ICELAND: Part III

Andrew and I are now on track with our original itinerary. We are driving from Hella, to Höfn, to Vik then back to Keflavik to fly back to Geneva early Sunday morning.

ACCOMMODATION:

We stayed one night at the Stracta Hotel Hella. This place is clearly equipped to handle tour buses full of people, but it was clean, quiet and had a bistro open late with great food and a breakfast buffet with tons of great options.

We stayed two nights at the Hotel Edda Höfn. This hotel is located right on the tip of a peninsula next to an inlet and a harbor. From our room we had a view of the mountains and the glacier. We arrived in full sunlight (thank you to Mother Nature for giving us dry weather and sun the second half of the day!) and were able to eat our dinner the first night on the hotel terrace in the sun. The windows did not have blackout shades (tough when it’s full sunlight half of the night) but we got used to it.  Otherwise, this is a great spot!

Andrew on the terrace our first night, eating dinner

sunset
Drinks at sunset at 10:30PM outside our hotel and it’s still super light out!

EATS: 

Dinner Day 6: Hafnarbuðin  When we asked for a less expensive dinner option, our hotel manager recommended we go to this place for the langoustine baguette sandwich. We each got one, an order of fries and ate on the hotel terrace. The sandwiches were delicious and packed full of langoustine lobster! The town we stayed in, Höfn, fishes these so they were local and so good.

Dinner Day 7: Pakkhús Restaurant We finally let ourselves splurge on a restaurant meal in Hofn. This place is right on the harbor. A bit expensive, but the ambiance was so nice and the food was incredible. It felt like we were in a boat house, and the sunlight coming in the windows that lined the walls was perfect.

Andrew in Pakkhus Restaurant
Top: Andrew’s Langoustine; Bottom: My lamb filet (natural choice after seeing sheep everywhere in Iceland :P)

DAY 6: Driving from Hella to Höfn along the Southern Coast

We woke up in the morning to rain and wind. Typical Iceland weather, we have learned. But that doesn’t stop anyone here from going about their touring, nor did it stop us!!

Stop 1: Dyrhólaey, the southernmost tip of mainland Iceland. We arrived on a hunt to see puffins as we read that there is a colony here. We were rewarded with two puffin sightings! Plus a beautiful view of black sand beaches 🙂

beach

Stop 2: Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon – We did a short 3 km hike here along the top edge of the canyon. It was cloudy but beautiful!!

canyon

valley
This is from when we hiked above the canyon. Fewer people went this far, so we had the grassy hills to ourselves. It was so peaceful and beautiful!

Stop 4: Jökulsárlón – Fragments of ice from the Vatnajökull glacier calve into icebergs and are now floating in this glacier lagoon. We took a Zodiac boat tour out into the lagoon. We were able to see the icebergs up close and even see some small pieces of  icebergs calve off the glacier.

suit
We got to wear these stylin’ jump suits for the zodiac boat ride, which make us look like Ghostbusters but worth it because they kept us very warm!

An example of a zodiac boat that we road in

DAY 7: Hiking 14.3 km (8.8 mi) Hvannagil Canyon from Stafafell in the Lónsöraefi region. This hike was on the eastern side of the island, and the farthest east we went on the trip. There are far fewer people in this region, as we are very far from Rejkyavik and the day trippers/tour buses. The hike itself was very different from other areas, as it was dry and almost desert-like. These hills are rhyolite, which are so colorful! The pebbles in the stream came in hues of green, orange and purple. You can kind of see it here in this photo.

hike 2
During the first 1/3 of the hike, we walked through grassy hills and saw waterfalls. The second portion, we hiked down into this canyon. 

hike 2b

hike 3b
The second third of the hike involved several creek crossings. The water was freeeeeezing cold but felt good on a warm day while hiking. It never got above knee-level on me, so very manageable.
img_1863
This nut dipped his head in the glacier stream to cool off
The last third of our hike was along a huge open area that looked like this. The above was also a very common sighting in Iceland. You’ll think you’re hiking alone and then these guys (girls?) will be chillin’ on the side of the trail.


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