Island 2001 english

Monday august 13'th


Leaving Vejle by train at 4.48 om. Direct to Kastrup Airport. As usual im there in good time before my departure with Icelandair at 10.20.


The plane is full. Mostly icelandics. Some of them make good use of the bar during the trip. The trip takes a little more than 3 hours, but there is a 2 hours time-difference, so it's only 11.30 as we arrive in Keflavik. Then it's the flybus - to Reykjavik and Hotel Atlantis - I check in at about 2 am.


Tuesday august 14'th


I wake up at 9 am. It's a lovely day - a little cold compared to back home - but the sun is shining.


Now for the first look at this place. I take a long walk to Downtown Reykjavik from the hotel. According to the hotels homepage this should be done in 10 minuttes!. That's a lie. It takes a little more than half an hour. I take a walk along the harbour, before i turn to the BSI, which is the mainpoint for busses to other places on Iceland.


I find a bus to Þingvellir. Back in the old viking-days people gathered here for "Alting" - a kind of parliement these days - hvor things were discussed and heads were rolling. Read more about that in the Icelandic sagas. It's an exiting and beutiful place. I walk around for 3 hours before the bus returns to Reykjavik.


















From here I take the local bus back to Atlantis. Some fastfood, some relaxation and back to bed.


Wednesday august 15'th


By bus to Þórsmörk, an impressive place some 3 hours drive from Reykjavik. You don't have to get far outside Reykjavik before nature gets something special. Lots of lava-fields and strange nature. The last hour of the trip is on a special bus. There is a reason for that. The "road" is pure stone-desert, and quite some times we have to cross small rivers. And since there are no bridges - well - you just have to drive through the water. It's not strange that a 4WD is recommended, if you go here by yourself.


I've got 3½ hours in Þórsmörk I walk around og look at this magnificent landscape. Þórsmörk is placed between 3 mountains, each with a glacier at the top. More spectacular than actually beutifull - but very spectacular indeed. There are not many people around on a day like this. According to the locals there are more people during the weekends. At these times people from Reykjavik often goes to Þórsmörk to get drunk and behave badly.
















Then it's back to Reykjavik - and some fastfood at the hotel.


Tuesday august 16'th


This day is to be spent in Reykjavik. I start by taking the bus to downtown. Then up to the "Hallgrimskirkjan" - the most spectacular church in Reykjavik. I take a look at the church, and take a look at Reykjavik from the top of the tower. From here I walk to the Volcano-show. It's a 2-hours movieshow, made by the legendary volcanic-scientist Villi Knudsen. This guy thinks that it's great fun to go around Iceland and film all volcanic-eruptions. Villi introduces the show, which is very exiting. I especially enjoy the film about the eruption om Heimey back in the 70's - maybe because I still remember that it made a huge impression on me as I watched it on tv as a child.

























Then it's sightseeing in Reykjavik - some fast-food - back to the hotel to get some warmer clothes - before I head for the Videy-ferry, that will take me - and some others - on a puffin-trip to the small island of Lunday. Puffins are a special northern-atlantic bird with a funny and colourful beak. This is to be the first rip-off on this trip. 2500 Icelandic Kroner - some 25 us$ for 1½ hours of sailing, where we are told there are puffins. But they are so far away, that it's impossible to see what is a puffin and what is a seagull. And who wants to be spending so much money for watching seagulls?!!


Then it's back to the hotel via the Laugadalur-park. Some fastfood for dinner this evening.


Friday august 17'th


Transportationday. Leaving at 10 am frm BSI to Holmavik. Very nice busride. Lot's of mountains, waterfalls and lava-fields.


The bus is at Holmavik at 3 pm. Then there is an hours wait before another bus goes to Isafjörður at what is know as the West-fiords.


Now its not just nice anymore - now it's extemely nice. Mountains and fjords all over. In a direct line it's not such a long trip, but since we have to get around 4-5 fiords - and since it's mainly dust-road - it takes you 4 hours.

























At 8 pm check in at Gistiheimili Aslaugar a private guesthouse. A sign is asking you to take off your shoes before you enter, but a number of slippers is available for the visitors. I end up this day with a walk and some fastfood.


Saturday august 18'th


This day I spend by taking a look at Isafjörður. It's a cozy little village with only 3.500 people living here. It's placed on a tongue of land sticking out into one of the fiords. On both sides of the fiord there are high mountains. I have never before visited a village, which was places so spectacularly.

























I take a look at this place and at the harbour. I also visit the maritime museum, that is placed in som 250 year old commercial houses, back from the days where the danes were taking hand of all commercial activity on Iceland.


Sunday august 19'th


A 3 hour long walk from the morning. I walk to Tungudalur which is a valley, going in between som of the mountains. Here you find small cottages, a 9-hole golfcourse, some waterfalls and nice hills.

























Back in Isafjörður at 1 pm. The rest of this day is relaxation. Coffee at the very cozy "Old pharmacy". Evening-burger at Pizzeria 67, with the motto "make pizza - not war". And you can only agree on that.


Monday august 20'th


The clouds are hanging low this morning, the wind is rough and it's raining cats and dogs. Suddenly the term "bad weather" gets a whole new meaning.


I have booked a place on a boat that should take me to the isolated half-island of Hornstrandir. No people at all live there. But the captain says, that it wont be a pleasure-trip on a day like this, so he in fact tell all those that doesn't have to go there, that it's a good idea to find other activities for the day. So that I do.


Instead I finish the Frank McCourt book "Tis". I also go for a walk, until I'm getting to soaked and return back to my guesthouse. One more cup of coffee at my favourite place "The old pharmacy". Another book. Morten Sabroe "The spanish guest". Dinner at "Pizzaria 67". A little boring - but shit happens.


Tuesday august 21'st


Plans were to take a bus to Akureyri today. But a friendly advice from a german tourist was, that I could save 8 hours of transport and 3.000 Ikr by taking a flight instead. Weird!


So it's flying with Flugfelag instead. First from the spectacular airfield in Isafjörður to Reykjavik. A few hours of waiting - and then another flight to Akureyri. Not the best flight ever - some turbulens - and a very small plane is not the best combination.


In Akureyri I check in at Hotel Edda, a boring summerhotel. From here it's out in the city. It's mediumsized - about 15.000 inhabitants, but placed nicely at the fiord Eyjafjörður. A little rainy, but later in the evening it really starts to rain. So its just time for some food and back to the hotel.


Wednesday august 22'nd


Plans were to go to Husavik for whalewatching, men it's very windy today, so I decide that a 3 hours boat-trip is not the most fun you can have this day.


But other good options are to be found in the Lonely Planet guide. So I take a trip along the west-side of Eyjafjörður to the small town of Ólafsfjörður. It seems like I'm the only one doing this trip today. At least there is noone else in the bus going to Ólafsfjörður, and I don't see any other tourist in town.

























But Lonely Planet is right. It's a cozy and nice little place. Take a walk around the area for about 3 hours, before heading back - as the only one - on the bus, to Akyreyri.This time the driver says hello - I am - so to say - a regular customer.


Thursday august 23'rd


Exit Akureyri. Bus to Myvatn, or more precisely the very small town of Reykjahlið. Myvatn is a very active volcanic area, about an hours drive from Akureyri. Check in at Guesthouse Elda II. Here you also put your shoes in the hall.


At 1 pm its time for a 3-hour sightseeing-trip to the local sights


First it's Krafla. A very special area, where there is a power-field taking advantage of the geothermical energy int the ground. There is also a vulcanic crater called Viti (Hell !), with a nice lake at the bottom. Last eruption around here was in 1984.


From here to Námafjall with bubbling mud-holes and steam rising from the ground. Very impressing to watch - bus it smells like hell. The smell of sulphur is disgusting.


















Then its on to Grjotagja and a hot spring. Earlier days you could have a bath here, but after the last eruption things got a little too hot - that is about 50 degrees celsius. Here you can actually see 2 parts of the world meeting eachother. 2 geological plates meets here - that is the northamerican plate and the european plate. The move about 2½ cm away from eachother every year. So that is how much Iceland is growing each year.


Finally to Dimmuborgir (The dreamcastle), which is an area with huge lava-formations. Some of the are many meters high. The awful guide on the tour tells stupid stories of what they supposedly looks like.


At 4 we are back at Reykjahlið.


In the evening its dinner-time at "Gamli Bærinn". A lovely fish-gratin with bread and salad - and coffee at the top. That's about 20 us$ - which is cheap in this country - and it's lovely with something else than the usual fastfood.


Friday august 24'th


Dettifoss Super Tour. Sounds promising. The trip goes to the nationalpark with the lovely name of Jökulsárgljúfur. Leaving at 8.15 am. 7 people on the bus + driver + guide. First to the 3 waterfalls of Selfoss, Dettifoss and Hagragillfoss. Dettifoss is supposed to be the one in europe with most water falling down pr. second (I think). At least its very powerfull. They are all placed in an almost moon-like area with huge stones and no plants or flowers.


















On to Hljöðakletter (echo-cliffs) which are remains of an old vulcanic crater. Very special basalt-formations around here. The guide gives a long lecture about how the area was made - but I don't listen so I can't tell. Here we spend a few hours.


On to Ásbyrgi, a canyon made by gletschers a long time ago. Its very impressive nature everywhere - and best of all - there is time to watch - no getting back to the bus in 10 minuttes.


From there to the half-island of Tjörnes, where there are supposed to be puffins. But they all left 2 weeks ago - so there is no puffins today. And hardly any nature to watch as well - since it has started to rain, and it's pretty foggy.

























Finally it's Husavik, before going back to Reykjahlið.


A lovely trip - that for once - lives up to it's name.


Dinner again at "Gamli Bærinn" together with Mr. and Ms. Benvenuto from Milano that I met on the trip.


































Monday august 27'th


Back to Reykjavik by bus via the Kjölur-route across the inland. 10 hours of driving mainly on dirt-road. It's an exiting trip. It's very desolate in the middle of Iceland.


We pass Hveravellir, a geothermical area with hot springs and some other of natures strange phenomenons.


















Next stop is the waterfalls of Gullfoss - and the famous geyser of Geysir. Well it has lost its power, but it's neighbour of "Strokkur" is still doing it's business. Every 2 or 3 minute there is a huge blow, and hot water springs 20 meter up into the air. Quite spectacular.

























The bus is in Reykjavik at 6 pm. Check in at the centrally placed guesthouse of Andarunginn (The Golden Duck) my recommandation by Mr. and Mrs. Benvenuto from Milano. Nice place - just on top of a restaurant.


Tuesday august 28'th


I get some benefit from the guesthouse-host by praising his coffee. It turns out that the guy has been a coffee-salesman for 40 years, and is a coffee-freak concerned about the quality.


Then its on to Hafnarfjorður - by citybus. Hafnarfjorður has got something special. There is a hidden world there. This is the icalandic center for fairies, dwarfs, alfs and other kinds of strange people. A local - Erla Stefánsdottir - has made a map of these peoples residences. So with this in my pocket - the hunt starts.


Later that day I take a more normal walk around Hafnarfjorður.


















Back in Reykjavik its time for a visit to the disgusting shopping-mall of "Kringlan" and a walt to "Perlan" - a nice wiewpoint built on top af the waterreservoirs of Reykjavik at the hill of Öskjuhlið. Very nice views - and some delicious ice-creams as well.


Wednesday august 29'th


Last day in Iceland. Check-out from the guest-house. I leave my bag for a later pick-up. Now the job is to spend this day without having a place to return back to.


It's a looooonnnngggggg hike to Seltfjarnarnes, a suburb of Reykjavik. I walk alont the bay - and take bus no 3 back.


I also would like to see the National-museum. But it's closed until december of 2002, and thats too long to wait. Instead I find an interesting viking-exhibition at the culture-house in Reykjavik.


Im getting tired - and then a movie is always a great idea. "Kiss of the dragon" is the name of the movie. And it's just as bad as the title suggests. Dinner and a cup of coffee at one of the citys cafe's, before I - at 11 pm - take the airport-bus to Keflavik

Here we have a surprise. There is no 02.10 for Copenhagen at the monitors!. Some check-in-assistent doesn't look to happy as I show my ticket to a none-existing flight. There is nothing else to do, than take a taxi back to Hotel Loftleiði in Reykjavik - all at the expense of Icelandair. So I finally turn in at 2 am.


Thursday august 30'th


Not much sleep under these circumstances. The phone wakes me at 5.30!


Back to Keflavik at 6 - by taxi - Icelandair is the sponsor.


Check in. This time it's ok. There is a plane for Copenhagen at 8.05. 3 hours to Copenhagen, so the time is 1 pm as we land. Then it's just to find the train back to Vejle.


Post scriptum


A complaint about the chaotic trip back home resulted in a well-meant "we-are-sorry"-letter from Icalandair and also a small replacement. The simply forgot to tell me, that the night-flight was cancelled a few months earlier. They sent me a check for 500 dkr - and next time im on an Iceland-air flight it will be on business. And I'm sure that someday I will use that possibility.

Mod Isafjördur
Mod Isafjördur

Saturday august 25'th


Bad weather again. Cold, windy and rainy. Not much to do on a day like this.


I take af walk for the hot spring of Grjótagjá across the lava-fields. There are strange holes in the earth here. If you throw a stone down there, you never hear it hitting the bottom.


I have been considering to "climb" the 2.500 year old volcano-crater of Hverfell, but the combination of the bad weather and my lazy mood makes sure it doesn't happen.Instead I spend the rest of the day at "Gamli Bærinn".



Sunday august 26'th


This trip has reached its turningpoint. So I go back to Akureyri with the bus from Myvatn at 8 am - stil raining cats and dogs out here.


In Akureyri I check in at Hotel Edda - again. I spend the day taking a closet look on this town. There are some strange museums. No Louvre og British Museum, but the icelanders take care about the past, so there are a few small museums telling about it.


I see the Akureyri Folk Museum - and Nonnis house - the former home of the writer Jón Sveinssons, who wrote the famous (?!) books about Nonni.