Bought a car on Thursday, and headed off for a drive on Saturday.
Covered lots of ground. There are all sorts of things to say, but they're all so inane, that it really doesn't feel worthwhile. Hopefully, by forcing myself to start typing something, anything even more worthwhile anecotes will start coming out of my fingers.
I'd never been this far away before. Even just driving through Mosfellsbaer, where I filled up on petrol was new and exciting. And green and pretty. It has a nice view looking back down the bay towards reykjavik. Decided that as I was planning on heading out to Snæfellsnes, I would pay the toll, and take the tunnel across hvalafjörður. This is about 5.5km long, and goes quite deep! Pity it's so expensive (1000 isk) but it cuts of nearly 45km of driving up to the head of the fjörd and back.
It was pretty grey and dreary, but it was still strigkingly obvious how green everything was. Really pretty. The scree slopes coming down off the mountains were cool too. It was just cool to be out and about and on my own. Having a car gives you quite a lot of independence. Especially when it's compared to not having anything at all.
Stopped at all sorts of little sights on the side of the road, and drove down side roads here and there. Didn't really walk anywhere, this was going to be more of an exploratory mission. So I found where the track to the Eldborg crater starts, but I didn't walk in.
Eldborg was one of those things that just pops up in the landscape ahead of you and reminds you that you're not in kansas.
Stopped and took pictures of farms amongst the spring flowers. Stopped at a roadhouse and ate hotdogs, and did it all in icelandic. Drove on out and went for a short walk along the seaside at Búðir, where the sand is yellow. Another neat looking crater and lava tunnels to explore on another day.
Then it was Arnastapi, Hellnar and Dritvík, and having to contend with the tourists. Busloads of them, all wandering around, being tourists. Just like me really. This was where I got really annoyed at the travel literature. Lonely Planet, and some local publications I had both mention a cool sea arch near here. But none of them actually said where it was. At the end, I finally found a note on a sign that said it was halfway between Arnastapi and Hellnar, so I'd have to go back and walk it one day. It's only 4km between them. I reminded myselfthat this was just an exploratory day.
Djupalón and Dritvik were nice. The sea there is very desolate and stark, and stretches off into the distance. There's a lot of rusting chunks of metal on the beach, the remnants of an english trawler that washed up in the 50s. I thought it was quite colourful. So did the horde of phototourists. About a dozen people, all walking around by themselves with truckloads of camera gear. They either weren't very polite, or the english wasn't very good, or both. Something about an organised photo journey through iceland anyway.
This whole guided photo journey thing seems so weird to me. I mean, all attendees would be so warped by the other attendees, I don't understand how you would get any original shots of your own. Unless that's the point of course. I think a photo workshop is fine if you're learning new skills, or all learning new ways of looking at the same things. But to travel to an exotic location, and then just walk around in a group seems completely ridiculous to me.
This was also where the lifting stones were. The signs said they were 23kg, 54 kg, and then bigger ones. I could lift the "54kg" rock, which seemed too easy, but the 100kg rock I could only move. I guess it's been a very long time since I've ever actually used weights.
Oh yeah, I almost got my car stuck. I drove out a side road to a lighthouse, which was fenced off, so I went around some side roads along the sea shore. Then went to turn around and found that the road had turned into just a flat area of gravel. (big gravel, pebbles and small stones size) Ooops. Got out and scooped some dirt around and under the wheels, and managed to reverse out. Pretty close call though. The micra handles wonderfully, and has impressive clearance, but 4wd it is not!
Then it was home again home again. And the sun came out! This was awesome! Tings that had looked just "nice" before, were well and truly "wow!" now.
I was also putting this off while I tried to get a nice map of iceland to use as a background for my gps data of the drive, but that hasn't eventuated yet. :(o