Безлюдна та сувора ІСЛАНДІЯ у кемпері та що пов'язує її з Україною.
Hi! There are trips in which nothing goes according to plan. But this is what makes them the most unforgettable. We're heading to the least visited parts of Iceland. On the way, we'll figure out why this mostly atheistic country has so many churches. Whether it is possible to negotiate a way out of situations with the local Police. Or with local whales.
Of course, we'll have a look at out-of-this-world landscapes of this island. First, let me add some context. This trip is from a year ago. Earlier before that, our big group of friends travelled across the island on the famous Ring Road 1. It was a tremendous journey during which Iceland showed us the most of its wonders. There's a separate video.
After that, everyone went home, but I and Boria stayed for another week. And made a small transport exchange. This is where the story ended. I was filming in Russian back then, so this video is going to be somewhat bilingual. Just in case, it has English subtitles which you can turn on in the YouTube settings. If you're already there, you can as well click on various YouTube buttons down there.
Like in the previous Iceland video, we'll start by introducing one of the protagonists of this journey. This is Hilux from 2020. a powerful pickup truck, that needs a lot of diesel, and has many four-wheel drive and track-riding functions. Our Toyota has a function of keeping distance to the closest car ahead. In Iceland this is as helpful, as turn signals on BMW. The most important function is this thing behind.
It is a special camper made for pickup trucks. Which can hold up to two families or two big men like us. But as to how comfortable it really is we'll talk a bit later. The camper has a small supply of water and gas, a stove, a fridge, and important cutlery for preparing food. In the world of camper trucks it is in the middle between a tent on the roof and this kind of tank. Its major cons are a very tight space so a large suitcase won't fit.
And that this playtoy's rent is worth €2500 a week. We rented it at Europcar. And we were really lucky it was the end of the tourist season. Boria regularly rent their homes on wheels. So they offered a nice discount, checked whether everything worked properly. And let us go ahead.
Previous owner left the German language. Which options are there? [Ukrainian] — Oh! — Yeap! — Well-well! — What a surprise! [In Ukrainian] Good day! Let's drive. We started at the outskirts of Reykjavik heading to the Westdjords.
This is a peninsula located nearly 250 km from the capital city. Not to waste our time while riding through beautiful but alike landscapes I remind you that to travel by car abroad you should have a green card for drivers and Hotline Finance. An unchanging online service where you can order it quickly as well as many other types of insurance. The process is as simple as doing it while driving. But you shouldn't do that.
Go to the website, search and choose what you need, pay by card, and receive your insurance policy on e-mail. Remind you that I have promocodes for different insurances — here. And the link to Hotline Finance is in the description. As always, part of the profits I will donate to charities which I post and report about on my Instagram.
Oh! Meanwhile, we're in the Westfjords already. This is quite a big peninsula, a bit smaller than Crimea. It is shredded with Fjords which gave it this name. Because it is so remote from the regular tourist routes. It is the least visited and the least populated part of Iceland. At the first meeting, the Westfjords do not look much more picturesque than the mainland.
What distinguishes them the most is the lack of people. While on the Ring Road there's always lots of cars, here we pass by one once in 10 minutes. It is not surprising, because there's only 7000 people living on the peninsula. This is what the densest populated area looks like.
Mostly, the Westfjords are the paradise for an introvert. People here live in solitude. This is the distance between two neighbouring houses. Despite low inhabitance and tourism, this place has all needed infrastructure. Shops, camping sites, small gas stations.
And there's even a small airport, which I randomly noticed while flying my drone. The roads connect all of that: sometimes they're from asphalt or gravel. And sometimes they're very wavy, because the landscapes are Fjordy and rocky. The Westfjords are a dour place. The landscapes and roadtrips here remind me of Norway. A small fact to better understand Iceland: the Westfjords are a home for 7000 people.
And they're making a 5.5 km tunnel through a mountain just for the people to commute easier. Fantastic! However, for the Scandinavian countries this is not fantastic but just the way for the state to do the best for their citizens. For the taxes, these citizens are paying Iceland has a progressive tax system as well. Which can reach up to 46%.
But we're having a sudden stop near a surprising spot beside the road. This ship nicely explains how the Westfjords are not popular among tourists. You're just riding past it just standing here, on the beach. No signs, no map locations, just a small tablet, saying it's the oldest steel ship in all of Iceland. There's a small table nearby.
And that's all there is. In some other place in this country it would have more attention. This ship lived a rich life. It was built in Norway in 1912. Then it was sold to different countries, until in 1950 it was bought by the Icelandic whalers. Here, it served long and well, roamed through the Fjords, served as an icebreaker. But in 1970th, the laws on whale hunting became more strict. The ship stopped being profitable.
In 1981, it was beached and left to rot and rust on the shore like a reminder that the nature always takes everything back. This was our longest stay for the day, the rest of which, we spent on the road. The deeper we got, the harder the roads got. Although, the better were the landscapes. The ending of the first day was quite symbolic. A sunset on the West side of the Westfjords. To catch such a sunset the first day out here is a great introduction to a new location.
The camping does have some cars, as the Westfjords are not as desolate, as we thought. Now, we're trying to figure out how to make supper and find power. To charge our devices. And in the morning, I'm going to show you the location which we came here for. Apart from the great experience of the first sunset in the Westfjords, it was also the first experience to sleep in our monster-camper-truck. — It's nice here. — Two 192-meter men tall fit in here.
— Yeah, well.. — You can even stand up here. — It's like a motor-house. — Yeah.
The height is better than I'd expected. The rest of the ergonomics of this "housing" has the same score. The central zone can be a dining room or a working space.
With some manipulations, all of this transforms into two full-fledged one-person beds. There's also an electrical heating, but it's in the back side of the camper. So the person below can sleep in the nude, the person above should wear thermal insulation. Basically, it was quite cozy. In its majority, the Icelandic beaches are black with volcanic dust.
Or rocky. Such traditional sandy beaches are a rarity. This one is the most prominent and beautiful of them — the Rauðisandur beach. The name is made of two parts: Rauði — red, and sandur — sand. Plainly speaking, the Red Sand beach.
Because the Westfjords haven't long experienced any volcanic activity. So the black dust doesn't cover the beach for a long time. The common sand can be found here.
Like an unexpected franchise of some African dune, which beautifully contrasts with the green of the Icelandic mountains and the teal of the Atlantic Ocean. And we came here with long focus optics not to stalk local tourists. The thing is: this beach is a gathering place for seals. But we walked for a couple of kilometers.
Saw no one. And completely barehanded came back to the camping. Even without the seals, this place is very splendid. Let's go farther.
Out next location is in 50 kilometers from the beach. Which could've taken a couple of hours in a car or a truck but it would be worth it 100%. The Westfjords have the most western point of Iceland.
The Latrabjarg. Which can be loosely translated into "the mountains of the epic awesomeness." The location totally lives up to expectations you can have for Iceland. It is the most cinematic cliff just before the Atlantic abyss. In addition to being the most western rocks, it was this place's volcanic activity that became the first land of Iceland. Now, there's been no volcanic activity for so long.
Only bird activity remained. These cliffs are one of the most prominent places for birdwatching, worldwide. You can see various birds here, including the famous puffins who are the symbol of Iceland. But in the Autumn, like many other birds, they've already migrated. And only seagulls remained. Following the seals, it's the second setback we've faced with the Icelandic nature.
Even without the birds, the Latrabjarg is very picturesque. And is totally worth a visit and a walk. Then, we were ready to go straight to the third wonder of the Westfjords. But we didn't get far as we were stopped by a surprising technological discovery.
You're driving through, minding your own business and there's a building just near the road. With the same American DC3 plane, like on the famous black beach on the mainland. The Icelandic mainland, I mean. And if DC3 plane on that beach is an air crash result. The ship 191 was used by United States Navy on its Icelandic base.
At the end of the 1970th it was written off and a local enthusiast somehow brought it here. For his small museum of vintage machinery. There was a rare and antique Antonov An-2. But it was closed, so we focused on the stuff outside the windows.
Douglas DC3 was produced in America in 1930. It's the first successful commercial plane in the history. During the WWII it was refurbished for the military use. Its copies were licensed to be produced worldwide.
In the USSR it was known as Li-2. It has an intact hull, which you can get inside. It's much more stuff in here, than in the beach one. A nearly intact cockpit. I'll try to get inside.
The DC3's influence is hard to oversell. Back then, pilots were so pleased with how comfortable and futuristic it was. Despite it being a hundred years old, DC3 is still modernized and used for some regional flights and air shows in the whole world. In short, we happened upon a real aviation legend.
Chef, maybe we should go. The route we chose around the Westfjords is called the Ring Road 2. The Ring Road 1 is around Iceland itself. But the distances here feel much longer. First of all, the asphalt is usually intercepted by such dirt roads. Secondly, you also have to stop many times to capture the next mountain.
You have to be prepared to add a couple of hours to your planned schedule. We came to the main attraction of this peninsula. This is the Dynjandi waterfall. It doesn't have an Icelandic name, but it has a very Icelandic beauty. Despite it sounding somewhat Indian, "Dynjandi" is an Icelandic word, meaning "throbbing". It is better known as the Pearl of the Westfjords.
As it looks like it was created by landscapers. The turquoise river cascading down and forming a trapezoid shape. Later, it rushes by quick currents to the closest Fjord. It was totally worth walking here for 20 minutes, to see how "throbbing" and massive it is. It's height is 108 meters. In the first Iceland video, if anybody remembers, I had a list of top local. waterfalls
Dynjandi surely is in the top 3 of the finalists. With this list you can see, how weird its name is for Iceland. It's a terrific waterfall. But you have to come here during the day. This camping is called Tungudalur.
They like weird names so much. It was the most cozy out of every camping throughout our trip in Iceland. We brewed morning coffee, made breakfast in a normal kitchen. And started discussing where to go next. Do we have to add a day and search for someplace else? Or do we just finish the route 2 and leave the peninsula. Our decision was aided by the climate.
Judging by the weather, we've run out of sunny days in the Fjords. Good, we were able to see three great locations with quite a clear sky. Now, there's a long road-trip the next part of our journey. We came to the closest city nearby, to buy snacks for the road. I wanted to give special attention to this Icelandic salted caramel almond.
It's simply a sweet drug. And we headed to the exit road, which was temptingly desolate and level. Boria was speeding up, before we were stopped by the Police lights.
— Well... Hello.. — A rock-bottom. — A Rock-Bottom! The speed limit is 90 km/h. While we were going 110 km/h for some time. The policeman politely explained the rule to us and politely brought a terminal to give a severe warning.
— Maybe tax free for this? At the airport? — Don't know.. don't know. — But, slow down now.. — Yes, for sure. — Thank you for the lesson. — For sure, thank you.
— Bye! Speed up in the Westfjords is worth €600. 600 damn euro. All the money in the world. Exceeding the speed limit in Iceland is very expensive.
A one Policeman just sitting by himself, chilling, having energy drinks. Let's head back to the mainland. Westfjords are tired of us. But please don't drive more than 90. So we drove through the peninsula slower, and on the way out, in a shop we found out the end of this financial adventure. And the coffee is 52 hryvnias. — Like a second penalty.
— Wait — the fuck — he fined us twice. — What you mean? The penalty? — I was just thinking where the money went. — So he took twice the fine? We turned back 100 km, found the cop, it wasn't hard to do, and asked him to give us a refund. With a clear mind and not a good mood, we left the Westfjords. In dark, we headed to another Fjords, but on the mainland.
By the way, whoever we spoke to in Iceland: farmers, guides, Policemen in the Westfjords, and a strange man with a cat in Reykjavik, — each spoke great English. Apart from the Icelandic language, the students are studying English or another Scandinavian language. They mostly choose the first one, because they understand its importance for communication.
To my mind, it's high time to be like Icelanders and start learning English. You can do this with the help from Englishdom, the biggest online school for learning English in Ukraine. There you will be appointed a tutor, according to you level. And this personal curator will overview you progress to facilitate the learning process. In order to begin studying, you'll need a laptop or a smartphone.
And, of course, the Internet connection. This is, above all, an online service. All of this is conducted one-on-one with a tutor, on an interactive platform that has lots of tasks, making the learning process much more interesting than studying the Holitsynskyi Talmud. Long story short, the link in the description will allow you to sign in for a free lesson.
And if you'll decide to study with Englishdom, here's a promocode for a small discount. But if you simply want to find out your English level there's also a short test in the video description. Now, we're going back to Iceland. We came to the North of Iceland, to a small fishing town of Hauganes.
Only a hundred people live in here. The vibe is according: it rains and snows, a viking-like drakkar. This town is best-known to be the first to bring tourists watch the whales in the Fjords. Because the town is located near their habitats, the prices here are the lowest in all of Iceland. We paid only €60 a person. We were dressed in special expedition costumes, in which you could go to the Antarctics.
And headed to board. We booked the tour a couple of days before, because whale-watching is one of the most popular tourist attraction in here. Well — come on! — who doesn't want to watch the whales. The atmosphere was very Nordic. It was near a zero degrees Celcius — in the open sea it's very cold. It also rained and snowed, making lots of problems.
Boria got water on his camera. My second camera is in a bread pack. Everything for the whales. An hour later, someone did come out to greet us. This is the humpback whale, one of the most well-known sea creature.
Which you can find in almost any ocean. As they're migrating quite long distances. They do that not only for food, but also to find the best conditions for breeding. In this context, they are known for their out-of-this-world mating songs. These big boys usually reach 15 meters long. This is how they look compared to one big Homo Sapiens.
Seeing it from afar, some might not notice how big the creature below them actually is. In short, when you see some whale's tail, it means it's diving deep and never returning to the same spot. We're trying to witness such a moment. The captain says they know this whale — "it's Barney. It has white dots under the tail."
Barney it is. The ships don't scare the whales off, because they're very clever and understand that nobody hunts them anymore. This photo-op lasted nearly 3 hours. We hoped for a famous whale jump. But I wouldn't dare, myself, to go out of water.
So this is the closest thing we could get. On our return, it felt like the Icelandic fauna mishap number 3. But it wasn't that bad. — So how often do you see them jumping? — We see them jump in about one percent of the tours we go to. — Ah, right! So we're not the losers at all. — No!
— There's no losers. — I mean, we never now when it's gonna happen. It's nature, so it's like a lottery. — We won, at least, something. — Oh yeah! We got a beautiful whale, we call "Barney". So that's a success.
— It's cool! Thank you! See you! I can't say it was a total fail. But I could use a bit more dry and warm. Turned out the rain we caught on the ship is a part of a big storm.
Which covers the whole of Iceland. We were lucky with that. Quickly, we gathered our stuff and moved a couple of kilometers to a better equipped camping site. Where we spent the rest of the day in our den.
Because the Icelandic weather and Icelandic winds, especially when you have such a hill on your car, is not a joke matter. Don't know if it can be seen on camera, but the truck is shivering like a ship during a storm. Such are the Icelandic winds. We waited for half a day for the weather to get better. And it got sunny in the morning. Turns out, it's beautiful outside.
Look! On the one side, there are cliffs and snowy mountains on the other. You don't even need winter anymore. We won't sit here idly, because as the weather allows us we need to move forward.
Our goal is the famous Icelandic highlands. It's a big territory in the center of the island, which is rightly considered the most picturesque. Not many tourists get that far, as there're no asphalt roads. So you can use only four-wheel cars. It is blatantly said before the so-called gravel f roads.
As soon as we went there, it started snowing again. And Icelandic horses we saw on the road started to look very cinematic. Everything else... well... not very cinematic.
It's snowing outside mixed with rains. It's zero degrees. But we're staying on the road for three reasons. Firstly, the roads are still open.
Icelanders mind the danger in accordance. So if it was dangerous, the roads would be closed. Secondly, it's going to get sunny some time later.
Thirdly, we can go through any weather in our den. But we didn't have to wait through anything. In just half an hour, the sun shone brightly. And we started to force through the highlands with much vigour.
Just a couple hundred meters before the summit, a thing we feared most happened. Firstly, that's our fault not to bring some chains. But nobody expected the storm, which would snow the whole place down. Didn't expect to do this at the end of September. We dug ourselves free in a short time, but decided not to go up anymore. So we drove back slowly.
Seemed like there wasn't any storm at all. Everything is clear. The same Icelandic horses are on the pastures. They looked to me a bit mocking.
[So how is your cinematic journey?)))] We're leaving with tears on our eyes. There's snow on the mountain. Much snow, we discovered.
But it's emerald green below. We're not letting it go, though, to try and reach the highlands. But we have to make a small detour. The way to the highlands also starts in the South of Iceland. To get there we drove to the Ring Road 1 and around half of the country. So we went 500 km from the North to the West and then South.
On our way, we tried to cut the road. But we happened on a fence with a "the road is closed" sign. It was a very long day for a road-trip. We finished it in accordance. These are municipal thermal basins, which every Icelandic village has. Of course, they are no so fancy and Instagrammy like many touristic analogues.
It's main pro is the space, and you don't have to book beforehand. Thermal waters are the same here. There are also big swimming pools. It's not expensive.
The fee is €6-7 per person. It seems, the whole village is spending time here. In general, it's very cool to come here and relax your back after the long road. Iceland is like a living organism mocks us. We went to the South part, spent the whole day, across the whole country. It was the best of weathers on the road. Now, we're trying to go up from the South, and it's a complete Icelandic "Fargo".
The roads on this side were much better. We even visited another waterfall Haifoss. But I won't add it to my rating, because it, and everything around, were in a complete winter anguish. This, of course, has its own Scandinavian-Nordic charm.
Believing the photos we saw on Instagram, a week before it was green and a total Spring. Now, it feels like some ski-resort. But in Iceland it's at the end of September and 500 meters above the sea level. We did try to catch the nice weather for another couple of hours.
To see the highlands around. It continued until from the mist like in actual Fargo appeared a ranger car. They explained to us that the route officially is not closed.
But it's a question of one-two days. Because it snowed quite early this year. They hinted us to turn back, as saving lost tourists from the snowfall isn't on the list of their favourite things to do.
We decided to listen to their advice. And with a feeling of total failure turned back. But this doesn't mean I leave you without knowing how the highlands looked like. This Autumn, on the contrary, lacked snow completely. On this SUV, Boria travelled there for a couple of days. And filmed some stuff. I'm looking right now at these images, like all of you are, hoping that in the future I'll visit the place.
So, we decided to have a day off in the Northern-most part of the world. Mostly gloomy and wet Reykjavik made a very pleasant and cozy impression. Over 2/3 of the whole population of Iceland lives in the city and its outskirts. But in numbers it's just 130,000. So we can't talk about some serious urbanistic experiences.
That's why I hurried to check my travel points. Firstly, eat local shawarma, which is made from the famous Icelandic mutton. With a very weird marinade, tasting like cinnamon. Well, this is the most expensive shawarma in my life. ₴325.
But it is really very tasty. Secondly, take a look at the local architecture. The grand Hallgrímskirkja was being constructed for 40 years.
From 1945 to 1986. This is not only the main church, but also the longest-built site of the country. It is the highest building in Reykjavik. Strangely despite Iceland being very atheistic, almost every town has a Protestan church, which is usually the most prominent building found there.
There are nearly 350 churches on the island. All in different styles. To my opinion, this avant-garde church is the most memorable. It looks more like a modern art center in the Northern city of Blönduós. We drove past it a couple of times throughout our trip.
One time there even was an Aurora above it. How do you like that, atheists? The correlation is one church per thousand citizens, which is quite many. The reason is Iceland half a century ago had problems with good roads.
The Lutheran Church tried to make churches more accessible for its congregation. It built churches in the farthest places around. For instance, this one is a very desolate church on the very desolate Westfjords. This church is on the island of Snæfellsnes, where we headed after Reykjavik.
It is located between the capital and the Westfjords. And it is a very good location for a one-day trip. We had only a day of the rent to look at this place. And summarize the impression from the whole trip.
I'll start with our transport-home. The rent for this tank-truck is insanely expensive. Furthermore, such a pickup truck take a lot of fuel. In seven days we drove for nearly 3000 km, which ate almost 15 liters of diesel fuel.
The fuel alone was nearly €750 for two. To cut it short, this thing isn't on a budget. But it allows for great flexibility and freedom while driving through Iceland.
However, there are many times the wind was too strong. — Crap! — Windy. — It's horrible.
The ocean winds were so insane I couldn't keep the camera up. The weather played its big part during this trip. But it's an integral part of the experience you get in this country.
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is like a miniature model of Iceland. You're driving, there's snowy mountains and lakes to your left, and a beautiful volcanic beach to your right. This place is a home for the most famous and Instagram-friendly rock in the country. The so-called Wizard Hat Mountain. Which is the most common Google picture, while searching for Iceland. Interestingly, on the other side of the mountain there's one of the five Icelandic prisons.
It doesn't have a fence and hold only 23 cells. It paints a great picture of the crime levels on the island. But there's a lot of fences and barbed wires around private property. In general, Iceland has many different bans.
Which ways to go. Which plants to touch. Which roads to ride. And where to sleep in the car.
You can spend nights only at camping sites. The violations here are costly, which, as you remember, they are diligent about. But it's because of these prohibitions, the Icelandic nature continues to look like a collection of wallpapers for your PC. Even in spite of constant waves of tourists.
But, honestly, I'd never want to live here constantly. Because if such places become your everyday life, what else can surprise you? In the end, I wanted to talk more about the everyday life. Iceland is one of the countries, helping Ukrainian refugees who fled from war. The quota was 2000 people. At the moment of this video — it's December 2022 — the quota was used by only 1500 people. I talked with several Ukrainians who moved down there.
And they were amazed at how they were welcomed. How good was the aid package. Also, how despite the cold climate Icelander gave them a very warm welcome. These people, in their part, are trying hard to integrate into the society, finding jobs, which is not that hard, according to them.
And now are trying to study the Iceland language. Despite it being used by a small percentage of humans, Icelanders take it with reverence. By the way, it's thanks to the Icelandic language and sagas, the are many artefacts about vikings and princes of the early Kyivan Rus. Thanks to these, the scientists could study the period. It is the biggest historical connection between Iceland and Ukraine.
[Warning! Air raid alert is cancelled!] — Thank you. [Warning! Air raid alert is cancelled!] — Thank you 2x. Thereafter, thank you 3x to Iceland which happily welcomed our citizens, who fled these air raid alerts. Thank you 4x to the Icelandic nature, which blew my mind for two and a half weeks. Of course, thank you 5x to you for watching this Icelandic video.
Judging from the comments, some of you waited for this video for a whole year. I hope your expectations were in a way fulfilled. As always...
See you in the next video. As always, this one is the voice after the titles. I remind you to like, comment, share with your friends, because it really helps my channel. Good bye!