Good morning everyone! Our fourth day in Iceland was another belter, with a leisurely start to our morning followed by a trip to the wilderness, a Bonus stop for some of our favourite goodies, an alluring drive to Seydisfjordur before settling down to a night with the penguins. Iceland is slowly taking us through the process of eutierria! Let’s talk you through our day….
We woke up bitterly cold in our rented wagon, after having a rough nights sleep. Travelling on a budget sometimes has its limitations, like a refusal to shower! After talking with the receptionist the night before however, we were happy to make a morning of going to the local swimming pool and having a shower there. This would be one of our mini recommendations! Hot tubs and swimming has been Icelandic tradition since its settlement and today there are more than 120 in operation, with virtually all being geothermal. They bring a sense of community and more importantly, warmth! The one in Hofn was great, coming with everything you’d want. 3 different heated hot tubs, a decent sized swimming pool, 3 slides and of course… an ice bath! Stepping in that bad boy might have been my most chilling experience of the trip!
After turning our skin to raisins by exhausting the facilities, we left after two hours and headed Lagarfljót Lake, located in close proximity to Egilsstaðir. This was our first experience of the infamous dirt roads and tested my rally driving. Fortunately, plenty of years playing Colin McCrae as a child came in handy! Always give space to drivers around though and be respectful throughout. We were fortunate to be joined by a local farm of horses at the side of the road, where pig embraced her animalistic side and made some new friends! They didn’t particularly enjoy apple though…. (see more photos here)
The lake is 1.6 miles wide and at its deepest, 387 feet deep. It’s infamy arose from the Lagarfljótsormurinn, the Lagarfljót serpent, which was first spotted in the 1400’s, apparently…. Most recent sighting came in 2012 by a local farmer, which got worldwide coverage. Watch the video here!
The next stop on our itinerary was right next door. The Hallormsstaðaskógur National Forest is Iceland’s largest forest, being preserved since the early 1900’s. We didn’t spend much time here as we had quite the drive but we pulled up at the side of the road and hiked for twenty minutes through the lush
greenery brownery. If you were to fully explore the area, you may stumble across the likes of Ljósárfoss (waterfall) and Atlavík cove, although I doubt Ringo Starr would be attending like he did many moons ago!
Job done, we took a 45 minute drive to Egilsstaðir, the largest town in the east. So this is where we’re staying, right? You would be wrong! Carefully researching Iceland, we knew there was a huge Bonus Supermarket here and went to stock up for the remainder of the week. More Skyr? Sure! Bonus also seemed to be the cheapest place to get petrol along our travels, so we got that topped up as well! We didn’t spend any time here so don’t really have anything other to report, other than the checkout clerks really aren’t the friendliest bunch!
We had quite a bit of time left in the day & a full tank in the whip so took the picturesque drive to Seydisfjordur. This fjord has been sculpted by ice age glaciers and takes a lot of its heritage from Norwegian Viking settlers. It’s home to approximately 700 people who live off the fishing industry. There’s plenty of lovely restaurants and hiking trails in the vicinity, for people not trying to cram a whole country into a week! We spent an hour or so walking around, taking snaps, before heading off to find the campsite in Borgarfjordur Eystri.
This final leg of our journey took us down route 94, past the infamous isolated vending machine. Nestled some way between Eiðar and Egilsstaðir lies a mysterious green shack with all your favourites; twix, mars, the usual suspects! We opted for Rolo’s after noticing there was one lurking at the edge of its metal cliff and to be brutally honest, the little rolls of chocolatey goodness fell with a gentle shake to the vendor! There’s a neat check in book that you can sign to say I’VE BEEN HERE! This road is partially gravel as well but that’s not the only thing that may slow you down. Wild horses had a little trot down this road, leaving us gazing at their beautiful aura whilst slowly getting tireder. Not a bad way to be held up though, right?
At 8:15, we arrived at base camp (how dramatic!). It was 1100 Kr plus 111 Kr for tax to stay here. It was minimalistic, simplistic but was a place to stay and pretty much to ourselves, except for another German couple. How grateful we were that they were there though. They gave us the heads up that the best time to see puffins is first thing or later on in the evening. After demolishing our standard lentils, brown rice & sardine combo, we drove a few km’s out of town to the local puffin spot, more so in hope than expectation. 10:30 we arrived & there they were. These tiny, beautiful, sea parrots were everywhere. The majority were in pairs, looking after their spouse’s, or in big groups, possibly talking about what they caught today!
All in all, another successful day around Iceland and arguably seeing the puffins were the major highlight. Bed time x