From Blondous I headed to Kirkjufell Mountain, one of the most iconic and photographed places in Iceland. The overcast conditions were just perfect for me to take the kind of photographs I wanted to create over a year. I was spellbound and counting my blessings to be actually present at that place. Accomplishment!
I even witnessed a pre-wedding shoot at that place. Courage to the man and woman dressed in marriage clothes standing in those wet conditions on slippery rocks and getting drenched all in those windy and cold conditions. Well , marriage ain't an easy thing for sure!
Next stop was Djupalonssandur beach, a place where one think that Batman's cave might just be round the corner of the next rock. Smooth and shiny black pebbles, bizarre rock structures and stunning waves on the shore make for a spine chilling experience at this location. It even felt eerie at some point.
I drove through the empty Icelandic roads and stopped at random places to click photographs of birds from the side of cliffs. Even shot a beautiful slow-mo video of the birds flying on blue waters.
My penultimate stop for the day was the famous Budir black church. It was quite an amusing sight to see a church painted totally black on the exterior. The sky was very flat and I did not manage to get any dramatic shots of it.
I decided to retire for the night at Borgarnes and spent the night at Hotel Borgarnes. I ate like a hungry beggar the next morning because the hotel had a wonderful spread for breakfast. The kitchen staff were staring at me wide-eyed seeing my appetite. Little did they know that i was surviving on Skyr, dry fruits and instant noodles for the last 8 days.
The day started with a risky decision to explore the Westfjords, a part of Iceland which many tourist don't keep on their check list but in my opinion it should definitely be visited. It's topography and beauty is something very unique and unlike anywhere in the rest of Iceland. Serpentine roads, bridges through water and sighting of seals is really unique to this part of Iceland.
I reached Holmavik, a quaint little town and decided to spend the night at the Iceland Visit Hostel. I had the entire hostel to myself. It was a pretty state-of-the-art hostel with each bed equipped with an individual T.V set! Talk about hostel standards, learn it in Iceland!
There , you have your personal TV at your disposal!
I decided to drive around the periphery of the Westfjords and made my first pit stop at the Sudavik Arctic bear centre. It's a non-profit organization which focuses on the Arctic Fox. I got a chance to learn about these smart animals and even to photograph them up close. Cuteness overload! One was really friendly, while the other did not enjoy my company that much.
I drove through very treacherous roads made slippery with mud and melting ice and driving was a huge challenge. The car was sliding at some places and I was just mumbling God's name under my lips. I finally reached a good part of the road and saw the incredibly huge Dynjandi waterfalls! The shape of the waterfall is really unique and unlike any I had seen before.
I found a very nice homestay Guesthouse Stekkabol in Patreksfjordur and spent the night there because it was chilling outside. Had a nice dinner of instant noddles and single malt while watching the clear skies outside. Quite a spectacular view.
I checked out a few nice locations surrounding Patreksfjordur and while doing that, the road conditions were so bad that i had a flat tire while returning from Latrjabarg. Changing tire in those windy conditions was a big challenge and a local farmer turned out to be my saviour in distress. I had to hurry back to town to get it repaired and fortunately for me there was one shop which was open and helped me get a replacement.
I drove through the Westfjord roads and finally reached Akranes, where i booked the Akranes HI hostel for the night. Slept like a baby after the drive through the winding roads and my bottle of Ardberg whiskey helped me relax a fair bit.
Next morning's first stop was the Akranes Lighthouse. You will be met by an incredibly friendly gatekeeper with whom you shall start gossiping within a few minutes. The climb to the top is tough for tall people but the views are worth it. He gave me a really good idea to photograph the old ships at the port. I was really impressed by the weather that day and did the best I could to do justice to the abandoned ship.
From Akranes, I drove to Reykjavik and on the way stopped to photography the Icelandic horses to my heart's content. They are very friendly and love to be petted.
I reached Reykjavik in the afternoon and spent the entire evening and night pub hopping and drinking to my heart's content at the pubs in downtown Reykjavik. A few cool pubs to check out are Dillon, Kaffibarinn, Slippbarinn, The Dubliner and Lebowski bar. The drink prices in Iceland are just mental, but going to these places in the Happy Hours truly makes on happy. My accommodation for the night was Hostel B47 which is one of the rare hostels in Reykjavik who have their own parking lot. A blessing for people on road trips!
The next day was my last in Iceland and it was spent exploring Reykjavik on foot. I went to the Hallgrimskirkja church, the Harpa Concert Hall and explored the posh localities on foot. In the evening I once again headed to Seljalandsfoss to catch a last glimpse of Iceland and was surprised to find that the number of cars had nearly tripled! Well, the tourist season was definitely on.
Interior of Hallgrimskirkja Church
Harpa Concert Hall
I also saw a nice show with music and people on horses marching through the streets. Wonderful display of local customs and a great opportunity for a tourist.
I left the town at 11:00 pm and reached the airport at midnight. After handing over my car keys to Blue car rentals and checking that there was no damage on my account, all formalities were complete. The guy in charge was surprised to find that I drove for more than 4500 kms in 14 days ! As i entered the airport to catch my return flight to Amsterdam, it marked the end of my E.P.I.C solo road trip in Iceland. Cheers to life and hope that you find this article useful.