Throughout the night – by the way, this day was my birthday – there were heavy winds, I mean 100MPH+ winds that beat the cabin savagely! It sounded so loud at times, that it seemed as though it was crumbling and the wood was ripping around me. Sleep did not come easy, I can tell you that. I woke up early, at 6 AM or so, to use the restroom, and my sleepy eyes glanced outside for a fleeting moment, as I was on my way back from the toilet, and BAM, I was in the middle of a freaking blizzard. Where there was no snow before nightfall, there was a foot of snow in its place.
I made it back to Route 1, some 20-minutes later. To my bewilderment, I realized that my gas gage was showing 'Empty' – the closest gas station was a few miles away, back towards town, in the complete opposite direction. But what can you do, you have to trudge on. I took a right back toward the village of Vík, and as I came to a stretch of road that was on a severe incline with the mountain sloping down to the road, and a ravine dropping off sharply on either side of me. I then came to a part that had the lowest amount of visibility I had ever experienced – it was as if I was driving within the most densest cloud; even the front of my car disappeared from view. The harshest and most powerful wind gust yet, ascended from the mountain and down through me and into the ravine. My car lost traction, and slid dramatically toward the ravine's edge. The nose of the car touched the headlight to the metal banister stopping me from imminent death.
Thankfully the wheels locked up, and I lived to tell the story. Thank God that there was no traffic at that moment. I proceeded on, inching closer and closer to the town, until finally the fog cleared and the storm began to relax. The first gas station was out of order, and so I continued on another couple of miles, praying that I wouldn't run out of gas anytime soon. I then found the second station, and all was well here. I filled up the tank, and was ready to be on my way, when another gust of wind nearly put me on my ass. It only takes one off-balance step, and with the right gust, I would have ate sh*t pretty badly. Passing back through the main part of the town, I was off to tackle the same awful section by the treacherous mountain and the latently disastrous ravine.
I would slipped one way, and after correcting the wheel toward the other direction, I would slip again, and so the process continued on, for several hours. Then there was a quick change, and where grey, dank fog monopolized the atmosphere around me, a lovely pink and yellow light was peaking its glorious head above horizon in front of me. The further west I went, the clearer the weather was, following with a dramatic increase in temperature. It was almost comfortable in the small town of Hveragerði, where I had setup my accommodations for the night. The drive from Vík to Hveragerði should have taken about an hour and 45-minutes, however it took me nearly four hours to escape the wintery clutches of South Iceland.
The next day, I started around the famous Golden Circle routing, however a bit backwards than what most people tend to do – by starting in Reykjavík, heading east on the 36. The first stop for me was the Golfoss waterfall, one of the most heavily visited attractions on the island. There were groups of Asian tourists, families from around Europe, and little ol' me wandering around the falls – I wanted to hike down further, but with the wind, the chill, and the rain, it would be much too difficult. Instead, I continued on after taking the shot above.