With the wind howling and the rain beating on the ceiling of Kirkjubær guesthouse last night I understand why some people would find it uncomfortable sleeping in an old church next to the former altar and pulpit. If I would ever have to imagine what ghosts sound like that would probably be it. I, however, slept like a log and didn’t worry about a thing despite having a snoring Dutch man on the balcony and barking Icelandic girl (Helga coughing) next to me.
When we finally got up it was evident that Helga’s flu had got worse and it was pouring down outside. We had plans to meet up with a guide from Meet The Locals, a local travel agency in east Iceland that offers all kinds of interesting activities all over the east fjords, but due to the rain and Helga’s cough we had to cancel. It’s a real pity because we were really looking forward to taking one of their village walks. If the guide I talked to a couple of times over the phone is any indication, they are a helpful and friendly (and flexible) bunch. Next time!
What came next was pretty much rain, more rain and then even more rain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much constant rain in my life and then the weather lady at one of the TV stations said on the evening news that the east experienced “a bit” of rain today. She obviously was far away in sunny Reykjavík all day. We drove from one town to the next, running out for short photo stops and cough medicine at the pharmacy and I literally had to dig up a towel from my luggage to wipe down the phone after each time. Finally we gave up and were going to visit a café in Seyðisfjörður that had been recommended to us and just hang out and play some Yahtzee but after driving through a mix of snowstorm and fog to get there the café was closed. We didn’t even go out of the car and just returned and drove back to Egilsstaðir and checked into Egilsstaðir guesthouse.
We probably should have just gone straight to the hotel because it’s super nice and cozy and more importantly open and not wet. At the moment we are sitting in their lounge area, drinking beer and listening to music. We had a fantastic lobster salad at the restaurant earlier and looking around the room (they were quite busy, both with guests from the hotel and just from town) everything people were eating looked really good.
I want to leave you today with some lessons from the road:
1) When traveling around the more remote areas of Iceland make sure you have some Panodil Hot and Painkillers (or something similar) with you because pharmacies are few and far between and are closed on Sundays. It took us two days to get Helga something for her cough.
2) If possible, stay with local people. Our trip would not have been as good as has been if we had not got some insider advice from both Æsa at Vík hostel and Fanney at Dyngja Guesthouse. Getting local advice from local people is very valuable and can add that extra special something to your experience.
3) If there’s something you really want to do, make sure it’s open when you are going to visit. It would have been great to know that the café in Seyðisfjörður today didn’t open till 17:00 as we could have saved us the 50 kilometers it took to get there and back.
My personal highlight today was finding all the awesome street art in Stöðvarfjörður and our hotel here in Egilsstaðir. Stöðvarfjörður seemed like a cool little town and all the people we talked to there were super nice. I would definitely want to go back there and stay for a night or two.