After Maurice flew out of Akureyri to return to Canada on August 10 I had a couple of days on my own before I had to be in Eglisstadir, Icelands eastern provincial centre, to pick up my friend Stephen at the airport there. Before I headed east I had some time to visit a couple of museums in Akureyri and to participate in the Dalvik fish festival (described here ).
The drive from Akureyri to Eglistaddir is along the Route 1 two lane paved highway and only takes about 3 hours.
En route I came across the access point to the F88 highland road https://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/iceland/570-askja-road-iceland.html that leads, after some 100 long and rough kilometres, to within hiking distance to the Askja volcano, one of Icelands outstanding features. I was alone so could not contemplate doing that trip even if I had had the 2 or 3 days I would have needed. All the same I could not resist spending an hour or two cruising up the F88 until I was convinced that it was indeed very rough – lava field washboard/corduroy rough. But even with that, and even being alone, with no time, it was really hard to turn around. There was something about that stark landscape with the volcano visible on the horizon that was very seductive.
I got back on the Route 1 and continued my descent to Eglisstadir in the east, following quite a lovely valley lined with smalll waterfalls. Eglisstadir is a small city a few miles inland from the east coast and has a small airport where I was to collect my friend Stephen early the next afternoon. I did not spend too much time in the town itself, but headed south in search of the Hallormsstadur Forestry Reserve, which has a campground. Forests are definitely NOT a defining feature of Iceland, but this one was quite impressive. http://www.visitegilsstadir.is/en/things-to-see/hallormsstadur-national- I stayed in Atlavik campground, in a beautiful tree bound site near the shores of Lake Lagarfljot. The weather was warm, bright and beautiful…..I wish I had thought to take some pictures to prove it.
Stephen was due in early afternoon the next day and in the morning I got up early enough for a good 3 hour hike up to a viewpoint looking down on the lake before driving back up the lake to Eglisstadir. I was rather expecting Stephen to be tired when he got off the plane because he had flown overnight from Canada before connecting to the domestic Reykjavik-Eglisstadir flight that morning. I scouted out a hotel I could take him to and was rather looking forward to a good nap myself, but to my surprise he arrived ready to explore. On his suggestion we drove out to Seyðisfjörður, a port located in a fjord which required driving over a high headland where fog and rain were thick.
Seyðisfjörður is where a weekly ferry lands from Denmark via the Faroe Islands and is where many Europeans with their own vehicle come in, so there were lots of Defenders and other 4x4s around that had explored Iceland and were waiting to board the ferry the next day. Seyðisfjörður is also where the dark Icelandic crime film ‘Trapped’ was set, in which the ferry plays a central role.
Stephen and I had tea in a charming little shop before we headed back up the road to Eglisstadir. Stephen liked the idea of the forest so we eschewed the hotel idea and instead went back up the lake to the Atlavik campground where I had spend the previous night. The weather was great and we enoyed a restful night getting ready for the next leg of the journey: the eastern fjords