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Back from safari

EPI and I and EPI’s father have just spent three days driving across the central highlands. It’s incredibly barren and stunningly beautiful there, and certainly brings home the problem of erosion in this country. We spent one night in a hotel up there, just before setting off across Sprengisandur sands [more on them later] which essentially is a desert in the midst of the interior, in between the glaciers Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull [the largest ice cap in Europe – nb. the Wikipedia entry cites the English translation as ‘glacier of rivers’ which is incorrect, it should be ‘glacier of lakes’]. We stopped at several waterfalls along the way and ended in Akureyri, where we spent our second night, and drove back to town the following day [yesterday].

I’ve just uploaded a bunch of photos to Flickr and will elaborate on our trip a bit more anon. Till then

PS. Thanks for all your lovely comments on the last post!

Comments

comments

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  • Joerg July 12, 2008, 8:52 am

    If Wikipedia is incorrect, why don’t you just correct it? That’s the beauty of Wikipedia, that everyone can participate and make the information more exact.
    Sprengisandur is a route which I would also love to see one day – but I’d do it probably by bus and not by car, since I have a huge respect for those river crossings – I saw a car stuck in one of them at Eldgjá – not something I would like to experience (they managed to pull the car out with the help of two other jeeps). I am looking forward to your report of the Sprengisandur tour.

  • Rozanne July 12, 2008, 6:06 pm

    Wow. Talk about remote. That regions looks just AMAZINGLY beautiful. I’d love to escape there right now! Thanks for posting the photos. Looking forward to details in your next post.

  • Shannon July 12, 2008, 7:00 pm

    Hi Alda,

    Your photos are beautiful, as always. I’d like to know where this longhouse is located. It does not appear to be the one at Eriksstadir. Thanks!

    ~Shannon

  • alda July 12, 2008, 9:34 pm

    Joerg – what a novel idea! I think I’ll do that right now. Thanks for the tip.

    Rozanne – yes, it’s very remote and hard to convey the experience of being there. Like someone said to me today, you really can’t imagine until you’ve been there. It’s very special.

    Shannon – that farm is called Stöng and it’s in the south, not far from Flúðir. It’s on the road that leads up to the interior.

  • Jessie July 12, 2008, 11:33 pm

    Wow, thank you for sharing those photos! I can’t wait to return to Iceland again…
    I was wondering — if you have the time — if you might explain what the (manmade) pyramid rock structures are. I’ve seen them from time to time in photos of Iceland, and I noticed one in the pics you linked to, and have always wondered what their significance was. Thanks again!

  • alda July 12, 2008, 11:51 pm

    Jessie, you probably mean the cairns. They were used extensively in the past to mark paths through uninhabited areas, to help people find their way in fog and such. They aren’t really used today but in some places they’ve been rebuilt, and/or are set up just for the sake of nostalgia (or fun).

  • Magnús July 14, 2008, 11:09 am

    Hi Alda

    Actually, there is no consensus on the origin of the name “Vatnajökull”….wether is means “lake” or “river”.

    The glaciers original name was “Klofajökull”, meaning the “cleft glacier” due to the fact that during the summer months a passable, icefree, route formed through the glacier. This stopped happening during the little iceage and hasn’t happened since.

    The name Vatnajökull could just as well refer to the countless glacier rivers that flow from the glacier. In fact, in “old” icelandic, rivers were often refered to as just “vötn”, or waters (vötn is the plural of vatn).

    Regards,
    Magnús

    ps. like your blog 🙂

  • alda July 14, 2008, 11:57 am

    Hi Magnús – thanks for the input, very interesting. I’ll hold off on correcting the Wikipedia entry, then. 🙂