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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

12 September 2021

No puffin

Boat

Boat

18 August 2021

We wasted three hours driving out to Borgarfjörður Eystri and back. The “cute” fishing village is just a bunch of scattered tin houses. The main reason to come is a puffin colony within a couple of yards of a viewing platform… but alas, most of the colony had left, and the ones remaining put out to sea earlier in the morning so there were no puffins to see. Zero.

So we got back on route, determined to find some cool stuff with the rest of our day. Ended up back in Egilstadir again, where we picked up pastries at the local bakery. It’s starting to look like the only reason there are good bakeries in Reykjavik is some imported hipster culture in the capital, as the rest of the country seems to only have the kind of dull baked goods that most UK bakeries offered a couple of decades ago!

Studlagil

Studlagil

Onwards! To Stuðlagil Canyon, a spot further down the same river as Hafrahvammagljufur. This didn’t exist as a place to visit eleven years ago; the river used to fill the canyon completely until it was dammed upstream in 2010. Three years ago travel bloggers speak of it as “off the beaten track” and “hard to find”. Now it boasts two car parks and a viewing platform, and there were 40+ vehicles there!

And yet. And yet it is still an utterly unique only-in-Iceland spectacle (yes, again), with eerie turquoise waters flowing between towering hexagonal basalt columns like something out of a fantasy epic.

Arctic fox cub

Arctic fox cub

Although this was a long driving day, we had one more charming encounter in the afternoon. At the cafe-restaurant in the little settlement of Modrudalur, where they make a mean hot chocolate and also have a little family of habituated arctic foxes living in the garden. This one pup spent ages playing with the family dogs and we could have watched for hours, except that a noisy family arrived to point and shout and try and approach too close. The pup scurried back to her den, and we went away with guilty smugness. If people are going to be jerks who won’t be patient and respect nature, they shouldn’t get to enjoy it, right? Or is that mean? : )

Akyureri, Iceland’s “second city”, looks a bit like a small and uninteresting French provincial suburb, surrounded by mountains and a fjord. Dinner was over-sized and unspectacular.

Studlagil

Studlagil


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