Renting a car in Iceland can be perilously expensive, and the roads are not always suitable for squeezing more than one person into a tiny hatchback. Sometimes you just need something a little bigger; but I never seem to be able to afford it.
Luckily I have some ingenious friends – or should I say friends with burglar alarmed wallets – who always know where the best deals are to be had. These people have actually had me waiting out on the dockside at six in the morning waiting to “save money on fish”. It’s sensible practice of course, but still it takes a special type of person.
In this instance though, they did me proud. Reykjavik Rent a Car is a small Iceland car rental company which I would probably never have heard about on my own.
Not only does Reykjavik Rent a Car offer brand new heavy duty 4x4s for less than some of their bigger rivals offer a Volkswagen Polo, but they are also genuinely decent people with whom it was a pleasure to do business.
Having secured the car for a few days, it was time to put it through its paces. My sister was visiting Iceland from Brazil, where she works with Amazon River Dolphins in some conservation programme. Not a lot of snow in Brazil.
My sister is mad about skiing, and she was almost scarily excited about coming over here and trying out the Blafjoll ski slopes near Reykjavik. But the Icelandic weather rarely plays ball, and had decided that we were not to be blessed with snow.
This is where Reykjavik Rent a Car came in: we decided to drive around Iceland to the far north-western town of Isafjordur – a place where the snowy mountains demand to be noticed almost as much as Bjork wearing a swan and screaming “It’s oh so quiet!” at the top of her voice. We were sure there would be snow on the slopes up there.
Driving Iceland’s Westfjords in the winter is a hair-raising experience. The gravel roads are generally covered in a thick layer of ice as they navigate hairpin turns and sheer cliff drops. The views are spectacular and a confident driver in a trustworthy vehicle can really have a LOT of fun. Anybody else would surely suffer some sort of panic attack.
It is perhaps telling of my lack of skiing ability that this story should have focused so heavily on the journey up there – but we did find plenty of snow and my sister did get her fill of the piste before heading back to the sweaty tropics. Mission accomplished – thanks to Reykjavik Rent a Car.