Monday, August 29, 2016

Fjords

Our journey takes us northward from Hofn through the Lon glacial river valley, 
a 30km wide estuary framed by granite spikes on the west. Long sandbars across the mouth of the long bays have silted it into lagoons, home to assorted bird life. Puffy white clouds reflect off the calm blue waters and this calm scene rolls on for miles and miles. 

We enter the eastern fjords. Since our GoCamper agent had advised not driving Route 1 (not as well paved) but to traverse the coastline of 4 long fingers, in and out of beautiful bays. Unlike New Zealand and Norway, where the roads run high above the fjords, here the road hugs the coastline at sea level and at times rises above wild and rugged rocky points of the Atlantic. On the left are tall cliffs with eroding black sandy hillsides, multicolored in the mid day light. The views are jaw droppingly beautiful. We see very few cars and often wonder if GoCamper was right in sending us this way. 

Heading into one of the longer bays, the road is no longer paved and we bump our way along past Faskruðsfjörður, a fishing village with a large frozen fish processing plant at its shore. We relish the clear skies and sunshine of the day. 

As we head into the last of the bays, I come across a write up about Reyðarfjörður, the town at end of this bay, which has succumbed to the world's demand for aluminum and built a huge smelter there. This was the center of Iceland's biggest environmental row in 2004. Apparently aluminum processing is energy intensive and foreign companies are attracted to Iceland's renewable energy sources to power their smelters. In 2093, the government approved the building of a dam, a huge construction project on the northeast edge of the big Vatnajokull glacier which provides power for this American smelter we see! Shame, shame! 

At Egilsstaðir, we decide not to stay but to forge on to Lake Myvatn, a couple of hours away. We are now fairly far north and drive due west to the geothermal area of the island. The landscape starts out as grassland with the Jokulsa runoff carving a gorge through the rocks, then turning into a moonscape of black pumice. Waterfalls meander down the surrounding cliff sides everywhere you look. 

We end the drive at Volgas Cowshed Cafe, truly a cowshed to delight diners, the most wonderful lamb shanks, Arctic char and geyser bread(baked in a hole in the ground). Geyser bread ice cream and fresh cream made onsite from the farm's own cows. 

Tonight is quite cold and we will be hiding in our sleeping bags. Ray is exploring the possibility of fishing the Laxa river on Wed. Stay tuned..,








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