Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Perfect picnic and fabulous fjord

Day 3

After a leisurely breakfast, we set off towards the east coast (dashing to the car to avoid millions of midges). We paused to take pictures of the Pseudo-Craters at the south of Lake Myvatn and stopped briefly again at the volcanic sulphur pools, for some extra photos.

The journey to Eglastidur was long but with stunning scenery, strange rock formations, rivers and grasses ranging in colour from the usual green, through golden to deep red. On reaching this small but significant town, we found we agreed with the guide book that it is rather dull, particularly in terms of architecture but is important as a crossroads for a number of Iceland’s ‘main’ roads.

We took a fabulous drive around lake Lagarflot, Iceland’s answer to Loch Ness. It is about 28 kilometres long, very deep and has its own serpent like monster. Unlike Loch Ness there is not a souvenir shop in sight! In fact the road around the lake is remarkable for its lack of traffic.

We stopped by waterfalls, wonderful rocks and found a perfect field for a picnic. On long, green and dry grass we sat under a perfect blue sky – snow sprinkled mountains in the distance, the National Forest across the smooth lake and total silence. This blanket of peace was only broken by the occasional bird call or buzz of a lazy fly.

After returning to Eg we booked into our hotel – nice and modern but, criminally, it does not have tea and coffee making facilities in the room – this is a great sin in my book, Sandy doesn’t seem so bothered!

We then took a drive up into the mountains and towards the coast. This is an area of Fjords and we visited Seydisfjordur, a town at the head of one of the Fjords where huge cruise ships and ferries visit. No ships today – it’s change over day tomorrow, so will be busy. The town (population 1,600!) is a pretty place which has retained some of the traditional Nordic architecture which most of Iceland has abandoned for cheap and practical pre-fabs. The water in the Fjord was beautifully clear and the air was crisp and delicious. We ventured into a couple of handicraft shops and are not ever so excited by the local crafts – expensive and not particularly nice. We are looking forward to Reykjavik next week for some wider choice in this area.

As we sat in a small and pretty restaurant overlooking the harbour, a sea mist began to creep towards us along the Fjord. It was beautiful and eerie and created a lovely atmosphere. As we drove back up over the mountain road, we left the mist behind and climbed into bright sunshine – quite magical.

Tomorrow we will drive the road that hugs the fjords – might be a bit nail-biting in places but the views will be worth it.

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