The land of ice and fire: camping road trip round Iceland Part 5

This is another post in the series about my 13 day camping road trip around Iceland, and I’m afraid we’re still only on day two. We had done the hair-raising, simply petrifying whale watching trip and it was time to drive on to our next destination.

It was midday by this point and we decided NOT to go back to stay at Stykissholnmer again, as outlined in plan A. Instead we were going to press onto the next destination in the North West. So the driver headed back to the lovely (not) Borganes, to join Route 1, and we continued our clockwise adventure round the island. We drove on through more bleak scenery; I can’t remember it being more memorable than that to be honest.  It was just a really long and odious drive and as usual, took longer than we thought. Plus there were very little facilities on the way. We were pretty much out of food, so had to rely on the fizzy water, a couple of bananas and a tiny bag of overpriced peanut M&M’s. By this time, hubby was tired and hungry which all equalled, grumpy. Oh joy, a nice long journey with a moody man.

Alas, we got to our destination, Saudikrokur on the jutting out bit of the North West – not the fjords, the bit over from that. We’d heard that this was a great place to hang out and drink with the locals and was the hub of the area. Hmmm, hub my ass. Perhaps it was, but I guess not up to my usual standards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a city slicker, I was brought up in a working class environment in the country – but to be honest, I expected more.

The campsite was located between the school and the swimming pool on the school football field on the main road through the middle of the town. The toilets stank, like an old Icelandic woman may have died in there. The only upside was, that it was free. The bigger downside was, it was late and tomorrow was Monday morning, when all the town’s kids would be out playing on the football field in full force. Not the kind of wake-up call I had in mind.

We concluded that this was not an option, but first we need to check out the famous wild hot pool that the Rough Guide raved about. Now that was another story, involved driving 25km along a rough track to the middle of no-where, but wow, was it worth it. I’m not going to get into that now, its longer than I think you have the patience to stand today, so next time…

  • Read part 1
  • Read part 2
  • Read part 3
  • Read part 4
  • p.s I’ve just realised I promised you in the last post, a story about hubby waking the whole campsite up by pressing his elbow on the car horn – that I promise, will come next time around. It’s taking me longer to tease this story out than I thought.


    Camping with a toddler – a far cry from back packing wild camping on the moors and being chased by a randy bull at 6am

    This weekend we’re off camping again – woohoo! We are determined to get the lifetime cost of this very expensive new tent down – I think so far it’s probably still as expensive as staying in a hotel, but next year should start feeling the financial benefit. But we don’t (generally) camp for the money-saving benefits, we do it more because we just love it. Although we do like to use the idea of saving money as an excuse to justify spending money on other things – but don’t we all? 

    Trailer Tastic
    We get to use our new trailer which we picked up last weekend, so we really can take everything but the kitchen sink now 🙂 No longer will my kit list be strictly monitored for ‘illegal’ items (illegal, ie they are not on the spreadsheet so we have no space for them). In fact, it’s a case of ‘the more the merrier’. The trailer is a little big for our current needs (future proofing you see) so we might need to bulk it out a little. No fear though, cause I’m here. 

    Not Like Wild Camping on Dartmoor
    It’s a far cry from the days of walking into the wilderness carrying all our kit on our backs. It takes me back to a time when hubby and I went wild camping on Dartmoor in Spring 2007 – and that was a trip to remember. We’d decided to camp at Grimspound, a rather eerie place in the middle of know where, steeped in all different legends which seriously gave hubby the spooks (he was not brought up in the country like me you see). It took a little longer to get there than planned, because we stopped off at the pub en route which resulted in us getting up to all kinds of mischief as we ambled drunkenly to the X on the map that we were aiming for. We cooked up a nice boil in the bag meal after pitching our brand new tent and had a nice chilled out evening watching the sun set. It all started to go down hill (yes we were on a slope – but I’m not making a physical reference here) at about 3am in the morning as the weather turned for the worse. 

    Wild Camping on Dartmoor - enjoying my boil in the bag dinner


    Dartmoor is renowned for having extreme changes in weather, resulting in various deaths as people have been stranded unprepared. Ever the worrier, hubby was getting in a flap – but not me. I was snoring away all happy in my snuggly sleeping bag – oblivious. Until he’d come to the conclusion that we should leave – at 5am in the morning! 

    “We could get stuck here and it could get worse, we need to get out now!” 

    Yawn, yawn – “nah we don’t” I retorted. But Mr Cautious was serious, so we packed up and shipped out within about 15 minutes flat.  

    We then had to walk in the dark using our compass as the only guide to direction, to get on the right path out of there. The weather was horrendous, he was right – but surely we would have been better to sit it out in the tent? Well, what was done was done, we had to find our way back over the moors back to the car. 

    Randy bull comes to protect his ladies
    It was going OK until hubby spotted something cantering down the other side of the hill in our direction. 

    It’s a bull and its coming towards us…look see the cows here – he doesn’t like us being so close?” said hubby. 

    Ever the optimist I replied “Nooo, don’t be so daft, it’s a horse. A bull doesn’t jump up and frolic around like that.” 

    The horse (I was determined it nehyed rather than moo’ed) was getting closer and pretty rapidly. Then it dawned on me, damn him – he’s right, it’s a bloody bull! And it’s heading straight for us. I was WRONG, so we sprinted into the gorse bushes and took a massive detour so that we could find a wall and jump over it to safety. We ended up getting back to the car at about 8am exhausted, wet and bad-tempered – but surprisingly happy to be alive. 

    Thank goodness those days are over! 

    But I do kind of miss the simplicity. 

    Are You a Left Over’s Queen?

    One of my mother’s many mantras when we were growing up was ‘waste not want not’. Which meant, if you are not going to eat all on your plate then it would get re-processed back into tomorrow night’s dinner or the dog would get it – that was the last resort, and usually was because it was past its best – i.e. nearly unfit for human consumption. 

    My auntie was one of the worst, she would save all kinds of small left over’s, like the 11 spare baked beans from last night’s dinner, then put it in the fridge for someone to polish off later. The problem is, that she had so many little tubs of left over’s that many would get forgotten about and go all moldy – yuk! 

    In fact, most of my family had and still do have this frugal attitude. You are likely to get all kinds of ‘divine’ delights served up for dinner. 

    By nature or nurture, there was no chance for me to escape this trait. I am also one of those left over’s queens. But they don’t have a chance to go moldy in my house. I’m a grazer you see…although some might just call me a greedy pig (depends on your outlook). 

    The left over's princess

    The other night at 10.40pm I was seriously hungry and admitted to myself that if I didn’t go and eat – I was not going to sleep. Do you ever get that? So I stowed downstairs under the excuse that I need to top up my glass of water, to raid the fridge. Ah and there sat waiting for me was a little pot of potato salad and packet of opened chorizo…yum yum. There I stood in my undies with just the light of the open fridge door halo’ing around me, while I tucked into my little snack-et. 

    Left over’s for lunch
    That’s another good thing about working from home, you can polish off the left over’s from last night’s dinner for lunch. Often it results in some rather random combinations, like spaghetti Bolognese (without the spaghetti) and toast – I’ve been known to make a sandwich out of that before. 

    Although it can’t be as awful as my sisters ‘tram smash’ sandwich – bread, margarine, Marmite and jam! 

    Are you a left over’s queen? Or is it all strictly in-date, straight out the packet/oven stuff for you? What about your random left over’s combinations?

    GUEST POST from Amy: First Day Back at School – Yeah!

    Texas based Amy, tells us about her relief to get the kids back to school…

    Did you hear a collective sigh from all parents in Texas the other day?  That was the sound of dropping off the little darlings on the first day of this new school year.  Though the temperatures are still into the 100s, summer is now officially over and kids are back to school – yeah!!!!!

    For our family, that means baseball, Scouts, piano lessons, after-school clubs, football games and more.  But most of all, for me, that means a QUIET house!  Working from home is great, but trying to do it while the kids are home is quite a challenge at times.  

    Amy's two boys and their dog - chilled out at home after the first day back at school

    This summer we didn’t have much of a routine once we got back from vacation, so that contributed to their boredom.  All in all they’re pretty good and they know not to bother me in my office unless 1) the house is on fire, or 2) a bear is chasing them.  That said, they watched WAY more t.v. than I care to admit.  And last week when they were surfing down the front stairs on a camping mat, I KNEW it was time to go back to school!  

    So we’ll be back to the routine by the end of the week – come home, have a snack, unwind and watch t.v. for a half hour or so, homework, job of the day, practice your instrument, and by then it time for me to wrap it up at the office and fix dinner.  They’re old enough to be independent on most days, though lists do help, so this works pretty well most of the time.

    That’s a huge bennie of working from home – I can be here to supervise and they’re not going off to after school care or coming home alone to an empty house.  I wouldn’t trade that for working in an office ever again.  Then Mom throws a wrench in the works and has to go out of town and it all blows up, but that’s a topic for another day…

    I do miss spending lunch time with them and hearing their laughter in the background, but for now, the dog and I will enjoy the peaceful quiet in our house and get down to business.


    Read Amy’s other posts:

    The land of ice and fire – camping road trip round Iceland Part 4

    Day two at last…

    The next day we were up bright and early after our first night under canvass (or more accurately nylon – but I liked that phrase). Sadly there was no coffee for breakfast, because of the big boo boo with the stove…argh don’t remind me.

    So we went back to that dreadful fizzy water with some muesli and yoghurt like milk for breakie. Unfortunately yogurt comes in pretty much the same looking carton as milk – turns out, if I had managed to make the coffee it would have had to have been black anyway – yuk! I can’t say I much enjoyed my muesli mashed up with yogurt in a tin mug, hardly the high life, but it was food.
    We then packed up camp, squeezed it all in the car and headed onto our whale watching trip at Olafsvik. When we got there, about an hour later it was raining hard. 
    Again , the town was much smaller and more parochial than we had expected. This was a common theme throughout the holiday. A town to an Icelandic is more like a small village to anyone else in the Western world. So really the whole country in my mind was made up of lots of tiny hamlets, villages, perhaps a couple of towns and one city.

    A rather random picture taken at Olasfvik - outside the fire station.

    Whale Watching Gets Scary
    Just as the captain of the whale watching trip was about to warn us about wearing suitable clothing, he stopped himself. We both looked like the abominable snowman, nothing more needed to be said. We were more than prepared for the high seas, all clad up in thermals, our puffa jackets and water proofs. I was determined to wear the expensive waterproof trousers that hubby had insisted on me purchasing a year back, for our walking trips – which I’d hardly worn. 
     We alighted with the other six tourists on board this 200+ person vessel and headed off for the high seas to marvel at the marine life. We tagged onto a school (it’s not a school but called something else) of Orca whales, or better known as killer whales. It was truly, awesome. Even I, miss chatter box, was somewhat dumbfounded by the experience.

    The weather started getting real bad; it was time to turn back. The whole turning back experience was quite horrific. At the front of the boat stood hubby and I, a couple from Scotland and a few other people ogling at the sites. The boat then turned round amidst the thirty to forty foot high waves and we clung on for our dear lives on at the nose of the boat, ducking and diving. Stomach churning, feet slipping, eyes watering, and pretty much petrified. The Icelandic’s are not big on safety precautions and didn’t feel the need to warn us that they were going to turn. After that, we scrabbled back to the seats to sit out the journey while trying to hold back the instinct to chuck up our guts. By the time we returned to the harbour, riddled with a deep sense of nausea infused with fear, we were glad to be getting back to our faithful Suzuki.

    Next time find out about our next night of campsite nightmares as hubby wakes everyone up at 2am in the morning by pressing his elbow on the car horn – oops!

    Struggling with the right balance of child disapline

    Before I had babe, I had quite a strict view on how children should behave, but I didn’t have any understanding of young children and the more challenging communication issues with them. I had NO idea about their inability to rationalize, the impact of their limited understanding of the world, and how important it is for them to have the freedom to learn from their own mistakes and not been told-off for being naughty ALL the time.  I had no idea of the true concept of consistency and how this would be challenged all the time.

    Babe being a minky spalinky!

    How strict or soft should I be? I’d always thought that I would go down the route of being super strict. But with little ones, that would often mean telling them off 90% of the time, and that’s no way to encourage and help a little person grow. So I admit, I’ve softened up a bit…I dunno maybe a lot. Sometimes you have to put your foot down and say no – even if it means a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket. Particularly after the recent biting incident, see post here

    I’m now getting a bit more comfortable with my definition of the right balance of discipline, and I would definitely say its a very personal thing. But that doesn’t stop us judging others approaches does it? I still do ponder if I’m getting it right though…but I guess by the time I know, it will be too late to change things.