25th August - Arriving in Iceland
After such a crap nights sleep and an early start, we were both surprisingly awake - for a little while at least. We’d heard all kinds of stories about how strict the Customs checks are in Iceland so we didn’t really know what to expect, but the vehicles flowed off nice and smooth, a few got pulled to one side, but for the most part we all trundled off with no worries.
Apparently it's more common for local vehicles to get pulled out of line that it is for tourists as the tax rate in Iceland is so high that many people go to Denmark to make big electrical purchases to try and save money. But from a tourist perspective, what we’d been told they’re looking for is excess food - the allowable limits on how much you can bring in are really low - only 3kg per person! If I’d known we weren’t going to get checked, I’d have filled the fridge with stuff! ;-) On the up-side though, the food costs here so far don't appear to be much more than in France - nowhere near as bad as we had read in some places it was. And there's always the possibility that the supermarket here, 50 yards from the ferry port where all the dumb tourists get off and have to top up their 3kg of permitted food go to, to get their shopping, may have slightly elevated prices too. You never know...
27th August - Seydisfjordor
Pretty much the first thing our guidebook says about Seydisfjordor, the ferry port we arrived in, is that most people just roll off the ferry and keep going - which you shouldn’t do. Never needing much of an excuse to take things slowly, we decided to take the guidebooks advice and have a look around the little town rather than drive straight out. The first thing Jason managed to find was, naturally, another Unimog :-)
well as the main hydro-powered generator and belt drive which made them all work until the last generation or so.
The chap looking after the place gives you the full guided tour, so not being able to read the Icelandic displays doesn't really matter too much. It's a bit of a shame really that this place, no doubt along with plenty of others, is feeling the economic pinch - this time last year there were four full time members of staff, and now there's just two. Restoration works have ground to a halt and he doesn't know whether he’ll still be in his job in a years time, let alone have the funding to continue looking after the exhibits and expand what’s on display. And as part of the exhibit is the house itself that it's all in, you can imagine a fair amount of money is required just to allow it to continue to resist the weather conditions here.
Then yesterday we had a look around the Technical Museum which has a quite amazing array of communications machines from the early 20th century, amongst other things. And refreshingly, not only are they all still working, they’re set up so you can do things like type your name on the morse code transmission machine, have it produce a little strip of ticker tape full of holes, which can then be read by the receiver and turn it into another little ticker tape strip covered in something that looks like a heart monitor readout.
They also have a workshop downstairs with all the original machinery as
Once again there was a campsite within spitting distance of the ferry port, so we checked in and got Moglet plugged in with the heater running - outside temperatures of 9 degrees is a damn sight cooler than Morocco and is going to take a bit of getting used to!
It seemed like most other travellers from the ferry were keen to mosey on out of the town as quickly as possible, via the ATM and the supermarket, so we wandered around and let them get on with it. In our travels we bumped into a couple with a Bremach, giving their homemade camper section it's first cold weather trial. They’ve done plenty of travelling themselves already, but this is their first chilly trip with Brech the Bremach. They’re here for 3 weeks with no particular plan so we may bump into them again - if nothing else, they said they spent 2 years travelling around South America in their Nissan Patrol which gave us some food for thought when it comes to what we should do next... Go back to work probably, but we can dream as much as the next people!
I think tomorrow we’re off, but not sure yet whether to head clockwise or anti around the ringroad. We’ve got until the 5th October here in Iceland but there's lots to see, and it's all best seen at our kind of pace - nice and slow :-) At the very least, before we leave we’re hoping to see whales, reindeer, arctic foxes, puffins and the northern lights if we’re lucky, as well as Jason braving the icy depths to go diving in the Silfra rift, an underwater gap between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Rather him than me!