Our great road trip begins, taking us from Reykjavik all the way to Akureyri in northern Iceland.


Breakfast at Reykjavik’s famous Sandholt bakery. All the more enjoyable for being shared with…

…my breastest bestest, Lindsay! Who had just arrived in Iceland following an overnight flight and a hard-learned lesson that you need to have 3 months left on your (otherwise perfectly valid) passport to enter Europe from Canada. Thankfully it all worked out in the end, and I was frankly too excited to see her again to stress about the circumstances!

Being a day or two behind our proposed schedule, we set out immediately on our tour of the Ring Road, aka Route 1: a national road in Iceland that circles the entire island, and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. Today’s trip: Reykjavik all the way to Akureyri! Go big or go home, I guess.

Travel tip #1: if you take the road anti-clockwise, there’s a toll of 1000ISK as you pass through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, but smooth sailing the rest of the way. (As recompense, it shortens the distance from Reykjavík to the western and northern parts of the island by 28 miles (or 45km), and passing the Hvalfjörður fjord takes 7 minutes instead of about an hour.

Travel tip #2: We soon discovered that Bonus supermarkets are the most reasonably priced eateries in the whole of Iceland, and they fast became our main source of supply runs whenever we passed through an area of civilisation!

One of the many benefits of an Icelandic road trip is that there’s an endless wealth of beautiful landscapes along the way.

An unscheduled hike up the Grabrokarfell volcano.

The stairs providing us with a false sense of security, we soon discovered that the climb was deceptively intense!

The surrounding valleys, with evidence of agricultural ruins in the bottom foreground. Or “horse ruins” as I called them on the day when words completely failed me.

The Grabrok crater in the volcano’s centre.

Linds and Julien. Who, it must be said, were amazingly chipper given that they’d had about 3 hours sleep between them.

What goes up…

Witch Mountain.

Stretching our legs some 2-3 hours later.

We’d officially entered northern Iceland!

…though for the life of me, I can’t remember what this monument was commemorating.

One of my favourite things we kept seeing along the way were these fields of plastic-wrapped hay bales, which we lovingly referred to as freerange, organic marshmallows.

Safe arrival at our evening’s accommodation: the Lamb Inn Gueshouse in Akureyri.

Since I’ve now been to Toronto and Lindsay has come to Glasgow, we chose Iceland as a half(ish)way point between the two! (I mean it was that or Greenland.)

We arrived just as the sun was setting over the valley (though, at the time of year we were visiting, those sunsets lasted for hours.)

Dinner at the inn. Lindsay and Julien went with the eponymous lamb, whilst John had this delicious nut loaf.

I ordered the vegetable pie, which was technically a quiche but no less delicious for it.

Pink marshmallows!

In order to tick off one famous site from our week’s itinerary, we drove out after dinner in the direction of Goðafoss, the “Waterfall of the Gods”.

It was named for the time in the year 999 when Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland and, after his conversion, threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.

It was also one of the most ridiculously beautiful things we saw on our entire trip.

Daily Fosselfie!

Julien giving Lindsay a minor heart attack.

❤️!

The drive back through the valley (where we saw no fewer than two cars that appeared to have gone careening over the side of the road. Always encouraging.)

Nightfall over Akureyri, where we celebrated Linds and Juju’s arrival with a modest toast…of around four bottles. Skál!

Mark Liddell 2016 | Facebook | Flick | Instagram | Twitter

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