Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ice

Well we have spent 5 days 24/7 living together in a camper van often hours on end waiting for the rain to quit and talking pretty much only to each other; I say that it is a good sign we are still liking each other's company! Ray is doing a great job driving our home on wheels, one lane bridges, dodging potholes on gravel roads, and what Icelanders refer to as "suicide sheep".

The weather no longer overwhelms us and I know by the end of the week, we won't even be talking about it. I've figured out, 90% chance of rain means 10% of the day will not be raining! 

According to the guidebooks, just past the suspension bridge is Jokulsarlon, the largest glacial lagoon formed from melting glacier Vatnajokull and one of the most photographed sites. We decide to explore a road before that, marked Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon - Glacial Boat Rides, and walk a path with a smattering of people. To our surprise, it leads to a gorgeous small lagoon with icebergs of all shapes and colors. The water is crystal blue and calm, translucent crystal sculptures float close to shore, medium ones with pointed tips skim the surface like boats, and huge ones with undulating shapes stand like fortresses. Beyond the lagoon is the broad ice field, its crevasses like black wrinkles. We stay a few hours taking numerous photos until the winds and drizzle break the mirror surface. 

The "tourist" lagoon is just that, a huge parking lot with cafe, tour buses and cars. Large groups of people are on the little hill overlooking a large lagoon. The icebergs ressemble bumper cars that have all run in to each other! We are happy we had our secluded glacial experience.

The rest of the drive to Hofn meanders along the coastal spit, inland toward other tongues of the glacier, and back out again. Tourist traffic is greatly reduced now.  The expansiveness of pristine landscape is unlike that of anything I have ever seen and I lack the words to describe it and know my photographs won't do it justice.  Its natural beauty and vast variability every direction you turn, is an incredible visual feast. The fragility of the space  is also evident despite the extreme weather challenges of life here and no where else is the threat of climate change so obvious. I fear the wave of change that comes with each new hotel, one more tour bus, cruise liners, and the world adventuring beyond the boundaries of Reykjavik. 

Hofn, a harbor fishing town, is the largest "city" east and about 300 miles from Rejkjavik, and consists of a few residential streets, one discount grocery/sundries store (the size of a small Trader Joe), a few hotels and restaurants. I see kids on bikes and assume there is a school. We buy food for the next 3 days-produce looks great; some meat is unidentifiable (maybe horse meat?). Tripadvisor leads us to a great restaurant Pakkhus and we start with langoustine (lobster tail) bisque and local smoked trout, then each order a plate of grilled langoustines, about a dozen - so fresh and delicious! What a great ending to the day. We walk along the harbor where an enormous trawler has come in with its catch and small tractors scurry back and forth with tall stacks of cardboard crates.  Our campground tonight is another grassy field just outside of town. 
Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon



Icelandic horses



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