From the drive up to the beautiful countryside of Glymur to the downtown area of Reykjavik and all of the tourist stops in between, we found ourselves adventuring all around Iceland. We had landed at the airport very early in the morning, so it was still dark outside. The first step was to find the shuttle bus that would take us to the car rental place. Both of us wore casual light clothes; leggings and a tee shirt. As soon as we stepped outside to catch the bus, we both looked at each other and gasped! It was FREEZING. We did do research about the weather in Iceland, but possibly underestimated how cold it actually was. No wonder the people were wearing winter jackets on our flight (eye roll). After fidgeting around, opening our luggages and throwing whatever layers we could come up with, the bus pulled up.
Off we went in our thin sweaters and bomber jackets (not really warm enough but its all we had)! The bus was only about a 2 minute drive to the rental building. As we arrived to the rental car place, we were welcomed with warm coffee and hot chocolate! As we guzzled one cup down, we held another in our hands to warm them up. The man gave us our key and on we went. We were so excited and happy, we finally made it to Iceland! We got to the rental car in the parking lot, turn it on, cranked the heat and started setting up the GPS. Then I placed my foot on the break pedal and looked down at the shifter. I saw all of these numbers on it and said, “you’re kidding me.” We had rented a standard car. We laughed, sort of. It must have been the jet lag. We then proceeded to unpack the car with our suitcases and headed back inside. Did I mention how cold we were? Anyways, we lined back up and as we got back to the salesman we explained that we don’t know how to drive standard and that we meant to get an automatic car etc. With a puzzled look on his face he started speaking to another employee in Icelandic. We couldn’t understand a thing, all we were thinking was: we’re done, stranded, our trip ruined, not going to get a car,won’t get our money back and we would have to catch a 4 hour bus that would cost a fortune. Anything bad thought imaginable, we were thinking of them all. It looked like the two men working finally came to an agreement and the man told us it was going to be more expensive for an automatic. I was just thankful they had an auto car! We asked how much more it would cost, they converted it to Canadian dollars for us which came to about 100$ more. We thought that was fine and proceeded with the paperwork.
We were finally in our automatic car and started driving to Glymur. First memories of Iceland: it’s very cold, pretty pricey, and the language is very difficult to learn/even try to understand. But we stopped thinking about the negatives for a moment and focused on how we’d finally made it! It was a little tiring driving at 630am on no sleep, but the beautiful car drive through the mountains and country side of Iceland was worth it. We managed to pull over and capture some amazing shots of the skyline along the way. We stayed at Hotel Glymur. It was magical. We arrived, ate breakfast, checked in and took a huge nap.
THE NEXT DAY
Fast forward to the next day. We were feeling adventurous. We wanted to go for a hike, so we pulled up the map and searched for some places to do so. We threw on our hiking shoes (adidas superstars and vans) and headed for the hills! It was about a 30 minute drive to the famous Glymur waterfall. Everything in Glymur was a far drive. We arrived to the hiking spot and started pacing through the trails. Making it to the top of the waterfall was out main goal, of course taking in the beautiful scenery along the way! We are pretty fast walkers, so when people tell us it was going to be a 2 hour hike we knew right away it would probably take us less. Stopping here and there was essential to get some good footage and take little breaks. It was a pretty steep hike so it was nerve racking at times, but we did make it to the top to see the waterfall. It was STUNNING! The hike down was finally here and we thought it should be a piece of cake. All we had to do was go down, easy right? WRONG. As soon as we headed down we took the wrong path. On the way up we weren’t starring at the ground and what surrounded our footprints, we were enjoying the amazing views of Glymur. So we ended up in this field of tall light grass that we didn’t remembered seeing. We got further and further into it and there it was, panic. Rach started having a panic attack and so was I, but I somehow managed to stay calm. It was around 7:30pm so the sun was just about to set. All we were thinking about it how we were going to end up stranded sleeping in a field and get eaten by one of those wild sheep running around. So we started running upwards back towards the hills screaming, “HELLO!?” We couldn’t see anybody, or anything. We literally jumped over a barb wire fence and kept heading up towards the hill again. We started screaming again and we thankfully saw a couple right above us. They thought we were crazy because we were so worked up and almost in tears. But we had no care, we were just happy that we could follow someone out of there and we weren’t going to be attacked by any wild animals.
It’s never a dull moment with us! What did we learn from that experience? Hike at a busy time where there are people, bring a map if possible, and bring food, water & a blanket in case you end up staying the night!
We got back to our car and drove back to the hotel, we were starved (like always). We looked on the map to try and find some food open near us and there was nothing… In Iceland, fish is very popular. We love fish, but more like fish and chips, salmon, you know, the Americanized stuff. Their menus were very fancy and pricey so we opted for something more realistic. Dare we get back in the car and go on another adventure for some dinner? You bet we did. We drove about 20 minutes to go to a restaurant we saw was decently priced. We came up to about the first round about and looked to the left and saw Domino’s. We were more than happy. Obviously, we went straight to the building for pizza. Domino’s is far from our favourite, but it was the cheapest and easiest option. And you know what, it was actually pretty good! Maybe because we were starving? Either way we gulped up the pizza and decided it would be nice to head out on the deck for a hot tub!
The hot tub at Glymur was no ordinary tub, it was up on a hill with the most amazing view of the lake and mountains. It being nighttime, not much was visible by a distant shadowing light from the city an hour away. It was so quiet, calm and relaxing. Hoping to see the northern lights, we waited until about midnight, gave up and headed back inside. Jet lag finally hit us and we passed out. We also had a tour the next morning we had to get up early for! Check out our next post on the Bus Travel Iceland tour to read about our crazy adventures.