Monday, 19 May 2014

Iceland 17: Djupivogur to Hofn

We set off from Djupivogur in a thick sea fog, hoping that it would clear as there was some spectacular scenery coming up during the day.  At the beginning of the journey we went in and out of the mist, but eventually it started to clear.  The scenery was, indeed, pretty good, with small farms in the valley floor surrounded by high mountains.  We crossed a couple of wide valleys, with high hills to the right and a large plain to the coastal side.  There was also a black beach with a gravel spit, and at this point we started to see Great Skuas (Bonxies) for the first time.  There were also lots of Whooper Swans in the sea, and the occasional Red-throated Diver.

By this time the weather had started to clear, and we even saw some blue sky and sunshine for a while.

The hills rose in front of us, and the road eventually led us to a tunnel.  Instead of going through immediately we took  the old road for about 1km, following a large coach up to a viewpoint.  It was well worth the climb, as it gave us our first glimpse of the glaciers waiting for us as we travelled along the south coast.  The spot was the windiest we'd found on our journey so far, so I was surprised that any of the pictures came out owing to severe camera shake.  In fact, "shake" doesn't really do it justice, as it was difficult to stay upright.  Incidentally, it seems that Icelandic coaches are sponsored by a well-known manufacturer of vegetable fat...

The view from the pass was one of the most spectacular we saw in the whole of Iceland, despite being both very hazy and blowing a gale at the same time.  Glaciers really are awesome, in the true sense of the word.

Another panorama, in an attempt to give a sense of the scale of the place.  There were half a dozen glaciers clearly visible, stretching off as far as the eye could see.

We then retraced our steps and went through the tunnel, coming out on the southern side on the road to Hofn.  All the time we could see several glaciers in the distance.  In Hofn (also staggeringly windy) we went to look at the harbour and then had a coffee and a pastry at the Netto supermarket.

Suitably refreshed, our intrepid travellers decided to get "up close and personal" with a glacier.  Watch out for the next thrilling installment.