October 21, 2018
Akureyri to Akranes
**We’ve decided to include the date and start/end locations for each day in our posts. We will be going back through our blog in the next dew days and adding this information to each post. If you want us to include any other information please leave a comment.**
Laurie woke up dreaming of toast and butter. Luckily there was a toaster in our hostel and we still had ” bakari” bread (aka bakery but we like saying this because it is one of the only Icelandic words we can pronounce).
The window in our room had ornamental indentations so we couldn’t do our usual morning weather check. The wind was no longer howling but there was a constant hum that we hoped wasn’t rain.
It wasn’t but the sky was still pretty dark. And darker in the direction we were headed.
As we drove north and then west of Akureyri it started to rain, then sleet and finally snow. The road began to climb as the winds picked up and soon we were driving through a little blizzard.
With visibility less than 50 feet at times, Andy kept the car in our lane by using the yellow snow posts as a guide. Luckily there were no other cars around so we went as slow as we wanted.
We passed a snow plow and the first Icelandic official vehicle we have seen on our trip. The guy was chilling in his truck on the side of the road – probably with his vehicle running and the heater on.
A few times we wondered if the road was open but figured they would have closed a gate if it wasn’t. So we kept going. Locals would probably laugh at us for considering today’s weather a storm.
As we neared the top, the wind mellowed. Our studded winter tires worked well and we both felt at ease while enjoying the adventure.
As we headed down to the next valley we eventually fell below the snow line and entered into the rain again.
The road continued like this for another 2 “passes.” Even the sheep were dusted white from the snow at the higher elevations.
At one point our car read -1 degree, the coldest it has been thus far (not considering the wind chill). We pulled out our big puffy coats for the first time this trip.
There weren’t many points of interest along the first half of today’s drive. We attempted to locate the waterfall of Reykjafoss. Google maps directed us down a road and we could see a size-able gorge and a river but there was never a spot to pull off or any path (or hole in a fence) to hike through. We eventually gave up and drove back to the main highway (Road 1).
Laurie moved in and out of slumber while Andy drove and enjoyed the scenery.
Eventually the skies cleared a little as we pulled into a parking area containing more cars than we had seen all morning.
We walked up wooden steps to circumnavigate the Grabrok crater which was formed by an eruption approximately 3,000 years ago.
We then drove about 10 minutes to the Glanni waterfall. We were the only people there, which was strange given the popularity of the neighboring Grabrok. We walked the main trail then followed a smaller path (which was quite wet) back the car.
It was another hour from here to the Deildartunguhver hot spring. This is the fastest flowing hot spring in the world. So much hot water comes out of the ground here that through ~70 km of piping it supplies hot water to the surrounding towns! The pipe network reminded us of the pipes that direct water from the Eastern Sierra to Los Angeles.
There was a fancy hot spring there but we decided to indulge in hot chocolate and carrot cake rather than take another hot plunge.
From here we took a little side trip up to Hraunfossar – one of the most unique waterfalls in Iceland. Here water flows out of lava tubes and into a river.
It’s hard to see what’s special about it at first. But then your brain catches up with your eyes and you think to yourself, “wait, where is this water coming from?”
We walked around as much was we could until it started to pour. Laurie ran back to the car as she had opted to wear her warm big puffy jacket which was not water proof.
The clouds produced more rain, then hail, then horizontal rain directly into our car enroute to our last stop. Along the way we stopped at a turnout to video chat with Andy’s parents and show them the incredible double rainbow behind us.
As we drove into Akranes – our home for the night, the clouds parted slightly and the sun came out.
This coastal town relies heavily on the fishing industry as its main source of employment.
Once settled in our hostel we decided to take a walk to stretch our legs after 6 hours in the car. We had about an hour of daylight so we wandered toward the lighthouse.
The smell of sea and fish wafted through the air. The wind picked up and eventually it began to hail. We choose our route to avoid long exposed areas.
Eventually the hail subsided as did the rain. We walked for about an hour – winding through small streets and gazing into warmly lit houses.
We returned to our hostel and made dinner consisting of beans, rice, cheese, tomatoes and greens after Laurie took a nice warm shower. It was fun to know where the water was coming from!
Tonight we are grateful for cozy accommodations and winter tires.