Another Travel Day

It’s Day 10. We have to go from northern Iceland to the eastern fjords. The drive takes us into the desolate highlands further than we have been before. But first we climb an extinct volcano.

Hverfjall is a 1000 foot tall pile of grey tuff. About 2500 years ago there was a tephra explosion. Magma ran into water on the way up which turned the lava into bits of something called tuff, ranging from particulate ash to furniture-sized rocks. Then it all blew up and made a beautiful conical volcano. Almost nothing has grown on this tuff since long before Jesus was a twinkle in his father’s eye. We climb to the top and pose for a photo in front of the bowl of the crater. The rim is an almost perfect circle about a kilometer in diameter but we are too lazy to walk around. In the second photo below, you can see the cars down in the parking lot. The view from up here is great.

Then we drive for a few hours till we get close to the east coast and we stop for lunch at the town of Egilsstaðir. The waiters at the restaurant there speak more languages on any given day than at the UN. After lunch (and a brief stop at the Netto across the street for more spicy mini sausages) we start driving up the mountain to the east of town. Our destination is a small town at the end of a fjord on the other side of the mountains. The view to the west is amazing. To the east the mountain levels off and we are in a the high heath with patches of snow around the road. Then clouds creep in. Pretty soon we are in thick pea soup. We are descending through god knows what. The road is narrow with occasional guard rails. I think there is water on either side, or steep drop offs. We crawl down the road practically feeling our way. As we descend we finally get below the cloud bank and we see a green valley with a stream running through it and waterfalls along the way. We are in Seydisfjordur, our destination for the night.

Seydisfjordur is a lovely little town of 700 people. It is at the end of a fjord with steep mountains on either side that should be towering above the town but are completely hidden by a think bank of clouds close enough to touch from the upstairs window of our Airbnb. This evening the town is bursting at its seams with young people. Cars are parked in every possible spot and tents are pitched in front and back yards. Hundreds of people have descended into town for the LungA 2022 art festival. There are panels and performances and live music and kids wandering around with pillows and picnics. There is a pub right at the entrance to town and everyone is stopping by to drink a beer. The lone Lögreglan (cop) drives by slowly every few minutes. This is where having to plan and reserve things suck. We’d have stuck around for a few days and enjoyed Seydisfjordur but tomorrow at noon we are going to climb a glacier 400 km away. So we walk around and take some pictures in front of the powder blue church with the pride-painted path. Jo does three loads of laundry (really). And we get to bed for an early start tomorrow.

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