With such a clear sky and no clouds, it’s always quite cold in the tent at night, but by 6am the sun is shining down, warming everything up and by 7am it’s unbearably hot inside, despite stripping away the layers and opening my sleeping bag. I crawl out for a shower and a few cups of free coffee. No breakfast today. I want to get in a good hike before the bus picks me up at 2.
This morning I head out for the old road behind the cemetery and take along my wading shoes and a towel so I can cross that river. It’s cold and just above my ankles, but the hot sun dries my feet in no time at all. Even after the river, traces of an old road or trail are long visible. It climbs a bit into the mountain after turning towards the sea, passing some old ruins again, and when I reach the sandy coast there’s a fantastic view. Off to the right is a sort of obelisk that I closely inspect before turning back. There might have been an inscription one day, but it’s weather-beaten now.
The beach here offers a lot of goodies to look at – first of all, so many different animal footprints! Bird prints of all shapes and sizes, fox prints and who knows what all else. Just no humans. There are also all kinds of bones, including a fox skull with teeth (which will later adorn my kitchen window sill), driftwood and various other items that have washed up onto shore.
I finish the circuit by hiking back along the beach. All in all, 6km this morning and I’m back by 11 to tear down camp. The friendly German mother and daughter team invite me for a cup of tea, which I gladly accept. The midday sun is warm and it’s nice to sit outside and chat. But I’m hungry now and grab a quick burger in the cafe. Afterwards I just wait in the sun for the bus, while watching with amusement how two Icelandic girls try fishing their credit card out from under the steps that they dropped there. I was able to witness their success before climbing on board.
|Dagmar & Laura|
It’s a different bus driver, plus one Italian girl and a Danish couple as passengers. The Danish woman had a biking accident on these roads yesterday. She took a fall and needed stitches in her arm. Even something simple like that is a major action in these remote parts, and anything more than that would require evacuation to Reykjavík by helicopter since the tiny hospital in Patreksfjörður just isn’t equipped and staffed to handle anything more. I count my lucky stars than nothing happened to me out there alone, since my cell phone didn’t even have reception in that area to call for help. But I am aware of these dangers and as responsible as can be, and take the necessary precautions. You just can’t stop living life to the fullest worrying about what might possibly all happen. After all, my life motto is: I don’t do “what ifs”.
|Museum at Hnjótur|
We stop at Látrabjarg for a good hour, and although it’s my third time here in the last four days it’s not one bit boring. My new German friends are there too and it’s fun to share the excitement with them. The puffins are photogenic as ever and the time is over way too quickly. The poor Danish couple also wants to stay longer. The wife makes it to the bus on time but her husband comes jogging along all sweaty about 10 minutes later. He just couldn’t tear himself away from those cute little birds. But it’s time to go. We drop off the Danes in Hnjótur and take a 20 minute break, just time for a piece of apple cake and a quick look around outside. There’s no time to go into the museum, which I really would like to do one day. In Patreksfjörður we have another 20 minute wait and the Italian girl and I continue on to Brjánslækur, where we switch drivers and busses. But during the wait, I start chatting with the bus driver’s wife Þóra, who doesn’t speak a lick of English and comes from Ísafjörður, living on my same street just down the block. She’s a really friendly, jovial lady and I get many hugs and kisses from her and we exchange numbers and agree to meet soon for coffee.
We’ve picked up 4 more passengers in Brjánslækur and the rest of the ride is uneventful although beautiful. I’m really tired and struggle to keep my eyes open because the scenery is so fantastic and the mixture of sun and interesting clouds so pretty. At Dynjandi we only have 15 minutes, and in Þingeyri there’s time to grab a sandwich at the gas station, and it’s almost 10pm before we finally roll into Ísafjörður. I’m exhausted and look forward to my own bed.