Driving Around South East Iceland

Today was a quiet day spent driving from the south to the east coasts. I left Hofn in the rain and followed Route 1 around the south-eastern coast of Iceland.  The road would probably have been very pretty, had it been possible to see the mountains looming behind the clouds.  I took a few pictures in the breaks between rain showers.

A beach in South East Iceland – between showers

My one stop on in the morning was a cute museum in the tiny village of Stodvarfjodur, which showcased the huge number of local rocks and minerals collected by one woman – Petra Sveinsdottir. She became fascinated by mineralogy at an early age, and whenever she had free time, she would set off into the mountains to collect more samples, sometimes coming back with 40kg of rocks in her backpack.  Interesting specimens that were too large to carry had their location marked so that Petra could come back in winter with a sledge to collect them. It was an interesting museum, even if I got the impression that Petra had collected the same ten types of rocks hundreds of times.

Petra’s rock museum

The road continued to snake around the fjords of the east coast of Iceland until it headed inland to Egilstadir. Now it was even sunny!

A typical Icelandic view on the way to Egilstadir

There, I left Route 1 to head to the small town of Seydisfjordur, located at the head of a fjord on the eastern end of Iceland.  The road to get there crossed a beautiful mountain pass, before descending steeply to the bottom of the valley, with yet more waterfalls.

View from the pass travelling to Seydisfjordur
Yet another waterfall – this one is called the Gufufoss

Seydisfjordur is a small, pretty town consisting mostly of old traditional wood buildings.  It has had a long and varied history – the fjord was colonized by the Vikings in the 11th century, became a centre of the herring and whaling industries in the 19th century, and then a British and American military base during WWII.  Now that the fishing industry is gone, the town is home to many artists, and has a relaxed feel to it. 

Seydisfjordur nestles next to a lagoon, at the foot of steep mountains
The “Rainbow Street” leading to the church

I had booked a private room in a hostel, which turned out to be surprisingly good. It was located in one of the many pretty 19th century buildings.

My hostel

 I arrived in mid-afternoon and set off to explore the town. The weather had changed dramatically, and after shivering in the rain in Hofn the day before, I now stripped down to a T-shirt to enjoy sun and 20C temperatures.  I booked  a restaurant for that evening and headed back to my hotel to relax and write my blog.

That evening, it was warm enough to eat outside without a coat. The restaurant’s food was good, but the portions turned out to be tapas-sized, and I was still hungry after dinner.  Another stroll around town provided a solution to my hunger – a van called “The Fancy Sheep” serving burgers and fish ‘n chips.  I enjoyed a very good lamb burger – it was now 10pm, but it was still warm and light, so I ate outside again, admiring the valley, before heading back to my hostel for bed.

The “Fancy Sheep” (you can see me just under the window collecting my burger)

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