Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> South Iceland

Reykjavik, Hveragerði, Eyrarbakki

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Hallgrímskirkja
Arriving on the bus from Þorlakshöfn, we walked back to Anna's flat via Hallgrímskirkja, buying some food on the way. By the time we'd showered and gone shopping for maps and stamps and other stuff, the cafe kitchens were shut, so we ended up cooking ourselves - couscous + corned beef + sauce was surprisingly good. At 11pm, the cars were bumper to bumper in the street outside - apparently cruising the city centre is the trendy thing to do on a weekend night.

Monday 25th August

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Jón Gunnar Árnason's Sun Craft
the "Viking ship" sculpture
Camilla went off to find a laundromat - which turned into a bit of an epic - while I tried to ring the car rental company. Eventually the car person turned up at the flat and once we'd found the car it was all arranged in under ten minutes - we sat together in the car and filled out one form, I was given the keys, and hey presto! I could return the car by leaving it in the same area, with the keys under the mat - and if I could ring to tell them exactly where it was, "that would be nice".

I had my Heimaey photos burnt to CD and Camilla rang home, then we bought more food and went to the Kringlan shopping centre to get a fuel cylinder for my stove. Camilla started off driving, but I soon got my first experience of driving on the wrong (right) side of the road. We had lunch by the Sun Craft ship sculpture (apparently the most photographed sculpture in Reykjavik, but there weren't a lot of tourists there), picked up our laundry, and we were finally out of Reykavik and away on the ring road at 1pm - it was 18 degrees and a lovely day.

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geothermally powered greenhouses at Gufudalur, Hveragerði
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my first geysir (secondary eruption)

Our first stop was in Hveragerði, where we went through the town to the Gufudalur geothermal area. The first big geysir we came to was dormant, but as we were driving along one went off just beside the road, giving us a perfect view of everything - the seething and sloshing water, the bubble, the eruption, and the after-bursts - though all I managed to photograph was one of the latter. We waited around for twenty minutes hoping for another eruption, without luck - we'd obviously been lucky.

Our next stop was Selfoss, where we had coffee and cake and I sent off a cyber-postcard from an Internet cafe. Then we went looking for the Flói Nature Reserve.

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an Eyrarbakki house
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Flói Nature Reserve
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Flói Nature Reserve

Getting a bit lost, we drove across the mouth of the Ölfusá estuary and back, and ended up visiting Eyrarbakki, a peaceful little town on the coast. This has some attractive old houses, one of which, just known as "the House at Eyrarbakki", was imported in kit form in 1765 and is among the oldest buildings in Iceland. It now contains the Árnessyla Folk Museum, and there's a Maritime Museum next door. The off-shore skerries host many birds.

We then drove into the Flói Nature Reserve and walked out to the edge of the estuary. We were wearing long trousers/skirt and unprepared for the flat, grassy, and waterlogged terrain. The whooping swans could be seen - and heard! - all the way across the estuary, but we didn't see a lot of birds otherwise. On the way back to the main road we drove past horses and sheep.

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bridge over the Þjórsa
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long shadows at 8.15pm

It was getting late, but plans to hot-foot it to Skógar without stopping were thwarted by such superb evening light that we simply had to stop and take photos: the church at Selfoss, a bridge over the Þjórsa, views of the icecap, and more.

Next: Seljalandsfoss, Skógar, Skógafoss
Previous: Heimaey - museums, views

[Alternative spellings: Jon Gunnar Arnason, Hveragerdi, Floi, Thjorsa]

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