Saturday, 30 January 2016

Iceland 2.24: Landmannalauger 2

The main valley in Landmannalaugar is actually the bed of a very large river, and the water flow must be something to behold when the river is in full spate.  At the end of July it was possible to walk right across the valley bottom, jumping over river channels when necessary.

By the time we got back to the camp there were far fewer tents - presumably because their occupants had now moved on.  New arrivals were starting to pitch their tents, and this appeared to involve a ritual of digging a shallow channel around the tent's perimeter using a small rock.  We never did discover what the channel was for, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

A number of horses are kept at the camp which were available for hire.  We saw several being ridden, but I was more interested in those which had been left back at base.  There is something about these magnificent creatures which makes one realise quite why the Icelanders revere them so much.  Perhaps it is the obligatory comb-over?

In addition to the horses there were a couple of rather beautiful sheep dogs at the stables.  One was certainly making itself at home, running around the camp and investigating everything which was going on.

Catering at the camp was provided by a group of converted American school buses, all painted green, rejoicing in the name of "Mountain Mall".  We can attest to the fact that they served extremely good coffee and cakes.

Landmannalaugar has a natural hot spring, and this has been turned into a makeshift swimming pool for the residents.  There was a warning for people who were tempted to take a dip, however, in that the water was reportedly the home of a mysterious parasite.  It's worth reading the information about the pool, including its parasites, which is extracted verbatim from the official Landmannalauger website.  You'll just have to imagine that there's a "(sic)" after every typo and spelling mistake...

This kind of parasites seems to exist in nearly every natural warm water pool.  Depending of the weather, time of the year and global warming influence there will be more or less of them.  If you are do not have allegic reactions on moscito bites or flies - you should go and enjoy yourself in hot springs.  Do not play to much with swimming vegitation - parasites are ofen find themself in there or in ducks.  Do not play with ducks either.
If you are allegic in some way to insects bites - enjoy yourself by making fan on your friends, trying to change dresses when the wind is cold, or make some pictures of them.

No, we didn't play with the "vegitation" or the ducks, but thanks for asking.

Also enjoying the water was a family of red necked phalaropes, and I spent about half an hour watching them and attempting to take their picture.  By now it was bright sunshine, so contrast was a real problem.  These are absolutely beautiful birds, though, and I'd never been quite as close to them before.