Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet VII
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.
16. 8. 2013
NP Jökulsárgljúfur, Vesturdalur, Rauðhólar, Húsavík
Together with others we set off to the National Park of Jökulsárgljúfur. We planned to walk it through to some extent and then ride back to the camp. At the camp we would explore the surroundings. Soon we decide to leave the program. Soon after we leave the parking lot, I realize that Rauðhólar area is only 2.5 km away. My friend told me that the place is very photogenic and worth seeing. Everyone agrees so the goal of our journey is certain now.
We are in Vesturdalur valley. It is only a bit from the parking lot to the area ofHljóðaklettar. There are many basalt formations resembling stone organ. You can also find a kind of mini Hljóðaklettar in the Czech Republic near Kamenicky Senov. Basalt formation were created by volcanic activity. You can see them near the rivers of Jökulsá and Fjöllum. There are many rock formations. They distort echoes very much that’s why they are called "Echo Rocks ". The area is really nice and it is enhanced by the number of mushrooms we find there. Absolutely fabulous are leccinums and boletes. We do not know where to look. We try to resist the temptation to collect mushrooms but it is impossible. We take out our bags and fill them with the beauty. Various formations we walk through have very interesting vibe. Sometimes you can even enter some kind of cave.
We pass by last “organ”. Another nature’s curiosity appears before us - Rauðhólar, a red volcano lined with black lava overhangs. It is feast for one’s eyes. Crimson hill contrasting black overhangs and fabulous views over the landscape. Vesturdalur valley was really interesting. We do not even sense the time. We have to go back to not to arrive later than the group that decided to partake in the difficult hike.
We arrive at the camp in the noon. It is only 45 minutes until the first group arrive. Soon our Jirinka appears. Her head is bandaged. The hike was not so difficult but there were difficult passages between rocks. Jirka slipped and hit a rock with her head. Klara did the first aid. She is a doctor and it was no problem for her to treat such injury. Despite the accident, Jirina is in good mood.
We pack our tents, leave camp, and have another interesting program prepared. We move to Húsavíku, the largest city in the northeast, one of the first settlement in Iceland. We go there to see a popular tourist attraction – a boat cruise along the bay and whale observing. Large part of our expedition is interested to partake, 19 people in total. We get a sale thanks to our number. We pay 50 EUR each. Upon boarding we have to take on orange, or blue raincoats. We really look astonishing! Well, and now we can finally set sails. We are lucky. Whales are really around the ship and we can watch them and take pictures of them. Perhaps humpback whale. This giant jumps out of the water and spins around. It is fascinating that such colossus moves with such easiness. Adult humpback is around 14-15 meters long and weight about 25 tons. Whale with beautiful white fins is known as the singing whale. When it courts and copulates it can sign one song for 30 minutes, it often repeats it.
As conclusion to our expedition a hot cocoa is served and sweet pastries. We have great impressions; we share our experiences while travelling to the new camp. There we spend two nights. I would almost forget to write what happened to our mushroom collection. We voluntarily gave up an egg that was supposed to be served with cooked lentils. Therefore we had enough eggs to have scrambled mushrooms. It was really great!
Our next goal is Mývatn – a lake with glaciers.
Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová
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.
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.
People who love winter should be pleased by the following article. This time we take you to world’s largest island. And it name is bit paradoxical. However, in the native language of Greenland it is called Kalaallit Nunaat meanin the land of people.
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.
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.
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.
Morning, sun wakes us up and the sky is clear! Great! Other travelers arrived in the night - six new participants.
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.
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.
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.
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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