Iceland suggestions please - ClubTread Community
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Iceland suggestions please

Hi,

My husband and I are attempting to plan a trip to Iceland around June 15 to 26. Does anyone have any suggestions? Info on good places to camp? Are guesthouses worth it? Any hikes to not miss out on and anything else of interesting value?

Thanks ahead of time.

-TAB
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:33 AM
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There was a great article in the latest edition of "Gripped" about a trip to Iceland. It had a lot more to do with ice climbing but there was some good points on places to stay etc.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:42 AM
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I lived in Iceland for 4 months. Get a hotel/guesthouse in downtown Reykjavik....good night life if you are into that.

For hikes, I recommend:

Esja near Reykjavik is a good day trip


Thorsmork
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%B3rsm%C3%B6rk

Skaftafell Park

Driving around the country on the "Ring Road" is worth it too. Iceland is beautiful and that time of the year you will have close to 24 hrs daylight.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 05:03 PM
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Awesome country. Ring road trip is a great idea. You can do day hikes from the ring road BUT if the sign says Danger - stay away for sure - you will be walking on terrain that is alive!! I had a small steam jet open up right under my pant leg as I was taking pictures of a boiling mud pool - neat experince but a little scary at the same time - we got the heck back to the car and out of the area.

Also consider a quick visit to the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman) Islands.

Guest houses are the way to go. Local folks and local guides are well worth engaging. Watch for great deals on Icelandic wool sweaters from local knitters - a terrific souvenir to take home and they are warm like the dickens'. And be sure to try the Brennivin.

Once there you'll want to go back for a longer stay.

Happy Trails
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 05:34 PM
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 06:07 PM
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Don't forget to soak in some hotsprings under the midnight sun, with Brennivin and Haakarl.! A more Icelandic experience is hard to imagine. Anything involving Haakarl is hard to imagine.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by alexcanuck

Don't forget to soak in some hotsprings under the midnight sun, with Brennivin and Haakarl.! A more Icelandic experience is hard to imagine. Anything involving Haakarl is hard to imagine.
I was in a group campground common area at one point during my trip to Iceland. A girl came in, and asked if anyone would like to try haakarl. I said sure, but she said I had to go outside to eat it because she wasn't allowed to bring it inside, due to its smell.

While we think it's gross, Icelanders love it. There was a local guy there who went back to the lady's cup for more and more chunks of it, which he generously washed down with some local beer.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 10:28 PM
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I wonder what Canada customs would say if I brought some back for the next CT dinner. LOL.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 09:05 PM
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It's too bad that you are going in June - the inland roads are usually still closed then. I spent a couple of weeks in Iceland in early August 2010, I drove around the country. As much as possible I stayed away from Highway 1 (Ring Road), preferring instead to drive the two-digit roads or, better, the three-digit ones. My route was counter-clockwise from Reykjavik up to the W Fjords over to Akureyri down to Egilstadur to Hofn and around through to Vik and back to Reyjkavik. I also spent a day in Landmannalaugar in the Interior of the country. That day was a highlight of the trip.

There are few to no trees in Iceland (except near Egilstadur's national forest... even then they are sparse and not very tall, think Seymour Demo Forest km 8 on Mainline) so camping will be on open areas. The weather changes rapidly. And there are microclimates. You will find yourself driving in blue-sky weather, over a pass, into thick fog. Or rain.

The country has 3G throughout its perimeter, if you bring a smart phone make sure you bookmark the weather map. It indicates weather and road conditions - indispensable on a trip such as this. I scoffed when others told me about the changing weather, then got into an incredible ocean storm on the road to Hofn, with mountains on one side, and stormy sea on the other. I've never seen anything like this in BC or anywhere else I have traveled.

The country is beautiful, the people friendly. Most speak English. The only people I met that did not speak English were in a remote town in the W Fjords, but we made do anyway. There are gas stations at frequent intervals. The price then was spendy at 1.65 cents a litre, but not insanely so. Food prices too were Whole Foods-grade; again, not the insanity of pre-2008.

I loved the North of the country. The empty fjords upon working my way out of Isafjordur. No traffic behind me, no one coming towards me - at the height of tourist season, even. The little homesteads, spaced out from one another, kilometers apart. The ubiquitous little churches, nestled at the mouths of the fjords. The immensity of solitude, just me and my car traveling three-digit gravel side roads, blind curves, hairpin turns, no one else on the roads. Five bars on the iPhone though. And illuminated signs every few dozen kilometers, indicating the wind speed and temperature at the next pass.

Places I remember with fondness - the emptiness of the W Fjords. The mystery of Asbyrgi. The roiling sands and hissing rocks near Myvatn and the geothermal station nearby. The beautiful waterfalls. The forest at Egilstadur. The storm near Hofn. The icy marvels of Jokulsarlon. The peaceful green fields of Vik. Oh I still dream about Vik. And the surprise of the Blue Lagoon (which I resisted going to) I spent the better part of the day immersed there, talking with people from my own countries and others far-flung.

Iceland is quirky, expensive, and will use up all your photo media cards. Yet I returned home and regretted not taking more pictures than I already had. The rocks, the mosses, the landscapes, the geysers, the rivers, the waterfalls, the icebergs, the vast stretches of open empty roads where not even dogs or sheep dare roam... perfect escape, perfect reset button.

If you haven't seen Heima by Sigur Ros, view it. It presents a good travelogue of what you may see on your way around. But it's only a small part of the picture. Take your cameras, make sure you take your rechargers (european plug system, take adapters) and click away.

And whatever you do, don't miss the little puffins at Latrabjarg. They are delightful and absolutely not shy.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 09:11 PM
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...by the way, Greenland is only a hop skip away from Iceland. You can take a day trip from the Reykjavik city airport (different from Keflavik!) to Kulusuk and visit a country that will remind you a lot of Newfoundland.

Greenland rocks. In both senses of the word. It will surprise you for what it offers - green grass, beautiful flowers, roaming braying sheep, welcoming people, a high standard of living (it is governed by the Danes after all) with a breathtaking icecap just looming over the horizon. Go.

Go.

[ edit ] here is a link to the photo book I created from my travels in 2010 http://www.blurb.com/books/1984510
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