Inspired by Iceland
TusVeSa
Travel Diaries And More by Samloka
Aug
12.

12.08.08 Isafjordur – Hornstrandir
by Garik and Lena
  • Hornstrandir – A day’s Hike in the Nature Reserve (Westfjords). That is what we did today!
  • We woke up and felt very frozen, barely feeling our finger tips, my mattress wasn’t blown enough… I was a bit embittered. As we woke up, we dressed up, packed our day bags and headed to the info center to buy tickets for today’s trip. The price of the trip for two people is 23200 ISK. The sailing started a bit late, and ten minutes after, the boat just stopped… The captain of the boat struggled to start it again and when we were sure we’re not going anywhere today, he managed to start the boat. When we approached the shore, we had a surprise, we didn’t moored but we had to jump into small rubber boat, which took us to the shore. There we had to jump in to the water cause the boat couldn’t go straight on the beach.
  • After a small break we started hiking. Iris, our guide for today, told us that the houses here belong to descendants of those who left this nature resort many years ago. Today, these are their summerhouses. There are no electric cables here, only remains of telephony cables that people who lived here made in order to connect two distinct towns. We walked on a road (if you want to call it that way) that people tried to pave, in order to keep people in the area from moving away. But the area is a big swamp so the road sank down, so people gave up. As we walked on the road we suffered from mosquitos. Only strong wind could take them away! When we stop for a break, we were told that we have an expedition with us. A group of scientists and CEO or sort of that, of some company called SagaMedica. They came to explore the native plant called Angelica. They make nature drugs from the plant. This is a plant that people who lived here for centuries, used all the time to make themselves food, alcohol, drugs and more, cause it is the only plant growing here, close to the arctic circle. They learned how to exploit it from the root to the leaves including the seeds. The chief gave us samples of their product, called Voxis, not something special… :) On our way, we passed a church, where young priests were sent after graduation ot their school. No one wanted to get there because of the remoteness of the area. One of the stories Iris told us was that in winter people couldn’t bury the dead, it was impossible to reach the church that was placed far from the houses and the path to the church and the cemetery were covered with snow. So they left the dead in the snow and buried them only in late spring.
  • So we kept walking on the swampy road til we started to climb. We climb a modest slope till we reached a little waterfall, then Iris told each one of us, to continue “…on his own pace…” and so we did… man that was hard!!! Even in Icelandic cold we started to sweat like in Israel in the mid of August!!!
  • On the next stop, we asked Iris about the life of people who lived here once, and she told us that people used to lay down the kids early in the evening, then they went out hiking to the closest town to dance in the pub and then went back, hiking in the middle of the night, getting back home just in time, when the kids woke up. We also received a final satisfying answer about those piles of stones… these are path marks, not more!  We asked her about the sheep, why are they all the time in groups of three? She couldn’t explain us that, but she told us that in the spring farmers from all around Iceland let the sheep go free and collect them in late autumn. Then they share sheep between them… something like that.
  • After we passed the highest point of the hike, we started to get down towards small hut, in which, we were promised, we can buy hot chocolate and pancakes, each for 300 ISK. On the way we ate lots of blueberries and blackberries, mostly blueberries.
  • We knew that we will pass a river in this hike, and in some point of the day we reached the river. It was a small river with not a strong flow. Lena went first using only one pole, struggling with the ice cold water. When she crossed the river, she took her camera out quick to take a picture of me. I started crossing the river as suddenly some woman behind me, raised white sock in the air, asking who’s sock is this… that was my sock… with 2000$ inside!!! Lena will never forgive me for that! So I had to go back and cross the river again… so I got two pictures :)
  • The rest of the hike was not so interesting, I fell, stepped inside mud, though my legs remained dry. Just before the coffee bar, some guy from the Netherland told us that there is a seal in the water, near the shore we are walking on, so we looked for the seal, and there he was! We tried to take a picture of him but without much success… We did managed to watch him with our binoculars.
  • When we came to the coffee bar, we got only black coffee with milk, no hot chocolate or pancakes what so ever… On the way back we didn’t have to use the rubber boat. Our boat stood near the dock. We got sun burned our way back on board. We wrote Iris a gift card. We thanked her for the wonderful hiking day. She was surprised when she got it. I decided to buy VOXIS for my mom, when we will be back in Reykjavik.
  • Back in Isafjordur we bought sausages and mineral water for 500 ISK and in the evening we made Spanish rice with sauce and sausages. Our desert was as usual, tea and chocolate.
  • We sent also couple of pictures to our parents. We had to use the free Internet in the Edda hotel… This time we went to sleep full and well dressed! Plz Icelandic gods, no rain or cold weather… plz….. :)
Hornstrandir nature reserve

Hornstrandir nature reserve

Hornstrandir  - modest slope...

Hornstrandir - modest slope...

Hornstrandir

Hornstrandir

My first cross... The woman behid, she probably noticed now my sock...

My first cross... The woman behid, she probably noticed now my sock...

Pile of stones

Pile of stones

Near the coffe bar... waiting for the boat
Near the coffe bar… waiting for the boat




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