Saturday, August 1, 2009

Drangsnes –-> Hveravellir

Photos: (1-3) Scenes near Hvammstangi; (4) Blöndulón on the Kjölur route; (5) Emergency shelter on Kjölur; (6) Hot springs in Hveravellir

The weather is grey when we finally leave Drangsnes behind. At Hólmavík we want to get some cash but the machine swallows Ernesto’s card. Oh no! The bank is closed for the holiday weekend, so we go to the tourist information center and they are happy to help. The lady calls a bank employee who meets us at the bank. She simply brings out the card and gives it to us, no questions asked. This would be so much more complicated in Germany and it’s one example of the simplicity in Iceland that I truly adore.

It’s rainy and cold so we just drive nonstop south on road #61. At the intersection of the Ring Road #1, there’s a large gas station and we decide that we’re quite sick of lamb and would like some fast food. After having coffee first, we order cheeseburgers (made of lamb of course) and fries with that great cocktail sauce. Before we leave, we use the cash machine (that thankfully works) and pick up a few brochures from the area.

Before heading onto the highlands on the Kjölur route, we stop in Hvammstangi at the seal museum, then head north on road #711 to look for seals and actually do see quite a few. They’re so far away though that it’s difficult to get a good picture without using a tripod. We continue all the way around road #711 before getting back on the Ring Road for a short time. In Blönduós, we get gas and coffee, and even wash the car before heading into the highlands. The car was so dirty that I hated even touching the door handle.

By now the weather is clearing up and our mood along with it. Driving along road #35, I just have to grin. I’m in the highlands again, and for some reason I just feel at home here. The West Fjords were beautiful, and interesting – but this is home. It’s a feeling of familiarity and belonging and it’s tempting to just get out of the car and walk, and walk, and walk. Near Hveravellir, there’s a gate across the road put up by the Chief Veterinary Office – maybe they’re trying to keep the sheep out. The trip goes fast, the road is in pretty good shape, and we finally arrive in Hveravellir at 8 pm. The same lady warden is there, and she hasn’t learned any manners in the past two weeks – she’s as rude as ever. After a light meal, we jump in the hotpot and boy is it hot today. In fact it’s scalding, so someone moves the pipe to direct the hot water away from the pool for a while.