• yatri gulaak

Iceland: Vatnajokull, Jokulsarlon and Eastern Fjords

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

The road from Black beach of Reydinsfjara to Hofn provides spectacular views of jagged cliffs, slender waterfalls and Vatnajökull glacier. On this stretch you are sure to come across the colossal rock of Lómagnúpur. Legend says it is the home of a huge and mystic giant called Járngrímur. The names of people that he whispers, are bound to die in near future. We were glad we did not hear ours.

Lómagnúpur: House of clairvoyant giant Járngrímur
Road from Vik to Hofn

Vatnajökull is the largest icecap in Europe by volume. On it is located Hvannadalshnúkur highest peak of Iceland. Many of its icy tongues lick the tarmac of Hringvegur at regular intervals. However, we were more interested in a lake at one of the edges of Vatnajökull. This lake was Jökulsárlón. It may appear to be staggeringly beautiful but is in actual a sad sight. The whole stretch where its silent waters now ripple, was one of the tongues of Vatnajokull. Due to global warming chunks of Ice are now slowly separating from the glacier and are heading towards final communion with the Atlantic. Jökulsárlón is merely a fleeting glimpse, a meteor sighting in the firmament of alteration of Icelandic landscape. In the coming decades, these floating icebergs which now are the toast of Hollywood productions will cease to exist. Only the lake will remain sans the floating blocks of Ice.

Vatnajökull Glacier
Icebergs of Jökulsárlón

Eastern Fjords


The initial road through Eastern Fjords for most part was an eerily silent one. There was not a soul in sight for 15 Kms till we crossed the kilometre-long tunnel Almannaskarðsgöng. There were no birds, no flowers, no people, no cars, no sun and no sounds. There were just those antediluvian hills that appeared to be tracing the path we took with a dispassionate observation. Spectral clouds moved past these primeval sentinels, sometimes hiding their summits, sometimes revealing them. It seemed that most tourists tend to leave this part of Iceland alone. The seclusion of Eastern Fjords bestows a beautifully sad quality upon them. I am sure if one traverses through them on foot on an overcast day, he is bound to have a little heartache.


Admiring the dramatic coastline, we reached Eystrahorn mountain in Hvalnes. Swans paddled meditatively in the serene water body, probably an inlet of The Atlantic, contiguous to pointed cliffs. Here we saw our first Homo sapiens after we had started from Hofn. The sights around the mountain were incredible. This whole waterbody must have been a glacier thousands of years ago stretching to coast of Atlantic.

Desolation of Eastern Fjords
Batman Chair put by a kind farmer for tourists
Eystrahorn mountain

Moving further we clouds again closed in, now completely obscuring the peaks around us. The weather in Eastern Fjords is truly unpredictable. The sun shines one moment and next moment leaden clouds assign an ominous shade to the scene. On our right was The Atlantic whose wave after wave swept the small beaches at the feet of the cliffs. Then right in the middle of one of the Beaches. We saw a lost twin of Eagle rock of Vik. Surely a troll turned to stone by morning light.

Surely a troll turned to stone by morning light

Djúpivogur


At the first sight of Pyramid mountain Búlandstindur, the movement on the highway again became subdued. For we were now approaching the Cittaslow town of Djúpivogur. Cittaslow is an Italy based organization which enlists towns and communes with a commitment to unhurried place of life especially traffic and flow of life through them. Traditions and traditional ways of doing things are valued. These cities stand up against the fast-lane, homogenised world so often seen in other cities throughout the world. Slow cities have less traffic, less noise, fewer crowds. Similar to Susegad feeling that you experience in Goa. Life in Djúpivogur is slow, traditional and quiet. You see more moored fishing boats than people. We did not want to hurry the pace of town so we hurried ourselves through it. The day was drawing to a close and next day we were going to visit a natural wonder that brought us to Iceland in the first place. The Raison D’etre of the trip.

Búlandstindur: The pyramid mountain
Long and winding road to Djúpivogur
You see more moored fishing boats than people
Me and you and a dog named Boo Travellin' and livin' off the land
Excuse me

For other stories on Iceland see

1) https://www.yatrigulaak.com/post/iceland-day-1-a-road-trip-through-of-ice-and-fire

2) https://www.yatrigulaak.com/post/iceland-day-2-s%C3%B3lheimasandur-and-skogafoss

3) https://www.yatrigulaak.com/post/iceland-reydinsfjara-and-laki-flows


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