TRAVELOGUE
Iceland

Jokulslaron, Myvatn

The rain is pouring in the morning. The Icelandic proverb says: "If you don't like the weather on Iceland, just wait 15 minutes." It seems that the proverb is valid only when the weather is nice, otherwise nothing much happens. The breakfast is delicious; we eat as much as we can.

The road takes us through Skeidararsandur, a 30-40 km wide plain, just a few meters above the sea level. It's covered with black sand. For the first time we see dust storm warning signs. On this 50 km long stretch of road there is no protection from a strong wind that would raise the sand in the air and damage the car paint. There's no wind today, just this never stopping rain. Behind Skeidararsandur there are mountains with glaciers, with peaks hidden in thick low clouds. The panorama and the weather being so monotonous, despite the good road the driving is getting tiring. We spot a few "camera" signs near the road, but as we see nothing interesting we don't bother stopping.

We arrive to Skafttafell national park and decide to have a one-hour walk to the local waterfall. After a half an hour we arrive to the Skafttafellsjokull glacier ("jokull" = mountain). It seems we missed the path to the waterfall. Skafttafellsjokull glacier descends almost to the sea level. While returning to the car we meet a group of elderly French tourist that greet us cheerfully (the people on Iceland seem to us somehow "cold"). Although we subsequently managed to find the path to the waterfall, as it's raining we give up the visit to the waterfall.

On the road we stop to have a snack at a gas station (where else?) and I ask the girl working there for the explanation of those "camera" signs on the road. The explanation: it's the warning to frequent Icelandic police radar (speed) controls. §~#%@&¤$... They're just confusing tourists with those signs, the next time I come to Iceland I'll bring an Icelandic dictionary.

Jokulslaron
Jokulslaron

We passed near Vatnajokull, the mountain with the biggest glacier on Iceland (2500 km2). We stopped at the lake Jokulslaron. Jokulslaron to the left of the road, the sea to the right of the road, a bridge between them. And icebergs floating on Jokulslaron lake!!! These icebergs are pieces of ice falling of the glacier, melting in the lake and finishing their life in the sea. A panorama that words can hardly describe!

This part of Iceland is a dangerous zone because the giant glacier covers some active volcanoes, holding big quantities of water below the glacier's surface. In the event of an eruption a big wave would occur, sweeping everything that it would encounter on its way to the sea. Now you live on Iceland!

Passing through the settlement Hofn marked the end of the civilization. Although we're not quitting the main N1 road (that encircles the whole island), from Hofn on it's partially a dirt road with some difficult segments. The first one follows immediately: a dirt road with a slope of 16% and the edges of the road unprotected. The wind is very strong and - it snows!!! Yes, the summer begins in 6 days and it snows around us! Luckily the snow melts on the ground and past the hill it turns to rain.

For the first time the road separates from the coast and leads north, to eastern Iceland. We meet very few cars on the road and climb higher and higher. It's snowing again, and this time heavily. To the right of the road there's a precipice so we drive on the left side of the road. The visibility is very bad and the car is rock-and-rolling on the slippery road, so we reduce the speed to 30 km/h. The hills are covered with snow and we haven't seen a single vehicle for some time now. After a long ride we descend on the other side of the hills, to the Lagarfljot canyon. We soon arrive in Egilsstadir, one of bigger cities in Iceland (it's so "big" we've almost passed through it erroneously). As it's already 20:00 and it's Željka's birthday we stopped at the Icelandair hotel to have a dinner. The prices in the restaurant are very high. We chose the menu of the day - it's the only thing we can afford! The fish was *delicious*! Expensive but unforgettable.

Although the original plan was to spend the night in Egilsstadir, we decided to move further and drive for some 150 km more. This is the "country" Iceland, with many farms along the road. There are many sheep on Iceland (many of them on the roads too!). We left the farms behind and drove through a highland. Along the road there are emergency shelters. In the case of bad weather on can stop there - there's always some water, food and a radio-phone.

We drove to Modrudalsfjallgardar Mountain, where we left the tarmac road. A reddish dirt road continues from here but it's quite good so we drive at 80 km/h among the mountain peaks. At 22:37 it's sunny again! It's quite difficult to drive with a strong sun so low on the horizon.

We decide to find accommodation near Myvatn Lake ("Mosquito Lake"), in the northwest of Iceland, but the cellular phone is not operational there. There are almost no more clouds on the sky. A few km before Myvatn we stop at a geothermal field near an orange hill. Then we continue to Reykjahlid, a settlement on the lake Myvatn, where we find a **** hotel. As it's not more expensive than hotels in Reykjavik and Kirkjubaejarklaustur (those were *** hotels), we take it. The room has huge windows with a view over two volcanoes and the Myvatn Lake. It's pleasantly warm. Good night.

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Iceland: Dettifoss, Hverfjall
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