Iceland Part I – driving north and the West Fjords

Upon returning from a big trip- we we just did from Iceland- one is faced with many questions: how to share pictures? And how many is too many? Does anyone really care?

Here will live some tales and photographs of our Iceland jaunt. The basics: we rented a camper van from Lava Campers (more on the van later) and had no real plan for our two weeks. So we arrived on no sleep where the sweet Lava Camper man awaited us with our Helka and briefed us on the vehicle, Iceland and his upcoming Rally Car race. We picked up our first Skyr yogurt, a map of the island and headed north (“Big storm coming to the south” he warned).

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So we arrived weary to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

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A storm shook our van all night and we decided to head further north to the West Fjords- we picked up a German hitchiker at some point and we made our way to Ísafjörður.

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I had grand designs to hike the famous five-day Hornstrandir route. A boat, it turned out would have been spendy for us to charter (the main season ends in August) and the very nice man at the Braedraborg cafe assured us that hiking around the mainland was just as remote and beautiful. So we packed up everything and headed up the high fjord, the tops of which were shrouded in fog.

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It was really beautiful for a while and then we were fully socked in. Then it started misting. Then raining. It was also very cold.

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A giant pass loomed up like a wall in front of me. I had a breakdown. Did I mention I’m four months pregnant? “There’s no shame in heading back to the camper van,” my very-patient husband assured me. So two hours later:

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It was right about here that I fully fell in love with the Lava Camper, which came to be known as Mama Bear. It was also here that I began to accept that the trip would be what it would be – there may or may not be long hiking days. There may or may not be sun. I couldn’t know yet. It all had to unfold as it would. So the next day we drove on.

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The drive from the West Fjords was one of our favorites- long and deserted and heartbreakingly beautiful. We listened to Sigur Ros as one must when they drive in Iceland. We counted an hour before we saw another car. We saw a lot of really adorable sheep.

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And once, when we pulled onto a back road for no real good reason, a double rainbow stretched across the sky while a horse galloped right past our car.DSCF1907DSCF1911

And as we drove we hmmed and hawed about where to spend the night and we finally pulled off the Ring Road onto the Tröllaskagi peninusula. Of which wonders I shall save for Part II.

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