Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Iceland 25: Another day, another glacier...

Next stop after being blown away in Dyrholaey was a Kaffi on the edge of the Solheimajokull glacier.  About 4km up a very bumpy dirt track there was a hut selling tea, coffee, cakes, soup and do-it-yourself sandwiches.  An interesting place, which appeared to have its own resident troll who was fixing the lavatories.

After "lunch" of chocolate cake and coffee, we set off to walk to the glacier itself.  This was amazing, and the scale of the place was demonstrated admirably by the tiny figures high up who were going for a glacier walk.  As with the previous glaciers we'd visited, the limited colour palette of white, black and cyan was extremely attractive.  The glacier was made up of larger ice crystals than I had expected, which were almost completely clear. The whole glacier looked dirty, however, as it had picked up lots of black sand and pebbles on its journey down the mountainside.  The source of the glacier - Myrdalsjokull - was nowhere to be seen, shrouded in its own private weather system.  There were some people playing frisbee at the foot of the glacier, which somehow seemed rather sacrilegious in a geographical kind of way.

Then it was back to the car and off to the Eyjafjallajokull museum in Thorvaldseyri.  This was set up by a family which owned one of the farms most directly affected by the 2010 eruption.  There was a film, edited superbly with a commentary by family members, which interspersed home footage with stock and news film all taken during the time of the eruption between April and May.  The museum was set up the following Christmas, and had been very well done indeed.  The well stocked shop was run by family members, and even the entry fee (750ISK)  was very good value by Icelandic standards.

After the museum it was a long and rather tedious drive to Hveragerdi.  The scenery opened out, with lots of farmland, horses, cows etc. with very gentle hills in the background.  If there were glaciers and ice caps in the distance, they were hidden behind a blanket of cloud.  The roads got busier, and it soon became clear that we were caught up in the Sunday mad dash back to Reykjavik after the weekend.  There was a big town, Selfoss, on the way back, which had exciting things like street lights and traffic junctions.  We hadn't seen "civilisation" like that for almost two weeks.  It was then a relatively short drive to Hveragerdi, which was visible from a distance because of the number of plumes of steam rising above the town.  This is a seriously geothermal place, and bodes well for some good geology tomorrow.