My Iceland Adventure
There is an Icelandic games company called CCP Games who produce an online game called EVE Online which has just celebrated its 15th birthday.
They host an annual conference where players from all over the world travel to attend where the game developers show what is going to be introduced to the game over the next year through presentations and round table discussions.
It was a fun event meeting up with people who I don’t know with the same interests. Great to see people who put in the extra effort with dressing up.
While attending the 3 day event I booked a guided coach tour before it started. I figured this was the best way to see the most of Iceland outside of Reykjavík with the limited amount of time I had.
I was not going to hire a car for the one day I could have used it. Not having to worry about driving in a foreign country was a bonus. Not being used to driving on the other side of the road.
Arriving In Iceland
Iceland has no railway network and the International airport is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Reykjavík where most of the Iceland population lives. A few days before travelling to Iceland I pre-booked a shuttle bus service to the main bus station in Reykjavík.
Car hire was also an option, but I decided it would not be worth it for the one free day I could have used it.
When arriving at the bus station I made my way to the B&B which is near the Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Being near a landmark made it easy to find and in walking distance from the bus station and the main city centre.
Staying In Iceland
Being in the EU, my mobile phone provider had Iceland on their roaming at home list, meaning I could use my mobile phone as if I were in the UK using the same text, voice, and data allowance. I depend on google maps for getting around.
I opted to stay in a B&B to keep costs down that had a shared toilet, shower between 2 other units. It was a pleasant place with the bonus of being in a good location. I was able to walk from the bus station and walk around Reykjavík without any additional transport costs.
For payment I used my prepaid revolut credit card which I can manage using a phone app. All the places I went to accepted it using contactless. I did convert some US dollars I had spare from a previous trip to the local currency. But I could have easily not used any cash.
While the standard of food in Iceland restaurants & bars was excellent, it is not cheap. Most nights my meal would come to about £20 of a burger and a soft drink. In the UK I would expect to pay £10-15. A pint of bear is around £7, less if you go during a happy hour.
Lunches I tried to keep to buying sandwiches & drinks from a supermarket which is more reasonable, closer to what I would pay in the UK. If I had a self-catering accommodation, I would defiantly save quite a bit of money cooking myself while buying food from the supermarket. Something I shall look into if I go back to Iceland.
The Last Night
On my last night in Iceland when walking back to my accommodation I saw a streak of green in the sky. I was expecting the weather to be grey all week, therefore not expecting to see the northern lights.
There are no shortage of coach trips operating out of Reykjavík from a variety of companies. I believe the route named the “Golden Circle” is the more popular one but I decided to go with the “South Shore Adventure” with it being more scenic operated by Reykjavik Excursions. Not having the time to do both it is only an assumption.
Thankfully everyone I encountered in Iceland spoke good English. Otherwise attempting to pronounce Icelandic names would be embracing. No I know how people feel when they try an say my last name.
The first stop of the guided coach tour was Skógafoss waterfall. One of the many things that Iceland has to offer compared to the UK, or the part of the UK where I live is the rugged volcanic landscapes. I am used to flat green views. I very rarely see anything like this.
As with most locations that we visited, there were plenty of other tourists there making it difficult getting a photo without any people.
With getting close to the waterfall there was the issue with the spray getting on the camera lens.
The second stop was the Sólheimajökull glacier. As with all the places that I visited on this coach trip I could have spent many hours at each locations instead of the allocated 30-40 mins.
Sólheimajökull for example has a lake with smaller pieces of ice floating in the water that I would have loved to photographed. We just stuck to the path up the hill leading to the glacier.
The panoramic image at the top of the page was taken here.
Vík í Mýrdal (Vík)
The next stop on our journey was the village of Vik which is the most southern settlement in the country sitting on the coast. This is were we stopped at lunch at a shopping centre.
I grabbed a sandwich and then walked around the area, enjoying the mountainous terrain and the black sand beach.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
A short drive from Vik we arrived at Reynisdrangar beach which was full of people & kids on a school trip. Getting a photo with no people was a real challenge. After 10-20 mins a coach load left. People and kids kept climbing and sitting on the pillars.
The landscape is stunning with the rock formations, I have been told is lava being rapidly cooled by the sea.
The last stop of the trip was Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, the biggest attraction of this waterfall is being able to walk behind it, although its a wet and muddy activity. I made the mistake of putting my bag on the ground to change the camera lens. It took days for my bag to dry out and to get the mud out.
As you can probably tell, I loved Iceland and I can see why Iceland’s tourism industry is booming. I would love to return in the future, now I have a feel for the country I would feel comfortable in hiring a car just to explore.