Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet IV
Sun greets us in the morning. Very unusual here… perhaps you have already forgotten how many sunny days there are on these island. I remember it so I appreciate the nice weather more.
13. 8. 2013
Faroe Islands, Slættaratindur, 882 m
Past 9 o’clock, we leave for the island of Eysturoy. There a hike waits upon us. It is up the mount of Slættaratindur – a “flat peak” in the translation.
Clouds appear and it starts raining. Our hike is in peril. The weather changes swiftly, we cannot underestimate it. Fortunately, there is just a bit of fog. We take on more clothes and go for it. Quickly our group splits to many smaller, in front our guide hurries with other fitter hikers. They take the shortest route. The others, including me, don’t know about the shortcut to the top. We ascend slowly.
Except for two oldest members of our group everyone attempts the climb. At the beginning, I say to myself: "I can make it, ," however my stamina is slowly depleted and the things I carry (a bag with camera and equipment – approx. 7 kg) feels heavier. I slow down. When Stefan (74 years old) passes by me with an umbrella above his head, I am loosing faith to actually get to the top. I have no previous experience with such climbs. I am not fit enough to do it, so I am thinking about giving up.
Jarda notices me he is our great cook and “mountain leader”. He patiently explains how to hike, when to stop to refill liquids or energy, where to stand and where not to stand. Where to look and what to grap when one stumbles. He helps me with my camera bag, to my great relief. Without his help and advice, I wouldn’t manage to get to the top.
Others are waiting on the top, they encourage me to finish last couple of meters. They had an hour long break there while I was trying to overcome every meter of mountain terrain.Now they slowly get away. I would like to enjoy it here but no time to waste. I feel great to overcome myself and also for great views to the landscape around. I make couple of pictures and descend. As you have probably already realized, to get down is not easy at all. Sometimes it is even more difficult. My guide did not leave me, however and we would reach the bus together. Feelings are great and I greatly appreciate the help. One has to celebrate the fact that we reached the top station. The beer does the job..
We go further to the village of Eiði. There are many turf-rooted houses. Grassy roofs originate in northern Europe. It is very common on Iceland, and it really proved itself. Some advantage is : roofs do not get overheated, absorb emissions, work as heat and sound islolation. If they are made good, they can last forever. Moreover, they are really nice to look at.
Tour in this village is the end to our daily program. We return back to our camp to attend an introduction evening with music. We reserved a “social room”. The environment is cozy, warm, and Michal and Jitka made a delicious fish delicacy.
In the next part, we visit the strongest fortification in northern Europe - Havnar Skansi.
Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová
Dyrhólaey is a peninsula on the south of the country. It is also a natural reservation. There are many rocky cliffs of various shapes. The cliffs are favored by maritime birds such as puffin, duck, or murre. Beaches of black lava sand fill the area between the rocks.
We leave the camp. We have to pack the tents, sleeping bags, and foam mats to be ready to carry on.
I think that I can call this day the most beautiful on Iceland. Beautiful weather only enhanced my experience on that day. It was beautiful from the very morning until the night. Sun shone, it was warm, cloudless sky, and great visibility.
The night was freezing yet beautiful. In the morning, sun is shining and it seems it will be the last one we enjoy on the island.
After a long time we slept in we woke at 9:30. Night was peaceful only one thing was unpleasant, that is air temperature in couchettes which was more than 30 degrees Celsius. It is not optimal given the combination of air temperature on the deck – too hot in the cabins, too cold outside.
The following two days we are going to spend on a ship and have the last stope at Ejer Bavnehøj, Denmark, where is a tower open whole year.
If you intend to visi a beautiful country that is different from the Czech Republic but you don’t want to travel to another continent Iceland could be your choice. The country is near the polar circle and it is the westernmost European country. It charms everybody. It is mostly for its nature which are rare on the European continent.
We were travelling around the island to get to know it better. We set off to the east from Reykjavik. First we are headed to Þingvellir park (Thingvellir). The park is listed in UNESCO’s world heritage program.
I really recommend you to travel to the southeast if you happen to be around Hveragerði. There is the lava cave of Raufarholshellir near the road No 39 and you reach it after about fifteen minutes of drive.
In this part of our series we take a look at island’s north and east. In the east, there are fishermen’s villages along the road number 1. The atmosphere here is very peaceful. It took us a long time to bypass eastern fjords. We were disoriented because everything looks so similar here and there also was thick white fog. One shouldn’t take this lightly.
Next part of our travels starts on the north of the island. It is at Eyjafjördur fjord, the place where the second largest city on Iceland is located – Akureyri. It is a nice city, rich, and full of students. It is really worth seeing. However, our long drive to Vatnsnes peninsula was not very impressive.
Alarm at 7 o’clock. Leaving camp an hour later. Originally, we had to stay over night on the Vestman Islands. But it would have taken us much more time. We would use it much better – at the farm of Skálakot.
The journey goes according to the plan. We go to the waterfall of Seljalandsfoss near which is the camp. There the drivers were supposed to be accommodated. Upon a short break in the camp, we go further to the harbor. It is raining cats and dogs, and wind blows strongly. Soon we learn that the trip to the island has been postponed due to large waves.
Today, not really pleasant weather starts today. It is raining cats and dogs here. One cannot see in this dense rain, so our plans from the previous day are hard to realize. The departure is postponed. Yet we still are going to get on the top of the highest waterfall on Iceland.
Thanks to the feeling of omnipresent danger, the island lures travellers. It is located in the most volcanically active region in the world. It really has lots to offer: monumental glaciers, bubbling thermal springs, majestic falls, colorful lava fields covered with heath, and many other things. It is only a glimpse of what lures people here from all over the world.
Morning, sun wakes us up and the sky is clear! Great! Other travelers arrived in the night - six new participants.
The night was quiet. It doesn’t rain in the morning so we have a quick breakfast, pack our tents, and set off to the Kotagil gorge after 8 a.m.
"Working" with the elves worked out pretty well. We have a nice sunny day, although it is bit cold. Skútustaðir is one of the few towns at Mývatn lake. Our goal is a walk near pseudocraters. Local name for these strange hills, about twenty of them, is skútustaðagígar.
We moved to the rhyolite hill on the opposite side. It is what remained of Leirhnjúkur crater. The land is really strange yet beautiful.
I wake up at 7.20 a.m. in a shock. I burst out of sleeping bag heading to washroom. Fortunately, I remembered the time of departure. It is an hour later so when I get it back together I start preparing for the departure. The weather is not very good today, it is a bit foggy.
I get up at 6 already. Yesterday I forget to charge my equipment so I have to do it now. More of us had the same idea. I still ponder whether to participate in hike or not. Eventually together with drivers and other great group that we will have a rest day today.
Alarm at 7,30. We have to leave cabins until 8,30. As always, I bought a good book guide and read it. In introduction, there was: “Despite you can travel by boat, we recommend it only to experienced sailors with tough stomachs. Gale is strong on the route as well as storms and waves of the Atlantic."
Our stay on the Faroe Islands is getting shorter. It is the best time to visit the capital of Tórshavn and explore it thoroughly.
We continue through Kvivik, a small village, to the northernmost city of this island, Tjornuvik.
The night was absolutely calm. Living in couchettes is not the most pleasant thing, but one can manage. We were very lucky because of the weather, the sea was absolutely calm and we could have our calm sleep…
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