Iceland has been on our wish list for a long time, as I remember that Peter has been dreaming about it when we met and that’s more than 16 years ago. Yeah, we are old and he was waiting for a long time 🙂 .
Iceland is not a budget destination – as all Scandinavian countries – and probably that is the reason why it stayed only as a wish for so long. However, sometimes it is worth saving and spent a few Euros more for a destination your heart longs for. Talking about Iceland – it is definitely worthwhile, because so wild, unusual, primal, funky and beautiful landscape we have never seen before. Based on where we have been and what we have seen so far, maybe only Yellowstone and national parks of Rocky Mountains can compare to Iceland.
Peter is writing an article about logistic of our trip, but here, in the first article about Iceland, I just want to inform you a little bit about the country. The land of volcanos and glaciers, landscape of unbelievable contrasts, unpredictable in its nature, primal and always changing in its shades – literally from hour to hour.
The weather always partly creates the experience and sometimes is really rough, full of surprises and unpredictable. We knew that we don´t want to camp in Iceland and that was a good decision. Even though we had good weather, as there was a lot of sun and no wind, there was also a heavy rain almost every day. If I would have to name Iceland with only one word, that would be WATER. In any form and from all sides. Camping in such environment is really an adventure and mostly exertion – applause to those that want it. We like to camp, but not for all causes. By all that said, we knew that our first trip to Iceland would be short due to high cost of accommodations that aren´t friendly to traveler´s budgets.
We bought plane tickets already in January and soon after that made all our reservations, as we wanted to travel Big Circle as well as Golden Circle that is more touristic. We were on Iceland a little more than a week, we drove approx. 2500 km and we can assure you that it is possible to detour Iceland in a week with no rush. At summer, days are looong, nights are short and that gives a special charm to the trip. But if you are sensitive at sleeping and used to sleep in total darkness, than you can expect to sleep lightly and worse than at home. You should have eye pad, which works – I can confirm that 🙂 .
If you don’t intend to camp and you intend to travel Iceland in summer, it is also very important to make reservations in advance as accommodations are limited – especially cheaper ones, on south coast in towns Vik and Hofn – for example. More about that in Peter´s article.
We should thank to him that our trip to Iceland was “seasoned” with short roam on Scotland. We had flight to Island with EasyJet through Edinburgh, so we used the opportunity of cheaper plane tickets and stayed in Scotland three days before and three days after Iceland.
I am glad that we made such a decision, as Scotland is beautiful, mystic, green, peaceful and special in its own way. First three days we explored Edinburgh with surroundings, part of west coast and Scottish highlands; on our way home we explored its east part, famous valley Glencoe and Glasgow.
It I would have to decide once more about our trip, I would take time for Scotland entirely BEFORE Iceland. I admit – and by that, I am doing injustice to Scotland – after seeing such primal and wild nature of Iceland, Scottish nature wasn´t special anymore. Don´t get me wrong – Scotland is wonderful and worth seeing it, but in a shadow of Iceland we haven´t experienced the second part of Scotland´s beautiful nature as we should.
So many times we are full of everything we saw and did and it affects our understanding of the world, surroundings, people – long after the experience itself is over. In most cases travels give you width, openness, gratitude, acceptance of different, experiences that you cannot get from reading books or watching TV and even less form playing on electronic devices, so modern in this times.
For me it is important to learn how to enjoy little, everyday things and see the beauty in everything around us, not only on the other part of the world. But I admit it is sometimes hard. Mostly it isn´t, but sometimes it is. When you experience such magnificence of nature as Iceland have, it leaves impression in you. And after the influence of that impression we had hard times to switch to Scotland 🙂 . Anyway, I believe that Scotland will wait for us and I definitely recommend it to other travelers.
We rented cars on our two-week trip three times, which took a little time, but there wasn´t any other option if we wanted to see the countries by ourselves. On Scotland, we easily started driving on the left side, but if you are uncertain, you should rent automatic car – it will spare you changing gears with left hand 🙂 . And by that driving on left side becomes easier.
Glasgow made an experience of our second part of Scotland different and great because of its festival Piping Live!, where we were able to experience Scottish culture with Scotts in kilts playing bagpipes on streets and squares of Glasgow. In another article, I will write about how we were trying to find an accommodation for reasonable price in Glasgow or nearby only a night before festival and how we barely find it almost at midnight for 160 eur per night (the cheapest!). Those moments will be soon forgotten 🙂 .
Experiences on the whole trip – ufff, too many for one post. Soon there will be others and maybe they will tempt you to choose wild, primal and majestic nature of the North over tropical beaches for your next trip.