Iceland Road Trip 2016, Day 4 — East Iceland

posted in: Iceland, Iceland 2016 | 0

Our fourth day in Iceland, and Alex was still unwell. We had to travel quite a lot that day, from Mývatn area to Seyðisfjörður. We were leaving Mývatn, and here is our last photograph of Hverir geothermal area taken from the road:

Námafjall peak -- goodbye, Mývatn!
Námafjall peak — goodbye, Mývatn!

Möðrudalur

We traveled southeast through Möðrudalur, a farm and the highest inhabited place in the country. It has the basics to call itself inhabited: a church and a cafe. A nice bonus is a gas station disguised as a row of traditional Icelandic huts.

Möðrudalur
Möðrudalur
Möðrudalur
Möðrudalur
Möðrudalur
Möðrudalur

However, I mostly remember that place because I had the best tasting and the ugliest doughnut in my life there, and it was the same doughnut. It looked like an overbaked ball, brown and greasy. However, they did not have anything else on the menu, and we decided to taste it… Well, we had to come back for seconds and even take some to go.

My favorite donut
My favorite doughnut

Hengifoss

Hike Hengifoss waterfall was our scheduled first hike for the day. We expected it to be challenging but it was in fact quite easy (I guess, compared to Faroe Islands, most of the uphill hikes in Iceland seemed too easy). On our way to Hengifoss we stopped at Litlanesfoss, a smaller waterfall that is not as impressive but still quite nicely situated among basalt columns.

Litlanesfoss
Litlanesfoss
Hengifoss
Hengifoss
Some pretty flowers caught our attention on our way back
Some pretty flowers caught our attention on our way back

Klausturkaffi

For lunch, we went to Klausturkaffi, a nearby caffe. They had cake buffet at the time we came. We were kind of expecting English-type cream-tea-style sweets, but it turned out to be something different and unexpected. They had many kinds of pies and cakes in a self-serve buffet. Most of them were sweet, but they also had savory casserole-style cakes. Unbelievably tasty. We just could not think of counting how many calories we consumed because we knew that we would not enjoy these types of treats anywhere else. And the cakes kept coming. All new varieties, so we had to try them all :).

View from the open terrace at Klausturkaffi
View from the open terrace at Klausturkaffi
Klausturkaffi, cake buffet
Klausturkaffi, cake buffet

Strútsfoss

I did not plan to hike to Strútsfoss, I didn’t even know about it until that day. I found out about it on our way to Hengifoss, and since they are in the close vicinity of each other, we decided to give Strútsfoss a shot. The hike itself is easier than the one to Hengifoss but it is definitely less traveled and goes through meadows of high grass. Fun when the grass is not wet.

Pretty meadows
Pretty meadows
On our way to Strútsfoss
On our way to Strútsfoss
Strútsfoss
Strútsfoss map

We got to a viewpoint, but the waterfall was not very impressive from that location. We had to come closer, but I was too tired and Alex too sick. Unimpressed, we turned back at about where the loop starts on the map above. We still had a lot of miles to cover before the day was over.

Strútsfoss
Strútsfoss

Seyðisfjörður

Two years ago, we planned to make a short detour to Seyðisfjörður from nearby Egilsstaðir, through which we were passing on our way to Mývatn, but decided in favor of getting to Mývatn early. Seyðisfjörður was only about 45 minutes away, and we figured it was very much like Egilsstaðir that we have just seen.

Wrong. The main attraction on the Egilsstaðir-Seyðisfjörður road is the whole road. It started from the Ring Road as an average side street, winding for a bit through Egilsstaðir, but in just a few minutes we realized that we were heading straight for the mountains, and that we were not going to go around them or (as in the Faroes) through them, but instead, over them, and that we would get very high up before coming back down to the harbor of Seyðisfjörður. And the mountain road did not disappoint. At each hairpin turn, the views of the valley we were leaving got more and more spectacular, although the constant traffic, electric pylons, frequent yellow-and-white road marking posts, etc. just did not make the view very photogenic. Some views are better when experienced rather than photographed. We took in the view at the last hairpin turn, and then realized that it was followed by a mountain lake surrounded by still-unthawed large patches of snow. The lake (called Heiðarvatn, as we later found out) seemed as pristine as it could be next to a well-traveled road. And as we descended to Seyðisfjörður, we passed several waterfalls on the mountain river that started at the lake — typical roadside attractions in Iceland, but definitely better than average. Pressed for time, we decided to take pictures of the waterfalls next day on our way back from Seyðisfjörður.

We got to Seyðisfjörður just in time for a late dinner at a local sushi restaurant. The sushi were very good (the chefs at the restaurant are from New York), but the service was very, very slow, so we spent more than 2 hours at the place, and by the end of the dinner we were so tired that we did not have any time left to explore the city.

View from the Sushi Bar is amazing
View from the Sushi Bar is amazing
Norð Austur -- Sushi Bar
Norð Austur — Sushi Bar
Norð Austur -- Sushi Bar
Norð Austur — Sushi Bar
Norð Austur -- Sushi Bar
Norð Austur — Sushi Bar

Thankfully, our stay for the night was right across the street, at the Old Apothecary. It was a very nice accommodation, large room and a big, comfy bed.

The Old Apothecary
The Old Apothecary
Our room at the Old Apothecary
Our room at the Old Apothecary
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