Updated: Jan 15
Driving Westbound from Hella, towards Reykjavik, Iceland.
One thing you'll quickly realize about Iceland is, you'll never tire of driving around in this country. The image above is a good example of rush hour traffic in Iceland; well, unless you're commuting within the cities themselves. Most roads are long, winding, and never short of scenic views. The terrain is like something out of a J.R.R Tolkien novel. Trust me when I say we were definitely sure the breaks worked in our Jeep rental, because I couldn't stop making requests to slow down so I could soak in all the scenery.
Not only are the dramatic hillsides, plateaus, and mountains absolutely breathtaking, but if you enjoy that rainy Washington weather vibe, then you'll really be stunned by the varying weather and overwhelming number of rainbows that appear numerously in Icelandic conditions. September is a cold, rainy, WINDY month. one could speculate that we definitely got more use out of our rain gear than our swimsuits. During September, you can count on running into some type of rain, even a short drizzle, almost once a day. Fortunately for me, I am one of those people who love the moody overcast days, but holy smokes, I was not prepared for how beautiful the colors on the horizon in Iceland are. From one side of a hill to another, you cross over to different weather patterns, the clouds part in spots, and rays of sun illuminate the misty water droplets suspended in the air, creating a subtle rainbow light show (which I have enhanced in the above image).
As the country transitions into the coming winter months, the surrounding foliage takes on a more yellow/golden/orange hue. Another thing you may pick up on fairly quick, is there are hardly any trees in Iceland because of the volcanic environment. Most trees you see are not very tall, comparable to some smaller North American Birch Trees, but the leaves don't make a drastic and vibrant change they way they do in our neck of the woods. Still, it creates a unique color palette that is distinctive to this country. It makes for a beautifully blurred watercolor experience and you zip around the southern hillsides.
As you can see in this image here, the dark and dramatic black volcanic rocks can vary from rolling hills, to jagged mountains that almost give you vertigo. Some of my fondest memories from the entire trip were the times my husband Dave took the wheel, and I spent the next hour or so just soaking in the landscapes as we drove around Southern Iceland with our favorite Playlists serenading our voyages. Another tip I will aggressively stress the importance of, is building up a playlist for your trip. Some car rental agencies will offer you a mobile hotspot, luckily for us, we rented with Green Motion and they upgraded us to FREE UNLIMITED data. Because I am obsessed with music, it was of the utmost importance to me that I make sure I have a vast, pre-downloaded Playlist so that we'd never run out of tunes, so it was a huge bonus to have access to any music we wanted, whenever we wanted. As an added perk, it allowed us to use our Google Map(s), super convenient. So if you're renting a car in Iceland during your travels there, make sure you check out and weigh the options for roaming data packages. Absolutely worth it.
My partner in crime and I have a very special relationship through music. Living in a rural area, going from home to... anywhere, is almost an hour drive. So we spend a lot of time jamming to music, but it's more than that; it's hours we've spent, (usually holding hands because we're that couple that is disgustingly, publicly affectionate) silently connecting through lyrics, melodies, and sick beats as we coast along in our Ranger... As I wrote in a poem back in the winter of 2019, later this same year, trying to convey that same phenomenon we share:
"On the road for hours | we don't have to speak |music is our language | silent lips, kissing cheeks."