Iceland Day 6 – Grettislaug, Saudarkrokur, Bloenduos, Hvammstangi

March 31.

Leaving Grettislaug was not too easy, considering the amazing quiet and peaceful day I had had yesterday. This will remain one of my favorite spots of Iceland.

But my goal remains to make it on the ring road around Iceland within the two weeks I have. And I have a room booked in Reykjavik on April 3rd, so leaving is not easy, but necessary. I said goodbye to Herbert, his wife and Gerald and left in the late morning.

Leading out of Grettislaug towards Saudarkrokur was a dirt road with lots of horses roaming freely. A great opportunity to snap some shots of these beautiful and friendly and curious animals.

I was driving the whole day with mixed weather. No big blue skies today. I made it back to the ring road around noon and continued traveling West.

I was aiming for dirt road North of Hvammstangi for the night. I passed the small town in the evening, scouted the area for good spot for the night. Later in the evening I did one more run back to town and grabbed some food to go. Was back at my spot at 7.30pm, hoping for Northern lights, but no luck withe the weather coverage. It was heavily clouded, so I had my first Netflix night on Iceland.

Iceland Day 5 – Grettislaug, a hotpot day

March 30.

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Grettislaug

Got up around 7am, breakfast in the car. After the snow storm last night the skies looked promising – it might become a beautiful sunny day again. I checked out the facilities of the campground again. While the cafe is closed and the place completely deserted, the facilities like a kitchen house as well as the toilets were open and in kind of working condition. Good – I might actually hang out here the whole day.

At about 8am, I walked over to the two hotpots. They are beautifully located close to the sea, still protected with a stone wall from the direct winds.

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View from the hotpot

Spent there 2 hours, just soaking in the water. Sitting absolutely quiet, you could hear the waves hitting the shores from two directions. Some seagulls crying. Felt like a good idea to stay. Felt like arriving in how I expected Iceland to be.

“A human’s choice is either to see new things, mountains, waterfalls, deadly storms and seas and volcanoes, or to see the same man-made things endlessly reconfigured.”
― Dave Eggers, Heroes of the Frontier

The hotpots had 38.5 respectively 40 degrees – a good temperature to spend a long time in there.

Around 10am, two other tourists showed and I took a walk around the area.

The two girls turned out to be German as well  (yes we love to travel….), one of them working in Iceland since a couple of years. We chatted for a while and I got some hints for spots to visit during the next days.

During the day, a couple of cars showed up, some stayed for a dip in the hotpots.  In the later evening, luckily everyone left except Herbert, his wife and Gerald, another German solo traveler with VW van.

The wind died down – a chance for another drone flight. I was a bit more careful than last time. First a quick look around in all directions – after that I got a bit more brave.

 

Herbert had not only brought beer but a complete bbq equipment, meat, potatoes… so after a last hotpot session around 7pm, we started bbqing as it got darker and colder.

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A relaxing day with nice company and chats came to an end around 11pm.

Iceland Day 4 – Akureyri, Dalvik to Grettislaug, a day on the road

March 29.

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Left in the morning the beautiful wild camping spot North of Grevinik towards Akureyri. I was looking forward to a coffee in a nice cafe with decent internet access.

At 9.30am in Akureyri, I walked the streets for a bit. The second biggest town or city of Iceland still felt like in hibernation. I found an open bookstore, checked books and settled with coffee and cake for their internet. Iceland feels small and the tourists are still limited – ran into Luise first and Herbert and his wife later in the same bookstore.

I came to Iceland mainly for the nature and open landscapes, so I hit the roads again up North on the Western side of the same fjord.

Is I drove up the coast towards Dalvik, situation got more and more snowy. The Tunnels on the road around Olafsjoerdur and Siglufjoerdur are special. They just have one lane and every two hundred meters or so a stop to let oncoming traffic past. With every tunnel passed, the roads were more covered with snow.

Soundtrack for today’s driving: Pink Floyd – Coming back to life

Heading back South on the other side, I came by Hofsoes. Checked up the swimming pool which looked nice open to the sea, but it would only open in the later afternoon. Since Herbert had recommended Grettislaug, I decided to drive all the way to the Grettislaug hotpot and camping place.

Passed Saudarkrokur, there was a bit less snow.

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Made it at 5pm with a starting snowstorm to the hotpot and camping place around Grettislaug. Did a quick check on the facilities, but stayed in the car for the night. No hotpot in the middle of a snowstorm. Parked on the wind protected side of a cabin.

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Photo is taken the next morning after the snowstorm.

Despite the storm, had a good night even with Northern lights showing after 10pm!

 

Iceland Day 3 – Selfoss, Dettifoss, a hitchhiker, Godafoss and the perfect spot for the night

March 28.

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Selfoss

The day started late for me just around 8am, the last night had been late. Breakfast with James and his mum and Luise in the kitchen / common room of the campground.

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James and his man toy

Then I left for Dettifoss with blue skies.

When turning of the main road, I picked up a hitchhiker from Brazil. He was standing there in the wind with two backpacks on a road with basically no cars. The road to Dettifoss was a bit slippery, but with no cars easy to drive. Getting to the parking area where paths to both Dettifoss and Selfoss started, the wind started picking up.

I spent a longer time at Selfoss, walking up as close as possible. No other vistors. Beautiful.

Dettifoss, the more famous and bigger waterfall, was a bit crowded and the only access was a sightseeing platform at a distance.

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Dettifoss

I took the hiker back towards Myvatn with a stop at Namafjall, a geothermal area.

 

After a quick stop at Myvatn for gas and some groceries, I drove on to the next waterfall Godafoss, right at the ring road.

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Then wind really picked up – see the video below.

I was getting adventurous and wanted to try a spot for the night North of Grenivik. The Beautiful drive on the 835 North to the potential camping spot turned out to be the most beautiful road I had seen so far on Iceland. The gravel road had spots covered with snow and ice – and my van finally got dirty!!

I arrived at the spot at 5.30pm – for me a perfect place to spend the night. 

At this beautiful spot, I will sleep again with  open curtains… hoping for northern lights.

And guess what… around 10pm, the show started!!!

Perfect finish for a beautiful day.

Iceland Day 2 – Bakkafjoerdur, Porshoefn, Asbyrgi, Husavik, Myvatn and my first hot hotpot experience

March 27.

Woke up with the sun coming over the horizon – had a good and quiet sleep despite the wind. I enjoyed a slow breakfast with muesli and Skyr – and some big black coffee. I continued driving North, mostly following the coastline. The weather was nice most of the time with sunshine and blue skies.

Passing Bakkafjoerdur, the road was unpaved for a while. There were some beautiful spots to stay for the night but I was planning for Myvatn tonight, so I moved on.

The coast with ice on the shore had its own beauty.

Coming closer to Asbyrgi, the landscape changed to very flat lands. I drove into the park, walked around a bit – the famous canyon, shaped like a hoof.

Passed by Husavik, famous for whale watching. Noted the time, maybe tomorrow. But that will depend on the weather.

Met up with Herbert and his wife and Luise again at the campground in Vogar near the Myvatn lake. They invited me for coffee and cake in their camping trailer – what a nice treat. Afterwards we drove together to the famous Grjotagja cave nearby with a hotpot underground. Getting in there not too easy, climbing into the cave. Next challenge was getting undressed on a small spot… then the water is really hot. 45 degrees hot.

Some more tourist show up, look, take photos… After two sessions, we leave.

Dinner at the campgrounds pizza place with internet. The campground was very basic – just a parking lot with electricity outlets and a building with facilities. I am surely looking forward to some wild camping during the next days.

Luise had her van parked closeby in the same campground and was working to get her heating running. I provided electricity for the hairblower when she tried to unfreeze the Diesel line – but no luck. James has no heating, so nothing can break in his Landrover. Herbert has his electric heating in the trailer for the night.

Iceland Day 1 – Seydisfjoerdur, Egilsstadir, Hengifoss, Iceland Horses and Vopnafjoerdur

March 26.

After breakfast in an empty cafeteria, the ferry arrived at 9am in Seydisfjoerdur. Since the ferry was so empty, also the unloading of the cars was rather quick. Just a bit of backing up needed, then there was space to turn around and drive off the ferry.

First stop was customs. Many of us were not sure about the amount of food we were carrying – there is an official 3kg limit on food besides the usual restrictions on tabacco and alcohol. A very kind customs agent waved me through – welcome to Iceland!

I continued straight through the village towards Egilsstadir with its super markets. We would all reconnect at the Bonus supermarket there. Bought fruits and vegetables, the famous Icelandic Skyr yogurt.

While my intention is to go North following the ring road, I wanted to get my bearings in the area first. So I visited a major waterfall Hengifoss, just some kilometers South of Egilsstadir.

On the way there, I saw some closed campgrounds. It seems they will still offer free parking, just no facilities or water/electricity while they are closed for the season. I hope I will be able to do wild camping most of the time. At least there is no need for showers with the amount of public hotpots throughout the island.

It was a nice short hike going up to Hengifoss. A few smaller waterfalls along the way. Still beautiful weather with sunshine and blue skies, just the wind picked up. I saw a handful of vistors coming down from the waterfall. At the waterfall, Luise caught up with me.

With nobody else around and nobody I could bother, I started the drone to take some footage from Hengifoss. All good until the flight back – the drone was caught in the winds that got stronger and stronger and carried away. I could just watch on the camera how it drifted off, not strong enough to return against the winds. With a big lake in the back, I was close to panic. Luckily, I could force it down on a field despite its impossible tries to return to the starting point. It had drifted away nearly a kilometer. I drove as close as I could and found it shortly after all intact. What a stressful first flight on Iceland. Will need to be more careful with these winds.

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I checked out another campground in the area but decided to make some kilometers North.

Tomorrow evening, I want to be at Myvatn Lake to enjoy the hotpots there. I found a nice spot for the night around 6pm close to Vopnafjoerdur. Exciting first day – I am actually tired after the last days just chilling on the ferry. Sleeping with all curtains open – hoping for aurora / polar lights. 🙂

Stopover at Faroe Islands

March 25.

We were woken in our cabins by the speaker informing us that we arrived as planned at 6am at Faroe Islands.  I took my time with breakfast, enjoyed the views from the ship.

Connected with James and Luise, we headed out together at 7am discovering the island.

We walked from the harbor alongside the coast and got our feet wet. I won a bet – yes, there is really a lot of cars driving with winter tires with spikes here. Free beer for me tonight. 😉

We walked back through town, stopped at the Brell Cafe – a small and cozy coffee shop – recommendable. Spent a while there chatting and of WiFi. James and Luise are both spending several weeks on Iceland – we agreed to stay in touch there – with ideas on excursion, nice spots to stay or maybe help out each other.

Back on the ferry around 12pm – it is supposed to leave the harbor at 2pm. I checked on my car, got some food from there.

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The ferry continued as planned. The route led through the Faroe Islands with some spectacular views.

We will arrive in Iceland tomorrow morning around 9am. Faroe Islands already left such a good impression – I am really excited to get to Iceland.

The number of passengers was already low when we left Denmark. Now after the stop on Faroe Islands, the ship was nearly empty. James, Luise and I enjoyed some beers at the bar – the barkeeper opened the happy hour earlier for us ;-). Herbert joined us and we celebrated the last night on the ship.