Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Iceland: Driving Through the East Fjords to Egilsstaðir

I drove from Jökulsárlón to Egilsstaðir, with stops in Höfn (where I got gas) and Djúpivogur (where I had lunch). Here's the route. This drive, through the East Fjords, was the most dramatic yet. I love driving on Icelandic roads! There's always either a gorgeous vista or a challenge (steep drops with no guard rail, sheep in the road, slow cars that you pass by crossing into the oncoming lane) or both, so it's never boring.

Sadly, the most beautiful things I saw were things I couldn't get pictures of, because I was driving. A herd of reindeer. After a (very!) long tunnel, an opening into a fjord at twilight with the water shining silver and the sparkling lights of a town. Also, the fjords – they're just too big and too grand for my iPhone (especially with the dreadful iOS update, have I mentioned the dreadful iOS update?).

Now that I'm in the northeast, I find the roads to be snowy and icy. They're drivable, but I don't feel like dealing with it, so here in Egilsstaðir, I'll turn in my wheels. But I do still intend to continue to Akureyri by bus, so there will be more pictures. It says in all the guidebooks that it's best to be a flexible traveler in Iceland when possible; I'm definitely finding that to be true. I'm also finding the Icelanders to be enormously helpful and kind, no matter what kind of help I need.

In case you're curious about current road conditions in Iceland, here's a link to the Vegagerðin website. Click on any section of the country for more detail on current conditions. There's also this Icelandic road conditions map; hover your mouse over one of the numbers and it will give you options to see pictures of the road surface, updated every few minutes. And as long as I'm sharing those, here's the Icelandic weather website. Click on any of the maps for a bigger view, and notice the little notch you can move below to see the forecast for the coming days.

 These sheep kept looking at me,

 then looking at their buddy,

 who kept looking at me,

 then looking back at them. That was the conversation while I was around.
Later I was told they were probably a mother and two babies.
Looking to her to say "Are we okay?" while she looked back to say "Are you okay? I'm here."

 They were the best,

 as were the landscapes around them.

 The harbor at Djúpivogur.

 Another view.

 Snowy outlook en route.

The church in Egilsstaðir.
After I took this picture, I swam in the geothermally-heated outdoor pool –
along with some school kids, whose teacher watched them from the side wearing a snowsuit.

On the way home, I saw these kids playing at recess...

minded by another teacher in a snowsuit.

 Around 4:30 PM as the sun gets low…

 looking out over Egilsstaðir, where everything turns violet.