Day 2: May 20, 2014

Our plane landed around 6:20AM, which is 2:20AM back on America’s East Coast. Thus, we were both a little tired but mostly excited for the adventure ahead. We got to walk off the plane OUTSIDE and on to a shuttle that was waiting to take us to the airport. I felt like a badass; that was my first time exiting a plane like that.

After we found our luggage (which we carried around the airport on little blue and red shopping carts), we headed to the arrivals section of the airport to: 1. exchange our American currency for ISK and 2. find our SadCars pick up person. While waiting for our pick up man, Katamus bought us Skyr, Icelandic drinkable yogurt, which is a staple Icelandic treat.

A SadCars dude did show up, but he wasn’t there to get us. I told him we rented a SadCar and he told Katie and me to just come with him. So we did. SadCars is chill as shit. We showed up at the SadCars home base… which looks just like you would image a shabby rent-a-cheap-car joint would look. Christopher, the guy behind the desk that helped us out, was nothing short of awesome. He got us all set up with a garmin and an automatic (which is huge for SadCars, they are mostly stick shifts) which meant that we got to upgrade our size because the automatic available was bigger than the size group that we paid for – free of charge to us, though! The deal with SadCars is this: you return the car with however much gas is left, and you can scratch it but not dent it.

Off we went to get gas and groceries in Keflavik (the city of SadCars and the airport) before truly embarking on our adventure with our SadCar, Roo the SuperRoo (he was a Subaru). We found a gas station supermarket combo (which we later came to know was the sign of a town) and, after getting some gas, waited in a Bakery for Bonus, the supermarket, to open.

No, but seriously, look at the sign for Bonus:

This is the most popular supermarket in Iceland.

After our wait in the Bakery, we realized that Bonus didn’t open until 11:00AM, not 10:00AM. So, we figured we’d find another supermarket on our way and decided to make our way towards Lake Myvatn, our first destination. Since we couldn’t find it on our garmin, we found a town close by and drove in that direction. It was about a five hour drive and, since I was less tired, I drove. I was fascinated by the scenery (and I hadn’t seen ANYTHING yet).

Some way into the drive, I spotted another Bonus, parked, woke Katie up (she had been catching up on some sleep), and we went in for our first shopping trip. Afterwards, with bread, bananas, apples, cheerios, veggie ramen, chips, salsa, canned fruits, hot sauce, and chick peas in hand, we felt prepared to take on Iceland. Shortly after our shopping trip, we found a waterfall (little did we know that these are a dime a dozen in Iceland and this specific waterfall was nothing compared to the others) and stopped the car to explore:

Only another hour into our drive, we realized that sheep. are. everywhere. We pulled over near one of the many sheep farms (which are huge areas of land – that made me happy!) and attempted to befriend the sheep with bread. They were scared of us 😦 But the babies were so cute!!!

After our failed attempt to hang with the sheepies, we continued onward to Lake Myvatn. The views on route were still so captivating to me. Once we made it to the town near Lake Myvatn, we got some gas, I asked the cashiers if they knew how to get to Lake Myvatn, they gave me the name of a hotel in the area and that worked on our garmin! So, Katie and I switched and she drove us to the Sel Hotel. By the way, Katie, having traveled in Europe before, knew that the Cokes there are made with real sugar and are SIGNIFICANTLY more delicious than any soda I’ve had in America before. She got one. It was awesome. When in Europe, Diet Coke.

On route to the Sel Hotel we made one more stop to admire the black sand beaches (a result to the volcanic activity in Iceland).

Those pictures don’t do it justice. Luckily, I have better pictures in a later location of the black sand beaches 🙂

Finally, we made it to Lake Myvatn! We stopped in the Sel Hotel lobby and asked the guy at the front desk about the area and the best stuff for us to get into. Katie found a traveler’s guide, so we used that and his advice for our outline. He was very kind and showed me on his phone how to get to Dettifoss, a famous waterfall near in the area. It’s the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe! With all of our options in mind, we chose to do a “short 3km hike” that apparently had a gorgeous view of the Lake. Turns out it is 2.4 km entirely uphill. We did it. We fucking did it and it was so worth it once we got to the top!

Post hike we were exhausted and ready to camp. We learned that Roo, on a good day, could lock 4/5 of his doors. Oh, Roo. Katie had read that Vogar was a nice place to camp, so we went there and checked out the area. Turned out it cost 3000ISK ($26 ish) to camp, so we decided against it. I did buy a margarita pizza and Katie bought some beer. We headed back to our original area and decided that we could park and sleep across from the hotel. It was no issue at all! So, I finished my pizza, Katie had tuna and hot sauce, she blew up our air mattress (a great buy by Katie), we cracked a window, and we called it a night. I finished writing about this day at 23:55… it was still light out. It’s light out about 22 hours of the day during the summer in Iceland. It was nuts!

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