Years ago we were talking about our dream holidays, you can imagine that during such conversations you are going really far with your dreams. One of our arrangements was ” where ever we go we would combine it with photography “. Norway, Japan, Russia, Finland, Switzerland… that were few dream destinations we want to do but there was only one, really special destination on our list called Iceland.
After axalp in 2015 we made a choise to go to Iceland and not to axalp in 2016. In the first months of 2016 we started to make our ” to do ” list. Things like plane/helicopter flight, eat some Icelandic food, do everything to see the northern lights, ice caves… The second very important thing was: how long we wanted to go there and how long we wanted to drive (see the whole Iceland or not ). The choise was made really fast, because we had northern lights on our list and it was really important for us we decided to go at the beginning of the winter for a minimom of 10 days. We contacted Askja tours for some help with the hotels. After our discussion what we wanted to do, we bookend a trip for 14 days, with 7 hotels/stops and with a four wheel drive station car. We also had a choice between cheap airlines and Iceland Air, we took the second one because of the Hekla 757 and not so big restrictions about our hand luggage weight.
We started to plan our luggage. A lot of boxer shorts, socks, a few warm trousers, goretex sweatshirts and 2 pair of shoes. Our photography gear was 3 body’s and 8 lenses from 17mm to 500mm, we also took our drone. Our hand luggage was our photography gear, about 25-30 kg! The allowed hand luggage weight is 10kg so it was really tricky to get it on a plane, hopefully Iceland air didn’t make a big deal about it when they saw what we have in our cases. Thank you! Check in at Amsterdam schiphol airport was a drama for at the first sight but when we stood in line for the security the queue moved really fast. We needed 30-35 minutes for security. As always our photography gear was picked up for the more accurate control. Boarding went smoothly, unfortunately we didn’t fly on a Hekla Aurora 757 but just on a standard color scheme 757. The 3 hours flight was really good and smooth. Food? Just a cookie with cola/beer/wine and ofcourse Icelandic water. After landing in Reykjavik we go to the tax free shop for wine/vodka for our trip yeah, we saved some money.
Next stop, Avis rental. After 10 minutes we had our keys to a Skoda Octavia 2.0 4×4 dsg car.
After our first kilometers, we had to stop at the gas station because the pressure in the tires was to low, we didn’t expected it after 100km… at this moment we saw that the car had tires with spikes. During our route through Iceland we had to stop once again for the service, the coolant level was low. We made a fast call to Avis and we had to buy coolant in the shob and keep the bill. We got the money for the coolant back when we brought the car back. Let’s go back to Iceland. We saw waterfalls, more waterfalls and… some other waterfalls .
Waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Goðafoss etc… are so big and powerful. It’s spectacular to see it and feel it. You can even feel the rumble of the water in your body. So amazing! Don’t forget to get dress in raincoats and very important water resistant shoes!
The weather at our first spot wasn’t good and the forecast was also not the best. No north lights for us. We are going further. The way is boring, it’s almost always straight and the 80 kmh speed limit is ridiculous but… at home i have a sports car as my daily drive and I love to drive fast. Believe me or not you will stop every 500 miles to take a picture, after 10 stops we decided that we are going to the hotel and we wouldn.t don’t stop now but… 5km further we stopped and here we go again. Our record was 400km ( the longest route during our stay ) in 12 hours. That’s 34 km per hour! It was worth it, we have amazing pictures.
Some road sections are not so boring, we must drive slalom, on rocks, sand, snow and ice. The variation was very big, the road condition changed every half hour because of the weather. The funniest was off road, and I can tell you one thing. Skoda drives superb at the off-road . Big holes, hills, slippery stones there were no obstacles for our lovely Skoda.
We arrived in Egilsstadir. A fast check-in at the hotel and time for shower. At the check in we asked if the staff would call us when the north lights are visible. The weather was perfect and the exciting was growing whith the minute. During our relax time I was looking through the window every second, and yes!!! There she was!! The northern lights !!! It took us 5 minutes to take our equipment and run to the car to search for as nice, dark place. 5 minutes from our hotel we found dark place near the lake with a big boat on the foreground. Perfect! The show started at 8.30pm and ended at about 10.00pm. Seeing the north light was one of the best things in our life. We even became emotional at this moment. It was our dream and it came true. The nature had more surprises for us…
As a aviation fan we went to the airport, also near our hotel. It wasn’t spectacular but we spotted one plane ? In the city you can find aviation museum. Unfortunately it was closed but after changing some words with the owner, he let us in. The planes, music and history of Iceland air are worth every penny. Next stop: Myvant hotel near myvatn lake. Short in a few words. The Hotel was great, really good food and big rooms. The photo opportunities are stunning at this place! We stayed here for 3 night and every single night we saw the northern lights. We were so lucky and happy.
Our next adventure… our second whales safari with North Sailing. The wooden boat, and especially the people made this trip so amazing. I took the sailing pill before we went sailing. Believe me, if you are not sea sick still take a pill. The boat is small and the waves are big, there is still a big chance that you would be sick. After a few minutes sailing we found whales… and it was so special when 16 meter long whale did a roll near our boat. After almost a half hour following this big guy we went to search other whales and we found it. Far away but we saw it We got a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate on the ocean to warme us up. Time to go back. Reykjavik. When we came to Iceland the weather sucked, so we canceled our photo flight and booked it for our last days in Reykjavik. Unfortunately rain, fog and hard wind spoiled our plane-trip so we also had to cancel this flight. Think positive… we went shopping and took a sick dinner. We bought a wool blanket, chocolate, Icelandic vodka and then our bags where full. Time for diner. Lamb meet, langoustine, wine, see food soup, chocolate cake … it was so good!
For more photos please take a look to my Iceland album https://www.sebastianhinca.com/border_galleries/iceland-2016
That’s it, this was our Icelandic trip. We know that we will come back there for sure! It’s time to book another trip for 2017. At this moment far away in the north…