Whilst it snowed overnight, fortunately there wasn’t enough of the white stuff to delay our journey north. As we neared Egilsstaðir however it started snowing again, and by the time we’d reached the top of the pass I was thinking ‘this is a bit scary’, what with the wind whipping up the snow, and the steep drops on either side. Little did I know that by the end of the day, I’d have driven over the scariest fell road of my life, and that includes roads in Chile and Romania!
Egilsstaðir is very much a hub town, with plenty of hotels, supermarkets and petrol stations. We bought 5 nights worth of supplies, knowing that where we were headed there wouldn’t be any restaurants open, and set off down the 94 road to Borgarfjörður eystri – the northernmost of Iceland’s eastern fjords. The www.road.is website had informed us that morning that the fell road condition would be ‘challenging’ because of the snow and ice, and indeed it was. I just kept breathing deeply, moving slowly, and praying! When we eventually reached the other side, I stopped in a layby so that I could calm my nerves. At minus 5 degrees C it was a bit chilly to eat our lunch outside, but even from within Aurora (our hire car), we could appreciate the magnificence of the scenery. Already it felt even more remote than Fáskrúðsfjörður had. The mountains were completely covered in snow, and the waves crashed on to the beach.
As we couldn’t check in to our apartment until 3pm, we drove 5km from the village to Hafnarhólmi – a tiny harbour and promontory known for its puffin and other sea bird colonies. Several platforms allow you to get close to the birds, without disturbing them. Unfortunately the puffins were all out at sea fishing, but at least we knew where to come tomorrow eve to watch them return.
Time to check in to our next base – one of Blábjörg Guesthouse’s two apartments. When first organising the trip, we’d initially discounted the guesthouse because its listed Summer prices seemed quite high. Fortunately, I later went back and emailed the owners, and we were offered an off season price that we couldn’t turn down to stay in such a fantastic location. It’s a former fish factory, and is literally on the harbour. It comes complete with a spa, including two outdoor hot tubs and a sauna – free to guests staying in the apartments. We were even getting a free breakfast thrown in each day, and this turned out to consist of such quantities of food that we made lunch out of it as well! Whereas Hóll cottage had been rustic and quirky, this place is ultra modern and totally Scandic. We love both styles, and it’s nice to combine the two.
After settling in and exploring the village, we were given the keys to the spa and left to our own devices. In Summer, it’s a popular spot for campers and holiday makers as well as locals, but out of season, well you have it to yourselves, and it’s heavenly. From the outdoor hot tub we were able to watch the sea birds sheltering in the harbour, whilst the waves crashed on to the shore literally just a few metres away. I could get used to this.