#ICELAND 3. INTO THE WILD [Seydisfjordur. Hofn]
213 km getting into the wildest part of Iceland, the extreme east. We finish our journey in a very relaxing way. Find how by reading this!
We woke up in Marina Guesthouse de Seydisfjordur, a crappy hostel (as I wrote before) located in an area of scrapping ships. Furthermore, although Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, we didn’t like the idea about being completely alone in that place so separated. But all that was put away when we opened the window and discovered how the day looked like: under a thick permanent cloud layer that covered everything and all the mountains that surrounded us were fulfilled of small waterfalls. It seemed as the land was going to explode because of the huge amount of water inside.
With not much more than 600 inhabitants and stuck in the extreme east, Seydisfjordur serves as connection port to Norway and Faeroe Islands. It is a tiny town, but with great charm. I loved walking its streets and to notice the calmed Icelandic rhythm of life. People seemed so relaxed. We learned that most of the people share their job and family with their country life, almost everyone has a piece of land where growing or breeding animals and a country house to maintain. Moreover, it caught my eye that banks have strange working hours: they open only at noon, not in the morning, nor in the evening. We also had the opportunity to watch the town’s school, and to think about the Icelandic education. The town’s park was the courtyard of the school, or at least the pupils were there, and the teacher keeping an eye on them.
We had a hot chocolate for breakfast at Aldan Hotel, just in the center of town, and then we visited the charming blueish church and other buildings that we tried to discover what they were: music school, cafes, shops… because as seen from outside, they all are quite similar.
We had to go back to Eggilstadir to retake the Ring Road, and from there, continue to the South. Our way showed us the wonders that we couldn’t see the previous day, as it was night. Uncountable waterfalls swapped with places with ice and little rivers. The mountainous road entered the thick cloud layer and we only were able to see few meters ahead of us.
Already on the Ring Road heading to Hofn, we were crossing into the unpaved part of the road. In fact, we drove quite a while behind a tractor paving the road.
This section of the road goes into the interior, crossing valleys and mountains, so we didn’t visit any town. Little villages are located in the coast, and several ground paths go down to them. Landscape in all this part of the road is spectacular, and even more without traffic, no houses, nobody. It was like contemplating a newly formed land. The green carpet seemed to be very fluffy and deep. My brother and I pulled out a piece of moss and it was very long!
We finally got to see the South coast of Iceland, where the Atlantic Ocean strongly hits the abrupt land creating amazing black beaches. The road passes among cliffs between the mountains and the sea. Along the shore you can see rocky formations that have resisted the sea onslaught, witness of their toughness.
It was late noon when we arrived at Hofn, and we immediately had lunch because we were very hungry (we didn’t see anywhere in our way to stop or buy). This town, with 2400 inhabitants, is the main spot to prepare visits to Jokulsarlon or Vatnajokull glacier. The town itself doesn’t count on attractions but to call itself the lobster town of Iceland, but it is an almost necessary stop (it is far away from Vik on the west as much as Eggilstadir on the northeast). In the port of Hofn we went to a little restaurant where my father tasted lobster soup. It was a big bread without crumb and inside there was the lobster soup.
As the town wasn’t very interesting, we went relaxing in a pool in front of the Hoffellsjokull glacier. Vatnajokull glacier, the biggest in Europe, is divided into several little glaciers named according to the area, and this was the nearest from Hofn. We had been told that near here, there was a small wooden house with little pools whose water was heated thanks to the geothermic energy. So we managed to get there, and it was delicious that despite the cold, we had a pleasant bath time just in front of a glacier’s tongue of stunning beauty. What is more, water was so hot (really hot) that I had to get out frequently to take fresh air!
In the evening, we visited the port of Hofn. We checked that it was an industrial port, with shipyards and several factories of fish products.
That night we slept in the farm-hostel Hafnarnes, in the surroundings of Hofn. I strongly recommend it: it is in the outskirts but it has a parcel with horses, room is spacious and staff is very friendly.
Next day it was the time to (maybe) one of the best experiences in Iceland: Jokulsarlon. Read it here!