Thursday, 24 July 2014

Journey's End

This was an adventure to be remembered and will undoubtedly remain one of the high spots of our travels. Iceland is something special, it really is, and the Faroes were a revelation. We were fortunate to travel with some brilliant people, too. Sad it's over.

If all goes well, join us for our motorhome trip of South & Southern Africa in the Autumn.

Thanks for reading

Sue & Geoff

PS  We had the Icelandic electro-folk band Asgeir on in the Touareg as we travelled - you may have heard them if you have watched the in-car videos. We thought their music fitted this land. Anyway, here they are 'in concert':

Monday, 21 July 2014

Swift Elegance 570 Review

Why not have a look at our review of our home for the last month?

It's HERE waiting for you (or just choose the review page in the page menu above)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Homeward Stretch

Onto Smyril Line again from Torshavn, then two nights on a millpond (thank goodness says Sue)... farewell meal aboard ship...then arrive at Hirtshals, Denmark, three quarters of an hour late, as we stooge around waiting for a berth. We drive through Denmark to Esbjerg, with not much time for seeing anything on the way, where we board the DFDS sailing to Harwich. It's a long hike back, as we're no longer full of anticipation for the adventure ahead.

Beauty and the's all in the eye of the beholder

Last Away

We all recognise that this has been a quite an adventure and that, of course, forms a bond between us all. Great Bunch. We share emails etc., facilitated by our tour leaders, and then we're motoring along the truly awful bumpy, pot-holed A12 and we're here...HOME. Time to clean up, sort out then reflect...

Thoughts to follow...

...Brief reflections on the trip

...Review of the Elegance

I'm aiming for Monday 21st...

Friday, 11 July 2014

In the Faroe Islands

We were here for three nights and our travels are condensed into this single post. This does not mean that the Faroes were any less interesting; it's simply that WiFi is difficult here.

Arrived after a smooth trip on the Smiryl Lines ferry...disembarking at 3am in darkness...which certainly makes a change. It gets light during the the shortish drive to the campsite from Torshavn so normality returns. It's going to be very odd, coping with the Sun going out at night when we return to England.

Later, emerging from a quick sleep, it's not raining or foggy or fact the sun is shining upon us......and we enjoy the completely unique vista of these islands, travelling between them by bridge and under-sea tunnel. Recovering from our Icelandic experience, we quickly begin to appreciate the life and traditions of this unique place.

The next day brings drizzle and mist so we head for the capital, Torshavn and experience the Faroe version of an indoor shopping centre..sitting in quite a cool coffee bar, drinking Latte consuming the free WiFi - hence this post!

Later a Faroese evening of food and dance is organised by our excellent tour leaders - we see the traditional Chain Dance which is a version of the traditional ring dance, once banned by the Church in other counties I gather... there are literally thousands of verses to this which defies belief.
Find out more HERE
See a movie clip of our dancers HERE

Coffee Cool in Torshavn
Fish farming in the Fjords
If only I could remember which harbour this is....
Turf House Peserved

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Djupivogur to Seydisfjordur

The last stop in Iceland...

....When we're home I'll review the trip and, of course, how the Swift Elegance has stood up to this pretty stiff test...not only the challenging Icelandic roads but how we've got on living in it. It's been our home, after all..and that's eating, sleeping, showering, cooking, entertaining....over 30 nights and around 2000 miles through sun, rain, mud, dust, ruts and all. Must be worth a read that. I'll try and get that done on Monday 21 June.
Let's not forget this country and its people though. This has been towards the very top of our adventures and it's not  easy to explain that in words.

Anyway, on with our trip.

Again, a wonderful drive along coast and fjords but this time in bright sunshine, with snow-topped mountains looking down on us. We make speedy progress and drop the van off at the site the head off up gravel roads to Bakkagerdi in search of Puffins...and, boy, do we find them - hundreds of them, burrowing into the cliffs, catching small fish to feed to their young. It's a kind of, er, magic.

Couldn't resist putting up the pic of a restaurant menu seen in Reykjavik though...sorry, that's how it is here...

Off to the Faroe Islands tomorrow.

In search of Puffins...and mud

Hofn to Djupivogur

A great scenic drive along this coast and fjords on the N1. The low cloud over the mountains somehow adds to the brooding atmosphere and, of course, means that the Trolls are hidden from view which is, we gather, rather a good thing.

The sun arrives with us in the attractive township of Djupivogur with its harbour and abundant bird population. An Icelandic artist of repute has created a long row of sculpted 'birds eggs', each one representing a local bird. We walk around the local coastline, all the time hounded by noisy oyster-catchers which is, initially, a novelty....

Cheese and wine outside in the evening for our group, thanks to our tour leaders. It's really successful..a chance to catch up and compare adventuring type stories which get louder and longer as the evening progresses until we are scooted back to our units, lest we disturb our fellow campers....It's just so difficult to know what time it is when the sun stays on.

Last stop in Iceland tomorrow. That's seriously sad.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Skaftafell to Hofn

Short (235km) journey...uneventful trip but with the tremendous highlight of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, where ice-blue icebergs break free from the glacier with great cracks, drift through the lagoon, then travel slowly out to sea.

We take a trip on an amphibious 'duck boat' through the bergs before walking along the creek to the sea, watching (and getting dive-bombed by) the arctic terns....also see a seal and other wildlife.

Jokulsarlon Lagoon

Here for two nights. The town is famous for its lobsters so we arrange to eat with two fellow travellers and sort a group trip up to the glaciers followed by a ride on a Skidoo (er..I think that's right). The Skidoo ride on Europe's largest glacier, the Vatnajokull is brilliant. If you are ever here - don't hesitate - apart from the sheer fun of it, being on the glacier is breathtaking in itself. (Sue's driving/riding is breathtaking too...with me on the back)

Onward tomorrow...getting near the end of the Iceland part of the trip now...

Churches...some images

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Seljaland to Skaftafell

A journey through vast Volcanic plain, partly covered by a mossy growth...quite eeire.  Another memory though.

The campsite is a large activity centre with camping vehicles of every conceivable type..apart from big 'American' motorhomes.  A 4x4 towing a caravan is quite a popular combination here, although some of the 4x4s make our 2.4 tonne Touareg look a bit weedy to put it mildly. Have to say, the convenience of the Treg and its off-road abiltiy has been brilliant and with the rot-proof super strong Elegance (notice we're bonding with it...), we've stopped the 'will the next change be a motorhome' discussion. We're adventure-caravanners to the core..confirmed. Technology has caught up with our needs..thank you Swift.

Here for two nights so we have a free guided walk to the Skaftafell glacier then we take a guided walk on the glacier itself....first time we have been armed with crampons and an ice-axe but probably not the last. Brings all the reading and theory to life. Also see the Svartifoss waterfall....famous for the backdrop of vertical hexagonal basalt columns  formed by cooling lava.

We'll certainly need a rest after this adventure, I think...
11.30pm.... in paradise?
Svartifoss waterfall.
Yes...don't mess with us...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Geysir to Seljaland

The availability of 3G and WiFi is a bit iffy around here so this post is a bit is lacking images at the moment...which is a great pity..but we'll put that right in due course...

To Seljaland - the site of the 2010 eruption that brought  Air Europe to a halt.

We leave the geysers of Geysir behind with reluctance and head off to the coastal site at Seljaland ... but not before a few interesting moments as the Treg is called into service as a rescue-the-caravans-from-the-bog duty after very heavy rainfall turns the site into a swimming pool/bog. 

Duty done, we pose the Elegance in front of the geysers for a 'I've been here' shot. Frustratingly, we can't get close enough....although I can understand that caravans parking on top of a world wonder might take the edge off it slightly. Still, important not to get too steamed up about it.

While under way, as ever, we call in at a few sights. Worth noting is the beautiful, elegant, remote wooden cathedral of Skaholt....lots of history about this site...excavations are ongoing. There seems to be a program of classical concerts held here and we are fortunate to see the rehearsals for a small recital of chamber music, laced with Icelandic humour.

After the inevitable coffee we're off and arrive at Seljaland site. Coastal site in Iceland means remote volcanic beach and being surrounded by waterfalls. Adventures from here include a little 4x4 tracking in the Treg (now covered in mud) including a walk to the Solheimajokull glacier, wonderful waterfalls, remote beach visits and, before we leave on Friday, a brilliant drive up to the volcano and glacier in a monster 4x4 'superjeep'.
Then it's off to Skaftafell...
View from our home.....

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Around Geysir

We take the Touareg (Treg) out on a longish run, ending in a 4x4 road to the hot springs at Landmannalaugar. Wonderful volcanic vista...close to Heckla.

Fording a river at Landmannalaugar movie>>HERE  
I should point out that this was risk assessed by me despite Sue's comments!!

The geyser Strokkur is next to our campsite...the rain has gone....we walk round to capture an image and movie of it blowing in the midnight sun ... Magic (a kind of)

Movie HERE

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ride in a Storm (Akranes>Geysir)

Storm warning....possible 70mph gusts later in the day....don't panic

This part of the coast is noted for high winds so we set off early, along with most of the other adventurers, hoping to miss the worst. We hitch up in driving rain, heading for the tunnel 165m beneath the Fjord separating Reykjavik and Akranes. 

As we head off the 1 and up towards Geysir on road 35 the storm intensifies with very strong cross-gusts but without any doubt, this is by far and away the most stable caravan we've towed in such a wind -  maybe it's the combination with the Touareg but we look at each other with surprise as we shrug off the increasingly turbulent conditions and horizontal rain.

The storm abates a little as we climb towards Geysir, so we make a couple of stops, once again pausing at the rift vally. It's full wet gear and multiple layers though.

Arriving at the site, Derek the excellent tour leader (with, Iris, his wife) not one to mollycoddle, warns us of the very boggy conditions on the field, due to the storm, and has allocated a pitch. No problem for the Treg though and we're soon having a cuppa, snug from the driving rain. We look back on the journey and reflect that, with this outfit, there is very little we can't do. Have we found the perfect caravan and car?  We'll have more to say about this, I think.

Decide to look at the nearby Geysers (Geysir, the original geyser, is quiet now but Strokkur ejects sulphurous boiling water 60m high every few minutes .. wonderful...but no pics as worried about cameras and phone in the (very) wet conditions...and the rule is...only our own photos on this blog. Perhaps tomorrow then.

Can't resist climbing up the nearby 4x4 track with the Treg to get a view from on high but all we see is cloud....but we knew that really....great fun though.

Finish off the day by seeing the mightily impressive Gullfoss (foss - falls; Gull = gold).

Be dark soon (for a couple of minutes anyway)....

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Adventures from Akranes

A 10 hour day exploring..Akranes (camp) > Rekholt >Husafell >>

See Museum at Reykholt and learn about Snorri Sturluson...(Very Important Person..there's always Google). Fascinating. Sue spots her birthday present in the attached shop...I'm still recovering. Talking of which, recovering the  tax is a convoluted process involving passports, forms, envelopes and more. Taxing is the word..but worth it.

See the biggest hot spring in Europe. Apart from completely misting up the shades, this is truly incredible - they pump the water at 97 degrees Celcius 75km and get a temperature drop of only 5 degrees or so. 180 litres/second, that's how. Hot stuff.

See the Hraunfossar falls, emerging from under the lava field then move on, deciding to take the 60km Kaldidalur interior route on an unmade remote road through the Kaldidalur valley, seeing the  Eriksjokull, Okokokull, Langjokull and Porisjokull (Glaciers), then passing through a large grey desert (known for sandstorms). Checked out it's passable on the interweb earlier and it proves to be rough in places but fine. Much easier than the 4x4 track we did last week. Uplifting. Magic. Words can't describe it..I'm no Wordsworth...but you"ve worked that out already...

As if that wasn't enough, we emerge in the 'Golden Circle' and see some of the historic sites here.....but what makes it truly fascinating is that it's here that we can see the North American / Euasian rift.  The plates are moving apart at 1.5cm/yr....I make that 0.0000029 cm/minute. Can't see it myself.

Finish our stay here with a communal meal, entertained by the family of our hosts who run the local museum and restaurant. Special moment.

See lots more but you're bored by now. How about some pics?
Damn....forgotten the tea bags
Only another 50km to go....
We"re drifting apart...luckily, only at 1.5cm/year
Family talent....very Icelandic
By a local artist....

Saturday, 28 June 2014


A visit to Reykjavik.

...A coach trip as a group for a change. Of course, we all go our own ways once we get there. Although Reykjavik is the capital ...and where most Icelanders live, it's got quite an intimate feel about it, plus some wonderful architecture; the opera house is a really uplifting place.

After visiting some of the 'must sees', we stroll around the centre, taking in the atmosphere (the vibe!!), we listen to a (great) band doing a promtion for Spotify & Siminn and then take coffee at a smart coffee bar, frequented by the youth of the town...which is great...probably the thing we miss about our working life. There's a slightly edgy feel can sense it. Nightlife must be fun..but not for us 'mature' types probably.

We could spend two or three days here....decisions, decisions

Images; Opera House, Viking ship sculpture, the Hallgrimskirkja, cityscape, the band..but who are they?

Friday, 27 June 2014

Stykkisholmur to Akranes

A straightforward run down to Akranes so we stop off at the Gerouberg Basalt Columns...and can't resist climbing to the top. The columns are a magnificent sight from below actually.
Two of our group's motorhomes bump towards us along the pot-holed access road....the now-familiar adventurous types... and we exchange plans and stories.
We walk to a minute deserted church, so common out here. The churches are fascinating and probably warrant a post of their own sometime....I'll do that. Let me say that I have no religious beliefs but I find the part that religion plays in any society a fascinating are the buildings themselves.

Anyway, we're relaxing here for a least I am, after sorting out my expiring mobile contract...Sue's sorting the washing ...the SUN is OUT...first time for a while. Here for four nights...trip to Reykjavik tomorrow.