Today was going to be some extreme adrenaline followed by some hard-core relaxation. We had booked a few hours Quad biking through Lava Beach, followed by a session at the Blue Lagoon. These were both booked with Reykjavik Excursions and we couldn’t wait to go!
The late start time meant we could have a tasty Icelandic breakfast. We headed over the road to Café Loki. After looking through the picture menu, which is what every restaurant should have, we both went for something a bit different.
I went for the ‘2 rye bread slices, one with mashed fish and the other with smoked trout. This was accompanied by a flatbread with sheep-head jelly, bean salad and turnip.’
Stef went with ‘2 rye bread slices, one with mashed fish and the other with egg & herring. This came with a side of Loki’s Rye bread ice cream.
The sheep-head jelly tasted…different. It wasn’t nasty tasting; however, it is what I imagine cat food would taste like. Stef’s ice cream was really delicious. Who comes up with these random combinations???
The Reykjavik Excursion bus picked us up from our hotel lobby and we were on our way. One of the best things about this tour group is that their buses all have free WIFI. Great for those of us that don’t have a data plan on their phone. The first stop was the Blue Lagoon. However, this was just a checkpoint for us. The less adrenaline fuelled travellers stayed here. Just by the entrance of the Lagoon was Jónas, our guide for the next few hours. He was a cheerful fella and was very welcoming. We jumped in his van and within about 10 minutes, we were side-by-side with the ATVs at the base camp of 4×4 Adventures Iceland.
After reading the small print on the disclaimers and signing our lives away, we were kitted up with more layers than an onion. It was cold out so not only did it protect us from the elements, but also it was that little extra protection for if/when we fell off!
Joining us on the ride was a Canadian dude called Jack. He is also a fellow traveller. It seems like everyone is getting out and seeing the world these days.
The ATVs were huge. They were 4×4 beasts. They easily accommodated both Stef and I. We had the option of having one each for a small price, but I wasn’t sure if Stef wanted a go on her own. Neither of us had done anything like this before, but Jonas explained the vehicle’s controls – the brakes were a brake handle on the left of the bars and the accelerator was not a pedal nor twisting of the handle but a little lever on the right grip. So with the GoPro on the helmets and the engines revving, we hit the road!
I was first up and within minutes, we were out of their base on to the dark lava sand track of the land. The terrain resembled something you’d imagine being on another planet – you would look around and there would be nothing but dark hills and verges. I got to grips with the controls pretty quick and they sure did have some power behind them. When we got on to a straight, I’d slow down so Jonas, who was leading, got ahead a little and then I’d slam on the power. The force was immense and definitely enough to push your head back – it really got your blood pumping. I know I hit about 35 mph – which is fast when you’re open to the elements and that low to the ground. It wasn’t raining hard but a slow drizzle. It felt like every few minutes, you’d have to wipe off your visor. Because of the rocky terrain, taking your hand off to wipe was a task in itself what with bouncing up and around!
After about 40 minutes of riding through rough terrain and amazing scenery, we finally made it to Lava Beach. I turned back and Stef was still on the back of the ATV, which was a good sign.
Previously at the base, I mentioned that we had a drone and would it be possible to fly it a little there. Being a male and alive, Jónas was quick to say yes. So out came ‘Droney’ and I spent the next 10 minutes or so flying him around. Because it was a very small group, there wasn’t really a time limit, which was nice. Us three blokes talked about technology for a while and a bored Stef went off taking photos. I even got her to run around on the beach so I could film her, which was easier said than done in that heavy gear. I don’t know how she puts up with me. Must be love.
Not only was Jonas a skilled driver, he also knew a few things about the location. He pointed over into the hills on the coast and you could see abandoned stone houses in a major need of some love and care. These were the fishermen’s who worked this section donkey’s years back. They’d long gone now and the houses were in ruins. Made for some brilliant aerial photography though.
It was time to leave, which meant one thing…Stef was driving. I don’t normally have a problem with Stef’s driving, however, these were no ordinary vehicles. But she was eager to give it a try and hopped on the front. Within seconds we were whizzing through the black sand of the beach and through the stone paths. She took to it like a duck to water, I would say I was impressed, however, I knew she’d have been great at doing it. It wasn’t that scary to ride pillion, however, any sharp braking or downhill travelling often resulted in me head-butting the back of Stef’s helmet! She did get to drive through a small tunnel though so I’m a bit envious about that.
It took another 40 minutes to get back to the base. You could tell Stef had not used her visor all of the time as she was splattered with mud. That mud could have been healthy for your skin though…which leads me on to the next post…