I’m actually struggling to describe Iceland because every part of it is so beautiful in a completely different way. Even the drives are incredible. I should be tiring after an hour or so, especially because I haven’t driven in so long, but the views keep me awake, always changing and always stunning. We drive up to a crest and on the other side is always a spectacular view of the surroundings, which can be anything in this country. We’ve seen glaciers and ice lagoons, volcanic craters and geysers, from waterfalls to canyons, green mountains to snow capped mountains, and peculiar architecture dotting the landscape. When I say this I refer to the houses; generally odd little cottages always in the middle of nowhere, either by themselves or with a few others while maintaining their privacy and keeping quite separate. We’ve been to a few towns where they’ve made an attempt at being ‘medieval’, reminding us of The Hobbit with the grass thatched roofs, and giving us a kitchen made of stone and with some sticks thrown in there for added ambience – pointless they may be.
Once we left the golden circle the Ring Road got quieter and the landmarks became less crowded. Slowly the tourists dropped off the further we traveled north with many trips limited to 7 days, forcing people to stop before they could experience the beauty the rest of the country has to offer. It was ideal to be honest, seeing only a couple of cars during the drives, making it easy to make one of many stops on the side of the road to take photos. The popular landmarks were also easier to navigate with less people around, making photos without human interruption possible.
For the whole 11 days traveling the Ring Road we were quite lucky with the weather. When the rain presented itself it tended to be on days when it didn’t affect our plans as much, not soaking us like we had read we would be. Unfortunately the days were mostly cloudy with only a couple of blue sky days which made the views even more incredible. The wind came in waves too. After having been seriously warned to hold on to our car doors due to risk of them flying away we began to understand the seriousness of the matter on a select few days when the wind was relentless. It was so strong you felt you needed to hold on to something to steady yourself as you walked, and grip the steering wheel that little bit tighter when driving to attempt to push back against it.
Spending 11 days in the campervan acting as our vehicle, living room, bedroom, occasional dining room and storage box was easier than expected. Aside from a sore back it was good because we always had all our stuff with us, we could eat whenever we wanted to, we saved a lot of money and it felt like a true road trip. The campsites were hit and miss, with some providing a small make-do kitchen sometimes with kettle and/or stove, or sometimes just an outdoor sink to wash your dishes in. The shower situation was interesting, with few campsites offering them at all and those that do occasionally charging for it, almost $5 for one shower. Three showers in 11 days really doesn’t sound like enough, and believe me, it isn’t. But luckily if I haven’t showered in 3 days, and Emily hasn’t showered in 3 days, we both smell and the situation isn’t a problem, which was my outlook through Africa too.
The Ring Road came to an end on Friday when we arrived back in Reykjavik. I feel as though I haven’t adequately described the vastly different but ever beautiful scenery that we were lucky enough to experience throughout Iceland. The scenery went way beyond my expectations and all I can do is urge you to visit it yourself one day. Save your money as everything is wildly expensive, but if you do it with the mindset of a couple of broke backpackers like Emily and I did you can get by on AUD $100 a day, excluding the flights of course.