Fifty shades of green: Iceland | Encaustichris

Fifty shades of green: Iceland

Iceland. A country that is about 2.4 times the size of our Netherlands. A land in the middle of the sea, isolated from the countries around it. A land of volcanoes, a land of glaciers. Icelandic horses , whales, puffins. A country with Northern Lights, a country with approximately 350,000 inhabitants. No, I haven't forgotten zero.

Iceland, the country that stole my heart. 

This is a blog that's working on: in this blog I want to tell stories, my stories. I want to give tips for people who are considering going to Iceland on vacation: what's beautiful, what's very beautiful? What to think about, what not to do?

That means I'm going to put a lot of links below ( blue-green words in the text are links to blogs, which open in a new window), links to other blogs, blogs I've already written, but also blogs I'm going to write. At the time of writing, I'm two weeks back from our second Iceland vacation, and I'm sure it's not going to be the last. Please give me some time, check out regularly if I've posted something new, or follow me, you'll get a message when I post a new blog (whether or not Iceland).

Who I am? I'm Christel, and I live in the west of the Netherlands. I work as a bus driver in public transport, and my great passion is encaustic art, hence my blogger name, many of my blogs are about encaustic art.

I love traveling, discovering other countries, and I love elephants, you can't make me happier than by putting me among a herd of elephants, I said, until I came to Iceland. No, I haven't forgotten the elephants, but.. 

My first trip to Iceland took place in January 2019. My partner turned 50 and it Northern Lights seeing was on her bucket list for years. I had the opportunity to organize a trip, a tour of the Golden Circle, extended with a whale safari . We saw the northern lights, the whales too: the Icelandic virus immediately struck gracefulness! Our first trip was fully organized, the second we arranged completely ourselves, and that's excellent to do.

The first tip I want to give you when you go to Iceland: buy a good road map, a map with a scale of 1:400 000. Then you have a road map that has almost all roads on it. Iceland doesn't have a lot of roads, so it's pretty hard to get lost, but not all roads are asphalted, and you have to take that into account. In addition, Iceland is isolated, which makes GPS not always working equally well, a paper map (or one on a mobile) is very useful.!

The roads in Iceland are generally easy to drive, the ring road (nr1) takes you around the island, and is completely asphalt. There's a lot of beauty to see along that road, more than enough to fill a three-week break more! 

TIP: Find the Website on, and create a shortcut to this. Then check the current situation on the road every day. Iceland weather may vary by half an hour!

About (rental) cars:

Driving on Iceland is fine to do, but there are some things to look out for . here you find a video in which Elfis the elf. It's smart to know which roads you're going to drive. If you rent a “normal” car, many F roads are excluded, and those are the roads where you find the most beautiful places (in my opinion). F roads are usually not asphalt, but gravel. You drive over it, but it's wise, and often compulsory, to do that with a 4x4 or heavier car. There are also roads where you need to cross rivers. We avoided them because it was not covered by our rental car.

By the way, we rented that rental from. Lava car rental (link opens the rental company's website). We were picked up at Keflavik airport and reached the car within ten minutes. After returning, we were immediately returned to the airport and dropped off at the door. When you rent a car, from any rental company, and you're driving along the ring road 1, you can have to go through the tunnel when heading towards Akureyri (this is outside the Golden Circle). This is a toll tunnel. I recommend you before you go through the tunnel register your car on the tunnel website (click HERE ), you can register how long you have the rental car, and your credit card will only be charged when you're actually driving through the tunnel. When I wanted to register our car, it was a bit tricky, because of the bad wifi in our accommodation. However, you will have to pay within three hours of driving through the tunnel, otherwise you will be fined. That fine goes to your rental company, who often charge administration fees over it.! Not every rental company tells you about the tunnel in advance. The tunnel is dodging, you'll drive along the coast for an hour longer. The toll is ISK 1500 (converted €11.32) in 2019.

About Messages:

Iceland has several supermarkets, and you'll find them scattered around the villages. It's very common throughout Iceland to pay with your credit card, even for small amounts. We haven't needed cash so far. We had it with us, just in case.. and to tip, for example to a guide.

Iceland's cheapest supermarkets are the Bonús, recognizable by the piggy bank, Kronan and the Net. At the Bonús you will find Euroshopper, the former private label of the Albert Heijn. The Kronan has a slightly larger range, just like the Net. The groceries in Iceland are a lot more expensive than in the Netherlands, especially meat is very much at the price (I saw 2 chicken breasts, converted 21 euros). What you don't need to buy in Iceland is bottled water. The drinking water in Iceland is the cleanest and tastiest in the world, no bottled water can stand.! We took our dopper and filled it with cold water. Don't be surprised if you come across well-known products: they just sell Nutella in Iceland, and many products you buy there have been imported.. from the Netherlands. I walked in a supermarket and saw “universal potting soil” :-). The opening hours of most supermarkets we saw were 10-19 hours.

About drinking water:

The tap water in Iceland is excellent drinking water! I like it's the best water I've ever drunk. There can't be bottled water for me. Note: I'm talking about the cold water! Because Iceland is a volcanic country, there are many places where the soil is warm, say, warm, is due to underground lava flows. That heat is used in parts of Iceland to heat the water. And that makes the hot water smells like sulfur. You can take a shower with this water, although you get some dry skin, but I wouldn't drink this warm water. Cold water is very drinkable in these areas too. It's wonderfully clear, fresh water. Let the tap run and drink for a minute. That's why we took our dopper, and filled it. We did have one bottle of water in the car to wash our hands.

About Bathrooms:

When looking for and booking accommodation in Iceland, it's normal for many B&Bs to share a bathroom and toilet with others. If you don't want this, take a good look before you book. You usually pay a little more, but we would love to do that.

Overview of blogs:

Soon I will post links to more blogs about Iceland.

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