Kæru fjölskylda go vinir (that is ‘dear family and friends’ in the local lingo),
As we write this, it is thursday afternoon and we are in Hveragerdi, about an hour east of Reykjavik. It is our last day before meeting the photography workshop gang for our flight to the Faroe Islands tomorrow. We are sitting on the deck outside our room at the Guesthouse Frost go Funi (Frost & Fire), listening to the stream, watching a couple guys fly fish & also watching the earth let off steam in the hills across the stream. It is not quite sundowner time but what the heck – we had a VERY energetic day & it is time to pause, reflect & refresh….something very easy to do here in Iceland.
What did we do today to deserve such a treat? I am glad you asked. We arrived here early today after spending the night in Fludir, then on to check out the black sand beach of Eyrarbakki (pop 590). Quite a lovely spot. This hotel not only has its own geothermal well supplying it with water & heat, but it is strategically located among steam vents & bubbling mud holes like these –
We hiked around this area for a while then drove (luckily) the 3km to Reyjadalur parking area for the 3.2km hike to the ‘warm river’. We picked up a hitchhiker from Paris who just may be staying with us when she travels thru Seattle in November. I am glad we drove as the 3km was more like 4 but straight up! We got in a LOT of hills today. Our Fitbits are very happy with us. And we are happy with the weather. After several cold, blustery days, I was able to spend today in shorts, t-shirt & sandals and Nancy did not have to wear her puffy coat!
I just realized I am getting ahead of the story. I will return now to the end of our last post when we were in Ìsafjördur. We drove the next day to a half way point on the road to Akureyri to a town called Hvammstangi (pronounced Camstangy). Another tiny village on the water. Another little hotel & another amazing restaurant – also on a beautiful fiord.
The fine folks in Hvammstangi were happy to see us:
So now we are on the road to Akureyri (pronounced “Akeeairee”). Nancy loves to say this city’s name! I call it a city as it is considered Iceland’s second city. About 17,000 people live here. It is in the far north central part of the island on another one of those darn gorgeous fjords. Speaking of the fjords, I was finally able to find an accessible spot to get my feet wet. It was near this cool church with an unusual glass grave marker.
We chose to come here as it is a jumping off point for the biggest lake and also has the best scuba diving in the country. Yup, I said diving. I was lucky to dive in the fjord with Erlundur Bogason, reputed to be Iceland’s top research diver. He has chartered most of the dive sites & locations like underwater hot springs – we dove on one, wrecks and other noteworthy spots. After a BLOODY COLD dive in a dry suit, we did some whale watching from his zodiac boat. I would post some pictures here but I can’t as my GoPro camera slipped off my wrist as I was boarding the boat and is now being enjoyed by Arctic char, jelly fish and wolf fish some 76 feet under their fjord….Dang! The only ray of hope I have is that Erlundur promised that he would have his advanced class search for it this weekend & send it to me…..Keepa you fingers crossed, please!
Akureyri also has an amazing restaurant called Rub23. We ate there 2 nights. We mainly ate sushi….Nancy was able to score their recipe for “Sushi Pizza!” Here are some shots. Note that for you “Frozen” fans, we had Elsa as our waitress. (wow – bad hair day for Nancy due to wearing a hat all day!)
We enjoyed sightseeing the area as well. I mentioned the lake – Myvatn (pronounced mee-vawt). It was formed during a volcanic eruption some 10,000 years ago. There are lots of lava fields, domes & columns in the area as well as a very tall crater that is so perfectly formed it looks like it was man made – it is called Hverfell. After a rigorous climb up & leisurely stroll down, we hit the hot springs – Jardbödin – the north’s answer to the famous Blue Lagoon & only 1/3 the price. Enjoy some pictures of the area….ahhhhhhhhhh…..water temp 103F….outside temp 40F (uggghhh)
After the lake area we headed to Dettifoss ( we pronounce this one “dental floss”), Europe’s largest waterfall by volume. The weather did not cooperate at this point…soooo much cold rain showers PLUS foss spray that it made it hard to take photos and/or enjoy the beauty surrounding us. We had a similar situation when we hiked into Godáfoss (“Waterfall of the Gods”) earlier in the day as you can see here –
The weather was not always shocking. While driving along the national highway #1 (the ring road), we were able to pull over frequently to admire the scenery:
As mentioned at the beginning of this missive, today is the final Chris & Nancy day for a while. I do not know how frequently we will be able to post as our photo workshop leader, Jim, keeps us pretty darn busy during the workshops. And in case you were wondering, Nancy’s phone (“accidentally” left in London airport restaurant – there is a story there, trust me) is presently at the central Reykjavik post office waiting for us to pick it up tomorrow…..keepa you fingas crossed for that one too!) Forgot to mention that we enjoyed a traditional Icelandic “mud bath” here in Hveragerdi yesterday….so sorry but photos were not allowed to be taken.
As we say here in Iceland – þar til næst (until next time)
Chris & Nancy