Iceland! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 40 Old 09-01-2019, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Trolls and dwarves still live in Iceland.
I agree on the trolls Especially when spending the night out of sight of any civilization

In hindsight I think I was lucky to visit Iceland back then when it wasn't that crowded/touristy yet. My friend and I were too young/cheap to rent a car, so we hiked all over, pitching our tent in campgrounds or asking a farmer for permission to spend the night on their land... It was a great way to explore the country and actually meet people. It was astounding how many people stopped and asked us if we want to ride with them for a bit and they were actually awesome tour guides...All the people we asked if we could pitch our tent were always very friendly and supplied the weather forecast for the next few days - even though we were struggling with the language barrier

Yes, food prices are high compared to the US, but coming from Switzerland I didn't find them too shocking...
And yes, it rained a lot and it was windy most of the time, but that is part of the appeal. Layers are your friend
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post #12 of 40 Old 09-01-2019, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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If Iceland is anything like the US, all you have to do to escape tourists is to get away from where cars can reach. People are generally glued to their cars. Since I loathe motorized vehicles of every description that usually works out very well for me.

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post #13 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 02:51 PM
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I've been saving up some thoughts. Here they are.

I feel like the overall tone of my post is negative. Don't get me wrong. Iceland is an absolutley amazing place and I'd go back in a heartbeat. These are just some useful things to know.

1. You canít bring your own tack or riding gear. Horses in Iceland have no immunity to most equine diseases. When I went on my ride, they were hesitant to even let me wear the gloves I had been riding in, until I told them I had washed them since the last time I rode in them, in hot soapy water.

2. Your flight will be 5-7 hours long, which isnít enough time to really get any decent sleep. You will be super tired when you get there. Your hotel will not let you check in early. They arenít being jerks, itís just that every hotel room in Iceland is booked every day in the summer, and your room isnít ready yet. If itís important to be able to go to sleep as soon as you get in, you can make your reservation start the night before you arrive. Just make sure your hotel knows what youíre planning on doing, so they donít give your room away.

3. Reykjavik is the capitol and Keflavik is the small town thatís near the airport. It used to be a navy base (my dad was stationed there!) and now itís just a small town. If you donít need to be in Reykjavik, I would maybe look into staying in Keflavik. I think it would probably be cheaper.

4. Getting from the airport to Reykjavik is expensive, I guess unless you hitchhiked. I think the best option is to take a bus. They have some service like the airport shuttle, except obviously way more expensive. You need to book in advance.

5. Donít make the mistake I did and book your car rental out of the Reykjavik airport Ė this is a small airport thatís in town. Or, if you do want to pick up your car in town, be sure thatís where you are getting it. I got the two airports mixed up and went all the way out to the main airport just to learn that my car wasnít waiting for me.

6. Reykjavik is a relatively small city and very walkable. You can see all that youíd want to see in half a day, honestly. The big church is kind of cool, for like five minutes. There arenít many old buildings. Up until about a hundred years ago, people were forbidden to live in cities on the coast. You can read about why if youíre interested, but this means that there arenít any cute old cities like in most of Europe.

7. Public transportation in Iceland is really bad. Iceland is the first country in Europe where I had to drive. The only alternative to driving is busses, but busses tend to be very few and far between, and often late. There are no proper bus stops outside of cities, so you will probably be standing in the rain for at least an hour, wondering where your bus is.

8. If you go with someone else, you need to take turns driving. Itís hard to drive and gawp and the same time, and literally every time you turn a corner youíre going to want to be gawping.

9. If you are going to be driving, take half an hour and learn the basics about driving in Iceland. One big thing is that once you get far enough out of Reykjavik, a lot of the bridges on the main highway are one-lane bridges. So you have to know how to tell who has the right-of-way.

10. I didnít personally do any driving outside of the main highways and towns. I donít have a lot of experience fording rivers and driving on cliffside roads with no fencing, plus I was by myself with a crappy phone, and I didnít want to get stuck anywhere. You might feel differently.

11. Everywhere I went people spoke English, but I didnít go very far off the beaten path.

12. Every single (natural) thing is worth seeing, and honestly worth seeing twice. There wasnít one thing I saw that wasnít amazing. The cities and towns were mostly meh.
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post #14 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 03:47 PM
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When are you thinking of going? Are you far enough along that you have dates planned? Timing/scheduling because of work would be my biggest holdup but it's a place I've been interested in as well. I have a lot of friends who have done it as a long weekend trip in the recent past and raved about it.
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post #15 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I am not going unless I have at least one person to go with. This is because I am a coward about traveling. I stress out easily among the humans and their constructions.

I would probably aim for next august or september, and go on at least a four-day ride.

I immediately thought of you, @egrogan !
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post #16 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 05:15 PM
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Do early September if you can. It should be much less crowded once everyone is back in school.
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post #17 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 05:31 PM
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And maybe consider flying to Akureyri instead of Reykjavik.... The North seemed way less busy
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post #18 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 06:01 PM
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Let's talk more @Avna . I have a regular conference that comes up in September but if we have a year to plan....sounds promising!
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post #19 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
Let's talk more @Avna . I have a regular conference that comes up in September but if we have a year to plan....sounds promising!


YES.

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post #20 of 40 Old 09-04-2019, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
2.Your flight will be 5-7 hours long, which isnít enough time to really get any decent sleep. You will be super tired when you get there. Your hotel will not let you check in early. They arenít being jerks, itís just that every hotel room in Iceland is booked every day in the summer, and your room isnít ready yet.
We planned it to arrive in their early afternoon. After we got our rental car, we drove several hours out of Reykjavik to our guesthouse, stopping to see a couple of waterfalls along the way. That way we weren't exhausted and also checked in at a normal time. If you stay out in the country you don't have to worry about everything being booked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
4. Getting from the airport to Reykjavik is expensive, I guess unless you hitchhiked. I think the best option is to take a bus. They have some service like the airport shuttle, except obviously way more expensive. You need to book in advance.

5. Donít make the mistake I did and book your car rental out of the Reykjavik airport Ė this is a small airport thatís in town. Or, if you do want to pick up your car in town, be sure thatís where you are getting it. I got the two airports mixed up and went all the way out to the main airport just to learn that my car wasnít waiting for me.
We flew into the main airport too, but if you rent a car, talk to the company. Our rental car company drove the car to the airport for us, and we just wheeled our luggage right up to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
7. Public transportation in Iceland is really bad. Iceland is the first country in Europe where I had to drive. The only alternative to driving is busses, but busses tend to be very few and far between, and often late. There are no proper bus stops outside of cities, so you will probably be standing in the rain for at least an hour, wondering where your bus is.

9. If you are going to be driving, take half an hour and learn the basics about driving in Iceland. One big thing is that once you get far enough out of Reykjavik, a lot of the bridges on the main highway are one-lane bridges. So you have to know how to tell who has the right-of-way.

10. I didnít personally do any driving outside of the main highways and towns. I donít have a lot of experience fording rivers and driving on cliffside roads with no fencing, plus I was by myself with a crappy phone, and I didnít want to get stuck anywhere. You might feel differently.
We've driven in a few countries and Iceland was one of the easiest. They drive on the same side of the road as we do. The signs are not in English, but outside of the big city area the turns are so few and far between that you can easily recognize the place names from maps. One thing to note is that individual farms have signs with the name on it, because the country is so small. So often we would think we were going to pass a town but it was really just someone's house with an official road sign.
In September I wouldn't worry about going across any water over the road. The roads were quite driveable, just steep and narrow sometimes. We saw many people far out in the countryside just driving regular cars without 4WD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
12. Every single (natural) thing is worth seeing, and honestly worth seeing twice. There wasnít one thing I saw that wasnít amazing. The cities and towns were mostly meh.
The cities and towns are only uninteresting right around Reykjavik. The entire rest of the country is fascinating and the towns amazing. Here is a small town we drove through, and most were beautiful like this.

Me at a waterfall.

A lake out in the countryside.

Some horses napping:

A turf covered church:

There were tiny towns at the foot of mountains, along the fjords. WOW.

If you get a chance to go to Jokulsarlon, the glacier lagoon, that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
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