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Melrakkasletta, Hraunhafnartangi, Raufahöfn and Yosef frá Swiss

Pictures are at the bottom...

I drove back north out of Raufahöfn, to visit all the sights I'd missed the day before on my futile dash for the pool. First stop was to be Hraunhafnartangi, the northernmost point of the mainland. A good rough road took me part way, then I had to abandon the mighty micra and strike out northwards towards the lighthouse. There's a good big funeral pyre here, allegedly the site of some good old fashioned head chopping, but there's no marker at the site, just some mentions in the guide books.

On the way here there'd be a reasonable amount of rusty metal debris, which seemed to fit in. Whether it be from abandoned farm machinery or bits of boats washed up by the sea, it fitted in. The meterological survey bouy did NOT fit in. It screamed at me from the distance, begging to be inspected. Quite an interesting device, though with the core missing, I reckon it's just garbage now. I'd been quite curious as to its purpose as I approached.

The lighthouse is big and square and modern and alone. The area here is big and flat and open and old. The sky is grey, so I walk onwards to the tip. There are quite a few old ruins, in very bad condition, behind a dune of rocks. I guess the sea pushes them up in heavy weather. The crest of the dune had some amazing rock stacks. Rock solid, tall and straight. I felt rather inadequate, and didn't even attempt building one. Mine are always so fragile and temporary, even if that is by design.

I took a picture of myself standing as far out in the seaweed and rocks as I dared, relying on the gps to tell me that this was the northernmost point. The spit of land actually runs east/west, with the "tip" actually being the west, not north. Having checked off this virtual location, I wandered off along the shore to explore.

In the cove behind the spit was a small boat harbour, and apparently this harbour had been used quite a bit more in centuries past. It's rather interesting how the "ideal" harbour changes quite substantially as boat technology changes. Some places stay important, others completely dissappear. The cove here still had a rather shiny new dinghy, for what purpose I'm not really sure, but it was tied up to some quite old handmade anchor stones. The old and new played well together here.

I hit the green net road here, and started following it, curious as to it's purpose and length. I presume that it serves simply to distribute the force of car tires, so as not to scatter the pebbles of the road. Still, it's a LOT of work for a short bit of road.

So, one nice seashore walk complete, I headed west again, thinking of trying to walk out to a headland of rock called "Karl". I got to some closed farm gates, and road ends, and decided that I just didn't feel like another long walk in the grey moist afternoon, and maybe I should just have a swim instead.

But, although I didn't head out to Karl, I did still have a few more short walks. I found a nice old boat hanging out behind the shed on one side road, and stopped to have a chat. He had a rather unusual name, Fönix, which reminded me more of Asterix and Obelix than of Icelandic. I also found yet more sea route markers. Or at least, this is what I presume they are/were. I've got no clue what they were supposed to be marking, but so be it. Perhaps the curator at the museum in Húsavík might know. Maybe someone in Kópasker. The yellow paint can't be too old, but the metal plates on the posts have almost completely faded away. No idea what goes in the hole in the rock pile either. A fisherman's mystery.

Right, enough disjoint pieces of prose. I often end up in this predicament. I have a dozen or so short snippets, that don't connect well, but all need to be told. (need?) Sometimes I can link them together chronologically, but it often ends up just becoming a string of "then I did x" "after that I went to y" It might be informative, but it's hardly imaginative. So for now, imagine more connection, imagine more arts students with bottles of wine and cigarettes arguing about the correct way, the most artistic way, or the best post structuralist way of connecting the next X stories.

I saw lots of merlins here. Or Falcons, I'm assuming because of their frequency that they were merlins. Either way, it was cool. Birds of prey are almost always cool, particularly when you don't see them very often. It seems this part of iceland is well known for them, being remote enough, yet low enough and with enough prey. It really is the highlands down by the sea.

I got my swim. It was cold. No hot pots, just a 25m pool, divided into the "swimming" section and the "playing" section. Worst pool ever. Good showers though. Fed up with Raufahöfn, it's lack of open shops, (not even the petrol station! only open for 2 hours a day, and four hours on friday and saturday nights) I packed up and prepared to head south to Þórshöfn.

But leaving Raufahöfn without mention of Yosef would shortchanging you, my dear readers. Raufahöfn would be the first time I would find the tracks of this man and his yellow bike, but he would later dog my travels. On this day however, I simply thought he was a rather eccentric swiss who had a liking for Raufahöfn. (This in itself makes one rather eccentric, it's a rather shitty little town, my least favourite of my entire trip, indeed, of my stay in Iceland to date)

Yosef had drawn a rather nice set of sketches of the birds of the area, and left a nice note thanking the residents for their wonderful free campground. But it was more than that, he'd taken over the entire site. He had built konstruktion projects in each toilet, being high tech toilet paper dispensers, complete with instructions. (There were existing toilet paper dispensers, which obviously, lacked the character and style of swiss engineering) He had also, on this trip, on my birthday no less, installed his latest project, a clothes line. Now, this was certainly more than I had installed and left as gift to future guests, but I did find it rather odd to date and label a string tied between two pegs.

But I'm not swiss. And I don't ride a bike around iceland for months at a time. I drove off to Þórshöfn.

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