Saturday, July 4, 2009

The road to Hell-a

Photos: (1) View from the beach at Dyrhólaey; (2) Puffins on the cliff on Dyrhólaey beach. (Photos: Aug. 2008)

The bus schedules are extremely poor this year. The busses arriving at connecting routes into the highlands do not arrive on time, meaning that an entire day is wasted in less-than-exciting places like Selfoss or Hella waiting for the bus. I asked about this at the bus station in Reykjavík and was told that Trex and Reykjavik Excursions have joined forces and are basically one and the same now as far as their schedules go. Last year they used to run at slightly different times, enabling more variable connections. So although we would like to be in the highlands already this afternoon, we’re doomed to spend the evening in Hella. So there’s no hurry this morning when the bleating sheep finally wake me out of my warm bed. The wind is strong this morning and it’s rainy – typical for this area. After breakfast, we take a short trip to the beach at Dyrhólaey. While most people race to the top to scout out puffins, I often prefer the beach. There’s usually a small group of puffins there too, and on good puffin-watching days the cliffs along the beach are full with the comical critters as well. We return in time for lunch and still have time for a short walk before we begin to pack our things together. We can’t miss the afternoon ritual of cookies and coffee either, and as we were munching and slurping away, the sun came out and the wind died down, signaling a brighter afternoon. The bus arrives at 3:30 and we just flag it down on the roadside. It’s a warm evening at Hella, 18°C (65°F) when we arrive and walk to the campsite Árhús (ISK 700 per tent/person, free showers). We find a nice spot for the tents facing the bushes before heading off for a bite to eat at the gas station. Unfortunately the swimming pool closed at 7, so we spend the evening lounging around the tents in the sun.