Mysteries Of Driving In Iceland

I watched (listened to, mostly) Part 1 of Sigur Rós’ “Route One” this week – all nine hours of it. Part 1 covered the drive from Reykjavík to Djúpivogur.

I’ve looked into buying “Route One” on DVD – I’m enjoying it that much – but it doesn’t seem to be for sale. I’ve looked for it on Amazon, on the Sigur Rós web site, and on the Icelandic TV station web site. I want to own this thing, and have it playing in the background at home.

I’d love to read a commentary on this project. I have a few questions.

What’s with all the one-lane bridges? Granted, there’s not a lot of traffic on Route 1, outside of Reykjavík, and I never saw anything coming the opposite direction on any bridge, but one-lane bridges seem to be the rule rather than the exception. (I would expect to be the other way around.) There’s a pretty suspension bridge at Jökulsárlón, a little past the 6:03:00 mark in the video, at the base of what looks like a glacier. It, too, is just one lane wide, with a traffic light. Why build a suspension bridge on a major highway, and restrict it to one lane?

There are at least two times when the folks in the truck seem to have gotten lost. There’s a roundabout in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, around the 4:28:00 mark. The truck drives more than one complete revolution around the roundabout before exiting, and then stops in the middle of the road for a few minutes. (It’s nighttime, and no one’s in sight, so there’s no danger of blocking traffic, apparently.) I assume the crew is checking a map. And, at the very end, in Djúpivogur, they drive past a petrol station, and into the town. Then they stop in the middle of the street, make a couple of U-turns through what looks to be a bus terminal, and end up back at the petrol station, where they pull in and end Part 1.

I’m sure it’s easy to get lost out there in the remote Icelandic countryside – Route 1 is not the only road out there. Still, I think it would be interesting to read about what was going on inside the truck.

There’s a couple of stops I’m mildly curious about. Just before a tunnel, at the 7:21:00 mark, they stop (in the middle of the road, again) just before a low clearance marker. They sit there for several minutes. I assume they’re removing things from the top of the truck. (I think they’re driving one of the television station equipment trucks.) Then they drive on, through the tunnel. (I’m glad the tunnel’s more than one lane wide.) Later, along the hilly, winding road along the east coast, they pull in to a little turn-off at sit for a while. Are they admiring the view, or changing drivers? I guess I’ll have to watch the 360° version to find out.

(Edit: I’ve watched the first few minutes of 360° version before posting this. There were two trucks – the normal view truck leaving shortly before the 360° truck – so what I saw wouldn’t necessarily match up with the 360° view. Wow, what a production. And, they were television station crew trucks.)

This project was streamed live, I read. That explains all the people in the early part of the video waiting by the side of the road, waving at the truck as it passes.

At 2:45:00 or so, the truck pulls into a petrol station, next to an “Icewear” store, at night, in Vík. The camera never stops filming. After a while, a car pulls up, and stops in front of the truck. The driver steps out, waves at the truck, gets back in his car, and drives off.

I thought the funniest part of Part 1 was right after the petrol station in Vík. The truck pulls into a little rest area next to the station, and takes a 30 minute break. Again, the camera never stops filming. A car pulls in and stops in front of the truck. The driver gets out, walks around a bit, talks on the phone, just stretching their legs, obviously aware that they’re being filmed, but not making a big deal about it. They give the truck a little wave or two. Then, as the driver is about to drive away, a second car pulls in, and two people run out. The two people start jumping up and down and waving in front of the truck. The first person gets out of their car and walks over to the other two. Soon, the three are taking selfies together in front of the truck. They say goodbye, the two people drive off, and the first people blows a little kiss to the truck before they drive off. (I wonder if the three people knew each other before the rest area.)

It’s interesting to me how many parts of this Iceland drive look so much like the drive out to the Washington coast. We don’t have as many sheep running across the highway, however.

I can’t believe I watched a nine-hour YouTube video.

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5 thoughts on “Mysteries Of Driving In Iceland

  1. I’ve been to Iceland twice and most of the bridges are one-lane. I believe part of the reason is because a lot of the road is old, and because when the volcanoes erupt many of the bridges and roads get swept away due to flooding. But this sounds like an amazing video! I’ll have to watch it.

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