Browsing Category

Iceland

Tips for driving abroad
Belgium, Iceland, Travel Tips, United States

How to Drive Safely a Rented Car When You’re Abroad

While she was in Belgium, Pascale had the privilege to have access to a car for free, but she was scared to death to drive in another country. She was even scared to drive her own car through USA and she likes to know exactly where she’s going. On my side, I drove 2000km during a road trip in Iceland and I drove along the Pacific coast highway from San Francisco to L.A. Funny thing: both roads are called Route 1! Fortunately, no left-side driving, but a good exercise of my capacity of adaptation. So here’s a few lessons Pascale and I learned from our experience of driving in another country. 1. Learn to drive manual vehicles It’s better to learn to drive manual at home where you know the streets instead of trying while you’re discovering new traffic laws. It’s also way easier and cheaper to rent a manual then an automatic car in most of the countries. 2. Learn or write down cities’ names in their original language Pascale got lost in the Flemish part of Belgium, 30 minutes away from her hotel and she couldn’t recognize one city name. She had driven around several times before, but she thought that that one time […]

Lire la suite

10 Things You Should Know About Iceland
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Iceland

There’s more original things in Iceland than the cohabitation of fire and ice. I never stop studying this country and here are 10 things I learned recently about Iceland. 1. There’s no mosquitoes Iceland is the only country in the world where there’s no mosquitoes. The climate there is just not compatible with their reproductive cycle. Maybe this fact is a reason for the second point… 2. Nudity is something normal If you go to public pools, you’ll have to take a shower completely naked in front of everybody. No swimming suit. While it is certainly not common in other countries, it’s totally normal in Iceland and nobody will even look at you. If you go to a hot pound in the country-side, chances are high that people will just bath in their Adam’s and Eve’s clothes. 3. Family names don’t exist People have a first name, and their « family name » is made of the name of their father followed by the word « son » or « dottir » (daughter). For example, my father is named Serge, so I’ll be Annie Sergedottir. My brother is named Marc so he would be Marc Sergeson. Everybody refers to other by their first named. It applies for the […]

Lire la suite

Visit Iceland for less than 1000$
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

How to Visit Iceland For Less Than 1000$

Iceland is a country like no other to visit. It is a land of glaciers and volcanos, hot springs and freezing wind gusts. More people would probably visit this small island of 325 000 inhabitants if it wasn’t of its reputation of being such an expensive place. But… Though it is true that it can be one of the most expensive countries to visit, it recently became accessible for budget vacation, given you’re ready to do some compromise. Budget travel in Iceland are not for everyone. Namely, you have to fit in those four categories : 1. You like winter To get the lowest price, you need to travel off-season, so roughly between mid-september to the end of April. That means winter, cold, snow, icy roads, but also awesome winter landscapes and possibly some northern lights. You better have warm clothes and be good to drive in winter conditions. 2. You can travel light The cheapest flights you’re gonna find include only 5kg (12lbs) of hand luggage. You better choose wisely what you want to bring with you. The tips? Search for flight on Skyscanner to find the best deal. That’s how I found a flight for 300$. 3. You love hiking Hiking will be your main occupation […]

Lire la suite

I saw puffin in Montreal. Annieanywhere.com
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

I Saw Puffins in Montreal… and That’s Why I’m Going to Rio

I’m gonna tell you another love story…involving puffins. Why is there always animal involved in my love stories!? In Iceland, I passed an incredible amount of time chasing puffins. Ask Claude, my travel partner, how many kilometers I made her walked to see the famous birds. She was desperate with my obsession to see puffins. We climbed hills, we took ferries, we flirted with cliffs… there was no puffins. I started to think the emblematic bird of Iceland was like our emblematic moose in Canada and that I would never see it. Seriously, fellow Canadians, who of you often see moose, uh? Yeah. Exactly. No one! …Or maybe it’s my face that scared puffins and moose. So, I passed 14 days in Iceland chasing puffins everywhere my Lonely Planet told me there could be some, and I came back to Canada without the glorious picture. I must admit I didn’t take part in any Puffin Observation Tours. I wanted it to be unexpected. Picture by naggobot (Creative Commons) Last summer, a Brazilian friend I’ve met on Couch Surfing made me the surprise to come to Montreal. And as a very good host, I walked him around town and showed him some interesting […]

Lire la suite

Blog, Iceland

A Short Love Story (Involving Sheep)

Because it’s Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I should add some romanticism to this blog. And, when I think about a love story, I immediately think about sheep. Let me explain…. When I was in Iceland, I talked with an old Icelander man and I told him how impressed I was by the number of wild sheep there was in Iceland! I mean… you go on a trek for three hours in a mountain, and then you encounter a sheep. You drive two minutes outside Reykjavik, and you see sheep. There are freaking sheep everywhere in the country! The man look at me and laughed! – There’s no wild sheep in Iceland! Every sheep belongs to somebody. – Really? How come they are everywhere, free? « Because, when it’s spring, we set them free so they can eat grass everywhere in the country as wild animal. In September, it’s the Sheep Round-up. Groups of farmers and Icelanders, and pretty much everybody who want to help, round-up sheep and sort them to bring them back to their owner. Every sheep has an identification in its ear. There’s no wild sheep. Traditionally, that’s how people met their loved one. » Isn’t it a great love story, […]

Lire la suite

Iceland Runtur
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

Runtur in Reykjavik – A Crazy Night Under the Midnight Sun

It was Saturday. We were two Canadians, one German, one French, one Italian, and one Icelander. We’ve met a day before in a Bed and Breakfast. It was 11pm and it was sunny, we were ready for the Runtur in Reykjavik. One thing is sure: Icelanders know how to party! We began our Runtur at 11pm and we came back to our room at 4am. At this time, the streets were still full of people! And you know what’s weird? Normally, we don’t clearly see drunk people, because it’s dark… well, not in Iceland in summer! And I must say that I now realize why we mostly get drunk at night. Dillon Whiskey Bar We began our night at this alternative rock bar. Oh you won’t hear Rihanna there! It was pretty early for the runtur so we started drinking and talking but even if you don’t seek the party in Reykjavik, the party will find you! The man sitting at a table beside us asked us to do arm wrestling. What?! We didn’t have a chance to win against these men, but they paid us a drink. Fair enough, folks. Fair enough. I don’t know if this was the Viking rockers way […]

Lire la suite

What to Pack for Iceland in Summer (1)
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

What to Pack For Iceland in Summer

Iceland can be a tricky country when comes the time to pack for your trip. Is it very cold? What’s the weather’s like in summer? Let me simplify your planning answering this question: What to pack for Iceland in Summer? This list is made for a 14 Days road trip in Iceland in a camping car, but, if it’s not exactly what you’re planning, it’ll give you a good base anyway. Planning your trip to Iceland? Take a look at my 14 Days Road Trip Itinerary in Camping Car Clothes Even if it’s summer time in Iceland, it doesn’t mean it’s hot. While it’s not as cold as some may think, I can tell you that it’s absolutely not necessary to pack shorts. You’ll only wear pants. Temperature is around 10C-15C. Some places are very humid and windy, if you’re sensitive to cold, bring a winter hat, a scarf, and gloves. The scarf will be very handy if you visit Myvatn region, to protect you from the midge. Despite the temperature, pools are part of the Icelandic culture, there’s always a pool, even in the very small village. Don’t go without your swimsuit! There’s an expression in Iceland saying  »If you don’t like […]

Lire la suite

Iceland_Itinerary
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

14 Days Itinerary in Iceland – Part 2

Since my 14 days road trip in Iceland has been a success, I thought it would be fun to share my complete itinerary so you can use it as an inspiration. There were long days, long drives, some more relaxing days, but each one of these proved that Iceland is one of the most beautiful place on Earth. You probably want to read this first: 14 Days Itinerary in Iceland – Part 1 Day 8 – Mývatn Oh, what a strange place is the region of Mývatn! All the weirdness of Icelandic nature concentrate around this lake. We passed the day driving around it, from site to site. You’ll never be bored in this region. Must-see : Hverir Krafla volcano Stora-Viti crater Leirhnjúkur Grjótagjá Dimmuborgir I wrote a complete post about the region: Myvatn: A Cheap Way to Go to Mars Total Km for the day: 220 km Total Km: 1330km Day 9 -Húsavík & Akureyri I highly recommend to go out of the Ring Road and take the 87 to Húsavík. As you already know if you follow my adventures around the world, I love everything about fish. In Húsavík, I had the most amazing whale watching tour ever! Humpback whales came so […]

Lire la suite

Iceland_itinerary
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

14 Days Itinerary in Iceland – Part 1

Since my 14 days road trip in Iceland has been a success, I thought it would be fun to share my complete itinerary so you can use it as an inspiration. There were long days, long drives, some more relaxing days, but each one of these proved that Iceland is one of the most beautiful place on Earth. Day 1 – Getting there The first day is generally a  »lost » day, unless you’re a fan of living in a plane. From Montreal to Keflavík, it took about 12 hours, including a stop in New York. We arrived at the airport and just took the Fly bus to go to Reykjavík. I rent a cute room on AirBnb and we rested to catch on with the jet lag. By the way, Airbnb is way less expensive in Rekjavik than hotel room. You should take a look! (Sign up to Airbnb with this link and get a $25 credit towards your first stay!) Try to stay awake during the bus ride, the volcanic landscapes worth the look! Airlines are now offering direct flights to Iceland. I found the best prices on Skyscanner. As low as 99$ if you’re lucky enough to catch a deal […]

Lire la suite

Destinations, Europe, Iceland

Playlist For a Road Trip in Iceland

A good playlist is so important during a road trip! I like to choose music that fit landscapes. For the supernatural beauty of Iceland, I prepared a mixtape with Icelandic musicians we already know, some new bands I discovered, and a few of my favorite bands. This playlist will be your perfect co-pilot on the Route 1! 1. Sigur Ross – Lúppulagið This band is one of the most internationally known band from Reykjavík. A mix of classical and minimalist music perfect to go with a look at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. 2. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (Bombay Bicycle Club Remix) Of Monster and man is an indie folk band from Iceland. This remix brings a new way of listening to this top 10 song of 2013. On the way to the north to Akureyri, you’ll enjoy the road listening to this. 3. Emiliana Torrini – Big Jumps Don’t you think this song is just perfect to wake up in your camping car beside the Skógar waterfall? 4. Apparat Organ Quartet – Romantika This band form of one drummer and organists comes from Reykjavík, but I’d say this robot music makes a match with the Mars looking landscapes of  Mývatn. 5. Eberg – Love Your Bum I’d totally listen […]

Lire la suite

Myvatn_mud
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

Mývatn – A Cheap Way to Go to Mars

Among the secrets of Iceland, Mývatn lake region is one of the best kept.  You need to quit the safe lands of Reykjavík and venture to the North of the North… And when you think you are lost, you are there: surrounded by landscapes that looks just like Mars. Used to the vast green mountains of Iceland, it’s a shock when you arrive in this ocher landscape. Everything seems to come from another planet and the smell of sulfur reminds you that you are the stranger here. Mudpools are boiling and smoke is coming out of fumaroles in Hverir geothermal area. Nature is screaming « I am the boss here! » In Krafla area, an active volcanic area, there have been 29 reported eruptions and the last one was in 1984. Due to volcanic activity, it is potentially dangerous to visit the region. A visit is always at your own risk. The Leirhnjúkur crater is the most impressive part, and the most dangerous. You need to be careful and watch out for hot soil, steam columns and sharp cooled lava. (Note : If you stay on the very well indicated path, you are not really in danger, but I like to put a little drama.) The problem is that, when we were […]

Lire la suite

Iceland_stories1
Destinations, Europe, Iceland

Walking On The Biggest Glacier of Iceland

Old proverb says « A rolling stone gathers no moss ». Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland has proven it wrong. I was travelling around Iceland in 2013 and the amount of stories and legends from this tiny country is impressive. The magical landscapes are certainly influencing the creativity around there and Iceland is so atypical that it even rewrites the classical proverb. In the Southeast of Iceland, there’s the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest of all Icelandic glacier. I wanted to walk on it and hear the sound of ice cracking behind my crampons. I never walked on a glacier before and I thought it was a must-do during my trip to Iceland. My fellow Canadian friends thought I was crazy to crave for ice during summer due to our harsh winters, but I totally assume my craziness. The day started at the Skaftafell National Park, where a bus took us to the bottom of the glacier. We signed up for a Glacier Wonders Tour with Glacier Guides, a 3 hours easy walk. It started with a path full of rocks and mud left by the melting glacier. With global warming, the glacier won’t exist in the next century, the guide told us. Then we started to walk on ice. Hard, thick, prehistorical […]

Lire la suite