When you take the most bad-ass of vehicles and combine it with a little off-road driving, you, in turn, become the bad-ass you have always dreamt of being. Steven Seagal, step aside.
My guide from Iceland Rovers picked me up at 8:30 on a Wednesday morning. I heard him coming from far away – the sound of grinding tires against the pavement fooled me into thinking that the garbage was being picked up. Nope. Just the jeep, outfitted with massive wheels, towering over the surrounding cars on my tiny sidestreet. We lumbered off in to the city, picking up the other passengers on our way. The trip became slightly less bad-ass upon the arrival of a visiting tourist from the United States, eager to talk and point out all the blatantly obvious differences between cultures, including the languages. I started panicking – I was strapped in to that jeep for nine hours and there was no way in hell that I could handle that kind of persistently annoying talk. Why hadn’t I brought my iPod?
Standing on a glacier
Our first stop was at Þingvellir National Park, where our group of six meandered around the rocks and took pictures, along with a million other tourists armed with fanny packs. Thankfully, our guide told us that we were going to get out of there quickly so we had time to see some other things. We drove through a stretch of land, where we were the only vehicle for miles. The mountainous scenery kept the drive interesting, but it didn’t deter me from the dreaded thought that we could break down at any moment and I would be stranded with talky tourist. I got a little motion sick just thinking about it.
As the terrain got a little rougher, the guide informed us that we were nearing the Langjökull glacier. A small peak of white soon started to spread into a bright expanse, making it difficult to distinguish sky from land. This is when the trip got decidedly bad-ass. The guide drove the jeep onto the glacier, which was slightly softer than usual. Everyone held on to the back of the seats, concerned that we were going to have to push the jeep back down to the road. Even tourist lady stopped jabbering. When we finally stopped, everyone emerged and threw snowballs at each other jovially, celebrating the invigorating feeling of power the bitchin super-jeep had allowed us.
Like Seagal’s Ponytail
After we ate lunch at a nearby waterfall, we headed to Surtshellir, a lava cave. Equipped with the ever stylish helmets with lights, we journeyed into the mouth of the cave. Not as cool as the glacier, but still pretty sweet. Next we saw the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, which happened to be another amazing area. The group walked to the scenic overviews of the falls going into the bright blue pools below. I stood on the bridge connecting the two sides of land, staring in to the aqua waters. It was quite a strange colour to behold (expectations of dirty rushing falls were instantly surpassed). Hraunfossar consisted of multiple flat rocks connecting together to create various, smaller falls. Barnafoss waterfall (also called The Children’s Waterfall) was a single, larger fall, emerging from a hole created by a slight bridge of rock formations. Picture-taking ensued, of course, but couldn’t exactly replicate the real thing.
On the ride home, through the Hvalfjördur fjord, everyone took some time to look out the window at the passing coast. I soon realised that former annoyances had been silenced. Or maybe, I had just stopped noticing; the glacier drive had officially solidified the entire trip as being bad-ass. Riding in the awesomeness of the super-jeep, the day had flown by, just like Seagal´s ponytail on a windy day.