VanlifeMay 1, 2018 in Iceland
Giggles and card games, inside jokes and passing the time while driving. Happily smushed in together for the upcoming four days with our own little kitchen, washroom and sleeping quarters. Cabinets to explore, luggage to cram in the hold in the back and decisions to be made as to who would sit facing forward and who would sit facing towards the back, who would sleep with whom on which bed and what game was to be played first. The division was clear: adulting, navigating and charting our path for the cab in the front and goofing around, snacks and carefree fun for the back.
Our first experience in a motor home as a team of six began as soon as we arrived in Iceland. Well, that is to say it began after we waited for our luggage, after we took in some fresh air as we waited for the airport shuttle, after we warmed up in the sunny car rental office for the one and only attendant to help us only to then inform us that we were to wait for the shuttle to the camper van office, which was at a separate location. Once we finally arrived at the actual camper van rental spot it was time to sign papers, watch safety videos and get loaded up in our new borrowed rig. Nerves and excitement were felt as Trevor drove us out of the building and into the bright sunshine.
As always is the case when traveling, especially with 4 kids, we were behind where we thought we would be in our estimated timeline. Groceries were the first priority. Trevor, Liam, Ava and I headed into the store to buy up what we thought we'd need for the next few days while the two youngest fellas played cards in the motor-home. Thankfully the fellas wanted to stay back to guard our rig because at this point we didn't know how to lock all the doors. We were sure it wasn't rocket science but after a long day of travel, groceries on our minds and a three hour drive ahead of us, we didn't seem to have the head space to sort this seemingly difficult problem out in that moment.
With plans to live the decedent fancy life in Iceland, we stocked up on high brow items such as pasta, bread, milk, cheese, butter, juice and of course chips and treats. Oh, and we bought one onion and one pepper to jazz up our pasta sauce and a few apples just for good measure. ;) These fresh food stocks were combined with the stashed foods we lugged in our suitcases from Canada, which included things like coffee, peanut butter, oats and energy bars.
As it was past dinner time, we decided to stay put and cook up a big vat of pasta right then and there in the grocery store parking lot before our drive to Vik. Hungry tired hangry's were setting in and we knew that if we didn't feed ourselves we'd be in for it soon after setting off. We were a bit clunky as we sorted out how to function in the space but thankfully the kids were patient as we cooked. After a good feed, we stuffed our dishes in the sink, tossed the food away and buckled up for our first leg of our time in Iceland.
Thankfully, Trevor had a good rest on the flight from the Netherlands so he was feeling ready for the trek but unfortunately I couldn't say the same for myself. Exhaustion was setting in for me. Our day began very early that morning back in Friesland. Packing, cleaning, kid-wrangling, Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, a three hour flight, campervan rental fun and grocery acquiring. By the time we were setting out I was about ready to confess quietly to Trevor that I wanted to change our plans and make the suggestion that we camp for the night close by in Grindavik and make the drive to Vik in the morning. Instead, I started by asking him how he was feeling and if he needed anything. Sensing my tiredness, Trevor reassured me with a big smile that he was feeling great, was excited and was very ready to get us safely to Vik. With the kids settled and happy in the back, I sat back as Trevor took the lead. This was teamwork at its best. It's always a good idea to plan out your meltdowns to ensure only one of you is close to one at any given time so the sane one can pick up the slack and carry the load. Although my tired tears were close I settled into navigation and kid duties so that Trevor could drive us to our destination. We sipped away on Diet Coke, snacked on treats and began our drive.
The sun shone nearly the whole way to our first campground stop. In May, the sun doesn't set in Iceland until nearly midnight. As luck would have it, the weather was brilliant. The wind was down and the sun was out. We donned our sunglasses in the front and took in the gorgeous scenery as we drove. As this was the second time Trevor and I had been to Iceland, this first drive was especially meaningful. We chatted away in the front, reminiscing about our trip a few years back and what looked and felt different, what we remembered and how fun and surreal it was to be able to be here with our four fools, who by this point were whoopin in up behind us. Strangely, our tolerance for their schenangans was uncannily high for this drive. We intermittently shouted back to them to look at the amazing mountain view, see the steam rising out of the ground or take in a nearby waterfall. These pitches for their admiration of the sights around them fell on completely deaf ears for this first drive. It was one of the loudest, funniest, craziest drives we've ever experienced. I wanted to video them at many points but knew that if I brought out my camera that the spell would be broken and their hyper giggles would fade. The kids were functioning solely on adrenaline and treats and were in their own world. We decided to leave them be and focus on the final hour of the drive.
We arrived in Vik just before midnight, Iceland time, which felt like 2 am Netherlands time to us. As we arrived at the campground, we soon learned that our camping spot was not open as the websites listed and was under construction. However, there were many other camper vans parked in the nearby lot so we soon joined them and found a decent spot to land for the night.
After a mad dash to find pyjamas, brush teeth, sort out who was sleeping where and wipe away some tired kid tears with some bedtime hugs and cuddles, we all proceeded to crash out for the night. Utterly exhausted and very ready for a few hours rest and recovery, we slept hard that night in anticipation for a big day of exploration ahead of us the next day.Read more