travel

Iceland: the Ring Road Epic Saga

Iceland! A road trip to remember!  Everything about this country is majestic, huge, ruthless. I’m not being literary, though. In fact, words can’t describe the goddess Eylenda! We arrived in a very cold (pleonasm intended) March morning at the Reykjavik airport and rented a Volkswagen Golf. We would cross the Ring Road and hunt the northern lights. The forecast announced a good amount of solar storms in the next days. Me and hubby were ultra excited!!!

We spent the first night at Reykjavik, exploring this cute small city that looks like a provisory settlement for lost adventurers. The most impressive building is the Hallgrímskirkja church, no doubt. I had a slight déjà vu because it looks like the Catedral Metropolitana de Brasília back in my hometown.

It’s expressionist architecture, its height (74,5m), its shape…really make us think about the Icelandic landscape that inspired its sharp lines.

The next morning we went to the “pig market” Bonus to buy food for 3 days at least. Protein bars, nuts, sandwiches…We would stop by some small towns along the road but didn’t know exactly when: all the restaurants, grocery stores and eateries could be already closed by the time of our arrival (Iceland has strict opening hours).

We also downloaded the SOS app 112 Iceland and Aurora Tracker.

We were finally ready to go!

There was a thin layer of ice on the road and in our very first day we almost had an accident when my husband glided and lost the control of the car.

We were so nervous that we had to stop for a few minutes to recover from the scare. We talked about the puffins, it helped us to laugh and release the cumulated tension. Above is the photo we took just after, close to the spot were we nearly crashed.👽

We were going to the north, discovering the Icelandic inhabitants: the short and resilient Icelandic horse, the goats, the sheep, the Icelandic sheepdog. But we saw no puffins, they were far away and wouldn’t come before late spring.

Below, a gorgeous Icelandic sheepdog named Asta:

Me and Krugur, an Icelandic horse full of grace and sweetness ❤

Bellow, the ridiculously awesome out-worldly Brúarfoss! The access is difficult, through steep wooden stairs precariously built, but it’s totally worthy the effort!

After days with no great atmospheric changes we received our first aurora alert! The Kp (Kp is a number in a scale, measuring the solar storm intensity. It goes from 0 to 9 – 0 being very weak, 9 being a major geomagnetic storm).

It was good enough, that night was the night!!

We decided to go the further we could, to make sure no artificial lights would spoil our view. But the further away, less civilization and more snow on the road.

We finally found a good place to park the car: along the road there was a patch of land, like a mirador. We could see the first signs of a white autora above our heads!!!

I was hysterical and started to cry. That was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!! The lights were moving slowly, like an organza dress in the breeze, like waves gently touching the shore, a mellow undulating movement that was blowing my mind! OMG!!! OMG!!!

The place was too dark and we struggled to make the photo below. I keep it as a cherished trophy:

After a while we decided to go back to the car and go to our hotel, it was almost 2am! But…the car was badly stuck in the snow! In our state of hypnosis we didn’t notice that the terrain wasn’t solid, actually under the layer of snow there was only thick mud!

We called the 112 Iceland but it was to no avail because we were in a secondary road without a name that didn’t appear on the GPS or map. The closest city, Husavik, was many miles away.

We got out the car and went down the deserted road, using only a torchlight to see the way. After walking for about 25 minutes we’ve found a farm. The darkness, the isolation and the silence created a very creepy atmosphere.

I was afraid of calling for help. And if inside there was a psycho, an unfriendly hermit with a gun, or ghosts? We had no alternative. We started to shout “Help!!! Help!!!”

A light went on and someone came to the window. I was moving my arms frantically. The temperature was so low that I could feel the icy wind traversing my heavy clothes.

Finally the lateral door opened and we could see four or five children, a middle aged couple and two young men. The men greeted us in a very welcoming way and only five minutes after we were on the way to our car in a pick-up. The men took a thick rope and attached it to our car and pulled it from that pit! Yuhaaaaa!!!

Post-it mental: the most impressive was the good will of that family! They seemed really eager to help and showed no sign of irritation for being disturbed so late in the night! Bravo!!!! 🇮🇸

We arrived too, too late at the little hotel. The reception was closed. We called only to listen their phone ring in the other side of the glass door, and nobody was there to answer.

With no options left, we went back to the car and arranged our seats the best we could. Yes, we slept inside the car, the northern lights fading at the distance. But it was worthy. So worthy!

The beach of black sand @Vik

Bellow: Me and hubby inside an ice cave at Vatnajökull

That was one of the best travels of my life and much more happened during those 10 super intense days in the Land of Ice and Fire!

The last day was dedicated to self-indulgence, exotic food (no, we didn’t eat sheep head, fermented shark etc., but I tried Black Death). We also paid a visit to the Icelandic Phallological Museum back in Reykjavik. Super fun.

Epilogue: Our flight departed at 6am, so we had to be at the airport at 4 am. We couldn’t sleep, so we packed and stayed outside our guesthouse, a pretty 2-storey house built in the “precarious” Reykjavik style, talking under the stars and replaying the unforgettable moments inside our heads. Just us, the stars and the crickets in the dead of the night.

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