Well started out from Isadurfur this morning after breakfast. The breakfast was the typical breakfast you seem to find here as well as in Europe: juice, dry cereal (Cheerios and corn flakes, at least), sliced thinly sliced meats, a few veggies (tomato, cucumber, etc.), breads, jellies, perhaps waffles/pancakes, etc.
Today is going to be primarily a driving day with a few, very few, places to stop for sightseeing except for the terrain. So we head out on paved roads, thank goodness, to Drangsness. Which is a very small fishing community of about 70 people. Supposedly the trip along the shores of the fjords is replete with birds and seals! Never saw a seal did see birds – normal populations but certainly not replete with birds. The fjords were really quite beautiful and green with low growing shrubs unlike the earlier couple of days. The weather was probably about 25-30% sunshine with no rain, well almost. When we went up over one of the passes we did get some light drizzle there but that was it. Generally, the weather has been really good here with no rain, several days with sun and when it was cloudy no rain. The terrain today is in and out of the fjords with green hillsides and little waterfalls every quarter or half mile due to the melting of the snows. One can look across the fjord at the far escarpments and see these small silver bands from the top to the bottom of the escarpments – absolutely beautiful.
After we left town this morning after an hour and a half came upon a small house by the side of the road, see pictures, where we had coffee and waffles. So we stopped and had coffee/tea and a small waffle. The house was built around 1897 by to families. The foundation was only about 20×20 and was lived in until the late 60s. The family deeded it to the National Museum which fixed it up to what it was in the past. It is now a small business in the late 90s and run by the original family descendants. What was really interesting was that there were two houses built on this foundation which shared a wall in the middle. Two families lived there from 1897 to 1917 with 20 total people! After 1917 there was one family. They slept on the second floor – really packed in. The kitchens for the two houses were external structures – so that helped. The doors were about 5.5 feet high and the ceilings about 6.25 feet high on the bottom floor and an A shaped second floor. Is amazing what can be done. The roof was luxuriant grass! The young girl who was there – her grandfather lived there. We headed on around another fjord, climbed up a mountain pass and stopped at a hotel restaurant (use to be a boarding school) for lunch then on to our destination in Drangsnes the hotel/motel was very nice with large rooms and a great restaurant. Had fresh halibut which was really, really good!
The restaurant owner was the front and his wife the cook – really a great couple! The problem they are facing is not unlike we see in the west, the central part of the U.S. They will be moving later this year as there is no future for their children in this small community and the nearest town is quite a ways away and they do get snowed in on occasion. Iceland is aware of these issues and in the West Fjords area, at least, they are trying to improve roads, locate small business (fishing based) in these areas. But part of the problem, like the town we ate in yesterday, they want and can expand the salmon processing plant but to get people there – where is the housing, what other infrastructure is there to support the people? Is difficult but they seem to be making some progress.
Oh well, great meal and topped off with a great piece of cheesecake. That is about it for the day, reviewed tomorrow and time to sack.
BTW – Skype is great for calling home instead of buying minutes for a cell phone. If you do not use it in your travels you ought to!!! Course you do have to have an Internet connection but even in the smallest places the Internet is there – we are truly wired together!
Drive along the shores of the many fjords of Ísafjarðardjúp Bay with beautiful coastlines teeming with seals and bird life. Cross Steingrímsfjarðarheiði Heath and head towards Hólmavík town in the Strandir area known for its interesting history of witchcraft and sorcery. Visit the Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum for a closer look into witchcraft and witch hunting as it was practised here in the 17th century.
Before reaching Hólmavík, take a detour to Drangsnes, a small fishing village at Steigrímsfjörður Fjord where the natural hot outdoor pool is popular with locals and visitors.