April marks the beginning of my journey. Myself and three other adventurers will set out for Reykjavik, Iceland. I’m determined to see the Aurora Borealis and as many ‘foss’ (waterfalls) as humanly possible. April is the transitional month from winter to spring. I picked April as it’s the sweet spot right after tumultuous weather and before peak season. Most major roads are open and easily driven. The temperature is cold (32F-42F) but manageable with strategic layering. I’ve complied some research for questions that have been on my mind beyond hotels, car hires and airplane tickets.
Sunrise: about 5:45AM
Sunset: about 8:30PM
Visit here for exact times as you visit!
Currency: Icelandic Krona (IKR)
USD 1→ISK 130
EURO €1 →ISK 154
Emergency Services: call 112
Road Condition Info: call 1777
Banks Open: 9am-6pm
Petrol Stations Open: 8am-10pm
Drinking Age: 20
April Events in Iceland
Puffins. Tiny little sea birds sporting penguin like attire with comically large beaks. If there is a bird I’m obsessed with it’s a puffin. April marks the great puffin migration. Iceland is home to an estimated 10 million individuals. My lucky day.
Easter this year is April 16th. Watch for closings and be respectful of people’s time.
April 20, 2017 is the first day of summer. Sumardagurinn Fyrsti is a Norse holiday with parades and celebrations.
How Can I Fudge Icelandic?
Now, I have a background in a few languages German, Russian, and Japanese however, none of them will be useful to pick apart Icelandic. What better way to start research then to figure out the basics. Icelandic is the distant cousin of German and branches from Northern Germanic and Western Scandinavian roots. Most likely you will always come across English speakers however it’s good to be prepared for anything.
Two letters that you won’t recognize:
Ð, ð – pronounced as “eth”
Þ, þ – pronounced as “th” like thorn
Once the language is figured out… then road signs. Drivers have a matter of seconds to decipher what the sign says. It could be the difference between:
Slysasvæði translates to accident area so be cautious of your surroundings, climate and terrain.
Your Road Trip
Ok, lets talk gas. Petrol that is. I read that gas was super expensive in Iceland but $1.75 per liter didn’t seem so bad. I soon realized they measured in liters not gallons. Silly American. See? This is why research is important. The real cost per gallon is about $7.50 US.
Pre-paid gas cards. It may be a good idea to have a few of these handy should you come across an unmanned station. Purchase prepaid gas cars at an open gas station. N1 stations seem to have the best deals and are abundant through-out the country.
Fuel up at all stops. There may be few and far between petrol stations especially in the south west quarter of Iceland. Pay attention and stick to the 1/4 rule. NEVER let your tank run under 1/4. This rule has kept me out of many sticky situations.
Get yourself covered. Iceland is know as the land of fire and ice. Rocks, ice, ash and snow are all elements that can damage your car. Insurance is required when you rent a car in Iceland. Save yourself major money by not waiting for the clerk at Hertz to add an unforeseen $1,500 to your MasterCard.
Thermal Pools and Pools
I’m positive baring it all at the Blue Lagoon is frowned upon. So, what are the rules for the glorious geo-thermal pools and spas?
1. Rinse off – read the rules in the changing rooms as to how to properly shower before taking a dip. Most likely you will have to shower sans swimsuit. Nobody wants a spa date with a grease monkey.
2. Leave the Phone – be chatty with everyone else enjoying the moment. Skip ringing your mom about what you are seeing.
3. Nudity – I keep reading that Scandinavia has different ideas about nakedness. Keep an open mind but, be sure to read the rules posted by the spa.
Been to Iceland? Comment below and tell me the secrets!
Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate