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

12 September 2021

The many-coloured Hveradalir

Hveradalir

Hveradalir

20 August 2021

We left Akyureri this morning feeling a bit guilty; we had spent two nights in Iceland’s “second city” and hadn’t seen any more of it than our apartment and two restaurants. But it really didn’t look very interesting, like a small nondescript modern town anywhere in Europe. And a long day’s drive across the rugged interior of Iceland on rough roads awaiting us!

In the event, the road was of excellent quality, so not quite as exciting as I’d hoped. That said, the wild landscape with ice caps ever-present in the distance is magnificent.

Strokkur

Strokkur

Our main stop today was Kerlingarfjoll, a mountain resort area with a single odd little hotel and a small campsite. In perhaps the most extreme example of high Icelandic prices, we had a rather sad burger and chips and a bowl of sweet potato soup for the princely sum of £36.

Anyway, a few miles higher into the mountains is the most amazing place. Hveradalir is an area of geothermal activity pretty much up at the snowline. The chemicals that colour the rocks and soil make for a kaleidoscopic landscape, especially combined with white snow and blue glacial ice, and the occasional vivid green patch of vegetation. What you can’t really capture with a camera is the sulphorous steam pouring out and drifting around in stinking clouds.

Yet again, Iceland dishes up something that is like nowhere else on earth.

The old schoolhouse hotel

The old schoolhouse hotel

We ended the day with a short stop at Gullfoss, another impressive waterfall with rainbows and a big visitor centre. Oh, tell a lie. We ended the day after Gullfoss, with a short stop at Geysir to see the impressive 20m high Strokkur geyser explode water into the air (at convenient eight minute intervals). So as usual we got to our hotel late, weary, happy, and with just enough time for a quick clean-up and a late dinner. Our hotel is a quirky old rambling school building decked out with mid-century antique and flea market furniture.

Hveradalir

Hveradalir


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