Iceland day 9: Djupivogur

The short and comfortable night made for a difficult awake. We shifted the curtains with a finger to peep outside; rain. The day was not accurately planned: we had to go to Djupivogur – which was not too far away – and the only detour that we had been recommended involved quite too many miles drive for what it was worth.

Day9_Fiord sight

Sneaking out of Seydisfjordur

Our host Johanna told us that the house with a blue sweater in a board on the wall is where a friend of hers sells her knittings. It’s not a full blown business so she sells hand made products at warehouse prices. Unfortunately we couldn’t check as it was still closed when we drove past. Actually everything was closed, the early morning twilight, the incessant rain and the low white clouds all around were giving the place a truly melancholic atmosphere.
We filled up the tank as in Seydisfjordur the petrol was cheaper than anywhere else in the area, and we set off to the lake Lagarfljót. We drove a few miles before stopping and turning back. We didn’t even need to talk and agree that, a quick silent look at each other and we both knew that it wasn’t worth driving 100 km to see the ruins of a cloister that didn’t sound too promising even on its own leaflet, and an improbable worm monster. Yes, we missed Hengifoss, one of the tallest waterfalls in the country, but after Dettifoss and Godafoss we could hardly go any better.
We were going to arrive in Djupivogur early in the afternoon, which was ok as the fjords around the town are described as beautifully wild and rugged. To get there even earlier we took a short-cut via a F-road; we had a 4WD so we wanted to make the most out of it. Five minutes later we had to stop as a chunk of road had been literally wiped away by a glacier stream. There was no way of going through and, mostly, that could have happened right under our car. So this is why there was that “impassable” sign marking the start of this F road. We gingerly drove back thinking of the road crumbling under our wheels and plunging in the gorge below, or the mountain next to us discharging ice and black stones on us, until we safely reached the paved road.

A boat in a fjord

A boat abandoned next to a reindeer skull cemetery

We reached Djupivogur and dove in the first café available to warm up our bodies and spirits. Not that there was much choice but the Langabud turned out to be a nice place. Decently priced (unlimited tea/coffee 350ISK), good home-made cakes and artworks covering almost every inch of the laminated walls. The apple pie and green rhubarb pie were excellent, but stay away from the local beers, unless you’re happy to pay 900ISK for a small bottle.

The coast along the fjord was scenic and surely it would have been a great view with the sun. Sadly the weather was quite miserable and the experience felt slightly frustrating. We planned to go back there the following day, hoping for the forecast to be, at least once, right.

Salvation in art

Day9_eggsBefore calling it a day we reach a place aptly named Gallery Bones, Sticks and Stones: a yard and few huts crammed with bones, antlers, timber and stones of all shapes and sizes, on the way to the famous eggs sculptures. From rough minerals to carefully carved jewels, it’s surely the best alternative souvenir shop in town. We spent some time there, playing ball with the dog, a very intelligent black collie who apparently even has his own show on Fridays, and talking with his owner – the eccentric man running the whole place – chatting about indigenous Greenland populations and how the rocks of one place influence the people living there, being minerals in everything we drink, eat, breathe.

As soon as we were ready to bed, after a home-made dinner, the sun broke through the clouds, opening up a light blue sky. We recognised the pattern: the weather was obviously working against our plans, so we chatted a little longer with our newly met Dutch friend Dirk – a naturalist working on a guidebook – and we went out for a walk in yet another surreal sunny night.

Day9_bloody sun

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After being in Rome a few times without even looking at the Coliseum I realised that there's more to travel than sightseeing: meeting the local culture is what, 10 years later, determined the birth of this blog.

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