So far, the road had taken us along the south coast of Iceland. The experience was nothing less than memorable. At the end of day 3 we camped in Hofn, a small and elegant fishing town on the south-east coast and probably the last relatively big settlement on the road heading north. It was a good opportunity to tank up and buy some supplies for the long road ahead.
One thing to bare in mind, although we probably mentioned this before, is that if you plan for the ring road in Iceland, is best to know exactly when and where to tank up because fuel stations are not so frequent in this country, especially on the east coast.
We were warned by the people from the car rental office to be careful if driving on the east coast. The roads aren't as friendly as on the south coast, they can be "asphalt free" and treacherous. Were they right!! We never thought that the driving experience itself would be so unbelievably diverse. It was like we wanted to quickly go through all the dangerous parts but at the same time stop on the side of the road and take in the sights. Sometimes we wondered how the road exists with such steep slopes tumbling down into the sea.
We drove quite for some time on the main ring road, heading north towards Borgafjordur Eystri. The east coast is generally a less attractive place for tourists because there is only a narrow passage north-south, with the ocean on one side and steep mountains on the other. There are great hiking opportunities but housing is scarce for those who aren't in for long treks.
Borgarfjordur Eystri was our back-up plan for seeing puffins. Since we didn't have the chance to see these beautiful birds in the south, we were hoping to change our luck here. And we did! It was very easy to spot them because they have a distinctive posture when flying and especially when they are on the ground.
The Icelandic summer is something to be very happy about but also a reason for concern. You rarely pay attention to how fast time is passing and you find yourself caught off-guard and behind schedule. It happened to us every day. This time it was worse because we've had overcast weather all day but in the evening the sky cleared and things became all of a sudden more interesting. Why wouldn't it, when we were approaching active volcanoes and the most powerful waterfall in Europe!! It was a never-ending sunset if one might say that.
It was an enhanced experience for us, witnessing the wonders of our earth under the midnight sun. By the time we reached Hverir, it was close to midnight and we could still see the sun over the horizon. Naturally saturated colors in the sky as on the ground. The hallucinating combination of senses, amplified by the weariness of our bodies after a long day, made us feel like we were on another planet.
It was strange having to go to sleep when the sun was rising and not being able to distinguish between evening, night and morning. It is merely one of the many feelings that are challenged once in Iceland.
|Myvatn Lake. Bed time, 2.48 AM|