Artist Residencies · Iceland: Kickstarter · Inspiration/Musings · Unclassified

Iceland in 7 days

kelps1
kelp in kjalarnes

Hey there! So I have added a new PAGE to my blog menu; Iceland. Where I intend to share info I’ve gathered from my travels there. I will also, from time to time share that info in a post, just so’s ya’ll see it. ūüėČ Plus, this September I am traveling back and visiting the Westfjords! Plus essentially living in Skagastr√∂nd through the winter. Ok here goes!

Friends traveling to Iceland for the first time often¬†ask, what do I need to see and experience when I am in Iceland? And recently the topic of Iceland came up yet again ūüôā ¬†a friend’s sister will be traveling there soon and did I have any recommendations. So, I thought I would put together some ‘lists’ if you will, of places I have visited, stayed, slept, etc. In other words- the¬†Iceland pages¬†will grow. If you would like to download the info below minus images and video, Iceland in 7 days!

First of all I personally feel every where in Iceland is amazing, gorgeous and most often otherworldly.

If you are visiting for a week you could potentially drive around the entire Island and see¬†almost all of the amazingness ūüôā ¬†no problem.¬†Or you could spend more time in certain areas.

First of all the weather changes rapidly from sunny to rain/wind and back to sunny.¬†Raincoats or wind breakers with wool sweaters/layers – do not bring umbrellas (not that¬†you would) but it gets far too windy. Icelanders don’t bother. Just warm layers. Even in¬†summer months merino leggings, jeans, wool sweater (thick or thin) with a wind breaker¬†works.¬†Icelandic wool sweaters are amazing. The¬†Icelandic wool association¬†in downtown¬†Reykjavik sell them and have a massive selection- all hand knit locally. Also, there is a¬†Red Cross store downtown (near the¬†Phallological¬†museum) that sell used Icelandic¬†sweaters. Sometimes you get lucky and find an amazing sweater for under $80! Bring a¬†toque/beanie, mitts or gloves, wool socks and good walking/hiking boots or hard-core¬†Wellies. Often when inside hostels/hotels/guest houses it will be warm as pretty much¬†everything is geothermally heated. So it can be quite toasty.¬†Staying in guest houses and hostels- if you bring your own blankets or sleeping bags, price is a bit reduced. Bring bathing wear/suits if you plan to check out any of the hot¬†springs or ‚Äėpools‚Äô (every town has a pool) they are, generally speaking geothermal¬†water/heated and sometimes out doors or with an open roof. Don’t be shy- everyone¬†has to take a shower sans bathing suit before getting into the actual pools.¬†Pretty much every tourist goes to the Blue Lagoon. There is also the Fontana in¬†Laugarvatn (less $$ and often less crowded).

My recommendations (if you’ve never been to Iceland): Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon (glacial lagoon) technically a 4.5 hour drive southwest on R1 but who’s in a hurry?!There are many sights along the way.

Renting a vehicle from¬†Route 1¬†online, in advance is less expensive then when you¬†arrive. Buy the gravel/rock dirt (can’t remember exactly what it is called) insurance. A¬†small vehicle will do fine unless you want to travel on the F roads (gravel). I‚Äôve driven on¬†the F roads with a Yaris, but I think the rules may have changed.

Some basic words, pronunciation:

Foss= falls. As in waterfalls.

Vatn= lake

Laugar= (LOYgar) wash, to wash or bath

Laugardagur= Saturday/wash day ūüėČ

Jökul= glacier

J√°= (yOW- like ou in ouch. Usually said while inhaling.) means= yep, yes

Ei- pronounced Eh. Rather than the German Eye.

J is pronounced like j in Jah (German) or like a y in yes.

Ll oddly enough sounds more like T. For instance the name Halla is said Hatla

Hv is generally sounding like Kv like in Kvetch

Æ- pronounced like saying- Eye

√ćs – ice pronounced -ees

Fisk- fish

R’s are rolled. Like spanish.

√Čg heiti ____ (my name is___) Pronounced: Yeah hEYtea ____

En ‚ąāu? And you?

√Čg er fr√° ______ (I am from ____) En ‚ąāu?

Go‚ąāan Dag or Go‚ąāan Daginn (the inn is added when said to men) Good day and

people greet each other this way.

Pronounced: Gawthan-Die or Gawthan-Die-in

Komdu sæl or if saying hello to a man- Komdu sæll (remember the weird double L t likesound? Well this one is a bit different. More like placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth while exhaling.

Takk = thanks

Takk fyrir matin = thanks for the meal.

Bless or Bless bless = goodbye

Sj√°umst= see you later.

Here’s an informative video on how to fool people into thinking you are Icelandic with only 3 words. J√°!

Car rented now you need to grab some food/snacks for the road!

Hands-down it is way less expensive to travel Iceland picnic style! Unless you want to pay close to $40 for a crappy hamburger from a gas station? There are grocery stores in downtown Reykjavik. One is called Bónus with a pink piggy bank in their logo. Convenience stores or Krónan, Nettó. Now you can find organic, vegan and veggie easier than 5 years ago!

Recommended Icelandic food items for traveling:

FlatkókurРsimilar in appearance to tortillas. Not tortillas. These are smoky and really

great. Some are even made with moss.

R√ļgbrau‚ąā– rye brown bread usually baked in the earth for 24hrs. So good. I‚Äôve found it

differs depending on where it is made/cooked and who’s grandmother’s recipe was

used ūüėČ

SmjórРbutter in iceland, pretty much any dairy is nothing like in the States or Eu. In fact

some people with dairy allergies elsewhere have been able to consume the Icelandic

dairy without any issues.

Skyr– NOT yogurt. Almost entirely fat free, lots of protein.

Viking cheese (the package has a Viking and runes on it) I don’t remember the actual

name

Stóri Dímon also a great cheese.

AB mjolk Рtry it if you dare. Some people (Icelanders) LOVE it. Comes in fruit flavours

and reminds me of thick kefir, maybe better.

Blueberries grow wild in Iceland so.. yeah.

Nuts

Icelandic chocolate

IMG_0903Icelandic lakris (liquorice) Icelanders claim that their’s is the best. And if you are into liquorice then OMG! Go for it. There are so many varieties to choose from. Even cafes offer Lakris lattes.

If you want to see it ‘all’ then I have 2 suggestions.¬†Forego the touristy (ha! It is now all touristy) places until the end of your trip.

Out of Reykjavik head ‘west’ making your 1st destination the Bifrost.¬†Or your first shopping destination on the way might be Mosfellsb√¶r and¬†√Ālafoss¬†wool¬†central- primary wool supplier around the island! There will be signs and a roundabout¬†as you approach. This is a cute little area to grab a coffee or tea and buy wool. They are¬†the wool peeps.¬†Plus there are other artisan studios in this little, old style shopping area/factory.

Heading out on route 1 (ring road): The Bifrost (north of Borgarnes) is an amazing area Р3000 year old lava fields covered in moss and lichens! On the way there is Glannifoss or hop on 54 and head towards Gerduberg cliffs..?                                                                           Heading towards Blönduós- textile museum is here. Check out the cascades, check out road 711 and Hvitserkur, Vatnsnesvegur.

Akureyri – the visitors centre is worth a stop. The view out the back is gorgeous.¬†The drive to Akureyri through √Ėxnadalur is beautiful.

M√Ĺvatn- craters (astronauts trained here for the moon landing!), an amazing lake and¬†on the other side of the hill: Krafla orange sulphurous blue bubbling mud pools. You can head up to the caldera and (I think you still can) walk¬†around the volcano. The landscape around here is nuts!

Sey√įisfj√∂r√įur- sweet Christmas postcard-like town. Ferries to the Eu. But if you reach¬†Akureyri towards the early evening maybe keep heading north east to¬†Ytra Lon¬†(off 85)¬†and stay there? You would then be up in the northeast corner of Iceland. It is beautiful¬†here! Puffin in the summer. Just off the Greenland sea and if the temp drops below -5/-7c¬†and the sky is clear you will see the northern lights!! In fact, you might see them¬†anyways as you are just so far north, but if the sun is no longer setting then, who¬†knows? ūüėȬ†I drove from there heading east along 85 which meets up with 1 again (the next day¬†after walking along the beach for a couple hours) to Egilssta√įir and I took 94 to the¬†Elven City: √Ālfatr√∂‚ąā aka √Ālfaborg- there are traditional hobbit-like homes and a large¬†basalt rock formation. Climb to the top!¬†IMG_4179

 

Then perhaps head back to Egilssta√įir and take 93 to Sey√įisfj√∂r√įur‚Äļ.¬†Or head south along the eastern coast and pull over a lot! Check out the beaches and¬†all the sights! They are generally well worth it.

JökulsárlónРthe gorgeous glacial lagoon!

On the ocean side you have glowing crystal-like icebergs washing up on the black sand beach. I recommend arriving near 9-9:30pm or super early morning. Before the bus loads arrive.

Head to Skaftafell

Walk along¬†Fja√įr√°rglj√ļfur

Vik- black sand beaches, and trolls rising up out of the sea. If you’re LOTR fans- you¬†might think it looks more like Sauron’s helm, or something ūüėČ

Dyrh√≥laey – puffin, amazing basalt cliffs and arches and a cave. Just stunning! The¬†drive itself is amazing – pay attention to the warning signs. They’re serious.¬†It can be¬†very¬†deadly¬†here if the weather is nuts and the waves are crashing. I almost almost¬†learned this from experience, luckily I wasn’t on Cthulhu’s menu that day ūüėČ

dyrholaey
Dyrhólæy

Seljalandsfoss. Walk behind it.¬†Then head (if facing this waterfall) to your left all the way past the little house and walk¬†into the ‘cave’. Do it! ūüôā ¬†2015-05-10 20.29.35

From this point you can now make your way through the Golden Circle.¬†When you reach Selfoss you could potentially head north from there on 35 and then¬†take 37 heading towards Laugarvatn.¬†Gullkistan¬†is here, you might be able to book a¬†stay or visit the Fontana. Geysir is outside of Laugarvatn (take 37) and then head back¬†to Laugarvatn and take 365 to¬†√ěingvellir.

There is just SO much to experience in Iceland beyond what I have shared here. I love Reykjavik and because it is fairly small, you can easily walk the entire downtown area in a day, but taking two days to explore all of the museums, rocket ship/Gattaca church, galleries, street art, harbour, etc., is nice. Fish and chips? I would suggest trying the Wolf Fish. There’s street food, lobster sandwiches and the ever famous, Icelandic hotdog!

That’s it for now! Have fun and thanks for dropping by ūüôā

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s