ICELAND DISPATCH #20 – HEADING EAST

Yesterday I picked up a 4 wheel drive in Reykjavik and headed up to the geothermal pools at Hveravellir; roughly 70 miles from the waterfall ‘Gullfoss’ and the major tourist attraction ‘Geysir’ (the spouting boiling water after which all other such vents are named). The road from Reykjavik to Gullfoss is paved and easy driving – even if it is on the wrong side of the road for an Aussie. The road from Gullfoss to Hveravellir however is a rocky, washboard, potholed excuse for a road that would break pretty much any vehicle of the non-military variety. It is liberally sprinkled with rocks the size of soccer balls, blind corners, steep drops and various other obstacles that are ‘car breaking’ in nature. I don’t think my Jeep’s suspension will ever be the same. Total toll – the car fridge packed up from all the bouncing, the 12 volt-240 volt inverter seems to have given up the ghost and one ‘check engine’ warning light; which seems to have gone away after topping up the coolant.

I arrived at Hveravellir just in time for an hours photography at the geothermal pools before the light faded for the evening around 11:30pm. Rather than pitch the tent I decided to pull an all night shift and turned around immediately and drove the 70 miles back to Gullfoss to be there in time for sunrise at 4am. The drive back was much more challenging as a thick fog bank had rolled in behind me on the way in, reducing visibility to about 10 metres. It took more than three hours to make the return drive, but it  was worth the effort as the light at sunrise this morning was soft and translucent.

Now I am having a late brunch at Geysir after catching up on some sleep and am about to head over to the Jokulsarlon lagoon for more iceberg photography – a few hours drive on paved roads.  The weather at the moment is magical – its around 20 degrees, the sun is shinning and there is no wind – ideal conditions for the lagoon.

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