Norðurflug Helicopter Tour shot with my GoPRO HERO 4
H I G H L I G H T S
We finally arrived - I C E L A N D.
I reached frantically for some Ativan after taking my seat on the final flight to Keflavik. I was definitely ready to head out. Not fearful or anxious in a bad way, just slightly overwhelmed with so many people filing into the plane, waiting in anticipation.
I guess I ate something strange at the airport. Warm, wilted lettuce rings a bell as it's currently making my face cringe up just thinking about it. I had the absolute worst stomach cramping in my life, well next to getting an IUD inserted over the summer but that’s a whole other story! For the next three hours on the flight, I wasn’t sure which end was going to “be upset.” I guess I’ll just end that part of story right there. I survived and that’s the important thing to take away here.
Keflavik Airport. Walking casually through to grab our luggage, we searched for a place to meet a representative from the car rental company. On the benches, we spotted the most unusual of sleeping positions. One guy was lying sideways on a bench and had his neck twisted and cranked in a way that looked like it was quite possibly broken. Sleeping in airports is great material for story telling and absolutely terrible for all other reasons.
What a disaster getting the jeep was, at times we just had to laugh. The company late, okay no big deal, we are easy going BUT, only until we arrived at the dealership did the manager tell us our jeep was not available. Originally we had plans to grab this jeep and take off right away for the road trip in order to cover as much ground as possible. We’re both easy going so this wasn’t an issue at all. They gave us another car and we happily made our way to check out Reykjavik.
The roads were so different. Bare and clean, pretty deserted, stretched along the oceanside with beautiful mountains tracing the horizon. We were pumped. Round about after round about we made it to Norðurflug to inquire about their helicopter tours. We had agreed if the weather permitted, we'd try and do a tour on the first or last day. It was about 14 Celsius and so Jeff was determined to reserve a spot later in the afternoon. Hotel Natura was just across the way from where we were, and we were starving, a nice place to fuel up before getting settled.
The staff at Norðurflug were incredibly friendly and our pilot was so sweet. We took a 90 minute tour and saw some great spots around the south western side of the country. Beautiful waterfalls, craters, lakes, streams, tectonic plates and continental fissures. When we first headed out, the pilot told me I could hook my Go Pro to the front of the helicopter!
I took off running for my bags inside to grab it. He screamed suddenly and reached out for me as I was nearly heading right into the airstrip as a smaller plane was ready for take off. "Oh that would have been bad eh." I said, he replied “ It wouldn’t have been the first time." Okay so lesson learned! Still remains at age 26, no matter what country or what activity you may be doing. LOOK BOTH WAYS!
Onward to Reykjavik to rent some necessities at Iceland Camping Equipment. They were really helpful to us newbies trying to find out what we needed for the road. 400 bucks later we took a few breaths of relief to know we saved a couple grand in our decision to camp rather than staying in hotels or hostels.
They had a bunch of really cool second hand stores with great clothes, sweaters hats and more, the only problem was for second hand items you were still looking at prices over 80$ CAN. I managed to find a perfect light wool vest for 15$ CAN. I wore it the entire trip, it's always nice to invest a bit of money in souvenirs.
Our last disaster of the day had been yet again related to getting the jeep. We drove 40 minutes back to Keflavik only to be notified they had our jeep in Reykjavik for us. That's where we just were! We left early to head back to Keflavik and due to lack of communication wasted a good 2 hours of driving time. The GPS was so terrible, it was nearly impossible to type anything in let alone have actuate results. Thank the universe in our case for the Google phone. It was so handy the entire trip.
Last stop was Ikea to grab two fleece blankets and a pillow for Jeff, some bread, cheese, ham and dijonaise, crackers, Nutella and jam for the road. I whipped us up two sandwiches and we chowed down before heading to our first spot, Grundarfjodur.
On the road we quickly became those typical tourists who pull over abruptly on the side of the road to snap a photo of the spectacular view. After about 8 stops we realized this was going to become an issue, so I stayed in the car and just rolled down the window. Drive-by's were much more efficient.
We were warned about the roads and read some articles before coming to Iceland about safety in the country so we knew there would be a bit of trouble. Next thing you know about 30 minutes into our road trip, we are head on with an oncoming car not far from us at all. I held onto my seat in anticipation as it jerked back to their side of the road. Seconds after another car which had pulled out again right in front of us, jerked as well likely surprised by how close and how dead straight ahead we were.
We took off around 7:30 pm and arrived that night in a neighbouring town called Olafsvik by 11:30 or 12. It was impossible to find the campgrounds! Mainly because it was so dark and we were looking for something we had not yet identified. In the third town called Grundarfjörður, we stopped when we finally saw a little sign for camping.
Getting out of the jeep, I could feel that I was so wiped out. I was determined to set this tent up and kicked start into over drive. For anyone who knows me the thing about overdrive Jess is that is basically equated to disaster time. For 1-1.5 hours we tried to set this tent up in the dark with our little head lights. I was cursing to myself one minute and the next laughing at how maddening the experience was.
The tent label said it was an easy 5 minute job. IF IT'S A 5 MINUTE JOB, WHY IS IT AN HOUR LATER!? Of course an easy answer to that one, because I was too stubborn to read the instructions. Yeah, so I ended up reading it and surprise, surprise I had done everything backwards, or inside out I’m not even sure. I think Jeff was just in observation mode to see what I'd come up with. He is really easy going and is pretty okay with just about anything. We got the tent set up within the next 10 minutes, we had crawled in and slid into each of our slender sleeping bags. Jeff looked so ridiculous in his, he could barely get down all the way haha arms sticking out. He was such a good sport about this camping decision. We had a big laugh and then he tossed me some earplugs. I chowed down on a Nutella crunch sandwich in my bag and before you knew it, lights out for us both. We desperately needed to recharge.
I started marking my territory soon on in Iceland. Jeff found it amusing that I didn't care where I went to the washroom. As soon as I said the word and we’d be pulled over as I popped a squat wherever I felt necessary. This is one of the perks of traveling through a country that isn't highly populated. You have so much privacy out in nature. It's just perfect for me!