Friday, 23 May 2014

Iceland 21: Kirkjubaejarklaustur (and the end of a long day)

After leaving Jokulsarlon we continued west towards our final destination, and the journey soon took us over the black sands of Skeidara.  These sands were virtually lifeless, and are the result of outwash from the glaciers up the valley.  They went on for over 30km, and an extremely straight road made crossing them seem even longer.  Eventually we left the sands and came across an area which was totally different: lava fields on the coastal plain, and lush green hills behind with columnar basalt.  In the distance was Oraefajokull, another glacier, which created its own spectacular cloud pattern.

I think you know the score when it comes to panoramas by now...

Eventually (and it felt like eventually) we arrived at Kirkjubaejarklaustur, and checked into the IcelandAir hotel there.  Having dumped our stuff we went for a cold beer in the bar, as this was where free WiFi was to be had.  There we bumped into a couple of talkative Americans, so what started off as a planning exercise ended up with an hour of conversation and comparing notes with them.  Eventually they went off for dinner in the restaurant, so we headed to the local Kaffi for ours.  There the queue was horrendous, so we went for a walk down to the river to kill some time.  Lots of birds down there, including Oyster Catcher, Redshank and the ubiquitous Arctic Tern.

When we got back to the Kaffi the queue had gone, so we were able to have our dinner.  Raw goose for Harriet and Arctic Char for me: both local dishes, and excellent they were too.  A short walk back to the hotel via the church and a young foal, and then it was time for some well-earned shut-eye.  Quite a day, all told.

The weather forecast for the following day was not great, so decided to make a booking for Ingolfshofdi, a volcanic outcrop several kilometres from the mainland across a sea of black sand, which was famous for its bird population.  Who cares about a bit of rain?