After breakfast the next morning we set out on Day 4, a meandering drive through the fjords of Iceland’s east coast. A fjord is a long, narrow inlet from the sea between high cliffs. They are typically formed by glaciers over very long periods of time. Day 4 carried the promise of the most magnificent views yet and was probably my most highly anticipated part of the drive around the island. This is what we saw…
(Magnificent view across a foggy fjord.)
Perhaps not as I had imagined, but the fog and rain did not deter us. The little we could see was still incredible. Steep mountainsides disappearing into ominous grey clouds with only a narrow road separating sheer cliffs and dramatic coast lines.
(Somewhere on the east coast of Iceland.)
Despite the rain, we still made the occasional stop. The Haifoss waterfall at Fossardalur was particularly beautiful.
(Haifoss waterfall at Fossardalur)
Isolated farmhouses dotted the coastline as they did the mountainsides, usually with little to no sign of life other than the grazing sheep. We kept wondering when the work was actually done, but enjoyed the peaceful stillness as it was.
(Random farmhouse on the east coast of Iceland)
(Sheep grazing in the mountain foothills. There are more sheep than humans in Iceland.)
We stopped for lunch in a small town at Stodvarfjordur (again, hot dogs and coffee). The gas station doubled as the local grocery store and information centre so we collected some maps that would be useful over the coming days.
The rain and fog continued as we travelled up the coast. I was excited to drive through the mountain tunnel, Faskrudsfjardargong, but we missed the turn off and ended up going all the way around the coast on a gravel road. It was a little harrowing in our toy car but offered up more amazing views. Luckily, the tunnels’ exit was near to the road we had taken so we backtracked a bit to go through. It was 4 miles of glorious tunnel…8 miles for us!
We were en route to Hafaldan Old Hospital Hostel in Seydisfjordur, a quaint little fishing town in the north east. To get there, we drove up and over a large mountain pass before descending into the fjord in which the town is nestled. As we drove up the mountain we seemed to be level with the clouds and could see the fog sweeping across the valley over Egilsstadir. It was breathtaking. Seydisfjordur itself was so picturesque, it was easily the most charming place we had come to yet.
(Fog rolling over Egilsstadir.)
When we checked into the hostel, we were told we had a single bed in a dorm room and that we would be sharing with several people. Sharing bathrooms had been adventurous for us so the looks on our faces apparently revealed a lot to the receptionist. We checked out the dorm and returned to the front desk to politely inquire if a private room was still available. Before we could say anything, the receptionist offered a private room at no additional cost. We laughed at our awkward reaction earlier and celebrated our little win.
(Hafaldan Old Hospital Hostel in Seydisfjordur.)
(Dorm vs. Private room at Hafaldan Old Hospital Hostel in Seydisfjordur.)
We explored the town and went to Skaftfell Bistro for dinner. We met an American couple from Minnesota who were also driving the ring road and shared our Icelandic experiences so far. After dinner we hiked up and around Budararfoss waterfall and then played at a local playground that featured a zipline. We got back to the hostel with time enough to plan out our next day.
(Meeting a local of Seydisfjordur, Iceland.)
(Church in Seydisfjordur, Iceland)
(Skaftfell Bistro in Seydisfjordur, Iceland.)
(Budararfoss waterfall in Seydisfjordur, Iceland.)