Rocks, Ruts, and Rivers: On the Road to Askja

I have driven in many of the world’s most intimidating cities, across some of its most hostile terrain, and through its bleakest weather conditions. Each time, occasionally more by luck than judgment, I have emerged unscathed – and with one more story to tell. So why was I plagued by a nagging anxiety before starting…

Iceland 2018: A Day Trip to Grímsey

There aren’t too many reasons to be on the morning ferry to Grímsey. Perhaps you are one of the 80 residents of the island returning home. Perhaps you are acquainted with one of those 80 residents, have been making excuses not to visit them for over a decade and, having recently played your “my-nephew-just-failed-his sheep-shearing-exam”…

The Other Side of the Curtain

It was a world of pre-departure cocktails, in-flight spa treatments, and post-arrival shower facilities. There was Fast Track and “Sir, Welcome Back”. Various lofty words, gemstones, and precious metals confirmed my superiority; I was “Envoy”; I was “Sapphire”; I was “Gold”.  Occasionally, the Utopian combination of “Executive Platinum” would announce my arrival in the highest…

It’s all about the journey

A ferocious blizzard was pummeling the car, threatening to send us tumbling into unknown peril. Aside from a few yards on each side, our surroundings were rendered invisible by a forbidding wall of relentless snow. Only a series of regularly-spaced poles marking the sides of the road served to guide our tentative advance. White knuckles…

A Winter’s Drive in Iceland: Between the Yellow Poles

When you drive in Iceland, it doesn’t take too long before you stop noticing the yellow poles marking the sides of rural roads. Spaced 25 to 50 metres apart and arranged in pairs, one on each side of the road, a driver could be excused for thinking their purpose is mainly decorative. Surely one glance…

The real story of a road trip

Suddenly, there were headlights coming straight towards us. They swayed erratically as they accelerated out of the exit lane. We were no more than 200 yards apart – and the gap between us was closing at a rate of 50 yards each second. Adrenalin pumped furiously; white knuckles glowed in the dark; we could feel…