Thursday, 24 May 2007

On the Rúntur!

Ever wonder why you keep seeing the same car drive past your window slowly 10, 20, maybe 50 times in one evening? Well maybe you've discovered a Rúntur!

For those not in the know (So that's everyone outside Iceland, along with the inhabitants of Reykjavik then), the Rúntur is a pasttime found in pretty much every town around Iceland. It literally translates as "Round Tour" and is just that. It's a chance to go out for a drive with (or without) your mates, around town. BUT there are many rules that need to be followed. (And as a foreigner I know I have no chance picking them all up so please correct me if i'm wrong). By the way in my opinion the best Rúntur is in Stykkishólmur, but i'm only a beginner so am willing to accept if there is a better one.

The Rúntur Rules:

1. You must drive the correct Rúntur route (although you will never find these in the Lonely Planet)
2. You must drive the Rúntur route in the correct direction (obviously! duh!)
3. Any car is acceptable on the Rúntur, although non 4x4 and older "used" cars are more appropriate.
4. You must drive around town at just a few km/hr below the speed limit. Afterall where are you actually going? And have you seen the price of fuel here??!
5. Speeding/skidding/handbrake turns have no place on the Rúntur. You're confusing the pastime with "Cruising" which is very different.
6. The Rúntur route will pass through (not past) a nominated petrol station, and you are expected to drop in regularly to buy diet coke (and petrol as you'll need plenty of that for a long "Rúnt")
7. It is customary to have a good look at all other Rúnter's as they drive past, particularly non-regulars. This is actually a sign of acceptance on the Rúntur and should be followed up by a stare back. Note: driver and all passengers must join in with this.
8. If you want to stop for a chat with fellow Rúnters, there will be a nominated carpark on route in addition to the petrol station, although some towns merge the two together. Here you can park up, BUT it is important to park ACROSS the parking spaces diagonally. There will be lots and lots of spaces available so it's not a problem, and then everyone knows you're up for a chat.
9. Loud music is frowned upon. So long as it stays within the car it's ok, but any bass pollution around the town will get the crime starved police on your back, so it's not recommended.
10. Rúntur driving may take place at any time, but is generally frequented from mid to late evening as a way to kill time before the bars get active. It's also a useful tactic to stay away from the bar as long as possible to avoid the Kr600+ drinks. Some prefer not to enter the bars at all to get the full Rúntur experience.

Note: DON'T try to start up a Rúntur in Reykjavik. They'll just think you're from the countryside.


Binna said...

We used to have the "Rúntur" in Reykjavík and it included in both driving the rúnt and walking. then they suddenly destroyed the car park (Hallærisplanið)and made some lifeless square in its place, and this tradition died out in it's old form. Now the younsters drive the Laugarvegur, around downtown, then up Hverfisgötu and back down Laugarvegur............ but it isn´t the same anymore

gbates said...

I think that just about sums it up. Stykkisholmur's runtur definitely rocks like no other.

I've tried to introduce one to Watford but have encountered serious problems, mainly due to my runtur-ing being misinterpreted as kerb-crawling; speeds on the ring road are just too high. It's also far too easy to mistake surly groups of Neds and Leroys for genuine runturers. When I stare at them they usually shout obscenities or throw something at my car.

aquabot said...

I LOVE Iceland! I went in March and we did need coats, but were walking around with them unzipped. The summer is the preferred time to go and of course higher prices. Iceland is one of the safest destinations, but because they import everything in it is VERY expensive!!