Monday, July 6, 2015

Reykjavik to Stykkishólmur

I've given up on creating fancy names. It's just too much work. And I'm tired.

The day started off gloriously with free breakfast at Hotel Fron, our home in Reykjavik. Nothing beats fresh muesli and Skyr (Icelandic yogourt). Except when you forget that the white yogourt in Iceland usually isn't french vanilla. Yack. Oh well. Fixed that real quick by mixing it with copious amounts of blueberry jam.

We then got picked up by our rental car company (nope, not Enterprise!). Holy slap me silly with a puffin are rental cars ever expensive in Iceland. We paid for the car itself as part of our tour package. But it is highly advised to get gravel and sand protection, as wind storms come up out of nowhere, especially in the remote areas. I read too many horror stories to not consider doing it. But it cost like $45 a day. Frick.

Oh well. Into the wilderness we march! Or not... because Sarah saw a giant shopping mall. Into the shopping mall we march! After purchasing some new shoes, which in fairness she really needed, we were finally on our way.

And let me tell you, I've never seen anything quite like what I saw today.

This is the route we took. All in all it was around 350 km. But it would be like doing 350 km on roads not unlike the Icefields Parkway. In fact, the whole drive reminded me a lot of the Icefields Parkway. It took us from 10:00 until 18:00 to get to our destination. 8 hours to cover 350 km. Why you ask?

Well, if you look at the pictures on Facebook in the "Iceland July 6" album, or here on Google Drive, you will understand why it took us so long. Every corner you came around there was some other incredible sight to see. But before I get to that, let me tell you about the sheep.

Oh the sheep. The little buggers are EVERYWHERE. And they just roam freely all over the countryside. At one point I almost soiled myself because I suddenly noticed that the lump next to one of the roadside markers was a little lamb all snuggled up having a nap. Later when we were hiking to one sight, I heard a semi driver just blasting away on his horn. When I looked back to see what was going on, I saw that about 20 sheep were crossing the road and taking their sweet time. He was trying to inform them that this was not leisure time and they needed to get their act together. Later, us and three other cars had to stop dead on the highway for a big ram who just stood in the middle of the highway like he owned the place. They are hilarious.

The roads aren't bad. They are all paved. But they are remarkably narrow. Enough so that I was white knuckling it every time I came upon another vehicle.

It was worth it though. We saw so many beautiful sights I can't even describe. From the waterfalls, to the craters, the canyons, rapidly flowing meltwater rivers, climbing up a steep embankment just to see if I can get where the sheep are, cliffs teeming with birds, and a highway so full of birds that there is actually a road sign warning you of the risk of pegging one off with your car. And then there were the adorable seaside towns, the bridges over the fjords barging their way inland, and the outstanding meal we had at a surprisingly gourmet restaurant in a town of 1100 people.

It was a long day, and we did more hiking than I think I've ever done in 24 hours. Some of the sights were quite a way off the road, so you had to hike to them. And some just had to be climbed, like the ancient volcano that made a beautiful crater, and the trail next to the canyon, where the sheep were hiding, just challenging me to climb up to them.

It was incredible, and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

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