Yup, that’s our car. When we picked up our rental car at the airport, they warned us thoroughly about all sorts of stuff. Do not open your doors against the wind. Get a gravel insurance. Stay on the ring road. Don’t stop in the middle of the road in the dead of night if you see the northern lights. What they didn’t tell us was that even if you remembered not to stop in the road but to pull over, that you’d never know how deep the ditches roadside were because of the snow. And what to do when getting stuck. But even though this was our first time in Iceland, we weren’t idiots right?
About halfway through our trip we’re pretty happy with ourselves, no damage to the car so far, no doors blown off and everything is just stunningly beautiful. We had pulled over to the side of the road a number of times to take pictures, and we thought ourselves to be pretty good judges on snow depth and all that. Jochem liked driving an automatic car after all and we always started the journey packed with an emergency ration.
And so we’re driving down the road, it’s starting to snow and we decided to head back to our cabin after a long drive. Out of nowhere, a tiny red house by the sea turned up after a bend in the road. One of us, I won’t disclose whom, wanted a picture of it, and the other person swerved to the side of the road. There were tire tracks in the snow already, so someone had been there.
Immediately, the car sank to the side, and it sank deep. We cursed, then laughed and realized the passenger door wouldn’t open anymore. I climbed over to the other side to get out (see, I didn’t drive) and we assessed the situation. We were not gonna get out without help. We joked around a bit, got our stuff out of the car, and hoped someone would pull over and tell us what to do.
The first car passed. The second one, with two Icelandic girls (and a huge pile of crap in the backseat) stopped and offered to drive us to the police station for help. A minute and a half later, we got dropped off. The road had looked like we were in the middle of nowhere, but the next town was literally around the corner. The girls waited until someone opened the door, and then took off. The officer didn’t look too happy at first, he had just wanted to go home. He warmed up quickly when we sheepishly told him we got stuck taking a photo and petted his tiny dogs.
Off in the police car we went, back to ours. Jochem and the officer messed around a bit, and finally attached a cable to the car. In the meantime, someone in a huge truck pulled up next to us and said that if we weren’t successful, he would be back to help us. For a few moments, it looked like we weren’t gonna get out. With Jochem behind the wheel and the police accelerating slowly, the car had a bit of trouble getting back up the road, but just before we were gonna hit a marker, succeeded.
Strangely enough, the car had no damage whatsoever, and the officer didn’t want anything for his help. A little relieved, and a lot more careful, we continued our way, only to end up in the biggest traffic jam Iceland had seen that year. The remains of the full frontal collision that had happened was a lot less funny than our mishap.
Below is the picture of the house we’d wanted to take a photo of. Worth it? You be the judge of that…