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      ICELAND           DIARY  4


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Diary  1  2  3  4  5

 From the north-eastern in Diary 3, I now enters the south.
Only 450 kilometres to drive, but six sights to see. At 6;30, the car and tea-mug is filled, the windshield cleaned and the sun is up. Another early start in yet another perfect summer's day. My first sight is a road, but the 100 kilometres to get to it, turns out to be an absolutely gorgeous tour. The sun in my back, through wild mountains and fertile meadows. In average, I make one picture each kilometre.

The first little bit op north is sealed, but then I turn east on 919/95/939, and it is a smooth gravelroad. I try not to stop too many times, but it is hard: Waterfalls, scenery, roughed mountains, mirror lakes and in the far distance; white mountains. I pass 500 metres, but it remains fairly green and lush.

Then the road descents, and it get real wild. It feels so remote - which it is. I see no cars for hundreds of kilometres this morning. Eventually, I make it to a fjord, slightly covered in mist, but it soon clears. Without any warning, some large reindeer grasses right next to the road. Imported way back, but still fascinating creatures.

I make it out to the Ring-road, and begin the planned sightseeing between Djúpivogur and Höfn. However, compared to the previous route, it start out a bit dull. Well,  know, I am spoiled by now. But that won't keep me from making way too many photos, although not one for each kilometre. And they end up looking quite alike in the end.

Here are conifers and huge meadows, some with horses. Then the road is forced out to the beach by some enormous gravel mountains. One bay have thousands of Whooper swan; Cygnus cygnus. On land, the most numerous plant is within a doubt the invasive Lupine - grass close bye. The mountains smoothen out, without loosing the size. They are now covered in grass to the top.

I reach the Black Beach and Stokkesnes Viking Village, and give it a try. It is located way out in a meadow, next to the sea. The wind is a bit harsh, and the clouds keep covering the village - exactly. The mountains right behind is covered in sun. The trail pass a creek, filled with plants, covered in iron-oxide. I had expected something a bit alive, but it is more likely and old, dead movie-set. Quite some work have gone into it once, but not recently.

A but further out the peninsula, some black sand is drifting. A couple of Japanese have managed to get their car stuck in the biggest dune, and I give them a hand. The black sand is almost like powder. I get close to some Eurasian Oystercatcher; Haematopus ostralegus, but fail to spot any of the promised seals.

Out on the Ring-road, I make it to Höfn, and make a loop on the peninsular it is found on.  With the exception of some mean monster-trucks, I fail to find anything remotely interesting here. Back on track, I drive through even more mountains & meadows.

Then I reach the area with huge glaziers, I saw on in-flight. I am aiming for Jökulsárlón and its blue ice. A 4*4 road leads down to one of the larger glaziers; Hoffellsjökull, and I give it a try. But after some kilometres, I have to give in. The road is a W, mend for tractors and monster-trucks I guess. Well, I see the huge area, covered in lichen and a few new plants.

The road meets the black-sand-beach, but I don't feel like walking it. Then I reach a huge river, and here, the blue ice drift to sea. It is like nothing else, I have ever seen! It is truly blue! Some are transparent, others still whitish. Actually, the water they are drifting on is blue too. It feels strange to stand here in a T-shirt, not freezing - not even me! I make way too many photos, and when I finally stop, a seal turns up. And then I spot some Marimo Balls, Cladophora aegagropila.

Here are so many glaziers, but I only stop at one other; Fjallsárlón. But the next planned sight is the old, wooden church of Hof. It is in a three town village, and look so cosy, like a facade on a little grass-covered mount. It is surprisingly big inside.
Next sight is another stretch of road, or the land along it: The Snadar. But it is flat - real flat! Some areas are fine gravel, some are covered in lichen. And mist, as it is close to the sea. I don't get the attraction by the Skeidarársandur.

I head a bit back to Skaftafel National Park, which is a bit of a circus. You pay to park, here are a huge and well used camping area, restaurants and alike. I first follow the path to the glazier; Skaftafellsjökull, but it fail to amuse me. I find a few interesting plants along the path. Then I head up to Svartifoss, another waterfall. I fail to understand, why so many people are gathered here!

Time to find my hotel. It is located five kilometres out a private gravelroad, and despite it in un-manned, a real luxurious place. The view from my terrace is fantastic, and a mount of waffles welcomes me. I cook and eat out, but retire indoor to work. More than 500 photos indicate: It have been a great day. Photos in Day 9.

9. The day start with a headache, and then it turns worse. Well, the old farm I'm staying on is real nice, and they have preserved some of the old buildings, while the rest is real modern.

I head out through the long driveway, surrounded by lichen overgrown lava. Then I drive between the sea and the steep table-mountains, on a fertile plain. Mirror ponds, farms and horses make some great motives, although the lack of light do impact.

I pass the little settlement of Kirkjubćjarklaustur, and gas the car, just because I can. Then Fjađrárgljúfur turn up; a deep canyon with some dramatic lava formations along. I do some of the trail, but the cold and lack of light make me turn around.

My next sight was Landmannalaugar, but it turns out to be either of the real rough, 4*4 only F208, of a 250 kilometre de-tour. I might see it from the other side, one of these days. That kind of included my plan for the day, and it is only eight in the morning! I figure I re-group at the hostel in Vik.

It is pass a huge plain, consisting of mainly lichen or lupines, as fare as one can see. Vik is yet one of these dull towns, with only a few modern shops, a gas station and some scattered homes. I find the hostel, in the fields behind the town. Real cosy, and with some dogs and a lot of hens. Their internet is down, and my re-planning is done on the GPS. Seems like one night here would be sufficient, but without internet, I can't rebook.

I head right outside town to see the basalt columns at Reynisfjara beach, but decide: I don't have to do the 2*2,5 kilometre walk to see them close up. The next sight is then Sólheimajökull; a glacial tongue which turns out to have black ice. Fare from as pretty as the blue! Nor that warm.

Further down the road, I find Skógafoss, a wide, 62 meter waterfall. Here start to be some guests, but I am getting closer to Reykjavik. It is a impressive fall in some real nice settings. With some sun, it would have been great!
Pass some farms in the lush grassland, and I reach Seljalandsfoss. Despite it is only 60 metres, the area is real crowded, and parking is not for free. I refuses to pay €5 to park, and make a few photos from the parking-lot. I actually think they are better, than close up in the crowd.

Then it is time for yet another fall, this time Gluggafoss. I have it to myself, except the sun finally joins in. It real pretty, consisting of several falls, one of them found within the bedrock. I make quite some photos, but then the camera fails: The lens won't retract. Bit of a bummer, as I have no spare, but the iPhone.

I head back to the hostel and try to take it apart, but the last of seven screws are to tight for my little screwdriver. I try violence, and then it defiantly won't work no more. Well, I have 4-5 more of the same model - at home. It have turned four, and I call it a day.

While the eastern part of Iceland get 20-24C, it seems like the south only can expect 12-16C, and additional some rain. Well, I can't complain so far! I think it have been warmer than Denmark some days. I spend part of the evening, making the interior of the car NOT look like endless F-roads. Photos; Day 10.

10. Bid decision: Drive at seven, or wait for breakfast at eight? Seven it is! It is after all a long drive today. I head west, and pretty soon pick-up an Israeli guy, on his way to Reykjavik. Well, I can offer the first 100 kilometres, but Karma bites me, as always, and while we chat, I pass a speed camera in Hella - to fast. The day after, I realizes; my trusted - but not used - raincoat left with his big back-pack from the backseat. Pity, I have travelled with it in 60-70 countries, hardly ever used it.

The sun soon chase the last morning-mist away, and the temperature slowly reach 21C. I turn inland, and reach Hjálparfoss, an azure fall over twisted basalt columns. I try to capture it with my iPhone, but it is not a proper camera for sure. But the motives are great, and I really enjoy the sight - all by my self.  I do a loop in the area, but forces me self to head on.

Next stop is the excavated farm Stöng from 1104. A new building covers it, and her is not that much to see, except some rocks and new turf. It is quite a walk to it, and I spot some new plants, one is the juniper.
Close bye - but a long walk of an 4*4 only road, which I easily could have driven, I reach Gjáin. And it is so beautiful! Steep basalt cliffs, blue river, green plants, fantastic summer sky and plentiful flowers. Way out in the back, a waterfall feed the area, and some cascades are in the middle of the valley.

The area is teaming with contract-seeking black flies and numerous mosquitoes, but none bites. Again, I find a few new plants, and have to drag myself off. The long walk back to the car, is through an almost barren area, but here are pumice, an almost white  volcanic rock, which floats on water. And it seems like the rain have gathered it on top of the black lava sand.

I turn into another inland road, this one leading through huge, almost flat grass fields, the more barren land. I end up at Háifoss, and the 128 meter fall is real spectacular. Unfortunately, my iPhone refuses to charge on gravelroads, it seems to discharge rather fast actually. That means, I don't get way as many photos as I wanted. Again, I have it all to my self, can't figure why? Most other tourists have 4*4, and are aloud to drive these slightly rough gravelroads.

I head further inland, and higher up. Now, it is a lunar landscape for 50 kilometres. Some areas are completely flat, others have wild lava figures. I meet a few monster-trucks on the last 15 kilometres, but are alone at the sight; Hnausapollur/Bláhylur. It is a dark blue crater-lake, but I lost the sun on the last bit, and it look rather gloomy. It is a real windy place, and not really the 25 kilometre F-road worth.

My next sight should be fantastic, but it is further out this road, and I'm not really sure, where exactly I find the coloured rhyolit (granite without crystals) in the waste Landmannalaugar area. It is two o'clock, and I have 250 kilometres home. I take it slowly down from the 700 metres height, through the lunar-like area. I find a huge boulder of rhyolit - I think, and do a walk in that area.

Several hundred metres down, I once again pass a dam and a huge, turquoise and brownish lake. Two rivers feed the area, and don't seem to mix well. Further down, a nice pond draws me in. Then another turquoise river, surrounded by lichen-overgrown lava. Then another pond have some aquatic plants and small fish.

Back in Vik, I pass the old town - around four huts, then find the beach with a view to the basalt columns in the sea. Both gas stations bounced my card, but I'm not alone. I hope they work in the morning. I only now learns, the included breakfast come with different homemade breads, waffles and everything you can put on it. Ought to try tomorrow, should I have the time. Photos in Day 11.
            It is time to start the last page: Diary 5 with the south-western Iceland and Reykjavik.

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