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Old 27th November 2014, 12:34   #76
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Awesome, tsk, just awesome! Some of your pictures and narrations managed to make me swell up, so full of emotion it made me. Cant wait to read more. Thank you for sharing
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Old 27th November 2014, 13:31   #77
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Default Day 4 #6 : Via Lucis

The sun is gone as we pull out. Towards the north is the massive Vatnajokull glacier, with its tongues cascading down the mountains.

With a 4WD, it means all the side roads leading towards the mountains are accessible.
With the massive glaciers calling, why not?
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00680xl.jpg

We decide to take the road which seemingly was the longest. Its getting dark, but there is still enough light. Slowly, we make our way over the rocky bumpy track towards the glaciers. There are no water crossings or anything tricky involved. Just a bumpy gravel track.

And guess where do we land up
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00681xl.jpg

Its a medium sized glacial lake. The wind is definitely icy, as we are surrounded by glaciers. This lake is not fed by just one tongue. towards the North east lies another massive glacier tongue.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00682xl.jpg

As light falls, I notice something amazing. A small iceberg.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00685xl.jpg

Thunder rumbles, and the setting sun still sets the sky on fire towards southwest.
Its really amazing here, how sunset is not in the west but southwest. These high north latitudes allow you to witness some amazing phenomena. One of them is the very long twilight. Unlike latitudes near equator or even tropic of cancer, the twilight here lingers very very long, for hours even.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00687xl.jpg

A shot of our companion for the past few days
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00690xl.jpg

The massive glaciers
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00698xl.jpg

As night falls, its time to head back, and a few bored sheep give us looks as we head back to the highway
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00700xl.jpg

We hit the road, and set on into the storm. The drive is long, but the road is fast.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00701xl.jpg

Usually, its time to pack up the cameras, so we do so. But little did we know, that very soon, not just the cameras, but even the tripods will come out.

And guess what, the Astronomical twilight has just barely ended when my wife says that there is the glow in the sky. I am not too convinced, and drive on thinking its still the twilight. But then, when I see in the rear view mirror, confirms whats out there.

Aurora Borealis.
In the middle of nowhere, on highway one, I ease on the throttle, and thankfully find a good place to get off the road well away from the traffic. Switching of the lights would be a bad idea, so the landscape will be red I guess!

The Aurora tonight is super bright. A green band stretching from North to South, illuminating the entire landscape in ghostly green light
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc_9392xl.jpg

Another shot!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc_9394xl.jpg

Traffic is very thin, but as one car zooms by, I take the shot. Bands in the sky, and on the ground. This is the via Lucis... the way of the light
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc_9395xl.jpg

As the green fades, we get into our warm car, and head off towards our cottage. Today, we have witnessed magic. Today Iceland has shown us wonders. What all is in store for us. We do not know. But we do know one thing. This Holiday is going to be like no other. For this is Iceland. The land of Ice and fire. A land like no other.
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Old 27th November 2014, 18:52   #78
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Holy Cow! This is truly amazing. Awesome photographs there Tanveer.
What equipment were you using when you shot the image of the Aurora.

I am going to use both my smileys here now.
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Old 27th November 2014, 22:42   #79
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

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Originally Posted by ptushar View Post
Holy Cow! This is truly amazing. Awesome photographs there Tanveer.
What equipment were you using when you shot the image of the Aurora.

I am going to use both my smileys here now.
Thanks Tushar

I used a Sony A7 with the 28-70 kit lens
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Old 28th November 2014, 11:06   #80
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What was the overall cost of the trip and the cost of renting a self drive vehicle including fuel costs.

Also how does the driving licence thing works in Iceland, actually I never got a conclusive answer to this IDL thing. Do we nees a IDL or an indian licence would do ?
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Old 28th November 2014, 12:04   #81
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

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Originally Posted by somitra1981 View Post
What was the overall cost of the trip and the cost of renting a self drive vehicle including fuel costs.

Also how does the driving licence thing works in Iceland, actually I never got a conclusive answer to this IDL thing. Do we nees a IDL or an indian licence would do ?
Hi
Fuel is around 125 INR/liter for diesel.
No IDP needed anywhere in Europe(or geneva convention countries). However, Italians can give you grief(unsubstantiated).

As for cost of vehicle, for a SUV it varies from 80-100$/day for entry level vehicles inclusive of all insurance.
Cars are cheaper(50% cost). Depends on season. October is low season, so you get good deals. Summers are frightfully expensive (May-mid sep).

Flights are anywhere from 50-60 pp return ticket ex Delhi
Accommodation is about 60-90 EUR/day in self catering.

As for food and stuff, we carried a lot and bought local chicken and stuff. Was about 50% more than what we get in India, except for eggs which were very expensive.
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Old 28th November 2014, 14:09   #82
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Tanveer, as always, an excellent trip and blog. Been through all your blogs from last 4/5 years and each one of them is a gem, be it Ladakh, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland.

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
As for cost of vehicle, for a SUV it varies from 80-100$/day for entry level vehicles inclusive of all insurance.
Cars are cheaper(50% cost). Depends on season. October is low season, so you get good deals. Summers are frightfully expensive (May-mid sep).

Flights are anywhere from 50-60 pp return ticket ex Delhi
Accommodation is about 60-90 EUR/day in self catering.
Use of 3 currencies in 3 lines, you must be testing the readers if they wish to plan such a trip .

Good that you listed all these midway in the blog. Last time, I kept waiting and waiting for the Norway trip expense but it never came.

So where to next time? Greenland or New Zealand?
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Old 28th November 2014, 15:14   #83
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
Tanveer, as always, an excellent trip and blog. Been through all your blogs from last 4/5 years and each one of them is a gem, be it Ladakh, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland.



Use of 3 currencies in 3 lines, you must be testing the readers if they wish to plan such a trip .

Good that you listed all these midway in the blog. Last time, I kept waiting and waiting for the Norway trip expense but it never came.

So where to next time? Greenland or New Zealand?
My apologies. I could not complete Norway, but I assure you, I will work on it and complete.

As for expenses, the exact expenses can never be same. So I usually give guidance on what to expect and where to book and all.

If you have any specific questions about costs for Norway. Eg how much will a car cost and where to book, I can guide you to the website and then you can fill in your dates and then have an estimate for the same!
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Old 30th November 2014, 14:05   #84
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Wow, just Wow!!

Absolutely wonderful travelogue, very well written and superbly captured in photographs.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading it upto now. Waiting for more.

Is it easy to drive in Europe? Since we do RHD, how does the LHD feel? Would an automatic be better?
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Old 30th November 2014, 14:15   #85
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

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Is it easy to drive in Europe? Since we do RHD, how does the LHD feel? Would an automatic be better?
Yes, Automatic is better. When I used LHD for the first time(Austria), I kept shifting to 5th instead of first gear and stalling the car. Takes time to get used to.
But after few hundred kms, you get used to it.
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Old 1st December 2014, 12:41   #86
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Default Day 5 #1: Fire and water

The cottage shakes us awake again. No its not an earthquake. Its those winds, and the storm. Vik area is the stormiest in Iceland, and has absolutely no intentions of giving up its reputation.

Such stormy days are best for a cup of hot tea, and breakfast. However, we are not going to be bothered by something as trivial as gale force winds.

In the west, when the weather is unkind, people often flock to heated indoor pools. Guess what, we will also go swimming today, but in an outdoor pool.

The winds are not kind, and the rain is not letting up yet, but you should never let those things come between a nice swim and you.

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00702x2.jpg

Today, our destination is a set of coordinates. A destination whispered, but never spoken aloud. Up in the mountains, this secret location has a swimming pool, almost a hundred years old.

Filled with waters heated by the very core of the earth, this pool remains hot year around.

So with rain falling, and winds howling, we decide, if we have to swim, no better day that today. Besides, the weather may also clear by afternoon, and we will be able to enjoy some natural wonders.

So, driving through rain and storm, we reach our destination around noon. Its mostly drizzling, as opposed to pouring.

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00703x2.jpg

But it means, that instead of tiny streams, the crossings are now raging torrents. Need to figure out a crossing point.

After hit and trial, we make our way, and reach the hidden swimming pool. There are already four people there(talk about hidden), but they are leaving anyways.
"The water is warm only at the source" is their comment.

And guess what, they are right. Most of the pool is at a frigid 20 degree C, with the "inlet" end at a comfortable 38 or so

As they change and exit, I decide to take a higher vantage point and click a pic facing southwards. There is no break in the clouds yet, and I can literally see the torrential rain approaching. All the more reason to quickly jump in before we are drenched
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00704x2.jpg

A view of the pool. You can barely see steam rising. The water is quite cool
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00705x2.jpg

And there is a slight problem, the inlet is at the deep point, almost 7 feet deep, which means grabbing on the the rails.
But its hot. Quite hot.

It starts to rain again, but who cares when you are sitting in hot water.
The trademark attraction of Iceland may be the blue lagoon, with its mud and geothermal waste water attracting many from all over the world, but trust me, the real geothermal experience is up in the mountains, away from the crowds.

We do not know yet, but this will be just our first. Many more will come. Some plain, some exotic, some scary and some downright magical.

But the first one is always special, even if the water is hot only in a 2x2 feet square.

I also decide to swim the length of it. Going from 40 to 20 is not pleasant, but exhilarating? Oh Yes.

As the clouds start to part a bit the rain slows to a drizzle, and we decide to get out before it starts to pour again.

I guess, if the entire pool had been hotter, we would have spent another hour here. But its a good thing getting out, because, the window in weather will allow us to experience many wonders.

As we trek back, the sun comes out again, and the landscape turns golden

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00709x2.jpg


Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00710x2.jpg

What next? Well, for starters, there is a waterfall nearby. A very special waterfall. Its a waterfall where you walk behind the waterfall.

As we hit the main road, we come across some cows enjoying the frigid weather
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00713x2.jpg

Its just a thirty minutes drive, and the waterfall is somewhat crowded. Wind speed is almost 20m/s, which means its all here and there. But atleast the sun is out.

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00714x2.jpg

Its Seljalandfoss, one of the most popular waterfalls of Iceland. The trail leads right to its cave
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00715x2.jpg

The winds mean its not really a "dry" experience as some would like you to believe, but still, its quite amazing, to be behind such a massive waterfall
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00719x2.jpg

Another one.
Name:  DSC00720XL.jpg
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AS our Manali Ponchos struggle to keep us dry, we head to the warm car, and munch on some sandwiches. Deciding where to go.

The weather report is not encouraging. Just couple of hours of sunny weather and then the low pressure system will be here, pouring some heavy rain accompanied by gale force winds. Yes. Another wonderful day in Iceland.

So where to go? Well there is the brilliant Skogafoss. But, we will do that on another day, when its sunny.
There are the highlands with somewhat tame roads, but... The cloud cover is complete.
There is the cottage also.

Time to head back and relax?
Well... Iceland has another idea. the landscape beckons... with a massive rainbow. "Come to me" it says
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00721x2.jpg

Hmmmm.. so northward we must go? Yes of course.
The land of Thor, Thorsmork is calling us. Only one problem. Its an F road. Not just "any F road", but the legendary "Thorsmork valley", with its river crossings, rocky roads. This is where 38" tire monsters go to play. So should we? Yes. Its time to head north. To the valley of Thorsmork. Till where the Duster can go.
Northwards Ahoy!
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Old 1st December 2014, 18:48   #87
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Thumbs up Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Aamir Khan says in DCH: "Perfection cannot be improved upon!"
It's obvious he doesn't know you.

Tanveer, you are one hell of a photographer & writer. You bring alive the places you visit and put the rest of us mere mortals in a state of despondency, wishing to be where you were, seeing what you saw, and experiencing what you experienced! But then, thanks for living these moments for us and sharing them with us (it is the next best thing to actually being there). And inspiring us to perhaps follow your steps some day...!

May your tribe increase and be ever busy for the benefit of your brethren.
akka r!!
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Old 1st December 2014, 20:42   #88
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
My apologies. I could not complete Norway, but I assure you, I will work on it and complete.

As for expenses, the exact expenses can never be same. So I usually give guidance on what to expect and where to book and all.

If you have any specific questions about costs for Norway. Eg how much will a car cost and where to book, I can guide you to the website and then you can fill in your dates and then have an estimate for the same!
Arre no need to apologize sirji! Because of you, I have got to see so many beautiful places. Also, the comment was not from planning perspective but rather destinations like these are off the track for us Indians so the curiosity was there just to know how much it would cost to take a trip to such an exotic place. Thanks!
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Old 3rd December 2014, 23:28   #89
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Default Day 5 #2 : The thin red line

It is said that there is a thin line between courage and foolishness. Some even say that the line is invisible.
Or maybe just the same color as the two domains.
Whatever.
Lines are the last thing on our minds. We are going to Thorsmork. The thorsmork marked by "4x4" only and ominous looking river crossings along the entire route. And did I mention something? Something like the rain that has been pouring down for the past few days?

Well you get the idea now.
Anyways, we were chasing rainbows, for a pot of gold and heading north, towards the mountains.
A visit to Iceland is incomplete without savoring the highlands, and this could very well be our only chance.
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00722xl.jpg

Somebody else had a similar idea. We find them waiting before the river, just contemplating the meaning of life. Or waiting for somebody in a little bit more hurry I guess. It was the latter of course, and the grey captiva moves aside.

Hmm a river
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00723xl.jpg

Surprisingly, it was easier than it looked. For the first time we had proof that what we were driving really was an AWD.
A little jimny also arrived, and made short work of this crossing
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00726xl.jpg

However, the road ahead is long and bumpy, and reaching the land of Thor is not really a cakewalk.

So we proceed again, marching forward, on the black gravel track. And then it gets worse. Much worse. Its actually a river bed now, and that line appears. The invisible one.
The one we cannot see I guess, but the other two vehicles can. And they promptly decide to take a U turn.

And guess what, we are now alone on our quest.
The landscape is inviting
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00727xl.jpg

And the mountains are near
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00728xl.jpg

AS torrential hailstorm pours down, this sign points the way. Yes, those rocks are the way. That is the line we see now. The line between courage and foolishness.

As we stand there, still trying to ignore the line, a huge LC with 38 inchers appears. I flag him down, and look up craning by neck.

He looks down with a look that is showing both shock and amusement. That look turns to horror as I ask "How much further".

His response is not immediate. He looks at us, then at the Duster, then again at us, at the Duster and then back to be.

"It would be better if you turn back, your tires are about ten inches too small".

And guess what, we see the line, and we turn back. To the way we came. We may not have gone till the very end, but we have seen Porsmork. Its fascinating and scary.

But turning back means one good thing, we can relax and take some pictures, that is whenever the rain lets us!
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00733xl.jpg

All alone up there. No one for company. Just a hailstorm
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00734xl.jpg

One of the countless rivers we had to cross
Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00735xl.jpg

Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire-dsc00738xl.jpg

Thankfully, as we again head southwards, the weather clears a bit.
For those of you interesting in river crossings, here is a small video


Some day, we will return here, in something big. Something with a snorkel. And those 35" tires.

People say Iceland is just the ring road. I don't think so. The real Iceland are these wild highlands. With hidden volcanoes ready to erupt, with glacier caps as big as cities, with wild winds and furious hailstorms. With rivers and roads which mingle as one.

And with that, it was time to head back. But not before we explore a li'l more!
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Old 4th December 2014, 13:40   #90
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Default Re: Iceland: A song of Ice and Fire

Been thinking of a word I would use to describe but till now not able to think of one. Short of words and Amazing is a huge understatement!

After doing Europe following your tire marks, just as I was thinking about doing it again in Norway, this comes. Now confused between Norway or Iceland for next year. Lets see.

Rated 5 Stars (deserves many more than that)!

Keep it coming the office desk is just too wet! Need another tissue box I guess!
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