of the last few pit stops. We saw a bunch of horses, and decided to stop for photos.
We weren’t going to have time to get dinner before 9pm since we were rushing to the west of Iceland. So it’s time to eat in the car again:
We made a quick pit stop in Blönduós, a relatively large town with a population of 880.
After Blönduós, it was full steam ahead to the Snæfellsnes peninsula where we would be spending the night. The interesting thing was, we would actually get pretty close to Rekjavik (something like 100km). Iceland’s actually pretty small and in theory it would have been possible to make a day trip from the capital of the South (Reykjavik) to the capital of the North (Akureyri).
After a very, very long drive, we finally reached our hostel in Grundarfjördur. Our accommodation for the night was a twin room in Grundarfjördur Hostel (S$138). Functional and comfy.
This was also the night when we’ll see our first (and last aurora) of the trip, so stay tuned for the next post!
This entry was posted in Europe, Honeymoon, Iceland