At last! Here we are at the end of our road trip, which began–and ended–about two months ago. I’m sorry it’s taken this long, guys, I just couldn’t cram all those photos and fun facts in shorter or fewer posts. I hope it has been edifying.
We’ll keep it simple today, though, because after Dyrhólæy, Mark and I’s journey home was more about the drive itself. There were several quirky-sounding country cafes that we read about in our guidebooks that we tried to stop at, but these were closed for the season (it was October, remember), and the short hikes we had planned on ended up coming to nothing as well. For instance, we’d read about a nice hike around the historical site of Keldur, which was the homestead of a minor character in Njal’s Saga, but when we got to the site–which is still a working farm–we felt a little strange just walking up to the farmers and asking them where precisely on their land was the prettiest place to walk. So instead, we checked out the turf houses that are open to the public on the property and then turned back around.
But the Rangárvellir valley where Keldur is located is beautiful, and the sometimes marshy landscape was quite different from the wide-open sea-boardered valleys that we’d been driving through just an hour or so before. Parts of it looked a lot like rural Pennsylvania to me, actually. So the drive was well worth the detours.
After leaving Keldur, we stopped at a quiet, river-side café in Hella and then drove to the small fishing town of Eyrarbakki for dinner. Eyrarbakki is the sister town to Stokkseyri, where we stayed on our first night. Not only is Eyrarbakki home to Litla Hraun, the largest prison in Iceland (not why we went, just a fact), it also features a number of colorful timber houses (Norwegian kit houses) dating back to the 1760s.
We had thought we might get into the town a little earlier, which would have allowed us to not only see more of the timber homes, but also check out one of the shops mentioned on the town website. As you can see from the screenshot below, this shop boasts a rather unusual specialty:
Alas, it was too late when we got to town to be able to stop at Gallerí Regína and check out the wares. I would have been delighted to purchase some locally made “painted crap” or even a bauble or two.
We were early enough to stop for dinner at Rauða Húsið, a rival seafood restaurant to Fjöruborðið in Stokkseyri, which has a delightful and colorful backstory. We were just about to tuck into our meal when all of a sudden, Icelandic actor Pétur Jóhann Sigfússon (you may know him as Ólafur from the Night Shift series) was seated with a date right next to us. (This celebrity sighting seemed particularly apropos, since one of the seasons of Night Shift–specifically Prison Shift–is set at the Eyrarbakki prison.) Mark and I would have had to awkwardly giggle and Not-Look at their table for a whole meal, which would have been hard, if they hadn’t decided, somewhat abruptly, to leave. I don’t think it was our fault, but I can’t imagine what other nice restaurants would be open on a Sunday night at 7:30 around Eyrarbakki.
Anyway, though, after yet another brush with Icelandic fame and a very tasty meal, we finished our drive back to Reykjavík in the dark. (So no more pictures!)
Now to start planning the next road trip!