The Wet Drive - Notes From A Road Trip

Magazine The Wet Drive - Notes From A Road Trip

Never come to Iceland if you are expecting certain kinds of weather conditions. That’s what I told my friend when she came over in the end of March and we were planning to go driving out into the countryside. The weather during these spring months – and well, basically any season - can honestly be anything between a beautiful, sunny spring day to total apocalyptic mayhem. So what exactly did we encounter on our road trip?

Open road

1. Icy rain storms 

My friend was really looking forward to seeing the black sand beaches of Vík. Turned out she didn’t see Vík basically at all. The rain and wind were so severe, we just filled up the tank, had some soup and burgers at the gas station restaurant and looked outside, witnessing indeed something black in the distance. But was it sand – or a beach? Who could tell. We thoroughly enjoyed the soup and the rest stop after driving in the pouring rain, and continued on after realizing there’s no chance to enjoy the beach (we saw someone doing a jog there in shorts, though!). Later, when we drove past a field of stone figures between Vík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, still in pouring rain, we stopped to go and see the figures, only to realize it was almost too windy to even get the car doors open and when we did, the terrain was so soaked we couldn’t walk up to the statues. Nevermind, Bonnie Tyler was singing on the radio and off we took towards Klaustur.

 

2. Beautiful sunshine

This happened too! And we enjoyed the moments, taking pictures and rest stops. There’s nothing quite like having an afternoon coffee on the side of a glacier. It might not feel warm outside because of the wind, though, but all sunny moments bring a smile to your face and make the same scenery you were watching a moment ago look completely different. Those differences make the drive even more special than just witnessing one kind of weather throughout the way.

 

3. Violent wind gusts 

When the Ring Road swerves back toward the ocean after Hof, it felt like our car got hit by something. But no, it was the stormy wind saying hi to our trusty little VW Up. And up it almost went every now and then! For a moment, driving became an arm-muscle-building exercise and as my friend put it: ”It feels like getting constantly punched by surprise.”

The Secret LagoonThe Secret Lagoon

4. Fog

When you can’t see anything, you can’t see anything, but when the fog slightly lifts, you’ll experience the most eerie sensations of your trip. In a good way. It’s like being in a horror movie set without the actual horror – only the cool surroundings. With the mountains and glaciers peeking from behind the fog curtain it might not be the colorful sunshine-filled postcard image of Iceland you thought about, but it will definitely leave an imprint. It was like driving in a movie set or story book. Unreal.

 

5. Complete change of conditions every 5-10 minutes

It might have been sunny just a second ago, but now, all of a sudden it looks like Mordor. And then it turns bright a moment later. This is completely normal and you should not worry. Just adjust your driving speed accordingly. The cool thing is we could basically see where the good weather was up ahead again, because no trees and flat grounds.

 Graffiti at Hveragerdi

6. Road signs happen NOW

If you are used to instructive road signage (for example: EXIT TO ROAD 2 in 500m), forget about it in Iceland. You need to KNOW where that intersection is, because they only tell you when you’re right there. So yeah, we had to make a few U-turns along the way and keep an eye out for the single-lane bridges. Because you really can’t tell what’s going to happen, until NOW.

7. Iceland is beautiful in all weather

So now we get to the part about having no expectations. Iceland is full of natural beauty and gorgeous scenery. Everyone has expectations when they travel, but if you have a too defined postcard image of what you want to see and how, you won’t be able to enjoy the actual experience. This is also very true with Northern Lights - the one sight that can't be guaranteed will be here when you come. We heard three tour groups where people were discussing their disappointment for not seeing the Aurora. And although it is something worth seeing, maybe on the next visit up north think of it as an added bonus if you see them on your also otherwise awesome trip. As the saying goes: some people feel the rain, others just get wet. This is very true especially in Iceland. Take in the experience, whatever it throws your way from the skies, and a bowl of soup. Everything can turn brighter in just a couple of minutes.

Flowers at Fridheimar

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