Today was a long day. We drove around 400 km getting from Kirkjubaejarklaustur in the south to Egilsstadir in the Eastern fjords. We didn’t arrive at our hotel tonight until 6.00 pm so it was a long day of travelling.
For the most part, the weather was relatively mild – about 14C. It was mild enough to be comfortable just wearing a light jacket. The sun was out for some if the day, otherwise we had low cloud along the mountain tops. There was little wind. Closer to Egilsstadir, and for the last 25 kms of today’s trip, it rained continuously and the temperature was then down to 8C. The weather in Iceland is very localised.
In the morning, we re-traced our way along the south coast, past the Glacier Lagoon that we visited yesterday and then on to the town of Hofn which is the largest town in the area. We managed to stop a few times to photograph some sites and at every stop, we found patches of tiny wildflowers struggling to grow in the rocks. We even found some fungi.
In Hofn, we found the little shopping centre (supermarket, pharmacy and bank) and picked up some more things for our lunches. We stood outside the car by the harbour and had a ‘tailgate lunch’ of rye bread, cheese and salami along with a nice juicy apple that came from Chile. Hofn’s economy is based around fishing, so there were a number of trawlers in the harbour and a large fish processing factory.
For most of the way, the road ran beside the cliffs and along a narrow coastal plain that was dotted with small farms. There were no individual ‘stand out’ attractions in this area as we have seen on other days – just a lot of interesting remote coastal scenery. Each farm that we passed has a blue sign on the road showing its name and pointing to its across track. For the first few days, we thought that all of these signs pointed to different towns, except we realised that there weren’t that many towns in Iceland. There few roadsigns that do show directions to major settlements are yellow and indicate the route number and distance.
In the afternoon, we drove along the coastline of a number of fjords. These were long and broad inlets that created a series of ‘fingers’ penetrating in from the coastline. The highway followed the coastline for many kilometres repeatedly going into the head of each fjord and then out again on the other side back to the headland.
Some of the headlands were quite high. They gave us a good view along the coastline and the little beaches covered in shingle. We were looking out for wildlife but didn’t see much other than an occasional family of white Whooper Swans.
There were only two tiny towns along the way between our lunch stop at Hofn and tonight’s destination at Egilsstadi. On two occasions, the highway also took us through long tunnels. The longest was 5.9 kilometres long and I assume that it saved a lot of driving around steep mountain roads. (if an alternate road even existed – perhaps some parts of this area were once only accessible by boat). This is a very remote part of Iceland.