My Dettifoss Ordeal...
Dettifoss Travel Blog› entry 10 of 15 › view all entries
September 25th, 2007 – by: franciscosss
- Winter Wonderland (on September): I woke up to find that it had snowed all night. Yes, I know, I'm in Iceland, I should have expected it. Well, I didn't. The books say September is still a good time to travel with "mild temperatures". But being in Northern Iceland, just a few miles away from the Arctic Circle, temperatures were below freezing.
- I only had a pair of jeans, my "casual" sneakers, some light sweaters and my thank-God-I-brought-it ski jacket. I also lived most of my life in a tropical country and driving a manual 2WD car in snow is not my cup of tea. But regardless, I had to hurry up and drive to Dettifoss and after that, drive to Lake Myvatn and return to Reykjavik.
- I stopped by 2 main attractions of Husavik which were closed because it was very early: Whale whatching boats and the Phallological Museum (aka Museum of the Penis), the latter being so funny and host of the largest collection of penises of mammals in jars... I'd rather save my Kronas for food :)
- The road was full of snow and in the higher parts of the hills it was kind of icy. So the drive was not easy and passing by the cliffs while losing control of the car is not fun at all. I guess the astounding view from the top of the cliffs was worth it. I stopped to take pictures thinking: "I'm looking at the Arctic Ocean!!!" It was a wonderful moment; to think that I was so close to one of the poles of our planet, so far, far away from it all, so free!!! It made everything else in my life seem small, insignificant.
- Asbyrgi: I met the gas station owner and asked him how to get to Dettifoss. The man told me: "I wouldn't go if I were you". He said it had snowed a lot and the road is not safe so they usually close it when there's bad weather... WHAT??? I drove more than 7 hours to Husavik and then about an hour to get to Asbyrgi, plus had reserved the hotel, everything to see Dettifoss, "the most powerful waterfall in Europe". I insisted, I really wanted to go, so the kind man said I should go ask at the visitor center next door.
- So I sat in my car for one minute and thought to myself: bad roads, snow and ice, inexperienced manual driver, below freezing temperatures and icelandic wind... is it worth it? Well, I believed in God and started my journey to Dettifoss.
- Dettifoss: the road to Dettifoss was unpaved: gravel and big holes everywhere, all covered with snow.
- I enjoyed walking through the snow, getting wet from the water of the falls and my feet buried in snow.
- The Ordeal: I tried to back up from my parking space. The wheels were spinning and I wasn't moving. Oh oh, that's gonna be a problem. I was upset, but I calmed down and continued trying and hoping and finally I could get out of the parking spot. Now I had to go uphill to get to the "main" road. I started driving carefully and on my way up, the wheels started spinning and the car started sliding backwards down the hill! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make it stop, until slowly I finally got a grip of the road and stopped right before I got off the road towards the rocks. I was in shock, kind of shakey and even sweating. I started breathing to calm myself down.
- Then, an SUV with 3 german tourists approaches and stops to offer help. I was so happy/thankful to see people, especially willing to help. They said I should go back again and try once more, only that this time they would push the car in the middle of the hill. So we did it and... it didn't work. After catching their breath they offered to pull my car with their SUV, but they didn't have a rope.
- We straightened the car by pushing it and decided the best thing was to wait till someone comes with a rope. I was very thankful with everyone but didn't want to ruin their vacations. So I asked the germans to leave and continue their trip, and the Czechs insisted on waiting with me until someone comes with a truck and a rope.
- It was very cold, especially because my socks were all wet and had to take them off. I kept waiting and decided to go back to the car and try again. This time I almost made it to the top before sliding and leaving the car almost off the road. I was affraid it was gonna slide down so I got off and waited outside. Another german couple (David and girlfriend) stopped by and since they couldn't help they were gonna call AVIS and ask for help once they get reception on their phone. He wrote the number of the car and my cell phone number and promised to find help for me.
- Then, the last german tourists approached. It was an older couple so I asked if they had a rope. The man said "this is not snow, this is ice!" and he said we were both gonna fall and crash if he tried to pull with his truck. So I kept sitting, waiting and hoping someone would show up. Nobody did. On their way out, the german man knocked on my window and said "we have to start working! we need to make a new road!" He took 2 shovels from his trunk and he handed me one and we started digging the sides and throwing sand and gravel to the road.
- The Conclusion: So Mr.
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