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Old 30th June 2022, 13:47   #1
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Default Four days in Iceland

This trip happened some time ago. It was a pre-lockdown thing when the world used to be different. It was 'when the mind was without fear'. When Mask meant Jim Carrey-Cameron Diaz, sanitizer meant something in the handbag of some fashionable lady, and the terms RTPCR, social distancing, etc. were unheard of.

Last year during lockdown I started to download the memories to the keyboard, but due to some mishap in the family, I couldn't continue.
The trip was planned and executed by me. No travel agency involved. But, it took a long time and effort the planning. Our full itinerary was Finland, Norway and Iceland. Here is only the Iceland part, as it was a road trip and my first, and till date, last experience of driving a left-hand drive car on the right side of the road.

Day-1


After Finland and Norway, we boarded the flight for Keflavik, from Bergen. It was a short flight. Before landing, we were greeted with an ice-covered area.
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Keflavik is the biggest International airport in Iceland. Upon landing, we saw the kiosks of almost all major car rental companies. But those were not for us. After lots of research, I have booked a car with a local company. The office was somewhere near the airport. As instructed in the confirmation mail, we were waiting for the rental company bus. After some waiting, the bus arrived and took us to the rental company office. The booking was prepaid. So, after some nominal paperwork, the lady handed over the car key. I have booked a Toyota Argo. In the parking lot, I couldn't find the Argo. Returned, and inquired about the car. She took us to a KIA Picanto. Never seen this model before. Very small car. Ideal for the three of us. It was almost new, 8000+ kilometers in the odo.
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After loading our luggage, now comes the toughest part. Driving.
Slowly started the car. Took it to the right side of the road and kept driving on the extreme right side of the road. Fortunately, the number of cars on the road was very less, so, slowly my confidence grew up.
After having some Google Map goof-up we reached our hotel, without any mishap. It took me about an hour to reach our hotel in Reykjavik. Parked the car in the hotel parking lot, and made a 'Yahoo', completed my first left-hand drive successfully!

But, the check-in time was 4 pm. We requested an early check-in. The manager agreed reluctantly, but not before 2 pm. We deposited our luggage and went out for a stroll, had lunch in a shopping mall. After some time, we returned to the hotel and checked in. Got a spacious suite. Then, we went out to discover Reykjavik. I didn't have the confidence to take out the car, so we walked. After walking about 100 meters, we found out that we were lucky, that we didn't take out the car. Because there was a loooong traffic jam.

However, we have visited a few places, namely Harpa concert hall, Hallgrimskirkja (Marvel fans may find the similarity with Asguard). We cannot go to the top, as it was closed for some maintenance job.
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Harpa concert hall

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Hallgrimskirkja Church

We walked through a fashion street type of place, with many expensive shops and eateries. Returned to hotel, had dinner and called it a day.

Day 2



After getting ready, we checked out of the hotel. After driving 15-20 minutes we are out of Reykjavik. The streets were almost empty. Today I can really enjoy the drive. The landscape was awe-inspiring in Iceland. Kilometers after kilometers of open lands, lava fields, peculiar landmass, everything can be found here.
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Another surprise was the weather. The manager of our hotel told us "if you don't like the weather in Iceland, wait for 10 minutes". And it was really like that only.

Our today's destination is 'Golden Circle'. It consists of three stunning places in southwest Iceland.

Our first stop was Thingvellir National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park's incredible geology comes from its location between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which creates the rift valley that runs through Iceland. The oldest Parliament in the world was held in this very place.
More can be found on the internet, so I am letting the pictures speak.
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There was also a beautiful fall here, namely Oxararfoss. Falls are called 'foss' in the Icelandic language.
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Oxararfoss

On the way
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The next stop was Geysir Geothermal Area, about 60km from Thingvellir. Here steam water shoots in the air about 100 feet. Here the original Great Geysir stopped shooting long ago, now its neighbor Stokkur geyser goes off every 10 minutes.
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We were on again on the road
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The third and final stop on the Golden Circle route is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. It was very close to Geysir. Gulfoss is a very beautiful waterfall. A huge quantity of water tumbles down two steps for a total of about 105 feet. There was a beautiful rainbow over the waterfall.
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After leaving the parking lot of Gulfoss, I noticed that the fuel gauge is showing less than half. Took the car to a filling station. Never filled fuel myself. Watched two-or-three people filling themselves, then tried my hand.

A few Random Clicks
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Now, Golden Circle route is over. Our today's stay is at a quiet place called Selfoss. The place was so deserted, that no one was available to guide us to the homestay. After straying for some time, we reached the homestay. The place was marked wrongly on Google maps. However, the place was nice, with two large rooms with all amenities. After checking in and parking the car, we walked around for some time.
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Our stay at Selfoss
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Old 30th June 2022, 14:13   #2
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Day 3



Next day will be going to be a long one. So, we started early.
Today our first stop will be Seljalandasfoss.

Obviously, it is a falls. Actually the surroundings were so beautiful, the falls were looking surreal.
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Seljalandasfoss
One can go to the backside of the falls. We have skipped that, in the fear of getting soaked, but my son went there and returned half soaked.
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A few clicks on the way
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The stop next was Skogafoss. After parking the car, I was looking for the parking meter, but couldn't find it. It was free. What a relief! Parking was very expensive here.
Again a beautiful fall. A Hindi song was picturized in this location.
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Skogafoss


There were some steps for going to the top of the falls. The view was very nice from the top.
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Next, we stopped at a place called Sólheimasandur. Kept the car in the parking lot and started walking on the black soil. There was no road, only some markings on the soil. After walking for more than one and a half hours, we reached a plane wreck. It was an abandoned WW2-era American DC fighter plane. A plane wreck on black soil, near the sea….it was a surreal view. (Everyone can recall the film song)
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After the photo session again the long walk towards the parking lot.

Next we have stopped at place called Reynisfjara. This is a breathtaking sea beach. The beach is made of different sizes of pebbles, all dark black.
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Nearby, there was photogenic Dýrhólaey cliffs.
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On the other side of the beach there was massive basalt columns. Basalt columns have a special shape because of the way the lava cools. It is very rare to find such long & solid basalt columns anywhere else in the world.
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After this, it was about 7:30 pm, and we have to cover another 3-4 hour drive until our night halt.
In fact, numerous photo halts slowed us down. The views were beyond description.
We have started again. Now we were going towards Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. On the way, we have seen some Glaciers.
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As it was very late (about 9:30 pm), we postponed Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon for tomorrow. At about 10:30 pm, we reached our hotel near Jokulsarlon. As it was very late, the owner was about to close the gate. We were the last to reach. After dinner, we roamed around a bit. As it is summer, the sun is still visible at 11:30 pm.

Last edited by edunata : 30th June 2022 at 15:14.
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Old 30th June 2022, 15:52   #3
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Day 4



Next morning, we got ready, had breakfast and checked out at 10:30am.
That was our last day in Iceland. Our flight will be at 6 am next day.
We drove to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Here the main attraction was the floating icebergs and the magnificent Vatnajokull Glacier. Large ice chunks are coming out from the glacier and floating in the lake. It was a heavenly scene. There were some boating options, but there was a long waiting period

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Found an amphibian vehicle here


So, after soaking our eyes in this beautiful place, we started our journey towards Reykjavik. It was a long drive. As we were returning through the same route, we revisited some of the places we visited yesterday.

Some Random Clicks


In the evening we reached Reykjavik. We had some snacks and packed our dinner. We have done some misadventures trying to find a pagan temple, called Asatru Temple (Suggested by my son).
After 9 pm we started our journey towards Keflavik. Reached there within an hour.
Our plan was to return the car after midnight and wait 3-4 hours at the airport, as we have an early flight, next day.
So, we decided not to return the car so early.

We drove towards the 'Bridge between Continents'. It took us about an hour, in through a deserted road, to reach the location.
Here is a 15 meter (50 ft.) footbridge in the Reykjanes Peninsula spanning a gaping rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. These major tectonic plates drift apart by the Earth’s forces, a few centimeters each year. So, technically we have walked from Europe to America.
As it was post-midnight, not a soul was in the vicinity
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Now we again came back to Keflavik. After roaming aimlessly for some time, we found a petrol bunk, filled a tankful, and reached the rental company office. There was a lone lady at the office in this unearthly hour (2-3 am). Returned the car key and the documents. She checked the car and okayed.

We bid farewell to our partner for four days.
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Reached airport. From next morning, it was a very tiring airport hopping. It took 3 days, 4 airlines, 5 airports to reach our Kolkata home.
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Old 30th June 2022, 16:39   #4
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th June 2022, 17:27   #5
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Memories often bring out the best moments while reminiscing, specially true for a trip. Thanks for sharing the memories of an incredible journey through some of the most breathtaking places on the face of the earth. I can only imagine the fun that you all had while seeing and experiencing those fantastic water falls and Vatnajokull glacier from up close. Many thanks for sharing edunata, thanks for the visual treat.

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Old 30th June 2022, 20:10   #6
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The beauty of the places you visited are so mesmerizing. Thank you so much for sharing edunata. Cheers!
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Old 30th June 2022, 21:27   #7
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Beautiful trip report, thank you for sharing it! I had gone to Reykjavik for a conference a few years ago and still have fond memories of it. Iceland is a magical place!
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Old 1st July 2022, 11:12   #8
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Very well written and some beautiful pictures out there ! Hope to visit this beautiful country some day. Thank you for sharing, edunata.
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Old 1st July 2022, 11:35   #9
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Thanks for sharing your wonderful travelogue edunata. It brought back some wonderful memories

Also, looks like you skipped the blue lagoon hot water pool, glacier hiking among others.

Sharing a few pics from my side, hope you don’t mind.

We did all the booking online so no waiting in queue!

Amphibious vehicle
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View of glacier from the amphibious vehicle.
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Blue lagoon
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Old 1st July 2022, 11:40   #10
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Beautiful pictures and a trip in the bucket list , a query - does one need to do any advance prep or paperwork to be able to avail a left hand drive car with an Indian license?
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Old 1st July 2022, 14:20   #11
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Hey,
What a lovely trip you guys have done. Kudos and heartfelt congratulations on that.
It'll be great if you can share the expenditure costs of your trip on this forum.
I and My wife are planning for something similar but we want to see the northern lights.
So, it'll be great as it will help us with our budget planning.
Thanks in advance guys.
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Old 1st July 2022, 16:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
thanks for the visual treat.
Thank you very much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Porcupine View Post
Beautiful trip report, thank you for sharing it! I had gone to Reykjavik for a conference a few years ago and still have fond memories of it. Iceland is a magical place!
Indeed, it is a magical place. Hope to do a full 'Ring Road Trip' someday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi_tjet View Post
Also, looks like you skipped the blue lagoon hot water pool, glacier hiking among others.
Sharing a few pics from my side, hope you don’t mind.
We did all the booking online so no waiting in queue!
Yes, I have skipped 'Blue Lagoon'. Partly due to paucity of time, partly because one of my friend suggested so. Even some of the reviews were also suggesting that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jyotil View Post
does one need to do any advance prep or paperwork to be able to avail a left hand drive car with an Indian license?
Thanks. No paperwork is required if you own a Driving License, which has a number, written in English. It should be at least one year old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ishan0278 View Post
It'll be great if you can share the expenditure costs of your trip on this forum.
Thanks.
Budget will be totally dependent on number of days, type of hotels you are looking for, type of car you are opting for and obviously the Airlines. Our trip included two other countries, so I have never calculated the cost separatlely (A lot of currency convertion cost involved). We have booked mainly service apartments, so that whenever possible, we can make our own meal. Hotel food is prohibitively expensive in Nordic countries.
You can easily plan like this: calculate the Airfare through Google flights. Room rent will be about 15 - 20k per day, multiply it by days. go to any car rental site like Hertz etc. look for the rates of car. Best of luck for your trip.
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Old 1st July 2022, 17:10   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edunata View Post
Thanks. No paperwork is required if you own a Driving License, which has a number, written in English. It should be at least one year old.
Don’t we need an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by RTO in India?
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Old 1st July 2022, 17:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajayc123 View Post
Don’t we need an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by RTO in India?
I have never needed a IDP while living and working in the UK or Ireland. Not sure about Iceland, though.

But most other European countries that drive on the other side of the road needed IDP. I think it mostly has to do with the English language license being valid in UK&I. OP can confirm the same.
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Old 1st July 2022, 19:08   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajayc123 View Post
Don’t we need an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by RTO in India?
No IDP is required in Iceland to drive a car. Indian driving licence, older than one year is enough. You can go through the car rental company websites of Iceland. Hertz sometimes misguides. My plan was to rent a car in Norway also, but in Hertz website a requirement of IDP was documented and I didn't have that much of time for an IDP. So, i dropped the plan of driving. But here only a came through a travelogue, where someone from India drove in Norway with his Indian driving licence. I can't find it right now.
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