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Wind, winter, waves and isolation - Garður and Reykjanes

Pictures are at the bottom...

Reykjanes, the cul de sac. Despite being on Reykjavik's doorstep, (or should we say Hafnafjörður's?) and having plenty of nice walking, rugged shores, hot springs, and tranquil meadows, it also has sprawling hideous suburbia in Keflavik, an obsession with aluminium smelters and growing kitschy tourism, trying to snag tourists between getting off the plane in Keflavik and getting into the big smoke here in Reykjavik.

I still love it though, if for no other reason than that it's really close. After a pretty black december, christmas and new years had brightened my mood considerably, but I still hadn't been getting outside enough. I'd planned on going for a bit of a drive/walk around Garður, the north eastern tip of Reykjanes, and one of the bits I'd not gotten to yet. Over beers the night before, a friend had asked if she could possibly borrow my car over the weekend at all, to show a visiting friend around a bit. They also wanted to go to Blue Lagoon, so I invited them out for a drive along reykjanes at least, and we'd see about the weekend.

We got an early start, I wanted to have some daylight out there, it still being early january, so by 9:30 we were on the road, destination blue lagoon. It was quiet, it was early, it was dim, it was drizzling on us. We had some appropriate mood music though, and hey, it was only early. I dropped Chooc Ly, Matthieu and Adam at Blue Lagoon, and headed out to Garður. I didn't really want to go to Blue Lagoon (I'd rather go to a local pool and pay 1/8th of the price) and I wanted to stand near the sea a bit by myself anyway.

Garður was windy.

I really need to say that again. Garður was windy. The village even felt windy. Permanently windy. Windy enough to blow my tripod over. Garður just had this feel that it was clining to the edge of the world, the rugged crest before you fall off the edge of the map into that place marked "here be dragons" It may have just been winter, the wind, or the dawn feebly struggling to light up some cloud edges. Or it might not. I'll have to go again.

I had the place to myself. There were plenty of christmas lights around, and obviously people lived there, but almost no-one on the street(s) The old lighthouse in particular is lovely, with a classic exposed position on the very tip of land. The waves breaking on the reef were crashing into each other, coming from opposite directions around the tip. Reykjanesviti, the SW tip of Reykjanes simply doesn't feel as pointy and exposed.

I continued to Sandgerði, which had a lovely harbour, chock full of rust and rot. Yet seemingly still quite active. I saw a rather unusual trawler here too. At least, I think it was a trawler. It had a completely enclosed rear. Looked more like a party boat. But it still had reels and fish boxes, and peering down between the pier and the boat showed big side opening doors with long lines. Very odd. I would have taken more pictures, but it was low tide, so all the boats were well down from the edge of the pier.

Sandgerði, unlike Garður, felt more modern, more like a country fishing village. Busier, more redevelopment. Less clutching to the emptiness, more clutching to a new toyota. Less wind though :) Still, it was time to get back to blue lagoon and pick up the others.

Refreshed, relaxed and escaping before the bulk of the days tourists were turning up, it was time to turn out attention to other sights. We headed south, through grindavík, towards Krýsuvík, to show Adam some hot springs. But first, extra stops!

The crashing surf in hraunsvík, just east of Grindavík was too appealing, so I parked the car, and we hopped the fence and walked out to the shore. Walked / forced our way forwards. The wind had returned with a vengeance. At times it was hard just to stay standing, when the wind combined with loose rocks. But the view was excellent. The wind was pushing big waves hard up on the shore, and they were crashing and whipping foam up everywhere. Quite a sight. As we were leaving, I picked up what turned out to be a packet of emergency water quite a find.

The roads were absolutely desolate. A winter weekday, and we passed only one other car before krýsuvík. Of course, just after we left krýsuvík, we saw a green hilux approaching us. Guido and Jessica! A roadside chat and more pictures for all, and then home again home again!

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