After spending more than 2 days at sea, we were finally reaching Iceland. That took some time! Hey, we are cruising, not flying. Chill.
The ship was scheduled to dock at 2pm and the Captain said clearance to leave the ship would be gotten shortly after.
Our plan for Reykjavik was to self-drive the Golden Circle route. We had pre-booked a rental car with Enterprise Car Rental. They said that they would pick us up at the cruise terminal and bring us to the office.
We were 64 deg North.
Getting there now.
Greenland looks scary.
The tugs coming out to assist the ship, if at all.
Hello Icelandic tug!
Look at all the tour coaches waiting, must be for ship's tours.
Looked like there was some private buses too.
There were long lines to get off the ship. All were raring to go!
Passengers getting off.
That was the tourist information booth. We would have to wait here for the pickup. Now, here is where we hit some delays. The Enterprise Car rental staff was there waiting with several name plates. She wanted to wait for all the passengers with pre-bookings to arrive before bringing us to the office.
So we waited. It was 2:30pm. And we waited till 3pm, yet the last couple didn't show up. Obviously, the rest of us who were there were getting impatient. Seriously, they shouldn't penalize those who turned up on time!
So the company sent another van from the office to wait for the last couple, and ferried us there, after we had waited for about 30 minutes. Then, the next surprise was the car rental office was much further from the port than what they had told us over email. They said 5 to 7 minutes. In reality, it was a good 15 to 20 minutes even, with traffic!
Anyway, whatever the case may be, we still wanted to get the car to start our journey. We rented this Volvo XC90 SUV, which could seat the 6 of us. Well, at least we got a nice car. It was a free upgrade because on paper, we only booked a Ford Galaxy MPV.
Take note that the Volvo XC90 SUV isn't a true 7 seater. The last row is either cargo space, or converted to seats. The seats are sufficient in size for at least a small adult, however, the leg room is quite tight and getting in and out of the last row is not that easy relative to a normal car. Thankfully, my kids would sit in the last row and they had no problems climbing in and out. I think it would be quite a challenge to seat 2 full grown adults in the last row.
Diesel engine. The chap didn't warn me explicitly and I had to check the fuel compartment. Thankfully the signs are very clear. DIESEL.
Ok, we got a 4 wheel drive.
Now, another interesting issue cropped up with the GPS. Yes, I rented a GPS unit. (It was a Garmin Nuvo 40) The problem was that the language and alphabet is Icelandic, which has more and different characters compared to English. So, we had a bit of the problem trying to find the destinations on the GPS.
If you are doing self-drive, it is important to plan ahead and to familiarize yourself with the routes and waypoints. I even printed out maps from Google Maps. Do not just rely on the GPS alone.
After figuring out the GPS, we were on our way. Off we went!
Once we got out of Reykjavík, it was like driving into nothingness. Quite lonely. Roads were generally well paved and quite straight. So we could go rather fast.
Ooh, look at the white substance on the road. Ice! Be careful.
Our first stop was Pingvellir, or Thingvellir. We got there in about an hour. We met some tour coaches there.
This was the visitor center.
We were looking down.
I think we were on the American side, looking down onto the European plate.
Looked like 2 pieces of rock.
We didn't stay for very long. We had to move on. Before that, we need a bio break. There was a toilet, but it was going to be costly. 200 Icelandic Kroner per person! You could pay by credit card. Check out my video.
More pictures of the 200ISK per person toilet.
And we head on, our next stop would be the most important one, the Gullfoss Waterfall.
Afternote: I received this mailer today, advertising the Volvo XC90. This SUV starts fromm $245,999 SGD, or almost 200,000 USD, in Singapore. Singapore is probably the most expensive place in the world for cars.