Iceland Day 10

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August 5th 2014
Published: August 5th 2014
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Today was a quiet day today after spending yesterday on the road. We visited Höfn this morning, a fishing village with about a population of under 1,700. Apparently this is the largest settlement in the area and it has shops, two banks and numerous hotels and places to eat but it is still smaller than the village where we live. But the civic pride was obvious: it was very well kept with lots to see, beautiful views and flower planters everywhere, which is quite rare in Iceland.

We then went further round the coast to take the old route 1 road before they tunnelled through the mountain where the road now runs. The old road is steep, narrow and carved into the rock face, which is mainly loose screed and has a sheer drop on one side. This happened to be on Meg’s side of the car and I think as far she was concerned it is equivalent to the death road in Bolivia. Needless to say we made it but we came down a different way. In fact I think the part we came up is supposed to be closed except for traffic to the quarry half way up. You can see why they dug the tunnel: we are here in midsummer I would not want to try it in winter or bad weather.

We also called in to the Stokksnes peninsula which juts out into the Icelandic sea forming part of the natural harbour for Höfn. It is known for its wildlife, particularly seals but as with a lot of this trip they weren’t at home. We managed to get some pictures of the local bird life though before visiting a partially built and run down set of a Viking village that is apparently going to be used in a film in 2016 but I suspect they have run out of money I guess time will tell.

On the way to our hotel this evening we drove up to one of the glaciers, and whilst on the drive up to it, you wondered what the fuss is about as it did not look much but once we crested the rise the view was magnificent and well worth the detour. Only then can you see the glacial lake with chunks of ice floating in it. The glacier has apparently been retreating since 1890; prior to this the ice was regularly harvested for the fishing industry in Höfn. Rob got right up close and was surprised to find that instead of hard-packed ice, the glacial floes were like crystals that you can easily pick off.

Tonight we are staying at a hotel close to the glacial lake of Jökulársón, which we plan to visit tomorrow.

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