I arrived at Gulfoss, one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, at just about 2 o’clock in the morning. I had drunk a lot of Red Bull before the drive because I was nervous about getting drowsy, and the drink worked better than I had expected. Full of energy, I decided to just go ahead and visit the falls in the twilight, which turned out to be a magical experience.
From Bakkagerdi I headed to the northern coast of the island and visited Dettifoss, “Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall,” and the area around Myvatn – “Midge Lake” or “Fly Lake” in English. The road up to Dettifoss was the worst I experienced and I was terrified of getting a stone in my windshield. The insurance for the car doesn’t cover any windshield damage, which didn’t seem like such a big deal until I realized that it is actually very possible to get a stone kicked up at you from another car on these gravel side roads. Fortunately, this didn’t happen to me and I made the round trip to Dettifoss with my car intact.
On my second day I drove along the gorgeous eastern coast of Iceland and visited the small towns of Seyðisfjörður (Seydisfjordur) and Bakkagerði (Bakkagerdi). I had my first real meal at Seydisfjordur at Hotel Aldan – delicious Atlantic salmon and beet salad – and went on a nearly 6-hour evening/night hike at Bakkagerdi. It was great to get out of the car and stretch my legs for a little while!
On the first day of my five-day roadtrip around Iceland’s Ring Road, I picked up my car at Keflavik airport at around midnight and drove through the night toward Dyrholaey on the southern coast. The first couple of hours I was driving through dense fog and was excited and jet-lagged and nervous all at the same time. I’d never rented a car on my own before, much less driven so many hours in such a short time. Around 2:30 in the morning the fog lifted and I saw the gorgeous summer sunrise and I knew that I had made the right decision in coming to Iceland.