Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Hólmavík and Drangsnes

Oh dear I have so been neglecting this blog...just really have not had the energy for it. The start to 2013 has not been brilliant for me and this is the first week since halfway through January that I have not been ill. Nothing serious just a myriad of annoying, debilitating illness'  several colds and flu's, a vomiting bug, painful conjunctivitis the worst I have ever had, which once over caused a bout of neuritis which lasted for about 2 weeks and gave me incredible pain in my head...electric like jolts of pain that would last for only 2-4 seconds but at one stage I was getting about 200 of these jolts a day!

I can attribute my grandson Henry as the sharer of most of these contagious illness' since he has started Leikskólar (pre-school) he seems to catch everything going around and of course as any grandmother knows it is absolutely impossible for nanny not to kiss and cuddle her grandson fortunately he did not share his bout of pin worms with me!

I am now reveling in this wonderful wellness feeling which of course has been heightened by its notable absent these last couple of is just so good to feel I will whinge no more about my health.

The weather has been superb of late and apparently March has been the sunniest March in over a decade and even some of the migratory birds have arrived a couple of weeks early. So to make the most of the fine weather on Easter Sunday I travelled with friends to Hólmavík and Drangsnes in the lower eastern part of the westfjords for a little geocaching...really just an excuse to see more of this fabulous country.  

The trail in lime green on the map is the route we drove, in all it was a 560km round trip. We left home at around 10.30am and returned about 11.45pm.

One of the caches was near this cairn which had an amazing view from all angles.

Facing the water was a wonderful vista of the Steingrímsfjörður

with a fab view over Hólmavík

and from behind was the majestic scene of þiðriksvalladalur (valley).

Here are a few more closer views of Hólmavík, such a pretty little town.

The day was a little overcast with blue sky breaking through here and there. There was absolutely no wind all day and it was relatively warm...I was able to get in and out of the car at times without  jacket, gloves hat or scarf.

You can see how still it was in this pic, there is hardly a ripple, other than what is made by the people out fishing in their dinghy.

An island floating in the sky

This is the island of Grímsey* just off the coast from Drangsnes,  a haven for bird life including the Puffin and only a 10 minute boat ride in summer. *Not to be confused with the island Grímsey that straddles the Arctic Circle just north of Dalvik, we did have quite a conversation how a few town names are repeated around Iceland and how confusing that can be for novices like me.

A pic of some sea birds flocking the area, we did also see plenty of eider ducks around Drangsnes but I did not manage to take any photos of these.

On the main street of Drangsnes were 3 public hot tubs with a fabulous view of the fjord, free to use, with the showers just across the road...what a wonderful idea...I think we need some of these in Sauðárkrókur.

I have read that Drangsnes's population is only 72, however there was a good percentage of that 72 in these hot tubs...a little crowded this easter day, so we moved on looking for something a little more private.

We stopped to do a little cache here

where the coastline was very rocky and craggy.

This is not a pic of white beach is snow

At this same spot there was a huge amount of driftwood which probably floats in from Russia. I could have spent hours here fossicking but my friends were back in the car ready to move on to the next spot.

The time was around 6pm and the next spot was in the Bjarnarfjörður valley...a cache was near the Sorcerers Cottage...the turf hut building in the above photo, the small pool of water in the front of the building was steaming hot, apparently this area is renowned for its abundance of natural geothermal springs. 

This is the view from the cache hide, the cream building is the Laugarhóll Hotel and just in the middle of the pic you can see the amazing geothermal pool. 

The thing I love about caching is that you are so often led to wondrous places like this.  The pool is 25 metres long and was constructed about 70 years ago by farmers in the area.

As far as we could ascertain it is free to use, we met the owner of the hotel briefly as she was going out, we were hoping the restaurant was was not but she said the pool was open till 10pm. We could find no honesty box for a fee and so assumed as the water flows in from natural springs in the area it was free.  Just behind the pool were some well appointed showers and change area.

So we decided to forgo our search for food and spend the time soaking in the pool 32°

and then the rock lined natural hot spring 42° was sooo relaxing....definitely a good decision.

Up until yesterday the weather had been beautiful and quite spring-like but at the moment winter is making a visit just to let us know that she is still has not completely moved on.  So in this northern little fishing town at the moment it is snowing.

However it is windless and the snow is gently falling, those big fat soft flakes that are so pretty, most of the snow we have seen this winter has come via blizzards so this makes a a nice change.

Well I am off to take Perla for a walk, she just loves being out in this type of snow weather...I promise to come back and visit soon.


  1. I must be so boring...whenever I say something it sounds the same-wonderful trip through a wonder-filled country.

    Sorry to know you have been ill, but very pleased you are back in the daily life of Iceland.

    (I have run your home town through a translator, but still read it as "soda cracker." No offence!"

    1. Hi Diane, pronounciation for Sauðárkrókur goes something like this sew-thar-croaker (thar as in far) and the letter ð always has a th sound...and that is about as good as my Icelandic gets. I have my name down for a class but they often don't run as they never get the numbers. It is not an easy language to pick up, I read on an Icelandic blog the other day that there were 11 different ways of writing the word 'this' depending on what context it is used in, such as gender, tense, plural etc...I just shake my head in despair.

  2. It look so beautiful...will have to try and do that trip next time we are in 'Soda Cracker'! haha love it!

    1. Kerry I think a trip around all the westfjords would be wonderful.

  3. Sorry to hear about the ill health - I must say I missed the blog, but this one makes up for it. Fabulous pics Vicki - I think I will have to visit Iceland again. We are off to UK in June, visiting Ireland and Scotland and then 2 weeks with mother in Wales.
    Henry looks gorgeous, any chance of another one yet?
    Keep on blogging...............XX Gill

    1. Lovely to hear from you Gill, please visit any time would love to see you again. I am hoping to make a trip to Ireland next year....have just come in contact with rellies over there.

      Yes Henry is adorable and I think another grandchild is quite possible.

      Skype me sometime!
      XX Vicki

  4. So pleased to hear you're well again Vicki after all that illness. Your photos are, as always, absolutely stunning - so many, so beautiful, I love them all.

    1. thanks Helen, I have to admit it is not my camera skills in play it is just very hard to take a bad photo here.

  5. Thank you. Your blog has made my day. Glad you're feeling better.

  6. Sorry to hear about all your bugs Vicki - glad to hear you are starting to feel better. Being brand new grandparents ourselves we realise we have all those 'joys' to look forward to, but as you say - the hugs and kisses cannot be resisted. Your photos are stunning as usual and I especially love the hot pool the farmers built - you live in such an incredible place don't you! Your blog is so good - I am sure no one minds if you miss the occasional week - makes us anticipate even more :-)

    1. Thanks Anita, I am sending you a long overdue reply to your email very soon.