On the road again!

It’s time to hit the road. A group of us will be flying to Svalbard but we first need to get to the airport at Keflavik, 45 minutes from Reykjavik.  It will take us 2 days to get there.  We are going along the east coast, and although it takes a little longer in that direction, the scenery is beautiful.  On the way to þórshöfn, we went along the west coast.  So essentially, I will have traveled along the perimeter of Iceland and done a complete circle. 

We came across a curious sight… fish heads drying!  It’s not something you see everyday nor smell.  Yep, it stunk but there was a strong, cold wind off the water so it wasn’t overpowering. 

The roads in Iceland change between paved and dirt.  There is no highway but rather a two laned road, a lane in each direction.  The bridges are most often a single lane so you have to make sure no one is coming from the other direction.  They’re not very wide either so it’s imperative you keep a close eye on the road.  There are very few guard rails (I saw one over a steep cliff so I was thankful for that since the roads were icy at that spot) and no street lights.  Every few yards are orange poles with reflectors.  At night the headlights shine on the reflectors and outline the road.  Without them it would be impossible to stay on the road since there aren’t painted lines on the shoulder. You may see town lights across the fjord and think you’re almost there but it may take another half hour until you reach it because you have to follow the contour of the fjord and it may go deep inland.  There are few straight roads. 

The roads yield to the landscape and often times are moved because nature is unyielding.  These steel struts are the remnants of a bridge and one example of natures power.

While driving I’m used to looking out for animals crossing the road.  There are no deer or squirrel or many of the types of animals that one might expect to see.   The only wild animals I saw near the roads were birds and geese.  Iceland does not have deer but the east coast does have reindeer, although we did not see any. 

I loved Glacier Lagoon http://icelagoon.is/.  It’s a pool of floating icebergs that make their way to the sea. It was a tranquil place where I could imagine spending hours.  There was something transformative about watching the icebergs float into the sea.  Imagine the years it took to make that journey.  It’s like the final hoorah. 

One day I would love to rent a camper and meander the countryside. They rent campers and 4 wheel drive vehicles.  Some 4 wheelers have HUGE tires.  The gas mileage isn’t great but they can go wherever they want. And people love to explore many isolated areas. 

The scenery is spectacular.  I’d love to see it in the summer as well.  I would imagine that most people would prefer the summer when it’s light almost all day long but some have said that the winter skies are spectacular. 

Once in awhile you can spot hay bales in pink covering.  Even the Icelandic farmers support breast cancer awareness.

We stopped along the way and had dinner at a nice restaurant.  There was a small museum that described how the French came to the area and started fishing.  The conditions were treacherous and many died.  The beds were tiny and shared by 4-5 men, I hope  at least in rotations! 

Antje “Asa” Müller is 22 years old and from Bremen, Germany and came to Iceland to work on a sheep farm.  She has been here for one and half years.

What’s the best thing about Iceland?

The mentality that you can leave your keys in the car.  There is less stress here.

What makes you unique?  

I think working on a sheep farm makes me unique.  While working I get many bruises…and I like bruises!  It’s like a tattoo that changes.  It’s a form of body art.  I don’t connect it to pain.  It creates memories of what I’ve done and reminds me of my hard work.

Sigurjón Pórðarson is 35 years old and is from Reykjavik, Iceland.  He is the police officer in þorshófn.  They would typically have 2 officers at a time so the other can have time off but they haven’t been able to fill the position.  If he wants a drink of alcohol or to take vacation, he needs to arrange for coverage.  Now that’s dedication!

What’s the best thing about Iceland?

The nature, the waterfalls, the Icelandic water, Landmannalaugar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmannalaugar, and Jökulsárlón http://icelagoon.is/

What makes you unique?

Although it was a difficult question to answer and friends around him agreed, he is a social person, friendly, down to earth and a good communicator!

Steven Headman is 23 years old and from Luderits, Namibia.  He came to Iceland as a child.

What’s the best thing about Iceland?

It’s the people!  They are so easy to be friends with.

What makes you unique?

I’m funny and I’m a good friend.  I want to work on a sheep farm but currently work in the fish factory.

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