Iceland. In my head the land of fire and ice. Hard unbridled nature. Absolutely breathtaking views. Cleansing for soul and body. Those are the expectations. Will it be fulfiled? Partly.
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We flew to Iceland during the Easter holidays, so for about 3 whole days. Is it enough? Probably not. Maybe just for a crash course of the southern, most touristy part. If you want to get to know Iceland in the best light, go for at least 2 weeks. Will you have something to do? Yes and no. The essence of Iceland is the very absorption of the surrounding beauty. And there, sometimes it's enough just to lie in a thermal pool and sort out your thoughts.
Renting a car is absolutely essential for getting around the island. I can't imagine any kind of public transport, but according to the long-distance buses parked at every second waterfall, there is obviously one. This time I didn't go the route of the big car rental company, which I usually recommend. We used the services of Blue car rental, where I found the price and performance much more favorable. You will see two types of cars in Iceland. Either they are huge off-road Toyotas that you will need a ladder to get into and will take you to the North Pole. And the second variant is Dacia Duster. This Romanian worker will be enough for the rest.
Sure, you can find places where you leave half of your salary, but you can also find decent places for under 1000 CZK per person per night. And you don't have to squeeze in a hostel room with ten other people. Most of the time you will end up in a tin, modest but adequately equipped booth. However, it is enough for sleeping, showering and backing up photos.
In Iceland you pay for almost everything with a card. I withdrew money only for the voluntary entrance fee to the thermal baths. And believe it or not, even in the middle of nowhere, where the lady sits in the car and collects the entrance fee, you can pay by card there too.
We land at the airport in Keflavík, which is about 40 minutes from the capital. And my first recommendation is: Rent a car right after your arrival, even if it's half past one in the morning. You will save a lot of money for a taxi to the hotel and back. We lived right next to the airport and the trip there and back cost us almost more than the accommodation.
The first stop is the famous Blue Lagoon. According to the photos, a top experience, but the reality is a little different. My idea of the thermal baths in Iceland is that I arrive, change into a bathing suit, or pay a small voluntary entrance fee and go. In the Blue Lagoon, they decided to play a slightly different song. Right from the morning, we were greeted by a pleasant breeze at the speed of sound, accompanied by refreshing drops, reducing the feeling temperature well below the freezing point. I took only my bathing suit in my hand and went towards it. Upon entering, we were greeted by a reception desk and approximately half a million people waiting for their reserved entry. The price on the spot was about 2000 CZK, which is about only 2000 CZK more than I am willing to pay for it. Besides, we just wanted to take a bath and continue on in an hour. Such an introduction to our adventure made me a little uncertain about my future plans. But let me reassure you, it will only get better.
The only worse experience in Iceland than the Blue Lagoon is their food. After a while, you will find that it is much more effective to convert two hot dogs at a gas station into life energy than to spend time in any restaurant. But I don't want to offend the Icelanders, I'm not here for the gastronomic experience. So let's move on.
As soon as you get in your car and move east a bit, your life will immediately get a lot better. Our final station was Diamond beach and so we decided to drive there on the first day and then enjoy it slowly on the way back. There are so many stops along the way that we stopped at almost every other one. And it's almost always worth it.
Almost all forms of beauty await you on the way. Mountains, hills, waterfalls, sea, meadows, waterfalls, glaciers, waterfalls and then more waterfalls. Everything is very accessible. Just turn off the main road and you're there. Some things cannot be overlooked. Another 200,000 people will be there with you. And that is the only blemish on this perfect beauty. Sure, I'm one of them, but I've never seen such a concentration of people in one place. I attribute it to the excessive beauty of the place and the limited space. You won't meet anyone in American national parks, Scotland or Norway. Maybe because they are all in Iceland. In some places there are queues waiting for you to take a photo.
There is a way out of this. It will hurt you a bit, cost more time, but it will probably pay off a thousand times over. I recommend getting up very early and taking advantage of the time at the big attractions before the tourist buses arrive. Invest time in yourself and take trips off the beaten track and you might find something more.
We decided that we wanted to soak in the thermal pool at least once a day. We'll keep looking until we find one that's worth it. The first is a few minutes walk through magical nature, it's free, it's not so warm, but it's the first place where almost no one has been.
The other is on the way back through the Golden circle. It's in the middle of nowhere, it's super warm, but you'll have to pay. The land owner stands at the entrance and collects the entrance fee.
The time of year depends on these hot springs. Sometimes they are cold, sometimes too hot. But it's always an experience.
Yeah, we've been there too. There I will give you a tip: From the parking lot to the plane and back you will be transported by an experience bus, and let me tell you, it is the best investment of money in all of Iceland. The only thing you don't want to do is march 40 minutes there and 40 minutes back across the arid lunar landscape with the constant risk of getting wet, burnt, or tripping over one of a million rocks. This way the bus will take you to the plane and back again in 15 minutes.
We decided to spend the last day before departure in the capital. And maybe it was because it was Sunday, but if I had to recommend to someone how long to spend here, maybe 2 hours. Eat, have a beer at the oldest bar in Iceland and fuck off.
The real Iceland is somewhere else. It hides deep behind the mossy mountains, the volcanoes, under the waterfalls, in the reflection of the glaciers, in those beautiful black beaches, the raw wind, the ever-changing weather. Next time I would like to go much longer, far from people, and maybe this time I will find everything I was looking for.
Once a month you will explore original stories, look behind the scenes and probably learn something new.
© 2024 Marek Dvorak / Photography