Sunday: flying back to Reykjavik

I started today with a quick trip round the three southern Eastfjord villages. Didn’t take long – there’s not much there and since it’s Sunday, everything is shut. The road winds around the coast – slow but picturesque. I wanted to go swimming but all the pools were closed, so I just did a tour of Fáskrúðsfjörður (“the French village”), Stöðvarfjörður and Breiðdalsvík.

At Breiðdalsvík you can carry on north up the Ring Road to return to Egilsstaðir or you can take the winding road back round the fjords. It seemed quicker and easier to take the main road, the state-of-the-art good tarmac road that encircles Iceland. Except for the stretch between Höfn and Egilsstaðir which has a large stretch of gravel. Fine, it was a good road, I could do 70kph on it fairly easily (legal limit is 80; I’m not quite that brave) but then I started to think that I seemed to be heading towards a horseshoe of mountains. Don’t know of any tunnel, so we can’t go through it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go round it. So evidently we go over it. Oh yes. The main road becomes a series of very steep, very tight bends on very loose gravel. I’m so glad I didn’t meet anything going the other way. This is the main road! Buses come up here! I implore you, look at it on Google Street Maps – this is the sort of road you could easily just fall off if you meet something coming the other way. No wonder absolutely everything you read breezily suggests taking the fjord road and neglects to mention that the Ring Road really exists. Now I understand why that particular stretch has “no winter service”.

Back in town, I had lunch outside the roadhouse – wish I’d noticed the supermarket sold Babybels days ago. Fresh baguette, babybel and orange juice. Not exactly exciting but honestly, the best food I’d had in days. That done, there was only one way to fill the afternoon. I have literally done everything in the east of Iceland and the airport is one kilometre away, so no need to get there too quickly for an 8.30pm flight. I went and killed time at the pool. Tried on some flippers – fun but managed to rub my feet to ribbons.

Once I’d had all I could of the pool, I filled it up, got some more cash out and took the car back to the airport where I killed more time cleaning nine days of picnic out, handed back the keys and sat and waited for my flight.

It was uneventful. Too cloudy to see much until we got back to the west. Þingvallavatn was nice and visible and we flew right over Esja – I could see the path I walked up last year – and then over the bay, Snæfellsjökull looking perfect off to the north, in over Reykjavik and then down. I’d been planning to get the bus home but common sense prevailed – I had no idea which bus and I had a bag of 18kg+ with no easy straps to carry it. I could get to Hlemmur, the main bus station but I didn’t know which from there and besides, it was Sunday night, 9.30 by the time we arrived. I didn’t even know if the buses were running. So I got a taxi and very decadent it was too. A taxi to the Hilton, how nice.

It was nice! Proper blackout curtains and a bath! I enjoy the hot pools and the hot tubs but it’s not the same as having your own bath.

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