Day 5 Iceland Itinerary
I awoke in a tiny wooden cabin in Hofn, Iceland. My cousin Lesa and I had been in Iceland for 4 days and had made our way to the east side of the country.
I had used the wi-fi in the reception area at breakfast to figure out where everything was we wanted to see that day. I wrote out the directions because we had no GPS on the road.
The next guesthouse we were staying at was about a three hour drive from Hofn in Egilsstadir. In Iceland, most of the accommodations are guesthouses or hostels, which essentially means, shared bathrooms. Most rooms did have a sink though.
Ring Road Iceland…Road-Trip
We got a late start. The previous day was a non-stop adventure from Heimaey island to Hofn. We were tired and moving a little slow. I got us out to Ring Road and soon traversed through a long tunnel. We emerged to spectacular views of lava and sea for miles. There were scenic pull offs every couple miles and I stopped at every one. We saw black sand beaches and indignant sheep who seemed to be wondering how we dare disturb them.
Giant Granite Eggs of Djúpivogur
First on the list was the little Eastern Iceland seaside village of Djúpivogur. We came to see the Eggin I Gledivik sculpture that curved along the bay. The art piece consists of 34 huge granite eggs, each representing a specific bird that nests in the area. They sat in a long crescent row, hugging the shore. On each egg pedestal was a plaque with information about the bird it represents.
Out of Djúpivogur…On the Road Again…
I checked the directions I had written and got back on the road…map in hand. On the east end of Iceland, there are a couple of different options to get north. If you follow route 1-Ring Road, it hugs the shore but goes in-and-out of a number of peninsulas. If you take 95 it leads through a hilly zone but it is a more direct looking route, so that is the one I chose.
Icelandic Horses Coming Right at Us
The sky was filled with puffy clouds and there were mountains in the distance. A deep blue lake appeared on our right. We were focused on the azure water and suddenly became aware of something approaching us from up the road.
“What the heck is that?” I squinted out the front window slowing down.
“I’m not sure,” Lesa leaned forward in her seat. “They are getting closer.” She announced as the approaching objects in question began to come into view.
“Is that…horses?” I exclaimed, slowing the car to a stop.
Iceland Horses West of Djúpivogur
“Oh no…they’re coming right at us! Lesa shouted. “What do we do?”
“I don’t know… But I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one climbed up and over the car.” I laughed.
A steady stream of clomping horses parted like a river and galloped past on both sides of the car as we sat…plastered to our seats, mesmerized and horrified. Laughing and nervous.
As the horse brigade thinned and finally passed, we were filled with excited chatter and maniacal laughter.
” What in the world? Did that just happen?” I shouted.
“That was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen! What kind of road are we driving on? Are we supposed to be here?” Lesa laughed.
“The map says we’re going the right way…” I defended. “That was so cool.”
“They were so pretty!” Lesa agreed.
To the Streitisviti Lighthouse
I put the car back in gear and headed further north towards our next item on the list, the Streitisviti lighthouse.
There was an uneven hike along a lava field to the lighthouse. The black porous rock was a stark contrast to the glittering blue water. The air was cool, maybe 45°F and our breaths puffed out as we hiked along. The lighthouse itself was enormous and we could see little pools created by lava near the water.
Roadside Church and a Precarious Road
We got back on the road and then stopped at a scenic church. The road lost its pleasant paving and was soon pitted rock and dust. We bumped forward towards a large colorful valley, the road veering toward the upper edge of the bowl. We crept along, the car tires dipping and climbing from the deep ruts in the road.
There were a few somewhat precarious hairpin turns leading us further up the edge of the valley, with a steep drop to the side. We bumped slowly along, gravel pinging the undercarriage mercilessly as I thought about when I opted out of the gravel damage insurance.
Ahead were scenic mountain vistas and more sheep. We turned inland and the grass became more plentiful and lush. We stopped to check out a waterfall. I needed to shimmy out onto a bridge on the road way to get a good view.
There was a shorter than normal agenda that day and we made it to our guesthouse by around 5 p.m. This was the 1st night of the road-trip that we were arriving before 10 p.m.
The Egilsstadir Guesthouse
The glass door was locked and there was a large panel on the green building with buttons to press. We tried several and nothing happened. There was a phone # listed that requested we call to check in. Our phone service had been sketchy throughout so we were a little nervous. Fortunately, the number went through and a man told me they would be there in 5 minutes.
We stood outside waiting and a car pulled up, the owner stepping out to introduce themselves. We stacked our shoes in the hall and checked in, exploring the space and dragging in our luggage.
Checking out Iceland’s Egilsstadir
Egilsstadir was a relatively larger town and we actually had extra time so we stocked up on supplies, looked in a couple stores and got a surprisingly good flatbread pizza filled with vegetables at a local restaurant. Geothermal greenhouses dot the island and as vegetarians, we had been happy at the amount of vegetable options available.
Ready For Myvatn Nature Baths
We were back to the guesthouse early. Our room had a view of the unusual tree covered hills. Trees are rare in other areas of Iceland. I went out to sit in the public living room area to study my maps and assemble the routes we would need for the next day. We were heading to Myvatn and there was a lot to see along the way. We were happy for some time to relax and regroup before another action packed adventure.
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