An island of four colors: experiencing Subaru in Iceland
Is an all-wheel drive crossover enough to get to the most spectacular sights of Iceland, or do you need a prepared SUV or all-terrain vehicle in an amicable way? What is the most spectacular waterfall, what to see in Reykjavik, and why in Iceland, on pain of a huge fine, you can’t get out of the way in an unapproved place? We understand, traveling around the island on Subaru XV, Forester and Outback.
What drive in Iceland
In the view of fans of all-wheel drive and uncompromising struggle with bad roads, Iceland is a country where many companies are installing SUVs on wheels of monstrous size. Naturally, Arctic Trucks received the greatest world fame among such companies. Indeed, on the roads and in parking lots near local natural sights you can find the real monsters, from ordinary Land Cruiser on a forty-inch skating rinks to a comfortable tourist bus on the chassis of an army tractor with a wheel formula 8×8. And in such cars there is a real practical sense …
The offroad situation in Iceland is quite paradoxical. On the one hand, there are not so many roads here, consider that the whole country is one continuous impassability. And on the other hand, it is strictly forbidden to move out of the roads in the summer, and even one-wheel drive to the moss outside the curb will be ruthlessly punished.
The fact is that northern nature is very vulnerable. In the middle lane, the track remaining after the SUV will grow over a year or two later, and here the vegetation damaged by tires will be restored for several decades. Accordingly, Icelandic laws allow relatively freely choosing the direction of travel only in winter, but in deep snow only cars can drive on huge tires with very low pressure. Here our “Tracs” would feel quite normal there …
Well, in the summer everyone needs to keep the rolled roads, even if it is just a primer. Not so long ago, the company of Russian bloggers, who, as usual, decided that the laws were not written for them, severely burned on this. We moved into a mossy tundra field, got stuck … And as a result, we got rid of a huge fine and blacklisting of those who were banned from entering the country forever.
However, car rental in Iceland is thriving, and not only cars, but also mobile homes. The fact is that Iceland was simply overwhelmed by the ninth wave of tourists: in 2015, Icelanders were happy that 600 thousand people visited them, and last year the number of people willing to get acquainted with local miracles exceeded 2.1 million, and this, moreover, the country’s population is a little over 300 thousand people.
Accordingly, there are not enough places in hotels, and the rooms in them are not only expensive, but very expensive. So against this background, it seems to be quite advantageous to rent a camper for 250-300 euros per day … But Dacia Duster has become one of the most popular car rental solutions. Cheap and angry! Plus, near the entrance to the roads leading to many interesting places, signs “only for 4×4 cars” flaunt, and the presence of such signs is quite justified: there are places on the roads with difficult terrain, where, for example, Subaru Outback with its long wheel the base and the lumen of 213 mm were not at all easy (in any case, it was necessary to turn on the X-Mode and carefully choose the trajectory of movement), and fords that were deep enough.
And more about offroad. It is the presence of such severe restrictions that created the situation when the only platform for “off-road games” became barren, lifeless and useless tuff dumps on the slopes of volcanoes. And this is what gave rise to one of the most interesting and spectacular off-road motor racing disciplines, the Scandinavian Formula Offroad. But this may be the topic of a separate story, but for now, we will return to the volcanoes, geysers and waterfalls.
Volcanoes, geysers and rifts
Modern science teaches that our planet Earth is designed as follows: a solid and dense core surrounds a layer of mantle of molten hot magma on which lithospheric plates float. These plates are mobile, they converge, diverge and shift relative to each other, and in places where the plates are closed with each other, there is a maximum seismic activity. Where the plates converge, new mountains arise, earthquakes occur and volcanoes erupt, and where they diverge, faults form. Most of the faults are hidden by the ocean waters, and one of the few places on the planet where the rift reaches the land is called Iceland.
The island lies on two plates at once, North American and Eurasian. The first one slowly creeps to the west, and the second one – to the east, and this movement occurs at a speed of about 2 cm per year. 2 cm per year is two meters in 100 years, twenty meters per thousand, twenty kilometers in a million years, and if nothing changes in this movement, then in 300 million years Iceland can grow to the size of Russia!