Maybe not that perfect start into my Iceland Weekend . The weather forecast for the coming days was not looking too promising: At times heavy rain, strong winds, and a thick cloud cover.
That looked like it would spoil my effort to see northern lights. Not completely unexpected but unfortunate nevertheless.
The more I was surprised to see the sun after we landed at Keflavik that afternoon. However, black rain-clouds were looming at the western horizon.
My Ride for my Iceland Weekend
Despite flying on an economy ticket I was the first one to receive my bag. And so I made my way to pick up the car. Since I did not care driving an automatic while a German couple on the neighboring counter insisted on a shift-gear I helped the very nice Hertz team to resolve the conflict very quickly. We simply swapped. A Kia Sportage 4×4 is what I got with a very unique front design to say the least. But all in all, a nice car and completely suitable for driving on paved and unpaved roads (but of course not the high-clearance ones) for my Iceland Weekend.
Soon, I was on my way to Brindavik located south of Kevlavik. I intended to take the longer but seemingly nicer route along the southwest coast to my hotel near Hvolsvöllur in the South of Iceland than the direct one via Reykjavik.
In Brindavik I briefly stopped at the harbor and had a quick look around. But this harbor was still in winter mode or so it appeared to me. Only a few small and one larger trawlers were on the quays and everything looked quiet like on a Sunday.
Further along the coast I decided to make some mileage and to arrive briefly after sunset at my hotel.
The road took me through different variants of lava fields and a picturesque, rugged coastline.
Every now and then farmsteads appeared on the left or right. Many of them seemed to breed the famous Iceland horses. Closer to Selfoss I even saw people riding in groups or simply alone alongside the road on prepared tracks.
Initially, I had those tracks mistaken for bicycle paths. But that one were only newly prepared tracks close to the blue lagoon near Brindavik. Later I thought that those would be used by 4x4s and various farm equipment. Not earlier than close to Selfoss I understood their true purpose.
In Selfoss, I turned from my little road onto highway 1 which completely leads around Iceland. Had the traffic been relatively quiet until now, traffic was definitely more intense on the 1. Tour bus after tour bus headed back into direction Reykjavik while I was going the other way.
Soon, I discovered that the speed limit of 90 km/h is more a suggestion. My meter was 5km/h slow anyway – compared to my satnav. But I had to drive 99km/h to avoid blocking traffic from behind. Even the speed cameras seemed to accept the extra speed. Only other rental car drivers were going slower than that. Side remark: Should I receive a speeding citation from Iceland in the next weeks I will update this section of course.
Some time between Selfoss and Hella the sun finally set. However, clouds at the horizon prevented a colorful spectacle and so it happened almost unnoticed.
And finally, I arrived in Hvolsvöllur the destination of my day. With the hotel located outside of this village on the countryside, I decided to grab some food for dinner from the local supermarket – well, from the local gas station to be more precise.
After ten more kilometers I arrived at my hotel, the Fljótshlíð. It was created in the two-thousands on the foundation of an old cowshed. The farmstead itself was founded in the mediaeval ages. From 1708 it says in the description it is owned by the same family while housing guests started not earlier than 1985.
Entering the lobby I was directly greeted with my name – „You must be Thomas, welcome!”. Apparently, I was the only guest missing for that night. And I must say, I felt immediately welcome and at home for my Iceland Weekend.
After checking-in I was informed that this night might be the best option for watching northern lights in the coming days. A relatively high-intensity in the forecast (5 out of 9) and most likely no cloud cover until the early morning should be ideal. The highest intensity was to be expected between 10pm and 1am. Hence, after relaxing a little in my room, I tried to find a spot for taking photos of northern lights. A church as a foreground or a waterfall would be ideal I figured. Both could be found only a few km away from the hotel. And there I waited. And nothing happened. Until, yes until, clouds were moving in. Earlier than in the forecast. And a check of the air travel weather revealed two sheets at different altitudes. Hence, I called it a day – quite involuntary.
Warum ist das hier in Englisch mag sich der ein oder andere fragen – why do I post in English now? The reason is quite simple. In the few days in Iceland last week I got to know so many people not fluent in German but who are also interested in the story I want to tell. Hence, telling my story in English is the best choice I guess.