Beautiful winter we have this spring. Icelanders say it’s the worst spring in the last two decades. Lucky us :-). It’s cold, but at least it is not raining, about what we were more afraid of.
South Iceland is a paradise for those who like mountain hike. Today we plan to visit the biggest National Park in Iceland – Vatnajokull. It is also the largest glacier in the world which lies beyond the Arctic Circle. The road to the starting point of our trek – Skaftafell (people from Spain met in Kirkjubaejarklaustur did not recommended the local camp site) passes through the largest wilderness of Iceland, Sandar – almost 1,300 km2. This black desert formed by the sand from rivers of mountains, which was developed from a melting glacier.
In Skaftafell we learned that the longest but also the most spectacular route is closed due to the snow. Despite everything, we have at least five hours of walking on the glacier. At times, in sheltered places, we had an impression that it was 20 Celsius degrees. But as soon as we walked out into the open space, the wind showed us what it can. Mania patented perfectly the process of shielding herself from the wind by “burying” in the cap and the sling. We were curious how in such conditions it would work the frame backpack for a child – is it possible to mount a cover to it?
The views are amazing. You can clearly see where the glacier “descends” into the sea, and other heavenly place is complemented by the waterfall Svartifoss which is surrounded by basalt columns.
On our way to Höfn – the next and the only major town – we stop off at the so-called “must see”, i.e. glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón. The powerful ice sculptures flow through a narrow pass just to fall into the North Atlantic. It looks quite impressive, but beware, it is terribly cold. The wind is so piercing that probably never in my life my hands froze so fast and so strong. Carelessly I didn’t take a cap or gloves from Poland, and it seems that these are the things required in Iceland regardless of the season. Always when we were going out, Mańka was dressed in layers with the last layer usually in the form of a waterproof suit, which protects her also from the wind.
We owe you a supplement information from the previous day. Everyone in Poland got used to the idea that in every village at least one store is open, regardless of the day of the week. Iceland is not the case, we have noticed this problem in the village of Vik, where we wanted to replenish the nappies for Mania. It was 5 p.m. on Saturday. The only store in the town closed about 2 p.m., and the next day they do not intend to open it. It is easy to imagine that the survival 1.5 days with two nappies would be for Mania quite extreme experience :-).
On the street in Vik we have reeled up to a young girl for help. We learned that the nearest shop open on Sunday, is about 300 kilometers away from Vik (just in Höfn). Finally, she lent us three nappies in size 7. The biggest nappies Mania wears was in size 4, but these in size 7 were better than nothing. The petrol station saved us also, because it operates like a network of the small shops in Poland called “Żabka” (Eng. “A Frog”) . We bought there the only available nappies in size 2 :-) (36 pieces cost about 10 €).
Several times during our trip we caught up ourselves on the fact that the stores are opening about 11 o’clock, so you can only dream of an early breakfast if you did not do inventory before.
Let’s return to our history. About 7 p.m. we arrived to Höfn. All these towns at this time of the year look the same and are equally … well … depressing – no one is on the street, from time to time a car passes through. Even more depressing was the fact that again we have two options to overnight – :-( a tent or a car. On the advice of the campsite employee we chose to set up our tent at a place which was sheltered from the wind with trees (a rarity in Iceland). We wanted to reward ourselves somehow this night in the tent and we decided, that we will eat something in the restaurant. When we saw the prices our enthusiasm quickly faded. The dish cost about 45 € :-(. So we finished the day in the fast-food bar. I took a sandwich with lobster and Karo took the fish and chips. The bar is called Hafnarbuðin – better give it a wide berth :-) .