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ICELAND

ROADTRIP

Story by Johannes Huwe April 21st, 2015

It was time to take another winter road trip. It didn‘t take long for us to decide on Iceland. A ring road around the island combines Iceland‘s main attractions like a string of pearls. Ring road No. 1 covers 1,400 km and can be covered in eight to ten days. However, given the unpredictable weather in the winter, you ought to schedule in a couple of contingency days. And the weather on Iceland is definitely not something you want to play around with: in winter 2014/2015 alone, there were 42 storms, some with winds as fast as 155 mph! Although we were travelling in the waning days of winter in March, we ran into a few heavy snow storms during our trip.

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On the Road

We started from the capital Reykjavik, heading east in a Land Rover Defender, a good choice for this environment. If you turn off the ring road, most of the roads are unpaved and we were looking forward to our off-road adventures.

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Some of the island‘s most beautiful sights, such as the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, are located just off the ring road, and can actually be glimpsed at from the road. And if hiking‘s not your thing, Iceland offers what amounts to a drive-through sightseeing experience: you don‘t need to spend hours hiking to see some beautiful places.

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road to Sólheimajökull glacier

About 4 miles after the town of Skógar and just before hitting the southern town of Vik, we turned off Road No. 1 onto Road 221 to head to the Sólheimajökull glacier.

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Sólheimajökull glacier exploration

Once on site, it was time to strap on the crampons and ice axes to make our way across the ice that was several feet thick. The snowstorm quit at just the right time, leaving us a beautiful view of a snowy winter‘s landscape in Iceland.

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Jökulsárlón-Glacier lagoon

The Jökulsárlón is the largest and most famous of a number of glacial lakes in Iceland. It is home to a number of icebergs that float on its waters, some reaching as high as 50 feet into the air. These smaller glaciers have broken off the tip of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. The lake has been seen in major film productions such as the James Bond movies A View to A Kill and Die Another Day, and Tomb Raider, Beowulf & Grendel, and Batman Begins.

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We are constantly being met by a wide range of bizarre landscapes. For example, this moss-covered volcanic landscape on the island‘s east side on the road to Jökulsárlón.

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NOrthern Lights

Iceland is also an ideal place to watch the Northern Lights, although they sometimes require quite a bit of patience. We spent a few nights in the Land Rover at temperatures around 15°F looking towards the north and hoping that we‘d finally get to see them. We were usually unsuccessful and would return back to the hotel long after midnight. Nevertheless, the views were always unique, making up for the many hours spent in a cold Land Rover.

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Unfortunately, the time in Iceland was over much too soon. Already on our return flight, we were planning our next visit to this unique island. The road trip will continue soon…

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Iceland