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      October 2011 > Andalucia to Iceland part 18: A bit of a breeze...

Andalucia to Iceland part 18: A bit of a breeze...

IcelandMy arms are aching. I’m hanging onto the steering wheel for all I’m worth, as the van has taken on a life of its own. It’s swaying from side to side as we cross a black desert in a gale.

Everywhere are whirlwinds of ash, and the mountain landscape has taken on a dark, smudged, indistinct brooding look. We are travelling out of season and experiencing weather that, luckily, the Inntravellers won’t have to put up with.

We need to shop!’, shouts Linda, over the racket of the engine noise and the howling wind.
We’ve already done the shopping’, I shout back.
Not shop – stop!
Stop what?
Pull over, you idiot!

We find a cinder track that winds between hummocks of moss-covered lava and leads us into the lee of a cliff. It’s a relatively sheltered spot, but still wind-swept. There’s another camper-van parked up there already, with Icelandic plates – I guess that it must be rented and probably houses more frightened tourists like us. Both vans are quivering like jellies. But ordinary cars are still occasionally ploughing up and down the road, so I wonder if we have over-reacted.

Icelandic campervanThe driver emerges from the other van – he seems drunk and can hardly walk. His coat is flapping about him as if he’s trying to fly. I jump out to meet him and, once out, realise why he can’t walk straight – the wind is just pushing us around like rag dolls. So as to avoid another Stop & Shop conversation, we climb into his van.

It turns out he’s not a tourist at all but an Icelander, well used to driving the van around his own country. When he tells me that I did the right thing to pull off, I don’t feel such a baby. He’s phoned the Road Conditions Information number and been told that the wind speed here is currently 34m per second (i.e. 122km an hour). He says we have to stay put. Apparently, it’s the tail-end of a hurricane from America. He also begins to explain to me that high on the mountains it’s not actually as windy as this, but that the wind rolls down the mountainsides and picks up speed. I don’t really care how it happens – I just want it to go away.

Two hours later, the Icelander tells us the wind has dropped to 14m per second and we must make a break for it while it lasts. He heads off for Scaftafell. I, for some reason, decide to have a cup of tea to give me strength. Linda is asking for someone to give her strength too, and is glowering at me as I waste precious time.

The wind really has dropped and we make it to the National Park. The van is full of fine ash, and so are our eyes, mouths and hair. We look at each other, wondering if we’re going to able to walk at all tomorrow...

Iceland road

Posted: 30/09/2011 07:57:25 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: Iceland, nature, walking

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