“The fun was in the big trucks and the highlands”

Marteinn Unnar Heiðarsson, better know as Matti, has been a professional driver for 35 years. He has driven tourists, movie stars and locals alike, in everything from super- jeeps to his current mode of transportation – a 70 seat bus. We Guide sat down for a coffee with Matti to discuss the job, the changes in tourism and the fact that a little trouble makes any trip better.

It’s weird, but this whole nonsense started when I lived in Vestmannaeyjar. In 1977 I joined the local Search & Rescue team and three years later we went to Þórsmörk for Easter, on an old Bedford fire truck that had been modified with a passenger house. We had so much trouble getting to our destination, there was so much snow over everything. Because of all the hazzle I had a wonderful time in that trip, which is what sparked the idea to become a driver,” says Matti who started driving for Teitur Jónasson in 1986. “I started on regular buses, but my intention all along was to join Vestfjarðaleið.

That’s where the big trucks were, the highland trips and all the fun.”

Matti got his wish two years later and spent many summers driving across the highlands with tourists. “The longest tours were 18 days, and everyone slept in tents. We had mostly Germans and Austrians for pas- sengers, and with each group a guide and a cook from the same countries. We all worked well together, they were very professional and had everything down to a routine. The cooks would sometimes sit behind the guides in the bus and take notes, and every now and then they would get the chance to guide the group.”

Want to read more? Take a look at WeGuide magazine January 2021.

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