Monday, August 3, 2009

Kerlingarfjöll --> Grindavík

Photos: (1) Somewhere between Kerlingarfjöll and Grindavík; (2-3) Krýsuvík; (4) Kleifarvatn

It’s chilly this morning when we leave Kerlingarfjöll, but by the time we reach Gullfoss, it’s a warm 12° and mostly sunny. The clouds are fluffy and very low in the sky. It’s quite a shock to be around so many people. Geysir is worse yet, and we only stay a few minutes. Someone should move these attractions to downtown Reykjavík; here on the edge of the highlands, the stark contrast between tourist magnet and vast nothingness is just to great for a sane mind to comprehend. We continue further south, past Selfoss on road #34, and the further south we get, the warmer the weather becomes. We stop for some pictures at the beach just past Eyrarbakki where the new restaurant Hafið Bláa opened about two years ago. Kids are swimming happily in the ocean, though the wind is wild and strong. The restaurant overlooks the ocean and I bet it’s great there in the winter or in a storm. Back in the car, the road soon turns to gravel as we head towards Krýsuvík. Shortly before Krýsuvík, we stop at the bubbling mud pots. Krýsuvík itself is bit crowded as well, and unfortunately many people ignore the designated walking areas and trample on the delicate landscape to get the perfect picture. We continue on a bit to Kleifarvatn before turning around and heading to Grindavík.

I first drove through Grindavík in 2001 and again in 2004. It was a sleepy little fishing town with dilapidated houses. I barely recognize it today as we drive through. It seems like it’s expanded to ten times its old size. There are new residential districts, and a new campsite with good facilities – but no shower. I wonder if the town is expanding due to the increased amount of tourism at the Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon is changing fast too – I already noticed last winter that the entrance fee has more than doubled to ISK 4000 per person, and there are no more free little packets of lotion. Drinks are now served at a bar on the catwalk outside – I feel like I’m in the Bahamas. My civilization shock is now complete, and I’m getting ready to go home.