Author Topic: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal  (Read 1852 times)

Offline phxmom

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Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« on: March 19, 2018, 07:12:42 PM »
Trip report: Iceland (Winter)

I spent a whole week in Iceland and wanted to share some of my experience. I don't have to tell you how uniquely beautiful this "land of fire and Ice and midnight sun" is. The trip exceeded my expectations above and beyond!
Most of what I am going to say applies to winter trip. Visiting Iceland in summer is a whole different story.
I booked Icelandair via DD, had overall good experience with Icelandair. Flew out of Boston on Monday and came back the following Monday (President day)

1. Car: if self-driving most of the time- 4WD with STUDDED tires is a must. I have rented a midsize SUV which was an upgrade (Enterprise). It included unlimited miles, insurance from Amex, WiFi adapter, navigation etc. Later I found that the fuel type was diesel. Check your fuel type. Gas, as everything else is expensive in Iceland. Keep your tank over half full as you don’t know when the next gas station will pop up. Check the weather http://en.vedur.is/  and road conditions http://www.road.is/
Also like this facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SafeinIceland/
I have been driving these types of road - clear roads, packed snow, some ice, snowfall, blizzard -low visibility, roads in towns are not clear at all, farm driveways, parking lots with packed snow and ice.  I had no problem navigating all these roads. Even though I live in NE USA, most roads are cleaned and salted. In Iceland, main roads get plowed but not salted and you will see piles of snow from blizzard winds on otherwise clean roads too. The good thing about driving in West Iceland -  encountering only a few cars and buses - mostly tourists. Iceland is much bigger than I thought it is. The total population of Iceland is about 300,000- most of them live in Reykjavik. Thus Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe - you get the idea.

2. Weather: I was very flexible with my trip planning. Made adjustments due to changed flight to Iceland, 1 day of snow blizzard with winds over 60mph and closed roads. 
I didn’t book anything in advance since tours get canceled pretty often. I booked a glacier tour in west Iceland a day before since the weather was predicted to be worse in the south (there are tours in the south and in the west). My general plan was to explore west Iceland, Golden circle, and Reykjavik.

3. General itinerary: Keflavik Airport - Golden Circle - Akranes - drive around The Snæfellsnes Peninsula (including Snæfellsjökull National Park)- Stykkishólmur - Deildartunguhver- Borgarnes - Reykjavik - Langjökull  glacier tour - Akranes - Keflavik Airport
I spent most of the time exploring West Iceland. (saving the Ring road for a summer trip - yes, I want to come back!)
Details on West Iceland https://www.west.is/en/travel/what-to-see-and-do
Into the Glacier tour - https://intotheglacier.is/  INCREDIBLE!
I wanted to take a Ferry ride in West Iceland - didn’t happen due to the blizzard on that day. This was pretty much the only thing I missed. Did everything else on my plan and more!

4. Kosher food: I have adopted some ideas on this forum and DD for a solution that worked well for me.
Polar bear cooler 48 pack - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PCNXFG/
Hotlogic personal portable oven: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EXJFM8Y/
Meal prep containers https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0742KGQG8/
Car power inverter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H2U9DE4/

Before the trip, I have made 8 ready homemade dinners (meat/poultry and a side), placed them in Meal prep containers and freeze. The polar bear cooler kept the food frozen for almost 24 hours. There was a freezer in almost all airbnbs I have used.
Using Hotlogic oven to heat the frozen meal in the plastic container, the result -  hot homemade dinner every day. Plastic containers are safe to use in hotlogic oven, however, it takes about 2 hours for the food to heat up. To save time I used the power inverter in the car to heat the meals.
Use the cooler to store other foods for lunches. Bonus supermarket for fresh veggies, paper goods, and candles etc. This system worked great as I didn’t have to spend time cooking.
These Cooked Organic Quinoa bowls are good and convenient for traveling too: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U35BQC/

5. Clothes: thermal undershirts and under leggings, waterproof/windproof winter coat and boots, crampons (for icy hiking trails), ski mask. Boots should be comfortable for driving and hiking. Basically, dress as if embarking on polar expeditions (JK). Iceland is warmer than you think due to geothermal activity, but winds can be brutal at times.

6.Shabbos in downtown Reykjavik (two nights and a day)- lovely Scandinavian city to explore. Try to catch NL on the waterfront.

7. Travel insurance from Allianz - good to have in case of cancellations and other emergencies.

8. Auroras -  I was able to see Auroras on two nights. They are not easy to catch. One needs a combination of dark, clear sky, Aurora activity and to be away from city lights. My trip was around Rosh Chodesh which contributes to the darker sky- better for seeing NL. I have seen aurora hunters in Iceland who stay out entire night with their sophisticated camera equipment waiting for a good shot of Aurora.

9. Accommodations - I booked all my airbnbs a month before. Except for last night - which I booked while in Iceland - as I wasn’t sure where  I was going to be on Sunday (a day before my flight home)

Let me know if you have any questions or want more information. This was my first trip abroad in many years and what an amazing adventure it was!

Offline sky121

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 09:15:42 PM »
Nice! Can we get some pics?
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline sruliL

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 01:34:57 AM »
Nice! Can we get some pics?
+1
Sounds like a great trip! You where lucky catching the NR, twice no less!
Life's not about doing things good, its about doing good things.

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 02:56:12 AM »
Nice! Can we get some pics?
+1, sounds like an amazing trip, would love to see some photos.
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline phxmom

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 05:38:32 PM »
Nice! Can we get some pics?

Thank you!

























Taken with the Essential phone.

Offline saw50st8

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 05:49:26 PM »
Incredible pictures! I want to go back in the winter.

Offline ponash123

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 10:20:17 AM »
Nice!
You were there a week or 2 after me and looks like you had infinitely better weather.

Offline Yehuda25

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 11:46:20 AM »
Incredible pictures! I want to go back in the winter.
+1
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”


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Offline Yaalili

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 12:13:09 PM »
Great pics and report phxmom!

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 03:36:03 PM »
Incredible pictures! I want to go back in the winter.
+1 Me too!

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2018, 09:56:23 AM »
What are the bus like vehicles for?

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2018, 10:49:22 AM »
What are the bus like vehicles for?
Driving the tour group out onto the glacier to get to the "Into the Glacier" tour.

Offline phxmom

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 10:52:03 AM »
What are the bus like vehicles for?

These specialized missle carriers converted vehicles take you  from the meeting point up to the top of the glacier. It is 45 min drive and the road is inaccessible to regular vehicles. The "bus" has like 20 gears. On top of the glacier there is tunnel that takes you down to man made caves inside the glacier.


On the way back it took us 2 hours to get down due to sudden snow blizzard. Glaciers have their own weather vertex. Fascinating tour!

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2018, 01:45:19 PM »
These specialized missle carriers converted vehicles take you  from the meeting point up to the top of the glacier. It is 45 min drive and the road is inaccessible to regular vehicles. The "bus" has like 20 gears. On top of the glacier there is tunnel that takes you down to man made caves inside the glacier.


On the way back it took us 2 hours to get down due to sudden snow blizzard. Glaciers have their own weather vertex. Fascinating tour!

Wow, very interesting. It seems a lot more advanced than the ones in Canada at the Columbian Ice field. They claimed that the only other busses like those are in the arctic.

Offline rabshi

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Re: Iceland trip - February - via DD icelandair deal
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 04:51:49 AM »
Wow wow wow!!!

Thanks for sharing.

Is there any time of the year when it's warmer in Iceland?